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Interview with Mirachelle Canada, 2024 WP Audience Favorite

For "A Treasure Within"

By 168 Film on
Interview with Mirachelle Canada, 2024 WP Audience Favorite

The 2024 Audience Favorite is A Treasure Within by Mirachelle Canada from Dumfries, VA. with help from DE Kevyn Bayshore. Logline: Grandmother’s lost treasure finds fiancées Kyle and Sylvie searching for the true value of life. 

Some quotes from Mirachelle:              

On the Write of Passage competiton:

  • This is my 8th entry into the WP contest since 2009… I love the quick pace and being inspired to write a story based on an overall theme and scripture verse. It’s always a fun, but challenging experience that stretches my skills and helps me grow as a writer.
  • I tend to throw 100% of myself into my projects and can cause blind spots, but God is faithful to refocus me on Him when I need correction and the inspiration to keep pursuing. I write for Him. 

On Extracting the Story from the Assigned Verse:

  • 2024 Verse: Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. NIV
  • I had a hard time making the connection between the theme and verse. To me, the treasure did not equal money. The treasure to store up in heaven was deeper, more valuable, and priceless. It could be represented by so many other things.
  • Out of my conflict, the character of Sylvie materialized. From the start, she is in a conflicting situation between her fiancé leaving on a tour of duty and taking in his elderly grandmother. I experienced both situations–each time my father deployed, and when my dad’s mother came to live with us.
  • At age 16, I had a difficult time adjusting to my grandmother as a housemate. She had always been the sweet grandmother I visited every summer. In our house, she was withdrawn (I know now she felt useless) though we tried to include her. She had lost her own way of life and was having to adjust to ours.
  • I realize now as an adult how difficult and emotional that must have been for her. And that’s where “Gram” as a character was born from. She is what I imagine my grandmother wanted internally to be–strong and resilient. She was a fighter trapped in an old woman’s body.
  • The diamond treasure my characters are searching for was inspired by a true family story. My grandfather, my mother’s father, sent diamonds to his wife from WWII Germany by sewing them into a dress he sent home for his newborn daughter. And yes, they knew about and retrieved those diamonds.

On Life’s Journey:

  • I came to a deep spiritual understanding at age 8 and was baptized in my church. From there I grew in the Lord and sought every chance to honor and praise Him. I did this often through singing, acting, and especially writing. I knew he called me to be a writer at age 10. I was an avid reader and loved movies, so when they were over, and I didn’t want them to end, I wrote their sequels. Many, many sequels.
  • I knew God was with me, but life wasn’t without its trials. I’ve had some tough experiences that have shaken and tested my faith, and I made it through them but by His grace and mercy.
  • He is the center of everything I do. I cannot imagine another way without Him. He is the constant, unchanging mental image of love that feeds my soul and fuels my faith. 

On plans to make the film:

  • Each time I create a script I hope it will one day be made into a film. But experience has taught me that I am not in charge of that, God is. So, I yield to His hand and pray He uses this story to touch and inspire others. And should it inspire a director out there to take it from page to screen, I’m all in.  

On the Mentor/Development Executive help shape your story:

  • I am sure He will laugh when he reads this. Kevyn was the DE I didn’t know I needed, but God did. He challenged me from the start, though he had no idea I had just come out of weeks of emotional distress. (We were strangers, so sharing my personal crisis was not at the top of my introduction list.) Throughout the process encouraged me, but also made me examine my choices on a deeper level. I was fighting to stay surface (after all I only had a week to do this!) Internally, I had a “just get it done” attitude but as I wrote (and Kevyn challenged me to revise, revise, revise) I developed a connection to my characters, and I owed it to them creatively to rise to the challenge. Kevyn gave me notes and I used most of them. Part of me wanted to keep most of my “original” creativity intact, but I know a writer’s life is most often better through collaboration. That’s what Sylvie, Kyle, and Grams have to do in my story. They each have to give up something and work together to find what they all need most. Whether Kevyn knows it or not, I had to let him in; let him truly help me to make my story the best it could become in (actually less than) 168 hours. I’ve never been more grateful to concede.

On the writing process:

  • I am a hybrid outliner. I tend to outline where my story starts, where it will end, and something key to tie to the middle so the story doesn’t fall flat. Then, I let my imagination and words take flight. This year, once I relinquished control to God, tapped into my personal experience, and allowed my DE’s challenges to fuel me, the script took on a life of its own. Being challenged is a choice. This year is what I needed to make it to the top of the mountain.

How has WP helped you grow as a writer? Would you recommend it to others?

  •  Writing under constraint time and within a few pages is always a great learning and stretching experience for me. It forces me to get out of my own head and turn off my internal editor. Having a theme and verse helps to define its structure quickly and to stay true to the story’s overall meaning. Having a DE also helps because you know you are not in it alone and if and when you get stuck you have someone to consult. That makes it a team effort, which if you want to get into writing film, you need to appreciate. I would recommend anyone who wants to be a screenwriter or even just to try screenwriting to enter this contest. It’s a challenge, but it has lasting rewards.

What are your plans for the future?

  • To write, and write some more, and keep writing. It is the call of my spirit and soul. I will also continue to keep my eyes and focus on God. I am excited for the possibilities and the people who have and are yet to cross my path as a result.

Anything else we should know about you?

  • I love to connect with my readers and supporters. You can email me at [email protected] or stay connected at www.mirachellecanada.com.