Casually chatting with Melinda Doan Bryce

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MelindaDoanBryce.jpgThere are many people engaged in Michigan’s film industry.  Some in front of the camera, others behind it.   And for those behind the camera, there is no shortage of work.  It may not be as glamorous as being in from of the camera,  or directing the efforts of a production, but can be just as rewarding.

For Melina Doan Bryce her passion is found in writing.  She has no shortage of things on which is working.  She seems to have so many irons in the fire,  on top of which she is mother to a young, aspiring actress whose professional career is just taking off.  This actress is Kayden Bryce.

I had a chance to casually chat with Melinda, and she really dished on all the things in which she is involved.

Here is what she shared with me.  It was so much fun connecting with another writer.

Okay. You said that you had some appointments this afternoon. Film related stuff?

Yes

Would you like to share what you are into?

Sure absolutely!   Although I won’t be able to share specifics due to Non Disclosure Agreements… but I’ll give you as much info as I am able.

Oh, those dastardly NDAs! LOL!  I completely understand.

Today I had a meeting with Dan Keary to do some final edits to our second project together. The first was last year. I worked with Dan and writer Nada Madkour on a RomCom called “Biologically Involved.” It’s currently in pitch phase, but I’m confident it will be picked up.

The second project, the one we met today about, is a much deeper subject matter. It’s called “Millionaire’s Club.” That one will likely stay here in Michigan for production.

Cool! Do tell.

Let’s just say that “Biologically Involved” is a hilarious play on an INCREDIBLY non-traditional family.

Is the first to be filmed elsewhere?

We are planning to have it shopped at AFM.

Okay, now that’s a regular meat market.  Are you going yourself, or are you going to be represented?

We are in negotiations with someone to represent it.

I have a horror film that’s shooting the investor trailer this coming weekend. “Camp Love” is a combination of a psychological horror and slasher film.

Melisa Sandlin?

Yes.  Melisa Sandlin came to me last year with the concept for “Camp Love.”

I am glad she decided to resume that.

I’m thrilled, too!  She and I worked together to develop the story and we just put the final tweaks on it a few weeks ago.

I understand she was going through a rough patch, but I was afraid that she had abandoned it.

She is a wonderful human being. I’m glad she’s going forward and was able to get through the hard time.

I have one film that’s currently in post-production.

And it, tell me about it.

It’s called “Around Down and Through.” Executive produced by Paul Evanson   It’s directed by Zac Clark.

It seems as though I have recently heard about it. What can you tell me about it?

It’s a thirty minute short about a marine who comes back from Afghanistan in a wheelchair.

Hmmmm!

He has to figure out how to find his new place in his relationship with his wife, with his family, and within his community.  It’s primarily an internal struggle. It goes very dark.

Yes, that would be a hardship!

Filmed in Portland, Michigan,  it’s beautifully shot.

Portland is a small community west of Lansing.  I cannot say much about Portland as I have ever ventured very far into it.  Who is your cinematographer on that one?

The lead actor is from Atlanta, but there are quite a few local actors involved.

It’s good when a production can pick up as many actors as it can.

The cinematographer was Matthew Gelzer.   UPM was Andy Westra.  Sound was Matt Sisco.

Yes, Matt Sisco is picking up quite a bit of work.

Matt is incredible.  I remember walking onto the set and thinking, WOW. This is gonna be good.

That’s what I hear. I haven’t had a chance to talk with him.

I mean, just a dream team altogether.

I wrote a film with Angel Matheson. It filmed last year and they are filming the last scenes this weekend. It’s called “Everything.”   It’s the story of two sisters, played by Kayden Bryce and Sullivan Matheson, who have to come to terms with their new relationship after the death of their mother.   One turns to her dance, the other to photography, to find their way through it.

I have a few projects in the development phase with NBW films, as well.

Is Nicole doing another film?

She has a few projects in development, but they are under pretty tight wraps. 😉
I thought she did a superb job on “Ring of Fire.”

Thank you. I was head of wardrobe for that film. 🙂

You were?

Yes. and my daughter, Kayden, had a small role.  This was another production in which Kayden appeared.   Yes. One of her first features.

I wouldn’t be writing screenplays if it weren’t for Kayden.

Tell me.

I have been a professional writer for most of my adult life.

You too?

Kayden got into film 2 1/2 years ago when Tessa Hawkes pulled her off the stage at a theater group where her daughter Yassie also attended, and asked if she’d like to get into film.   I’ve had the pleasure of being on about 40 film sets with Kayden.

Wow, a mother and daughter team.

I’d bring my laptop to work, and people started asking me what I did. When my answer was, “I’m a writer,” people started asking if I could write a screenplay.

I LOVE writing screenplays because you don’t have to fill in all the blanks. You essentially create the skeleton and you have a whole team of artists who come together to flesh it out.

Okay.

Ha! Sort of. She has only acted in two films that I’ve written. I NEVER EVER suggest that we are a package deal.

No, I cannot imagine how that would be received by a director.

Right! lol

Yes. I always tell Kayden if she ever doesn’t want to do this, it’s okay. It’s HER passion. And a lot of work for me! LOL. But I love watching her pursue her passion and soar.  Her career has taken off and we are both proud of one another.

 

I’m actually really excited about a film I currently have in script phase. This one will actually star Kayden as the lead.   This film is called “My Sister’s Mom.”  I’m in conversation with Tessa Hawks (Black Maria Entertainment) about production.

But this film “My Sister’s Mom,” is the first feature that I’m writing from my own concept, as the sole writer, from start to finish. It’s loosely based on my family. Kayden’s best friend’s mom passed away when she was twelve, and we took her into our family. Megan is 16 now, and also my daughter.

And she is. She has been to California and Florida both. Has she worked in Atlanta?

No she has only worked in Florida, Ohio, Chicago, and Michigan.

Okay, I thought she had gone to California.

We went on vacation when she was 11. I went to LA with Nicole this summer for some meetings. 🙂

Is that Nicole Bowers?

Yes.

What were your impressions out there? And how soon will it be before you move out there to seek your fame and fortune?

It was mostly business when we were in LA, although we did get to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market and The Grove- two of my favorite LA spots. As far as moving out there- I can’t see it for me. I’m more of a Chicago or New York girl. Lol. And I’ve never ever been a seeker of fame or fortune. I’ve been a writer ever since I could for a sentence. I got my first typewriter in third grade. I’m just incredibly blessed that I get to do what I love every day.

“Ever since I could FORM a sentence.”

Plus writers are lucky— we can work from just about anywhere… unless you’re on a sitcom team.

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