I have always been a movie nerd. From the time I was old enough to stay up past my bedtime to watch Nostalgia Theatre on my twelve-inch black and white TV, I harbored a deep-down desire to work in the movie business. Strangely enough, I never really pursued it, but it has definitely pursued me.
My longtime career in theatrical costuming led to a couple amazing opportunities working on some films you might have heard of: This Boy’s Life (Leonardo DiCaprio actually spoke to me—before he was the Leonardo DiCaprio) and Sleepless in Seattle (those vests on the servers in the background of the New Year’s Eve scene—I made them!).
When I started writing novels in 2007, I entertained the tiniest notion that I would one day pursue my Big Ultimate Goal. I wanted to write a movie.
But writing is hard. It took me so long to learn how to write and market books, that the idea of starting all over again in the same-but-different field of screenwriting felt overwhelming. But every time I asked God what I should do to make my writing business more successful, His answer was “Screenwriting is what I have for you.”
And every time, I argued.
“You don’t understand.” (Honestly? Did I really think that God, almighty creator of the universe, didn’t understand?) “That’s a whole different set of writing skills and business strategies. I don’t have time to learn all of that.”
I’m really good at arguing with God, but I never win until I give in.
“Giving in” came when I found myself with a nasty case of pink eye, sitting in the waiting area of my neighborhood pharmacy. A lovely senior lady struck up a conversation with me, and the next thing I knew, she was telling me about her daughter, who teaches a screenwriting course at Seattle Film Institute.
The next next thing I knew, I had signed up for this rather spendy class that I couldn’t afford, but I did it anyway because I felt the Lord nudging me to do it. That led to my turning one of my books, Home for the Holidays, into a screenplay and entering it in the Kairos Prize contest (as Hammering it Home).
It made the finals.
And yes, I do believe that God allowed me to contract that nasty case of pink eye just so I would happen to be in the right place to meet the right person at the right time. That’s just the way He works.
More “giving in” was attending the Connecting Writers With Hollywood conference in Spokane, where I met my future agents. That led to optioning Hammering it Home, which God carried every step of the way to its production (as Home Sweet Home).
The best part of that experience was hearing from several people on the production that God had led and carried them on this project in the same way that He had led and carried me. That gives me complete faith that He has plans for this movie that none of us will be fully aware of this side of Heaven.
But the fact that it was released during the pandemic, when people are not only hungry for things they can watch at home with their family, but hungry for hope in a troubled time, cannot be coincidence.
God is using this movie, and I’m honored to be a part of it.
About Home Sweet Home
Flirtatious barista Victoria (Natasha Bure) is bored with her social butterfly lifestyle and longs for real love. When handsome Jason (Ben Elliott) walks into her coffee shop, she turns on the charm. But he doesn’t respond to her flirting like men usually do. When she discovers that he runs a ministry that builds affordable housing for families in need, she decides to volunteer. So what if it’s a faith-based organization? As far as she’s concerned, pretending to be a “church person” isn’t any different than pretending to like sports or a guy’s friends if it gets her what she wants. Dove approved (all ages). Approx. 93 minutes.
About Lesley Ann McDaniel
Between working as a homeschooling mom and as a professional theatre costumer, LESLEY ANN MCDANIEL has completed several novels and screenplays. A native Montanan and Big Sky girl at heart, Lesley now resides in the Seattle area with her family, three cats, and a big loud dog. In her spare time (ha!) she chips away at her goal of reading every book ever written.
Her first movie, HOME SWEET HOME, was released in 2020.
Lesley is offering a giveaway in the USA! One winner will receive a copy of the movie (Home Sweet Home), and a second winner will receive a Kindle copy of Home for the Holidays. To enter, please comment below before September 21 and answer this question: Have you ever volunteered for a ministry charity or event? Tell us about it! Or if you haven’t, what might lure you into volunteering? Winners will be announced in the following Sunday Edition.
“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”