Conscious Movie Making: The Journey for making independent film, Hollywood Blues
Dr. Maxine Thompson

“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you get it.”

Quote Taken from The Alchemist by Paul Coelho

Dale O’Body.
Producer/Screenwriter/ of

“Hollywood Blues”

Back in 1997, I remember saying, “I want to ‘do’ a movie from one of my books.” I had no idea what ‘doing a movie’ entailed. At the time, I was an overworked social worker, raising the last of three children, and at that time, I only had 2 self-published books. The Internet was new, I had no connections, and the whole idea seemed like an impossibility. But this dream kept haunting me.

Flashforward, 17 years. Last March 30, 2014 at nightfall, I stood hudded in a Watts alley, my hair standing on the back of my neck, aware of my age, (a senior), afraid I’d be shot in a drive-by each time I saw this souped-up car rushing through the same alley where we had tracks laid for the camera to shoot our opening close-up scene, and I can tell you something…. I’ve never felt more alive. I was finally living my dream. My novel, LA Blues, was coming to life before my eyes.

Everything was just falling in place. All the neighbors cooperated in the same manner Antoine Fuqua reported in the “Director’s Cut” while shooting the iconic film, “Training Day,” with which the neighbors from the infamous “Jungle” had cooperated.

I felt like I was watching a miracle happen. I never felt so much love for “my people.” Everyone recognized the sound of the main character’s bark, “LAPD”, when banging on the door to report the murder of a woman. Everyone recognized this was one of “our stories.”

Using a creative approach to shooting our trailer, we had pulled it all together. I guess it’s true. Where there’ s a will, there’s a way.

“It was for such a time as this,” I kept thinking of the Bible scripture. Esther 4:14
“… And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (ESV)

Now all the years I had worked as a social worker, first 7 years in the inner city of Detroit, then followed by 16 years in Los Angeles, made sense. In “Hollywood Blues,” I was telling one of my client’s story, even if it was a fictional amalgamation of one of the foster children I probably worked with. I feel this story has an important message, both tied in with the high rate of African American children in foster care, and the number of young African American men who are murdered, rather through Police violence or Black–on-Black or Brown-on-Black Crime.

Unknowingly, the stars were in alignment. I met my Executive producer, Villalobos Odell Body, at Black Writers on Tour in 2012. He is the host and producer of the show WolfTix Radio on EINRadio ( with over 50,000 monthly visitors. He took my book and wrote the screenplay within two months. Later, I found out he had been a former foster child so he could relate to the story. He is one of the former children who came up in the system and who beat the odds. He saw my vision to help speak for the voiceless—the many African American children in the foster care system and those who grew up in it. He also knows a lot of up and coming rappers as he shoots videos, does documentaries, and writes screenplays. Thus, we became co-producers for “Hollywood Blues” based on my novel, LA Blues.

I met the lead actress/model, Jennifer Renee the summer of 2012 at the Emerge Christian Film Conference in Los Angeles. She even looks like my main character, Zipporah Soldano aka Z. She’s also from my hometown Detroit.

During this journey, I loved watching the play of light and darkness in the filming and editing process. I saw the light and darkness as symbolic of the American Dream and its pitfalls. In addition, I enjoyed writing the voice over, since I knew the voice of the main character, Z.

So now we’re in the fundraising phase.

I call this “conscious filmmaking,” because we are doing this film with a purpose. From the storyline, we would like to give hope to show that urban youth can beat the odds such as the main character, Z, does. Besides entertaining and informing our audience, one of our goals is to educate and empower young men and women in how to make it in production. Our target audience will be urban youth, and those raised in foster care. Later training them in film production will help with juvenile delinquency diversion.

We will also be helping authors shoot movie trailers of their books or do audios of their books. If you would like more information, please contact me at or contact Dale at

Filed under: BloodsBooksFoster CareFoster Care SystemGangsHollywood jobsIndependent filmInternet Radio ShowMaya AngelouMichael BrownMother's of Murdered ChildrenPolice BrutalityPrivate InvestigationsProdcersRacial Discriminationbereavement

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