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Carving A Life” is a new drama film by Life in Reels Productions. The independently made Movie follows the story of a newlywed woodcutter and a preschool teacher who is expecting their first child. Writer Lisa Bruhn also served as the executive producer of the movie. Moreover, she is the co-owner of Life in Reels Productions.

Lisa recently discussed her experiences working in the movie industry, writing, producing, and--of course--“Carving a Life.”

Movie productions and writing films

Meagan Meehan (MM): What initially sparked your interest in movies and how did you officially make your way in the industry?

Lisa Bruhn (LB): I've always loved watching movies, especially comedy, drama, and action films.

Some of my favorites are the classics like “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Singing in the Rain” as well as some romantic ones like “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle.” When my son wanted to be an actor at age thirteen, he relentlessly pursued this and found some open castings in LA. I drove him there to help support his dream and have him get to know what the industry is like. He loved it, I got to experience being on a film set, and have had the bug ever since.

MM: When and why did you start Life in Reels Productions and what sorts of scripts do you seek?

LB: After my mom died in November of 2012 I wanted to write a film about the family dynamics surrounding a loved one with an addiction. I also wanted to write a script my son could play the lead, so together we begin crafting the story of “Carving a Life” and started the production company Life in Reels, with director Terry Ross, to produce the film.

MM: You are both a writer and a producer, so do you enjoy one of those roles a little more than the other?

LB: I enjoy the creative side of storytelling more than producing. However, I have years of experience in business that I found carries over to producing so I leveraged this knowledge base to help me produce “Carving a Life.” Contracts, people, process and risk management, are all part of all businesses including film producing. Sales, marketing, and PR, were my specialties in the high-tech world, and I use those in the film producing world too.

MM: “Carving a Life” is about a young couple expecting a baby, were you inspired by any actual people?

LB: I wanted to reach the generation who is moving from the party stage to the settling down with a family stage. This is a tough transition for some, heavy drinkers especially. There are consequences to actions, and stepping up to responsibility is key when you have others counting on you, and it's not all about you anymore. I've seen these struggles within my own family and others so my goal with “Carving a Life” was to put it out there in a story of hope and inspiration - but it isn't always a Hollywood happy ending.

Scripts, characters, and favorite scenes

MM: What most interests you about the script and the characters in “Carving a Life,” one of whom has the unusual job of a woodcutter?

LB: It was our director’s idea to have the lead be a wood carving artist. People are endeared to artists and artists struggle quite a bit in their lives - often they become artists to heal from trauma and painful memories. As all creatives do, we drew upon inspiration from people in our lives around us although Carving a Life is a fictional story with fictional characters.

MM: What was the filming process for “Carving a Life” like and do you have a favorite scene?

LB: The filming process was fun and exhausting. This was the first feature for most of the key cast and crew, so we learned as we went along which was challenging at times. Our film crew became much like a family after spending so much time together, but I'm so happy that the crew we choose was in it for the story and the experience overall and stuck with it throughout the three years of making “Carving a Life.”

MM: Would you recommend Amazon Prime and Google Play as good venues for promoting a movie?

LB: Yes, I have felt great pride in having my film on these platforms that are easy ones for everyone we know to watch the film. It's like putting your art piece out into the world and hoping people like it, but if they don't, it's okay because we like it.

MM: What other projects are you currently working on and what are your ultimate aspirations for Life In Reels Productions?

LB: Life in Reels was created to produce “Carving a Life,” and we made several short films after the initial filming of the movie. A bit backward yes, but that's just how it worked out. I have other scripts I've written and other scripts that have been pitched to me, and we are deciding which feature to work on next. Realistically it will be the one that gets the funding!

MM: What advice can you personally offer to aspiring screenwriters and/or movie producers?

LB: Don't give up and learn all you can about the industry and craft. Take classes, get mentors, get in projects to learn on the job. There's a lot to know, and networking is a key to this business as is knowledge and experience. Create a one and five-year plan and write up the steps you need to get there. Most people in the industry have other day jobs to pay the bills because it can take a LONG time to get to the point where you can live off of filmmaking full time. Have several revenue streams.