The Evolution of Cassandra's Castle

The very first video made from Cassandra's castle was made sometime between 2014 and 2015 before I finished the novel.

A SUMMER PROJECT... lots of fun at Grandma's drama camp.

In fact, the script my granddaughters are using is from an edition that never went into print. I changed the story completely. In this version, we start off with Cassie giving her term project of Revolution: History's Necessary Evil. In the  next scene Cassie gives Monica a note to take to the teacher excusing her from class because she's going to the dentist. Monica reminds her that she went to the dentist yesterday. What she really wants to do is go see the baby weasels in the field behind the school where she first discovers the portal by taking a photo of them. They disappear (into the Realm she presumes.) The final scene is the same one we'll see in the updated version. Cassie is trying to get her friends to enter the portal with her and they try to stop her.

Jade Gaube plays Cassie, Autumn Gaube plays Monica, and my other granddaughter, their cousin Memory Hernandez does a marvelous job of playing their friend (a boy) Daemon. (The glasses are her idea). It's a fun little video. Very amateur and I'm sure it will make you laugh. It makes me laugh every time I watch it!

Someone who played a huge role in the development of the novel itself, is Tom Martin of Kitsap Fencing Center. While still writing the novel I was concerned about the climax of the book when Martim and Valerio finally face each other. Because this book was very loosely based on the life of Manuel II, the last king of Portugal, and because Manuel was a fencer, I wanted the final confrontation to be a duel with swords. It was a that very time I found that our community just happened to have a fencing center so I made an appointment to talk to the coach, Tom Martin.

His enthusiasm in helping me was incredible. We had several meetings, discussing Valerio and Martim, how they would fight, what weapons they would use, who had the advantage and how would the opponent counteract that advantage. I wrote and brought my manuscript to him and we talked about it and in the meantime I was so entralled with the information I signed up for fencing lessons, which I continued for several years.

Manuel II of Portugal practicing a fencing move.

That's why, when the novel was finished, and I thought making a book trailer would be fun to do, I called on Tom! With his help and the help of a local our cinematographer, whose mother I've been friends with forever, Alex Chandler, I rounded up some awesome (did I saw awesome?) folks who were more than willing to shoot a trailer for Cassandra's Castle's novel.

In 2015 Alex Chandler,and our crew went to Port Townsend to film a book trailer at Manresa Castle and at Fort Worden, the Admiral House and the bunkers. Lexa Rose played the part of Cassie. Lexa by the way took all the songs from Ian's Realm and not only wrote them into music, but sang them in four part harmony and we recorded them. I still have a few CDs left and all the files on my computer. Good friends Crystal and Robert Odekirk and their son Stuart played Martim. Miguel Sierra played Valerio and Tom and Heather's daughter played the duchess. Tom choreographed the sword fight and Robert Odkirk supplied the beautiful swords as well as played Sanchez in this quick little video.

We made another attempt at filming in a very old house in town. Lexa played the role of Cassie again and she did a marvelous job of coming into the realm with Seattlite table manners, much to the chagrin of royalty Marlaina Shepard who played the Duchess, and Stuart Odekirk. Unfortunately the other files are RED and my editor cannot read them.

The filming was so much fun, that's when we decided on the way home we wanted to make a movie. Of course, we were all pretty naive and pretty inexperienced (aside from Tom, he knew what he was doing! )

So I took a film making class with Jennifer Angelucci-Medina and that's where I met William Michael Paul who went on to direct the next attempt. I wrote a screenplay and Jennifer helped me have an audition at Tom's fencing center. We were only expecting a few people to show up. My good Lord! 75 people showed up to audition for a part in Cassandra's Castle! We were overwhelmed and began a year of planning and fundraising. With the movie cast, Tom began coaching Sean Peck-Collier (Valerio) and Hayden James (Martim) in fencing. They took a class with him for a year! Yes. They learned the main character's fencing moves for an entire year before we did one day of filming!

Once cast we became a happy family and went on to promoting the film. Sean was SO bold, I swear he was a hero that day at the Gig Harbor Arts Festival!

This edition of Cassandra's Castle had its good points, but there were flaws. Key moments of the story were told, but there was a lack in direction, the script left major holes, the timing and our cinematographer who was supposed to shoot the film was unable to show up so much of the filming was spontaneous. We also shot two different days at two different locations, which caused confusion. So the editing was done the best it could be. Everyone worked extremely hard but the final product lacked luster and professionalism. It was an honest attempt, but we needed to reevaluate our efforts. I edited this edition into a teaser

The Story inspired by the events which took place in 1908 Portugal

 

Cassie, after stumbling into the Realm finds herself in the midst of an insurrection, lied to and enticed by the rebel Valerio who gives her a letter which he says is an appeal to the king, but which is really a letter telling his love interest, Elizabeth, to flee the castle before it is attacked. Because Elizabeth approaches Martim, the king's son, with the letter (whom she's betrothed to) he has Cassie arrested. But the soldiers who arrest her are Valerio's men and 1/3 the king's army is against the monarchy. When the king is assassinated, Cassie witnesses the sniper killing the king, Martim's brother,  and wounds Martim, and she shoots him. She's then pursued by Valerio's men. With his father dead, Martim is now the unprepared king and Valerio has a personal agenda against him. He aims to not only kill Martim, but humiliate him before the people of the city in a duel he is more at an advantage to win.

To fix things we needed money and that's when we began our fundraising efforts. We applied for fiscal sponsorship with From the Heart Productions and did an online crowdfunding and were accepted. Unfortunately our fundraising attempts were not all that successful either though we had a lot of fun. If it weren't for a couple of wonderful people who believe in us to donate money, Wendy J Nelson and Kathy O'brien, we wouldn't have been able to hire a professional director Chris Love from LA or cast Robert Miano as Silvio and our voice over! Nor would we have been able to rent Manresa Castle. As it were, we had a huge cast show up and did a very long day of filming for 1. 5 minutes of actual footage, which has won awards. Unfortunately it's not enough to convince producers to fund a pilot of the film, so we're still waiting for our ship to come in!

Below are some GoPro shots taken while filming the final version of our trailer.

So unfortunately there isn't a movie or a TV series yet and who knows if there ever will be. If the moment arrives, there are people still hoping to finish this project. Until then, there is a book you can enjoy. Feel free to visit the bookstore for an autographed copy, or buy a digital copy at any participating outlet.

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