Last year my good friend, Kerri Kenny, and I decided that we were tired of auditioning for roles like the girlfriend, sidekick, best friend, and secretary—all the types of roles that ignore young women’s full potential in theater and film. We wanted to take control and create jobs for ourselves instead of waiting around for them to be given to us. We took it upon ourselves to write our own roles as fully developed female characters and decided to use the issues we felt passionately about as the context.
We sat down at Bourbon Coffee on 14th St and 6th Ave in New York City with our laptops and began to brainstorm—asking ourselves, what do we truly feel passionately about? The answer was love, women, inspiration, acceptance and civil rights. At that point, all we knew was that we wanted to use our voices, somehow, to write a short play incorporating all that inspired us as creative women and people. As we started to jot down some ideas, dialogue, and character relationships in to our Google Doc, we were unaware of the journey that we were about to embark on or the extent of the world that we were creating.
“Sleeping With Earrings On,” takes place the morning of a wedding and centers around Maggie, the bride, and her older and younger sisters, Bridget and Georgie. From the very beginning there is noticeable tension between the sisters. Eventually, the cause is revealed: their mother has refused to attend the wedding. Ultimately, the audience finds out that Maggie’s fiancé, Kyle, is a woman, clarifying their mother’s disapproval.
Marriage equality is an issue that is incredibly important to Kerri and I. The debate about same-sex marriage rages on and gay marriage is slowly gaining acceptance in many parts of the world. Especially as women, we feel lucky to live in a time of tremendous change. While we have made so many strides in terms of equality, this issue is still one that many people find challenging. Above everything else, we wanted to tell a story of unconditional love. We brought my other good friend, Jaclyn Gramigna, on board to direct.
“Sleeping With Earrings On” opened this past August at the New York New Works Festival and the response was beyond anything we imagined! Our goal was to make the audience fall in love with Maggie and her love story so that by the time Kyle was revealed, they couldn’t help but love her – and them as a couple – as well. Out of 20 finalists, we ended up winning the entire festival, which was chosen by a panel of Broadway producers and Emmy award winning writers. The unbelievable enthusiasm we received pushed us forward to bring this story to an even larger audience by adapting it into a short film where we could also further the roles of the women behind the camera. We knew we were going to need some monetary help, so we took to Seed & Spark for a crowd funding campaign.
Now that we are moving towards production, the story has become more about how a relationship can affect the people closest to you, which we feel is an underrepresented aspect of love stories. We are determined to #sharethelove with as wide an audience as possible.
We miraculously raised our initial goal in the first four days of our campaign. Since we had originally planned to shoot the project on a shoestring budget, we have now implemented stretch goals in order to make the film bigger and better. We plan to shoot in early December with a rock star all-female crew. Everyone on the shoot, from our producer, Jennifer Sciarra, to our cinematographer, Samantha Smith, is a woman, which is incredibly rare in this industry. Our goal is to share the message of love that started with the play with as many people as we can.
We are hoping that every person who contributes, no matter to what extent, will take ownership of this story. We will delight in doing it justice for the sake of love, because we believe the world could always use a little more!
Photo by Vladimir Weinstein