Day 5 The Real Miracle Maker behind this project.
After the story had been chosen for a movie, somebody still had to figure out how to get a full length film out of about a thousand words. This is where superwoman comes in, or as she is more commonly known, Sally Meyer. Sally is a screenwriter. To be more specific she is a fantastic screenwriter. She has written for many films and shorts including, Your So Cupid, Christmas Oranges, and Christmas for a Dollar. She has also even tried her hand at producing and directing. In short, she is just all around awesome and I couldn’t have found a more fitting writer to transform Miracle Maker.
Here is the interview I had with her:
Tell us a little about yourself.
Sally: I was born in Staffordshire England, and was raised there until I came to the United States, in 1974. Growing up, we were a little like the Firth kids in Miracle Maker. We always had food to eat, though. My mother was a single mother raising four children. We didn’t have a television, (that’s aging me) while I was little, and so my sisters and I spent our time reading books, playing outside until dusk, and making up our own adventures.
Perhaps that was one of the blessings of being poor, because it gave me such a love for a good story. I loved to escape into a good book. We always waited by the door for when the postman would drop our weekly girls magazine through the letterbox. And we devoured it page by page.
How did you get involved with this project?
Sally: I have had the blessing of being able to work with Covenant on other films, Christmas Oranges, Christmas For A Dollar and He Knows My Name. Ron Brough sent me the booklet written by Ann (Acton) and asked if I thought I could make it into a screenplay. There are a lot of layers in the book, that I could pull from, and I jumped in. I loved the simplicity of the story, and the message. I love that I along with everyone else who either read the booklet or watched the movie can know that we can make our own miracles and they don’t have to be large. Also I think we can provide a miracle for those around us, by simple service and love to all.
What was you favorite part about making this movie?
Sally: Oh so many things, I loved being on set with all the children. I love children and dogs, chickens not so much. And, it was really wonderful to see their delight and innocence as they tackled their parts. I really enjoyed working with John Lyde again. How he can make such a wonderful movie, breaking all the rules (no children, no dogs) and in a matter of weeks, I just can’t figure out. But he does it over and over again, and continues to put out these films that are family friendly and uplifting. I also had the pleasure of working with Marybeth Sprows, one of my dearest friends. It’s always like a party when Marybeth and I get together on set. Also working with my daughter Caitlin Meyer Stewart, who played the part of Sarrah Cronin, was a delight. I think watching the actors put their own special touches to the characters is one of my favorite parts. Of course I imagine them as I write, but then once on set, the actors make that character their own. I never get tired of seeing how it all unfolds.
Is there a funny story you could share about the filming, or a particular scene that would be interesting readers?
Sally: Oh, there are so many stories!! One was the last day of filming and we had a full day, many extras, a baby being born, oodles of children and a dog. And then … the heavens opened literally and we had a huge downpour for about an hour or so. We had to stop filming and just keep the cameras and ourselves dry. This of course put us back on our schedule, but John once again managed to finish the day and get the shots off.
Being with the kids is always fun, Kalea Atkinson who plays Rae Grant is a hoot, she’s a very dedicated little actress, and when we filmed any scenes with Kalea, she was able to make it her own, and steal it. There were times when everyone had to really bite their lips not to burst out laughing until John said ‘Cut!” We never knew what spin she would put on her scenes.
There are a lot of scenes that I love. I love when Mary Keating (Shaunna Thompson) says “Help me out of bed.’ as she’s jumping out on her own two feet. I like the ending scene when the baby is born, and Elias Grant (Adam Johnson) realizes what a miracle another little girl coming into his life is.
I love the last scene with Matthew (Jasen Wade) and Oliver (Cooper Johnson) part ways. The lines are so sweet and tender as Matthew says goodbye to his friend, and lets him know that there are other people he must go to. So many metaphors there to our Savior and his mission on earth.
Working with Brian Krause is always a pleasure and once again he worked his magic as he created the multi faceted character of James Booth. He was able to soften as the story unfolded, much like Ebeneezer Scrooge, which I patterned his character on. It’s hard to play a bad guy who softens, and get it right.. we just don’t like him at all when we first meet him, but we care for him at the end.
Any scene with Agnes (Anne Sward) and Bessie (Karen Baird) was a delight to watch. They are such seasoned actors and it was a joy to work with them.
I loved working with all of the actors, Melanie Stone (Lily Booth) and Jake Stormoen (Thomas Keating) were wonderful in all their scenes.
And I can’t forget James Schafer whose beautiful score is the cherry on top of the cupcake for me!! It’s such a beautiful score, which pulls you into the story from the opening credits to the end credits.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about this movie?
Sally: Well, there’s a little secret, in that as I wrote the movie, I decided that I would use the names of my family, my children and grandchildren as the characters’ names. My father’s name is James Booth, my mother’s maiden name was Lily Booth. Caitlin Meyer Stewart played Sarrah Cronin which is the name of one of my daughters. Sarrah. And Jenny Grant was named for my oldest daughter Jen. So, that was a fun little thing I did, that no one will notice except myself and my family, but they loved it.
How do you feel about Miracles?
Sally: One of my favorite miracles in the bible is when Christ heals the ten lepers. It resonated with me as a child growing up in England, as I read that story. I could not understand why the other 9 never went back and thanked Him. Perhaps this is something we all should take to heart, that He has blessed us so much, by giving His life for us, and taking our sins upon him, that we should always thank him, daily, and not be like those who forgot in their joy of being healed and went on their way rejoicing.
I loved the message of the story that Ann wrote, and how we sometimes look for bigger things to come, while ignoring the small daily miracles that occur in our lives.
I was able to meet Ann at the premiere and that was such a wonderful evening and being able to stand there with her after the film, was a great experience for me. Without her story, there would be no movie, and I’m grateful to her for writing such an inspiring message.
I believe in Miracles. I hope you do too.