The faith-based world can be a pretty small community, especially for filmmakers who film in neighboring states. The same actors work on films in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. I first learned of Candy Beard from actors who were working on one of our films and had worked on hers in the past. Then I met Candy in person at the MayDay Film Festival in Kentucky. Our paths keep crossing as we continue our journey through the film festival circuit.
First, introduce yourself and your film background.
My name is Candy Beard and I reside in Terre Haute, Indiana. I started my company, Dreams Come True Films in June 2011. I am the screenwriter and executive producer of all our films. I have no formal training, but I love what I do and I feel this is God’s calling on my life, so I continue through the good times and the really bad ones.
What led to your involvement in filmmaking?
Crazy but true … my youngest son was bullied in school from first through seventh grade. It was relentless and pure torture for him. No one in the school system would do anything to help. They did not want to admit they had a bullying problem, so they denied it, hoping it would go away, but it only got worse. Eventually those bullies told my son to go home and kill himself. They told him it would make the entire school happy because he was worthless and everyone hated him. When he came home and told me this, it was the last day he ever attended public school. I withdrew him the next day and began home schooling. And then, I wrote a 20 page book about what he had endured all those years. I self published this book, hoping it would open eyes as to how painful bullying really is.
Family and friends loved the book and encouraged me to keep writing, so I wrote three more books on the subject of bullying in school. I was then encouraged to keep going so I started writing novels for women. I self published those as well, publishing 12 books in all. And then I decided I would try my hand at writing screenplays, with the goal that Lifetime Television would maybe produce my work. When that never happened, I started my own company.
What films have you produced?
I have produced In a Cage (about domestic violence), Guilty (a short fantasy film), Vanished (about child abduction), My Mother’s Replacement (about mental illness & suicide), Cries Unheard (about child abuse, bullying & racism all in one), The Promise (a rom-com about keeping promises & finding love) and my most recent Christian film, A Second Chance ( The story of three teen girls who commit numerous crimes against an elderly woman)
How do you get the inspiration for your movies?
It varies. For instance, the storyline for Cries Unheard came to me while I was hanging laundry out on the clothesline. For Vanished it came to me in a dream and I dreamed it really happened to me. I woke up crying my heart out, fearing the unthinkable was now my life. As for A Second Chance that was all God! He definitely put this one in my heart. I believe you can find inspiration absolutely anywhere, whether it be a headline in the news or a song on the radio. I often have well meaning friends say, “Hey, I have this great idea for a movie you can write and produce!” But the truth is, I have written sixteen feature films and have only been able to produce five so far, so I am absolutely not looking for outside ideas. I want to produce my own work and will never get to produce them all, I’m certain of that. But yeah, I have more than enough ideas to keep me busy.
What’s been the highpoint of your film career?
Oh definitely becoming an award winner, for sure! I began this journey in 2011, and it was not until 2018 that I could say I was an award winning producer. Vanished won Best Thriller, The Promise won Best Comedy (twice) and A Second Chance won Best Christian Film (in New York of all places!) I give the glory to God, because it was He who inspired me to take my son’s bullying situation (as horrible as that was) and turn it into a blessing and a career for me. I am now inspiring total strangers with my films and it feels amazing!
What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced as a filmmaker?
How much time do you have? lol Wow, there are so many challenges, from casting just the right actors that you believe can bring your story to life, to raising funds and scheduling is often a nightmare. But I guess my biggest challenge and the one that keeps me awake at night is trying to find traditional distribution. That has been a dream of mine since I began writing screenplays in 2007. I dreamed my films would open in theaters, be stocked in brick & mortar stores and I can’t forget hoping they would appear on Lifetime Television, which used to be my favorite go to channel. But everything is changing now, and you have awful people out there waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting and naive filmmakers such as myself. It’s really hard. When I began this journey, I had no one to lead me by the hand and offer advice, so I’ve had to learn everything the hard way, and believe me, I’ve had way more struggles than I care to admit to. But I just lean on the Lord all the more and seek His will for my company and my films and trust that at the end of the day, everything will be alright.
What advice would you offer aspiring filmmakers?
For one thing, you can’t have a thin skin in this business. I used to, but it’s gotta go. You’re going to have people who don’t like you and don’t like the kinds of movies you make. And that’s okay, not everyone has to like you. Move on and forget about it. I would also say to surround yourself with people who will lift you up, encourage you, inspire you and pray for you. And finally, be happy for your filmmaking peers. Don’t be jealous of their success, your time will come in due time. There is enough success out there for all of us.
What are you currently working on?
At this moment we are in pre-production of a film I am so passionate about. It’s called The Text and follows two families who are torn apart by one woman’s addiction to texting and driving. I plan to go into production in the summer of 2020. I began writing this script in the summer of 2013 and just finished it December 2018. I worked on it only in times when the passion was the most strong. That’s how I work on scripts. Sometimes I can write one in a matter of a week or two, other times several months or five years!
What are you most excited about right now?
Right now I am anticipating two film festivals. The Branson International Film Festival is coming up the first weekend of April and A Second Chance has six nominations, including Best Feature and we actually get to attend this one! So I’m counting down the days. The other festival is the International Christian Film Festival in Orlando and we are nominated for Most Inspiring Film which is quite an honor. Thought I cannot attend that one, I have a few cast members who will be there to represent our film. The nominations for both of these festivals was so humbling and quite the surprise to me, I still can’t quite believe it.
I’d just like to give a few shout outs if I may. First and foremost to God for being the Greatest and for bringing the blessings of filmmaking into my life. This is not something I aspired to be when I was young, God sort of just said, “Girl, you have a writing talent, now use it.” I love the passion He has placed in my heart. Second of all I want to thank my son Daniel, who was my work partner (and the greatest at that!) for six wonderful years. He was my Director, my DP, my Editor and everything in between and he worked his tail off, even after having a major knee reconstructive surgery in 2015. He’s so very talented, but unfortunately, talent is not the same as passion, and his passion is not in filmmaking, so he walked away after we premiered A Second Chance. I will miss him terribly. My husband Mark has paid for all my films and been incredibly supportive, and my youngest son Chris has been my number one fan since I started writing in 2005. And finally, I want to thank all my wonderful cast members throughout these last 8 years and my amazing fans. I have some of the greatest fans on the planet and I am so grateful for the support they give me year after year. My cast and fans are truly family to me. And thank you to you, Sharon for this interview opportunity!