Monday, March 11, 2013

Storyboarding an American Revolution Movie

Five years ago, if anyone had told me that right now I would be in the process of writing the screenplay and making a movie based on my book, my ancestor’s life and his place in american revolution history, I wouldn’t have believed them. From the moment I started working on Hercules of the Revolution, I’ve dreamed about seeing it on the big screen. 


Original sketch of Peter Francisco and Susannah Anderson by Dan Nance renowned historical artist
Original sketch of Peter and Susannah by Dan Nance, historical artist
After 2 – 3 years of getting the runaround from film producers and even signing an agreement with one of them, I realized there was only one way to make it happen. I have launched a film company – Bequest Films – to support that effort. A film of this magnitude wouldn’t be possible without the help of many people, and no words can express how grateful I am to those who believe in me as much as this project. 

A birthday to remember 

I took the team to storyboard this soon-to-be epic american revolution film in Greensboro, North Carolina (named for the famous General Nathanael Greene), close to where Peter Francisco first swung the 6-foot broadsword. The air was crisp and damp, not unlike the conditions the soldiers experienced that squally day in March. How fitting that we would write the first lines and draw the first images of this film on February 23rd, my birthday and the same day the state of Virginia passed a resolution establishing March 15 as Peter Francisco Day

That Friday, we met at Natty Greene’s to get acquainted and kick around ideas. The conversation landed on the topic of war/romance films and why we like them, the perfect prelude to this journey. We spent the better part of the next day outlining the direction for the film, defining and discussing the characters, and brainstorming ideas. It didn’t take us long to spread out

We broke for lunch and some inspiration by visiting Guilford Courthouse National Military Park to see the Peter Francisco artifacts housed there and the Cavalry Monument dedicated in his honor in 1910. It was just the thing we needed to finish out the day laying out the sequence of scenes, sketching the action and writing the screenplay. 

Meet my revolutionary war film team 

I’m thrilled to have some super talented people on my film team. Listen as we discuss the film

  • Jess Stainbrook – Jess is an award-winning film director and producer. He has 8 Emmy Awards and 34 Telly Awards to his credit. He wrote and produced 7 Days in Utopia, which released in 2011. He received the 2012 Teddy Award from Movieguide for his work on 7 Days. He has worked with Bill Cosby, Robert Duvall, Tony Dungy, Jodi Benson and many others. His primary role will be in developing the screenplay, developing the film budget and providing investor consultation.
  • Bryan Forrest – Bryan is an award-winning film producer and writer. He wrote, directed and starred in The One Lamb, which opened in 32 states in 2009 and continues to air on TBN and other networks. His DVD is distributed through Thomas Nelson. His primary role will be in writing the screenplay.
  • Dan Nance – Dan is an award-winning Revolutionary War artist. He majored in film at Pratt Institute in New York. He's consulted on several films, including The Patriot. His primary role as visual consultant will be in developing the storyboard for the screenplay.  
  • Heather Walls – Heather is one of the co-authors of Hercules of the Revolution. She spent over a year re-working the book to enhance the love story between Peter and Susannah, further develop the characters and adding detailed description of food, d├ęcor and setting. She is one of the few people who know Peter’s story as well as I do. She is a gifted writer with a background in publishing whose primary focus will be on adapting the love story for the screen. 

Here is the film team, minus Jess Stainbrook, taken at Guilford Courthouse, where I also filmed my documentary. We will be sending the final storyboard draft to Jess for his review. 


The Hercules of the Revolution film team at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park


You have no idea how geeked up I am right now! But I definitely want to hear from you, so leave a comment here telling me what your favorite war/romance film is and, for those who have read Hercules of the Revolution, why or what scenes from my book you would like to see in the film!

4 comments:

  1. Carolyn BatchelderMarch 11, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Ever since my grandson Trevor came home from his school (Torrence Creek) a couple years ago excited over your visit and presentation on Hercules I have been a fan. Knowing you from church made it even more special. I have been so excited for you following your journey to this point of making this movie.

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  2. Hi, very nice to hear of this book and upcoming movie. I am also a descendant through my mother's side of Peter Francisco. Funny also, my birthday is on February 23rd!

    I think this makes us relatives!
    Lynette Malone (lparisss@bellsouth.net)

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  3. Thanks for your kind words, Carolyn! It's fans like you that help make it all possible!

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  4. Hi, Lynette...or cousin! :) Happy belated birthday! Keep spreading the word about our great-grandfather.

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