Interview with Elizabeth Blake-Thomas of the film “Evie Rose” on Amazon Prime by Suzanne 4/13/21
This was an interview via email, so there is no audio or video. I enjoyed watching her short film on Amazon, and I look forward to her upcoming feature film.
Suzanne: You were a theater director, I see. Did you work in a particular city?
Elizabeth: I was based in the center of England, but we toured around. I enjoyed taking theater to smaller places that didn’t have easy access to theater or the arts.
Suzanne: How did you get involved in making films?
Elizabeth: My daughter has been in the film and TV industry since a young age, so when she was about 11 or 12 I thought I could help her by producing a short film that she could star in. After we completed that film, “Broken Wings”, which is available online, I realized I had the knowledge to make more, as well as try my hand at directing instead of just producing. On top of that, the whole experience was so enjoyable, working with my daughter and creating art, it just made sense. It reminded me of being a theater director. So I made the conscious decision to get into the film industry myself, writing something with my daughter to have her star in. From there, the projects just kept flowing.
Suzanne: I enjoyed your movie “Evie Rose” on Amazon. I assume that’s what’s referred to as a “short film”?
Elizabeth: That’s correct, a film that’s less than an hour. Some festivals qualify a short as being no more than 50 minutes. The Academy says no more than 40. A short film’s length though can greatly vary, like features. To me, it’s about what length helps tell a story most effectively. If it takes 2 minutes or 2 hours, it doesn’t matter. As long as it best serves the story.
Suzanne: Are there any plans to expand it into a full-length film?
Elizabeth: All of my shorts have this potential. I let things happen organically to tell the story of Evie Rose as best I saw fit, so I need to give this film time to breathe as a short before making any drastic changes. I need to see what happens this year first. I’m currently waiting to hear back from several festivals on the short, which could dramatically change the next course of the film.
Suzanne: Do you know yet where “Will You Be My Quarantine” will be shown (which network or streaming service)?
Elizabeth: No official announcement yet, but it is being pitched to all the major platforms. It really is a fantastic, fun, sweet movie. Something we all really need right now.
Suzanne: Is it finished?
Elizabeth: Yes, it is. All original music has been placed, all visual effects are finalized, and I’ve watched it through thoroughly. I’m very proud of it.
Suzanne: Will this be another short film, or full-length?
Elizabeth: Feature length film.
Suzanne: Can you tell us what it’s about?
Elizabeth: Dating in the pre-Covid world was hard for people, endlessly swiping trying to find “the one”. Once quarantine hit, this became even harder. Swiping was easy, sitting on your couch in your PJs, but meeting anyone in person was impossible. “Will You Be My Quarantine?” is a heartwarming, yet comical, story about finding real love in tricky circumstances, getting to know someone for who they truly are and finding an authentic, genuine connection.
Film Logline: Vanessa has always had trouble in the dating world, never mind now being confined to her home. She soon discovers just how much you can get away with dating via webcam, but is the love she feels true or only a distorted version of reality?
Suzanne: Anything you can tell us about how it was developed?
Elizabeth: It was based on my real experiences during the start of quarantine, when I came to the realization that dating could no longer happen as it did before. How was I going to meet people? Online meetings and dates began and I realized I could be anyone I wanted to be. I could show only the bits of me I wanted that person to see. I could have a nice top on, but baggy sweatpants just off screen. My hair could be greasy, but they’d never know! Which led to my idea of having a fun, relatable romcom about a new couple that are not being truthful with each other. Highlighting how dating online can only show us so much, and raising the important question of, “How can we truly find someone and something that’s real, if we aren’t honest?”
Suzanne: What about the casting process?
Elizabeth: Most of the cast are friends or close contacts, who I immediately knew were perfect for their roles. After everyone accepted, I was thrilled, for I truly feel the entire cast is stellar and represents such a diverse group of individuals that the audience can relate to. Having that proper representation was key for me, as we all have been affected by this “Great Pause”. I wanted everyone who watches the film to be able to connect with someone that looks just like them or relate to something a character does that they too did while stuck at home. Casting this project was fun and honestly a breeze since each actor was ideal for their role.
Suzanne: I’ve interviewed Eddie McClintock a few times before, and he’s very funny as well as quite a good dramatic actor. Which side does he get to show off in this movie?
Elizabeth: In this film he shows off his fantastic comedic side. He totally embraced this character and brought something even more than I could have imagined. He is a true artist.
Suzanne: Joe LoCicero was just recently on “The Bold and the Beautiful.” His character was killed off on that show, and now there’s a murder mystery. What is his character like in your movie?
Elizabeth: More details on his character once the film is released, but I can say that Joe was so adorable. I auditioned him originally for a smaller role, but he impressed me so much with his tape, I gave him a bigger one. He is very talented, and I can’t wait to put him in my next feature film.
Suzanne: Were you a fan of Jodie Sweetin’s before she was cast?
Elizabeth: Who wasn’t a fan of “Full House?” Jodie is the perfect girl-next-door and such a talent. She can play all levels of characters and everyone connects to her, making her perfect for this film’s role.
Suzanne: Tell us about your business and website – medicinewithwords.com How did it come about?
Elizabeth: I’ve always been a storyteller. Across mediums, across time zones. When I wanted to make films on my own timeline, I created my entertainment company Mother & Daughter Entertainment. I’ve also always mentored, guided and helped people. During the Covid Great Pause, I was able to put some time into really finessing who I am and what I want to do. The clarity I was given enabled me to create Medicine with Words, a “spring cleaning” journey of your mind, encompassing everything from your emotions and surroundings, to your purpose and desires. Through guided studies of intention and reflection using pen to paper, meditation, stories and your senses, my “stars” (clients) learn to lead a more purposeful, contented, peaceful life. They learn to free themselves from the unnecessary noise that the world muddles their mind with, and start living intentionally, without fear. I already have many “stars” that I help guide to transform their lives. Think of it as yoga for the mind. It is something very unique and special to me and I feel very blessed that I have been given the tools to share this.
Suzanne: How did you become a philanthropist, and why did you pick human trafficking as your focus?
Elizabeth: It was a natural progression through my company Mother & Daughter Entertainment. Our motto “making content that matters” is something my team and I believe strongly in. The cause of human trafficking awareness actually just found me. Upon meeting an individual who escaped being trafficked and hearing her story, I was inspired to write and produce a short film called UNSEEN. This film was purely made to distribute for free and educate others of the potential lure tactics of traffickers, especially those used through social media. The film was viewed by the non-profit Awareness Ties and I became their Ambassador for Human Trafficking Awareness, working with them and others to raise awareness and end human trafficking. Seeing the assistance that storytelling can bring to philanthropic work, I now strive to have an impact with everything I put my time into. This also includes mentoring fellow filmmakers and storytellers, especially women. It’s important to me to give back.
Suzanne: Reading your bio and your website, I was very impressed. What you’ve achieved is amazing. Most people would be too scared to do half the things you’re doing, with the major changes in your life. What age were you, if you don’t mind my asking, when you left the UK and came to the US?
Elizabeth: It is a scary thing to do. I was 32 when I first experienced LA and then was 34 when I officially moved over from the UK. I won’t sugar coat it. It wasn’t easy. It cost me my marriage; it took all my strength to continue on this path. But I did it for my daughter, and then ended up finding my calling in LA as a storyteller as well. I have not one single regret about making these changes. In regards to my industry achievements, I like to use the phrase “filmmaking with fear”, as sometimes you just have to go for it and live each day intentionally.
Suzanne: How long after that did you get into either theater or film?
Elizabeth: I was a theater director from aged 16, running my theater company in the UK for almost 20 years. I became a film director 5 years ago once in LA. In just the past 5 years, I feel I have completed a huge amount in the film industry, pushing myself to make things happen no matter what others around me said or did.
Suzanne: Do you have a favorite type of movie or TV series you like to watch for fun?
Elizabeth: I love procedurals. My brain is constantly thinking of new storytelling ideas from the moment I wake up at 4 or 5am. When I feel I need my brain to turn off, a procedural is the perfect outlet that allows me to sit mindlessly and still know what’s going to happen. They are so formulaic with the story that they are easy to follow along and often the story is wrapped up with a perfect bow by the end of the 45 minutes. A different story each episode, but with characters I can still love and enjoy seeing snippets of their lives.
Suzanne: What is your next project?
Elizabeth: I have a couple of fantastic feature films that are in pre-production. I will be filming both this year. My environmental short documentary Consume As Little As Possible will also be released in a few months, and is something I believe we all need to watch. My book “Filmmaking Without Fear” is set to release later this month. My podcast and featurette of the same name are already available to stream, documenting my career thus far, as well as storytelling tips and tricks
ELIZABETH BLAKE-THOMAS is a British award-winning storyteller and philanthropist based
in Los Angeles, having recently directed her latest feature film during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Will You Be My Quarantine? is a romcom starring Full House/Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin
and is set to release in 2021. Elizabeth’s recent film Evie Rose, starring Oscar-nominated actress
Terry Moore, is premiering on Christmas Eve 2020. Elizabeth is the founder and resident
director of entertainment company Mother & Daughter Entertainment, whose motto is “Making
Content That Matters”, putting focus on each project starting a conversation amongst viewers.
Through MDE, Elizabeth established the MD Foundation Initiative, a campaign to mentor and
employ undiscovered filmmakers through fellow philanthropic pledges.
An Official Ambassador of Awareness Ties for Human Trafficking, Elizabeth hopes to raise
more awareness to the horrific nature of human trafficking and help put a stop to it. Her award-
winning short film UNSEEN, which addresses the role technology plays in the facilitation of
child trafficking, is being used to educate children on the dangers of lure tactics. A regular on
panels at Sundance, Cannes and Toronto International Film Festival, Elizabeth mentors wherever
possible, ensuring she sends the elevator back down to all other female storytellers.
Directing Showreel Awareness Ties Ambassador Page
The Self-Made Triumph of Director, Storyteller and Philanthropist, Elizabeth Blake-Thomas
Single mum of a 10-year-old, 6 suitcases total for the both of them, packed and headed from the UK to LA. That was 8 years ago.
Cut to now, living happily on a houseboat in sunny Redondo Beach, California, a successful 18-year-old daughter who just starred as one of the leads in the latest Disney+ movie Secret Society of Second Born Royals, and a fruitful, self-made directing career. To top it off, Elizabeth just wrapped her latest feature film, a romcom, safely shot during the COVID-19 pandemic!
Elizabeth and her daughter Isabella are a resourceful mother-daughter team, who in light of wanting to forge their own path in the LA industry rather than waiting around for a big break to be handed to them, founded a company together, Mother & Daughter Entertainment. Through MDE, they develop, write, produce, and direct everything from feature films to short films to episodics. Isabella even stars in a few. Their team is on fire, with over 12 projects under their belt in the last four years, finishing off 2019 with an award-winning short film UNSEEN about child trafficking and educating kids on the dangers of lure tactics. Just in 2020, they have filmed two additional feature films, created three pilots, completed a documentary and created and written pitches and teasers for several other projects.
Against all odds, they have become a successful team in LA.
Even COVID couldn’t stop them from creating. Following SAG’s safety protocols, they worked together and completed their latest romcom, Will You Be My Quarantine?, starring Full House and Fuller House alum Jodie Sweetin and David Lipper. The entire cast and crew safely tested throughout filming, social distanced and wore masks. Many thought it would be impossible to get the industry back on its feet, but Elizabeth pushed forward and succeeded through her resourcefulness and inspiring tenacity.
During COVID and 2020, Elizabeth has also completed and released the first season of her new podcast “Filmmaking Without Fear”. The podcast episodes are available to stream on all platforms (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify). Her book of the same name, documenting her success in the industry from ground zero up, is also due to be published end of the year. Elizabeth also directed and produced a movie titled Evie Rose, starring Oscar-Nominated actress Terry Moore (Come Back, Little Sheba), which is set to screen on Christmas Eve.
All of this has been accomplished by Elizabeth and Isabella whilst living on their 34ft boat with their Maltese Chai!
If anyone can prove LA is possible, Elizabeth can!
Take it from Elizabeth’s friend and mentor Sean McNamara, Emmy-nominated Producer, Director, and Co-Chairman of Brookwell McNamara Entertainment, “I’ve honestly watched in awe, and even used several of Elizabeth’s excellent ideas. She has actually taught me a thing or two, even though I’ve been in this industry as a director/producer for over thirty-five years. Elizabeth is always bringing fresh new approaches and ideas to filmmaking that are inspirational for me as a fellow filmmaker.”
Elizabeth’s drive to learn as she went and create her own opportunities, forged her path to success. LA is the land of dreamers and Elizabeth Blake-Thomas is proof that you can do whatever you set your mind to and accomplish your goals.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda