Macie on a Good Day
Macie (Jen Santos) is a twenty-three year old woman with IDD (Individual with Developmental Disability) stuck in the middle of a feud between her sisters Abby (Maria Sole), a recovering alcoholic trying to become a more active member in Macie's life and her primary caregiver Megan (Elizabeth Archibeque).
Macie on a Good Day was created on a 3000$ budget raised on Indiegogo from June to August of 2013 and principle photography began one month later on September 20th and continued for 251 days ending on May 29th of 2014 making it the longest filming time of any of Living Proof Pictures' films to date. On August 23rd 2014 Macie premiered at the ArtsQuest's Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania's SteelStacks. Three years later to the day Macie on a Good Day was released on Amazon Video where you can rent or buy a digital copy or stream it for free with your Amazon Prime membership.
Behind the Scenes
2012 marked the end of production on Living Proof Pictures second feature Victims of a Sun Shower, which also spurred the subsequent short film offshoot The Subject. Both Victims of a Sun Shower and The Subject were avant garde and contained explicit nudity and sexual content. The films explored memory, sexuality, youth and identity without censorship or decorum. The freedom such a exploration allowed for were some truly incredible, raw and genuine performances that beautifully captured the intimacy and longing desired by writer/director Brandon C. Lay. This risk along with the unfortunate amateurish sound and picture quality led to polarizing most audiences. Some were truly moved by the film's honesty, vulnerability and unique structure, others were left alienated.
From Victim to Visionary
Actors Steven Nazario and Peter Sikalias in Living Proof Pictures' Victims of a Sun Shower
Victims of a Sun Shower was primarily an experiment. It was a series of short vignettes and stories with no definitive leads. It was an ensemble piece that involved as many actors and artists as possible. In doing this writer/director Brandon C. Lay was able to find those of his friends and peers who were still passionate and dedicated to telling stories. From the cast of Victims, eleven returned for Living Proof Pictures next truly ambitious project.
Josh Faturos and Nichi McFarlane in The Subject
Where Everything Changes
Over two weekends in 2013 writer/director Brandon C. Lay penned the entire script for what was to be his next film Macie on a Good Day. A feature length family drama focused on addiction, body image, identity, love and intimacy themes that would consistently be returned to throughout his work. The biggest shift however was in the decision to tell the story through all female central characters.
So born were the three sisters to be played by Jen Santos, Maria Sole and Elizabeth Archibeque.
The biggest downside to Living Proof Picture's films leading up to Macie on a Good Day were the amateurish sound quality. Without a budget writer/director Brandon C. Lay's focus had always been in the writer and the performances the only areas were the productions had any control. During pre production Brandon and the team formulated their plan to raise funds for their newest project.
Crowdfunding seemed the most logical place to start. The team set the goal of 5000$ and created the overlong pitch video (available above) and numerous supplemental promotional images and videos, including interviews with the cast. Living Proof Pictures early effort at fundraising earned them just over 3000$ through Indie Go Go from 41 different backers. Even though the team didn't meet their goal they were not deterred.
The three thousand dollars was enough to supply the team with sound equipment previously unavailable to them and for the first time Living Proof Pictures had outside camera sound
September 20th 2013 marked the beginning of the longest principle photography period of any Living Proof Picture's film. Macie on a Good Day filming period didn't end for 251 days due to scheduling around everyone's family life and day jobs.
The film was primarily shot in sequence and was edited all along the way. The one advantage to such a long shooting schedule was leading actresses Jen Santos, Maria Sole and Elizabeth Archibeque all had ample time to truly connect with their three characters.
Tragedy Befalls Production
On April 1st, 2014, more than three quarter into the production of Macie on a Good Day, personal tragedy struct writer/director Brandon C. Lay when his mother Dana Lay passed away from a brain aneurysm at the age of fifty one. Dana had watched Macie on a Good Day all through it's journey with her son as he was editing the project-- often watching multiple takes to better understand both the film making, acting and editing process that her son so adored. In watching one of the first arguments between the character of Abby (Maria Sole) and Megan (Elizabeth Archibeque) Dana started to cry before sharing "I've been on both sides of that argument."
It was one of the most honest compliments a writer and storyteller could receive. It's the job of an artist to see both sides of an argument; to paint their message or their story with perspective but without judgement. The goal is to bring awareness and understanding, to allow an experience to unfold with honesty in hopes to share and express your observations in collective conversation. These ideals are what Living Proof Pictures and writer/director Brandon C. Lay have always tried to maintain. Lessons that were first offered and subsequently reinforced by loving artistic parents.
Production on Macie on a Good Day continued even after Dana passed away. Having the project to focus on even helped writer/director Brandon C. Lay through the grieving process. With only about a half dozen scenes left to shoot the team focused their efforts to bring the final chapters of their story to fruition. On May 29th 2014 principle photography concluded on Macie on a Good Day.
Three months later Living Proof Pictures rented out the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas at ArtsQuest's Steel Stacks for a private screening of Macie on a Good Day. It was fated to be the films only screening in a theatre. On August 23rd, 2014 cast, crew, family, friends, Indie Go Go contributors and Living Proof Pictures supports were gathered for the screening. And after were treated to an extensive talk-back with the cast and crew.
August 23rd was a landmark day for Macie on a Good Day and Living Proof Pictures. In 2014 it was the first time we screened a feature film for an audience in a theater with nearly a hundred people coming out to support the film and those that made it. Then three years later in 2017 on August 23rd cast and crew members reunited to watch the film stream on Amazon for the first time!