Former Parkite Stacy Dymalski is making a scene in Hollywood
Screenwriter, director and producer Stacy Dymalski, a former Parkite, is making a scene in Hollywood.
In the three short years since she moved from Park City, Dymalski has created “A Bit Much,” a one-woman comedy show based on her life. She is also working with “A Bit Much” producer Megan Ford Miller and acting coach Deborah Lemen of Deborah Lemen Acting Studio on a short film called “Everything Has a Home.”
“The story is about homelessness from a child’s point of view,” said Dymalski, who also directed and co-wrote the 2005 independent comedy “Jupiter Landing.” “One of the things that is abundantly noticeable in California, especially in Hollywood, is the homeless population.”
Many of the homeless are single parents who lost their jobs or are working paycheck to paycheck, according to Dymalski.
“They end up sleeping in their cars with their children,” she said. “You walk around and see kids in cars, waiting for their parents to finish their work shifts.”
The the local police are overwhelmed with reports or homelessness, and Dymalski learned this by talking with one of the police officers who answered her call about a homeless person sleeping in her apartment trash dumpster.
“The police officer said they would take the homeless man to a shelter that the man would probably walk away from in a few hours,” she said.
Those events inspired Dymalski to write a script about true-to-life characters.
“I wanted to write a story about people like kids who are in your daughter’s class, but you wouldn’t know they were homeless,” she said.
“Everything Has a Home” follows the relationship of two girls, ages 12 and 9.
“The 9-year-old is the one who lives in the car, and her mother is a waitress,” Dymalski said. “The older girl is from an affluent family, but she is also kind of an outcast at school.”
One day the older girl, after seeing the younger one in a car for a few days, knocks on the window and the two forge a friendship that changes their lives, according to Dymalski.
“The friendship inspires the older girl to become more compassionate, and spurs her to address other things in her life that is told in the plot,” she said.
The story went from paper to film thanks to the friendship shared by Dymalski, Lemen and Miller.
“Twice a year, Deb does an on-camera workshop and hires directors to shoot her students acting out scenes from popular movies for their acting reels,” Dymalski said. “Most of these kids are pretty green and haven’t been in anything, yet, but by the time they can shoot with Deb, they have gone through her training program.”
Dymalski wanted to be one of Lemen’s directors, and talked with Miller about “Everything Has a Home.”
Miller, in turn, set up a meeting with Lemen.
“I told Deb that I would love to shoot her students performing original content from my unproduced screenplays,” Dymalski said. “I told her it would be great for the students, and, to be honest, it would give me the opportunity to see my own work in action.”
As the meeting progressed, Dymalski also proposed the idea of using the shoots to create short films that could be submitted to festivals, which would give a leg up for the new actors.
“Because I have an Internet Movie Database page, these students, who don’t even have photos on their own IMDB page will have this credit,” Dymalski said. “We all agreed it was a great idea with room for improvement.”
The biggest catch was finding a place to shoot the film.
“Film permits in California cost more than the budget for a short film, and the only way you can get around it is to shoot inside a private home,” Dymalski said.
But Lemen had an alternative plan.
“Deb also holds acting workshops in other states, and one of those states was Louisiana,” Dymalski said. “She was planning to do an on-camera shoot with the students there, and asked for the script.”
Dymalski cut the script down to seven pages, which translates into an eight-minute film.
“The scene they shot was the point where the older girl walks by the car and knocks on the window for their first encounter,” Dymalski said. “I rescripted it in a way so the short has its own arc and the characters evolve.”
Ironically, Dymalski couldn’t accompany Lemen to Louisiana for the shoot.
“I was too busy with stuff in Los Angeles, which is funny, because one of the reasons for doing this was for me to direct,” Dymalski said with a laugh. “But it worked out. I told Deb that she should direct it, because the film is a prototype.”
The plan now that the film is in post production is to submit it to film festivals.
“I do want to submit it to the Sundance Film Festival,” Dymalski said. “The festival, however, has gotten so big, that it’s a longer shot that it’s ever been to get in. But it would be great if it got in.”
Dymalski also said she “selfishly” hopes the idea to create short films with Lemen’s students works out.
“I would love to direct one of these on my own,” she said. “I have drawer-fuls of scripts. It’s a fountain I can’t turn off, and I love it.”
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