It takes tenacity to complete almost any project in this pandemic.
Candy Beard’s determination to bring her Terre Haute indie film company’s 10th production — a feature movie titled “The Text” — has been brewing since 2019. A cluster of obstacles has slowed its progress.
“I refuse to give up,” Beard said. She aims to begin shooting the picture in May in Terre Haute, wrap up by July, and get it polished and released by summer 2022.
“It’s a beautiful story,” Beard said, that goes beyond raising awareness of the real dangers of distracted driving. “It’s about relationships.”
Her resolve to continue filmmaking amid the difficulties probably dates back to a turning point a decade ago.
After writing a series of books, Beard got nudged by friends and family to pursue scriptwriting for film and television. A film instructor in California asked Beard to write a short film that the teacher’s students could produce. She did, and they did.
Beard her husband, Mark, and son, Daniel, traveled to California in June 2011, met the cast, toured Hollywood, and saw the premiere of her screenplay, “The Santa Monica 128.”
“I just fell in love with being on the set, and taking an idea from paper and putting it on film,” Beard said. The Beards came home and Candy told Mark she wanted to create a film company.
Ten years later, Beard and her family’s company run Dreams Come True Films. Candy, now 51, writes and serves as CEO. She and Mark are executive producers. Daniel handles directing, cinematography and editing. Together, their company has a roster of productions, including four short films, a television pilot show, and four feature movies.
“The Text” will be their fifth feature, with Tonna Kaye Logan joining Candy as its executive producers.
Beard told her cast that she’s struggled more to get this film completed than with any of the others. Precautions from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic twice forced the postponement of a fundraiser for the movie, so Dreams Come True Films is seeking sponsors and donors. They also need the use of a house in the Wabash Valley for 10 days through June and July to serve as the film’s setting. Three young boys of diverse backgrounds are needed to play small roles. And, use of a black SUV is needed.
Once Beard finds those necessities and the cameras roll, she believes the end result will entertain and enlighten viewers.
“It’s about so much more than texting and driving,” she said. “It’s about relationships. It’s about marriages on the rocks. It’s about friendships. It’s about forgiveness. It’s a really a beautiful story.”
The plot centers on two lifelong best friends, Angela and Pamela. Both are married and have one child each. A routine errand by car for their teenage kids, Pamela’s addiction to her cellphone, and one too many texts turns multiple lives and two marriages upside down.
Beard recalled seeing motorists on Interstate 70 driving vehicles while also tapping messages into their cellphone screens.
“I am afraid someone’s going to hit me and kill me, or one of my loved ones,” she said.
In the film, the consequences of texting while driving are only part of the story. The bulk of the drama deals with the responses of the couples, the friends and the teenagers.
The issue of distracted driving vaulted into the American conscience with the popularity of cellphones. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration coordinates a crackdown on the problem with state and local law enforcement every April, which is National Distracted Driving Awareness month.
Last year, Indiana became the 22nd state to prohibit the use of handheld mobile devices while operating a moving vehicle. Police officials told the Tribune-Star in January that anecdotal evidence shows a decrease in distracted driving since the law took effect last July, even though law enforcement has written more warnings than actual $500 fines. Still, distracted driving 2,781 collisions and resulted in five deaths on Indiana roads during the last six months of 2020, according to the Indiana State Police.
Beard decided to turn such statistics into a human story in 2013, after “the Lord just laid it on my heart,” and she spent the next five years refining it.
Indeed, “The Text” is a faith-based film, like Beard’s other efforts through her family’s Dreams Come True Films. Still, she emphasized, “We have great messages in our films, but they’re not preachy and they’re not cheesy, like a lot of Christian films are. We’ve just got great stories that matter to everyday people.”
Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or email@example.com.