Adventures with Heather

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Sweet Princess Project

2 weeks ago I had the honor and the privilege to work with some of the most talented, good hearted people to make a music video to raise awareness about Human Trafficking.

Let me start from the beginning.

In December of 2012, I posted a picture of my goals for 2013 on my Facebook and my old friend Rick Green messaged me shortly after I posted the picture. Rick said he wanted to help me with #5 on my goals list: "Make a human trafficking awareness video". My jaw dropped with amazement. I wasn't sure how it would happen, but I knew Rick would get it done!


From there, I sent Rick a song I had been working on called "Sweet Princess". It was inspired by pictures my friend Nicole Bromley (www.onevoice.org) was taking of her time making a Documentary about young girls working in Brothels in Cambodia. I saw the faces of these sweet young girls who's innocents was taken from them and I just wanted to tell them their worth, who they are. That they are princesses no matter what has happened to them and that there is hope!! There is a movie called "A Little Princess" that inspired this notion that "All girls are princesses, Hasn't your father ever told you that?". Every girl has worth and is precious in the eyes of God!!

After sending Rick a VERY rough version of the song (the second verse wasn't even written yet!), he emailed me back a very organized, very visual PDF of the idea he had for the music video. Again, my jaw hit the desk and I was inspired by his vision to write the 2nd verse of the song, and I got it recorded professionally by my producer Rick May and things started to get set in motion!

I met with Rick Green and some of the Video Crew from a production company called The Post House (www.posthouse.tv).  Rick Green, Tim Flaherty, John Massarella, Justin Dabney, and Scott Baldner all talked about aspects about the upcoming shoot and I tried to play it cool as these really talented dudes "talked shop" about shots, locations, equipment and logistics. My mind was blown that these really awesome video guys were willing to donate their time, energy, MORE OF THEIR TIME, their equipment and more to help with this project. I think I was a bit awkward, because how do you thank someone or show gratitude for something so HUGE?!

Here is part of the PDF of the details for the Sweet Princess video and inspiration:


‘Sweet Princess’ is hopeful ballad that speaks to the unimaginable-yet-rampant scourge of human trafficking afflicting millions around the world. From the tragic cries of young children, to the faint hopes of adult women all trapped in a nightmare - singer/songwriter Heather Evans begs these victims to ‘hold on’ - to know that they have not been forgotten - and that someday they can - and will - find their worth, or their ‘kingdom’ - that they will step into the light of freedom and be treated like a Princess - after all, ‘...all girls are princesses...hasn’t Your Father ever told you that?’ The song is analogy, mixed with a dose of reality - swathed lightly with a bit of underlying spirituality.*
Verse 1
They don't know who you are
You're a princess but your Kingdom was stolen
"Please don't hurt me again" as she cries in her waking nightmare

Chorus:
Your Kingdom is coming hold on sweet princess, You're the heir to the kingdom come
This nightmare will end you'll see sweet princess, Your kingdom is coming

So just hold on
((guitar interlude - Human Trafficking Stats/Facts))
Verse 2
Fear - Grips your heart
As you lie in wait, for footsteps approaching

Hoping for someone to save you As you despair in your waking nightmare
Bridge:
So let the kingdom come, let it dethrone the wicked and elevate the broken (x2)

THE STORY:

The Story: We open on our young woman - worn and a bit tattered - nervously moving towards the door of her stale room - the door is cracked open and she leans hard on it as evil leans hard from the outside - we see only his mouth, his eyes and his dirty hands trying to push his way in - with all she’s got she closes him out and returns to the safety of her loneliness - as she moves about her dull chamber - moving from the mirror where she searches for herself; to the bed where buries her face in tears; to the chair where she pulls her knees to her chest as if to protect her heart - you (the viewer) catch glimpses of lights/twinkles - little bits of light - in the mirror, on the floor and out-of-focus in her background. During the guitar break between verses - we leave the room and cut to the hallway - multiple doors line this hallway - in the foreground we cut to multiple people - one at a time (maybe as many as 8-10) who represent the faces of human trafficking - young, old, black, white - everyone - and each is holding a tattered piece of paper with a staggering human trafficking fact scribbled (legibly) on it - the messages hit hard (“27 million victims” - “80% victims of sexual slavery” - “average cost of human slave is $90” - “2 out of 3 are girls” - etc - think of Sarah McLachlan’s ‘World On Fire’ video) - after the guitar interlude - the source of the ‘light’ is revealed - as the woman continues to lament her situation - a small girl, wearing a simple princess’ tiara and a simple, plain ‘princess dress’ is dancing (slow motion) in the room - she’s dancing amongst the dank room with a smile, laughing eyes and a twinkling princess wand giving off bright glimmers of hope. Eventually, the woman notices and acknowledges her princess - takes her hand and leads her out the door and down the hall to freedom - holding hands with her newly-found princess, our ragged woman looks back down the hallway over her shoulder - where she sees the bad guy, from behind, pounding on one of the other doors with his fist - trying to fight his way into another room as she slips out to freedom - finding her princess and her kingdom of freedom - and she gives a slight but hopeful smile... 


MOVING ON TO THE MAKING OF THE "SWEET PRINCESS" MUSIC VIDEO, MINI DOC & BEHIND THE SCENES PIECE...


We arrived on Friday on location at a HUGE, old, 2 story warehouse to set up for the Music Video Shoot on Saturday. Rick took me upstairs to take a look at the space we were going to shoot in and I was amazed at the scale of the place. He showed me where the "apartment" scene was going to be shot and I felt an eerie feeling as we peeked into the dilapidated room. It was so realistic and such a sad room it creeped me out a little, but it was perfect for the video. We had some great helping hands on set up day Susan Little, Rick Green, Tim Flaherty, Ruth Payne, Robbie Davidson, Anthony and Diana Tambini and some other folks.





I met the Production Coordinator Susan Little and she is small but MIGHTY! She had all of the logistics for the food, drinks, release forms and all the ins and outs of the day organized. I am so glad I got to work alongside of her and that she was there to keep things running smoothly.

This project was truly a "Passion Project". Everything we used was donated to the project from the Warehouse (that rents for $2,000 A DAY), from the furniture from goodwill for the sets, to the food & drinks, the Rent-A-John, the talent, the set up, the behind the scenes photography, the equipment, the christmas lights for the performance piece, to the hair and make up artists. Rick estimated the Budget would easily be a $100,000 budget, but all of it was donated to push the cause forward!





The day of the shoot was electric. There was a buzz in the air of people working and getting prepared to shoot. Everyone was working together so well and you could sense the camaraderie and common goal. It was fun, yet serious.



Actress Elizabeth McPherson played the main actress portraying a woman being trafficked. She is such a beautiful woman and when the make up artist Abi finished her makeup, she looked so worn, so beat up and downtrodden.. Her beauty was still there but just transformed into someone sad and broken. Elizabeth was fabulous at portraying her role and was steadfast all day long despite the freezing temperature in the warehouse.



The Little Princess Ellie Maetzold arrived and lit up the set with her child like joy and sweetness. She was beyond perfect for the role as the symbol of HOPE and innocence that was taken from the older version of herself, Elizabeth. I made her a princess wand that she carried with her the whole day and the crew fell in love with her. Thank you mom and dad Kristen and Dave Maetzold for allowing her to be in the video!!

There was a small crowd watching the footage the crew was shooting in the apartment room and when they started the song "Sweet Princess" and saw Ellie and Elizabeth together, There was an emotion that swept over everyone. Even Rick peeked out of the room with wide eyes and said "Phew". Saying with his eyes how emotional it was. I, along with a few others had streams of tears running down my cheeks. It was powerful.

The "Bad Guy" Chris Apfelstadt also did an outstanding job at his role. He is a funny, fun guy, in real life and Rick directed him and helped him channel his angry side, and sure enough he delivered. It was completely dark except for the monitor and the lit up set and his angry, explosive performance sent chills down the audience's spines. I had my hands up to my mouth and felt a little bit afraid myself. Even Elizabeth the actress in the room was shaken up a bit. He also donated some of the Christmas lights for the performance part of the video. :)


At 4pm or so some people where arriving for the behind the Scenes Mini Documentary about human trafficking that Scott Baldner and Matt Shedenhelm were shooting. They did interviews with Nicole Bromley: Author of "Hush" and founder of OneVoice, Marlene Carson: Survivor and founder of Rahab's Hideaway, Connie Anderson of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship & Human Trafficking Awareness on College Campuses, and Kendra a survivor. I asked Scott at one point "How are you doing?" He answered "I am wore out! The content is so heavy.." I think even the crew were affected by being exposed to the stats and true stories of victims this crime affects.


There were about 8-10 extras of all ages & ethnicities that held stats about Human Trafficking for one of the shots for the video.


Lindsey Turner came later in the day to help me with my wardrobe and Make Up for the Performance part of the video. She has a blog called http://www.thriftandshout.blogspot.com and she donated some clothes for the set and also found me the most amazing Vintage 1950's dress that went perfectly with the performance set! 

There were 5,000+ white lights hung from the rafter beams and wrapped around columns over a big space with rustic wood floors. It was magical to say the least. We started filming the performance part of the video around 10:30pm but amazingly I still had plenty of energy for the shoot. Tim, John, Justin, Andrew and others set up the lights and the track for the "Jib" for the camera to roll on. It looked like a real movie set!! Jordan Green worked the ipod playback for the performance too.




Lorie Williams was shooting behind the scenes photos the whole day too. She is such a wonderful lady!! check out her photos at her website: http://www.studiowilliams.com

We were all exhausted and exhilarated when the shoot was over. We are hoping to do a pretty fun release party when the videos are released in June sometime! After the release, we are hoping to give the videos to organizations that can use them as a media piece to raise awareness for human trafficking. Not just locally, but nationally and maybe internationally. My hope is that this video is passed around and that young and old can learn more about this issue and help people who are stuck in similar situations. One by one we can play a small part. But together we can END SLAVERY!


4 comments:

Lindsey A. Turner said...

What an amazing day! So glad I got to be a part of it!

Lindsey

Rick Green said...

Fantastic summary of the day. Now the fun part begins! ;-)

Heather Evans said...

I'm so glad you were there helping me Lindsey!!! You are the best!

Heather Evans said...

Thanks man! There was SO much that happened it was hard to narrow it down! Haha! I can't wait to hear how the post production stuff is going!