Jennifer Harisson an award winning screen writer of Fanwood and friend, Lainie Ventura an accomplished actress of Scotch Plains, are working on an independent movie titled, “Sitter,” set to begin filming this summer.
The film is loosely based off a real life experience of Harrison’s involving her babysitter and is set to shoot in Ventura’s Scotch Plains home, the restaurant Rudy’s in Garwood and an office in Edison.
Harrison explained that she jokingly discussed with a friend how she was fearful of her babysitter leaving since she was so reliant on the sitter when her children were younger and her friend suggested she turn it into a script, which is what Harrison ultimately did.
Each time Harrison would see her babysitter, she was constantly fearing she the sitter show up with an engagement ring and need to leave the job, so the film is about a mother who relies on her babysitter for everything and will do anything to keep her – even if that means sabotaging the sitter’s relationship with her boyfriend.
The logline of the film is, “You can take her dignity – just don’t touch her babysitter.”
View the promo for "Sitter" in the videos or on YouTube.
“She [the mother in the film] gets pretty low”, Harrison added.
The script for Sitter is currently making the competition circuit, Harrison said.
So far it has already won three awards, including second place at the 2013 Downbeach Film Festival, third place at the 10th Annual indieProducer Short Screenplay Contest and a finalist in the 2012 Director's Circle Scriptwriting Competition.
Ventura added that Harrison has won plenty of awards during her career, but that she isn’t one to tell you about them.
To find out more about Harrison, view her website here. See more of Ventura’s experience by clicking here.
Ventura will be playing the role of the mother and the children in the film are actually Ventura and Harrison’s 10-year-old daughters who attend McGinn and Coles Elementary.
The girls have limited lines, Ventura said. She added that it’s better for them to learn about getting their lines cut now.
For the father, the two are looking to cast a name actor, but for the other two roles Harrison and Ventura are looking for talented actors who can use this as a breakout role.
“This will do well, it’s got good genes and it’s coming to the table with so much already,” Ventura said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for a couple of great young actors.”
Ventura said they are hoping to get a well-known actor for the role of the father because the role demands it.
“We have a couple in mind that we haven’t reached out to yet,” Harrison said. “We have a wish list.”
Right now, Harrison and Ventura are involved in a fundraising campaign to raise money for the film on indiegogo.com. In a little over two weeks they have raised $14,596 to fund “Sitter,” but the goal is to reach $25,000.
Harrison said her husband approached her one night and said, “Why don’t you just not pay yourselves?” and once hearing this for the first time Lainie said, “He actually thought we were getting paid???”
The funds raised on Indiegogo will be for production costs, mainly cameras, the crews, transportation, meals and other equipment. The actors aren’t getting paid, Ventura said, but they are hoping to be able to give some money to the actor playing the father if they can get a name.
Although $25,000 is their goal, there are always costs you do not account for; it’s like buying a house, Ventura said.
On Indiegogo, you can find a variety of incentives for those who donate, including copies of the film, getting your name or business in the credits and even a line in the film.
The ladies said any dollar counts and they are very appreciative of any donation.
“If we got between $25,000 to $30,000 we would be sitting pretty,” Ventura said.
The production company LoveBar is Harrison and Ventura’s company that will be filming the movie, along with the award winning company, JerseyFlix, that Ventura worked with to film the movie, “Damaged Goods.”
Director, Michael Miceli of JerseyFlix signed on to co-direct “Sitter,” with Harrison with no questions asked, Ventura said.
The name of Harrison and Ventura’s production company came from the nights they would spend on their laptops in Vienna 60, which some locals call “the Love Bar.”
“We started working there and creating a lot of good stuff,” Ventura said. “We got a lot of inspiration there and we loved the music and we loved the ambiance.”
Harrison said it was the lighting.
“The lighting is just right,” she said.” It’s like when I’m writing a screenplay it’s outside of the Sun Tavern, its gotta be, but we did a lot of good creative work there [Vienna 60]”.
With all of this, Ventura said, it’s about putting Scotch Plains and Fanwood on the map.
“And they should be on the map,” she said. “It’s a great area.”
The two even have bounced around the idea of starting a Scotch Plains film festival.
“Why not?,” Harrison said.
“It’s a lot of things to do and it's just finding the time and money to do it,” Ventura added.
Until then, Harrison and Ventura are just focused on raising the funds to begin filming “Sitter” early this summer.
Ventura said a friend who donated told them, “You ladies inspire me that you are going out and doing what you love because a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to do that.”
She said that statement really warmed her heart, and both she and Harrison said they are really excited to have the opportunity to make this movie. They said they think people are generous when it comes to funding creative work.
Most of their donations so far have come from friends and family, but the two said you do not have to know them to contribute, you can find their donation page on Indiegogo at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sitter.