I’ve heard it said that when a writer/director starts a project he (or she) has to own it totally to bring it to fruition. But, what I’ve learned is that most projects really own you. They have a life and a breath of their own and as a director you need to respect that. In this case, I felt that I not only owed the project the respect to grow into what it was, but I also owed the subject a duty.
A Chance in The World isn’t just a story that came to me out of the blue, a piece of fiction meant to tug at the heart strings or inspire – it came out of a book, which came out of the very real life experience of a person who endured a terrible situation as a child – to become, in my opinion, an exceptional man: Steve Pemberton.
After months of writing and more months of rewriting, I was confronted with the unique experience of having the subject matter of the script read the script in front of me. It was nerve wrecking. We sat at the producer’s house as Steve and his wife, Tonya, read it. I remember trying to catch a glance at their reactions as they read. Interpreting every blink, cough or sigh as approval or disapproval of the script. When they were finished, I did the inevitable and asked what they thought about it. They told me “it’s good – it really stays true to what happened”, which, is all I really wanted to hear as a writer.
As a director, I hope the movie gets the same reaction from audiences. I hope it says education can change a life, literature can heal and that family isn’t merely something your born into – it is created whenever and wherever there is love. I hope that the film says, much like the line from the book John gives Steve (Billy Budd by Melville) sometimes, “the truth uncompromisingly told, will always have its jagged edges.”
Most of all, I hope the film moves you to take action and get involved in helping the orphaned and foster kids who are trying to make their way through life right now as you’re reading this or watching the movie. Maybe you can make a monetary donation, maybe you want to consider fostering or adopting a kid or mentoring someone about to “age out” of the system: This website includes links to wonderful organizations (on the FOSTER RESOURCES page) I hope you take a look, because everyone deserves a chance.
Thanks for taking the time to watch the film and read this.