Thursday, February 22, 2018

Interview with Erin R. Dooley, director of Broken & Beautiful (movie)

Let's welcome Erin R. Dooley to the blog again! This is her final visit to promote her movie "Broken & Beautiful."

Today, Erin is talking about what went into making her movie. She's sharing stories from behind the scenes, the most memorable moments of the movie-making process and other insightful details about her journey of becoming a movie director.

She's also offered to host a giveaway contest that will allow the winner to view her movie for free! Details are toward the end of this blog post.

Enjoy your time with Erin!

Interview with Erin R. Dooley director of “Broken & Beautiful”:

Alexis: Tell us about the story behind the making of your movie.

Erin: Making “Broken & Beautiful” was a leap of faith for me. I had always wanted to write a musical using Christian music. When I finished the script I went for a run to clear my head. I was praying and asked God who was going to direct. I heard “You are.” I stopped running, looked up and down the road, only to find it empty. I looked up and said, “If that was you, God, you've got the wrong girl. I'm a writer, I don't know how to direct.” Then I felt a hand on my shoulder and a whisper, “you can do this.”

I went home, talked to my sister about discerning God’s voice and the following day at work I met a professor I had never met. It turns out he had lived in Los Angeles for 20 years directing. We talked for a few hours and he gave me the high-level explanation on how to produce and direct.

So, I was in. What followed was 9 months of moments like that. Me taking everything to God in prayer and God providing for me.

Alexis: Why did you title it “Broken & Beautiful”? Explain the significance.

Erin: There is a song by that title, which isn’t in the movie, but I liked the idea that even though we are all flawed and broken, God still sees us as his beautiful creation. I had a few other title ideas, but this one seemed to match the theme of the movie the best.

Alexis: Why did you feel that it was necessary to write a book about the making of the movie? A book that you titled with a question, which was “You Want Me To Do What, God?!”

Erin: The more I told people the story, the more I realized that the story about how the film came to be was just as intriguing to people as the film itself. I wrote the book first as a journal just so I’d remember all that happened. In between making “Broken & Beautiful” and releasing it, I released a documentary that is my personal story and I realize how much people like to connect to real, honest stories. Once I was going into distribution with “Broken & Beautiful", I still felt that it was an important part of this journey.

Alexis: Tell us about the dream your sister had that a man walked up to her in Subway (food restaurant) telling her that God told him to finance your movie. What were your first thoughts when your sister said this to you? Did it happen in real-life? If not, how did you finance the movie?

Erin: Well, when my sister told me about her dream, I told her that she better stop at every Subway restaurant that she passes. Nothing ever came of that dream, mostly because she never did go to any Subways. “Broken & Beautiful” was funded through the support of family and friends. I did hold a few fundraisers, but mostly family and friends who I told about the film contributed.

Alexis: How was your first experience as a movie director? Describe the pitfalls and memorable moments.

Erin: This was a big film to start with as a first-time director. There are 12 leads and we filmed in 20-something locations over 28 days. The best part of directing a film you’ve written is certainly seeing it all come together and watching the actors bring your characters to life. One thing that sticks out was after we shot the very last scene, the Assistant Cameraman turned and said, “Congratulations. You made a movie.” I know that sounds simple, but I had been carrying a lot of stress during filming and hearing that lifted a lot of stress from me.

As far as pitfalls, mostly it was concessions I had to make once I knew the budget I was working with. When I wrote it a scene was set on the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago (now called Willis Tower). I couldn’t afford that, so we ended up on a rooftop of an apartment. We had a pretty tight schedule in general, so we only could do a few takes of each scene.

Alexis: Would you do this again (direct a movie)? Why or why not?

Erin: I prefer writing and producing. I do really enjoy working with actors but I think I’m stronger in writing and producing.

Alexis: What message do you want your audience to take home after they see this movie? Explain.

Erin: The tagline of the film is “We’re all sinners, but we’re all called to be saints.” I hope that people can see that it is never too late to return to God, no matter what you’ve done. I also hope that people can extend each other grace. Every one of the characters is carrying some weight around with them, and they can pass judgment on each other. It’s helpful for us to remember that as we deal with other, that we’re all hiding some imperfections but we can help each other instead of just passing judgment. I’d also like to add that despite this being a Christian film, I don’t think the only audience is Christians. An atheist saw the film and came up to me afterward. He said, “I disagree with you on probably everything but this film is well done and will start conversations.” So I hope that people will invite their friends, whether or not they have strong faith convictions, to see the film.

Alexis: Why did you make this movie a musical? Describe the role of music in your visual storyline.

Erin: The simple answer is that I love Christian music. I’ve written many other scripts, but always wanted to write a musical. Not being a songwriter, I needed to find the music. The film was definitely born out of the songs. I came up with characters and then spent quite a long time listening to and reading lyrics of countless songs. It’s funny to me when people comment how perfectly the songs fit the storyline because I know that I specifically wrote it that way.

Alexis: What is your mission statement in life and how does your approach to life affect your approach to making movies?

Erin: My mission in life is to love and serve God. I feel like he has called me into entertainment to do just that. So, my films, even if they aren’t overtly Christian like “Broken & Beautiful” is, they do have my worldview. I want to be life-affirming and life-giving in the stories I tell.

Alexis: How does your faith in God affect your storytelling?

Erin: My faith isn’t compartmentalized; it is infused in everything I do. So, all the stories I tell are going to reflect the way I see the world. I believe in redemption and the goodness of people, so that is reflected in my projects.

Alexis: Who is your inspiration in the movie industry? Why?

Erin: I always answer this question a little differently than people may expect. I usually look at people just a few rungs higher than me on the ladder of success and look at what they are doing. The longer I am in Los Angeles, these people are becoming friends and colleagues, which is a nice place to be. There are a lot of Christians in the industry doing wonderful things, so I take inspiration from them.

Alexis: What Bible verse keeps you going when faced with difficulty?

Erin: Psalm 23 is always one that seems to pop up in my life. For this particular film, songs got me through. The song “Stronger” by Mandisa was my anthem.

Alexis: If you could encourage your audience with just one word, what would it be and why?

Erin: I think I’d say “listen.” God is still speaking to us. He is calling you to be the beautiful person he created. Listen to others when they speak so you can really understand them and relate better to them, without rushing to judgment.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Erin! God bless you.

Author Bio:

Erin R. Dooley is an award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker, speaker, and author.

Erin has produced two feature films, numerous short films, two comedy web series, a docu-series, and one feature documentary.

Erin and her projects have been featured in 20 different media outlets, including Newsweek's "Guide Of What To Watch." "You Want Me to Do What, God?!" is her first book. 

She lives in Los Angeles County.

Connect with Erin:
Movie Page on Facebook -
Business Page on Facebook -
Movie Feed on Twitter -
Production Company Feed on Twitter -
Personal Feed on Twitter -

Giveaway Contest Details: Erin would like to give YOU a chance to WIN a FREE online viewing of her movie "Broken & Beautiful"! Enter the contest by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. The movie sounds interesting! I'm amazed by how God opened all the doors and made it happen. I've known so many people who have tried to make movies and haven't been able to get funding or other backing.


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