I will be turning my book Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up into a film.
My name is LaWanda Lewis Burrell, a native of Greenville, Alabama but have lived in the Houston, Texas area for over 20 years with my husband and three beautiful children. I’m a woman of strong faith, a proud member and volunteer in the Greeter’s ministry at Lakewood Church under the leadership of Pastor Joel Osteen, the African American Library at the Gregory School and the Harris County Remembrance Project as a historical researcher and board member, and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and the Order of the Eastern Star.
My autobiography Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up encourages you to learn how to have a voice and stand up and speak up for your beliefs, even if you are standing alone. It is a gripping true story of Ananda, a shy, small town girl from Alabama with big city dreams who learns to speak her truth in the time of adversity. After persuading her parents to work during her teenage years she experiences discrimination on her very first job, which truly scares her heart.
This motivates her to do well in school, graduate from college, look for job opportunities and move far away. Her life is an emotional roller coaster as she deals with childhood bullying, hardships, health issues, happiness, finding true love, and cherishing marriage and family. She soon discovers that the power of prayer and having a voice to speak up is essential to her everyday life’s journey, as she takes control of her destiny.
I am asking for funding of $100,000 to produce my book Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up into a independent film, primarily targeting an audience that is looking for a faith-based, family fun, inspirational and meaningful movie. Our plans are to seek a creative and smart marketing campaign, using known actors, social media, word of mouth, and backing from Walmart, as the book Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up is being sold at www.walmart.com.
I’m seeking funding to help create the screenplay, hire cast, camera and crew, selecting locations and constructing sets, fees, fashion designers, makeup artist and hair stylist, security, travel and lodging expenses, and management of all phases of film making.
Sharice Henry Chasi, CEO of Higher Heights Filmworks, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia is the production company working with me and my husband on this project. One of my favorite movies produced by Higher Heights Filmworks, LLC is entitled “Steps of Faith”, a light-heart dramedy about Faith Houston an accountant, convinced that she’s directed by God to move to a small town to work on a Hippotherapy farm helping children. It is filled with strong character and a sweet romance all wrapped in an uplifting family story of love. Our production company plans to work with distributors such as, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and HULU, Sling TV, Pure Flix, etc. through their streaming services.
We have also partnered with Ryan Williams-Jenkins, NFL Player Development Consultant, Founder/CEO with the INAM Initiative, a non-profit organization collaborating with athletes to give back to the community and raise awareness in the most fundamental principles of life: finances, life skills, and career development. This organization will receive 10% of the proceeds that they raise from our Kickstarter campaign.
I was inspired to write my book after I accepted a position as an HR Director but noticed unethical behaviors in the workplace. I got the courage to stand up and speak up for what was right, but I was harassed and later terminated. After praying to God in the closet for direction, I reached for a box on my top shelf and out fell a journal I had written 5 years prior. I immediately started to type the first draft of my book. God blessed me with a book contract after I forgave the ones that mistreated me. My pain turned into my passion and God revealed my purpose.
I’m excited about Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up the film, because it will be similar to the book and display a message of faith, love and hope to heal broken families, tackle un-forgiveness and encourage you to follow your dreams and live a happy and fulfilled life. This year of 2020 have been challenging and unpredictable for everyone. People are hurting and lacking resources, dealing with the death of loved ones, loss of employment, racial injustices, pandemic, division of our country, increase in divorce rates, evictions, domestic violence, and depression and suicides.
We must find ways to build others up, be a catalyst for change to help increase their faith. Writing and watching inspirational movies has been my therapy. Being an author means I get to share my inner thoughts with others, I like to say, you get to experience dreaming while you’re awake.
There is no greater rush than a storyteller having the ability to share inspirational true stories and discover that you have helped someone through their challenges and personal struggles. When I’m writing it is like being able to put emotions, experiences, and opinions into what I write. My past educational studies, I believe that I have a strong connection with people, the mind, and human behavior which allows me to connect and relate to their situations.
My stories will motivate you to be obedient in your mind and in your thinking, to know that God will give you strength for every battle and continue to expect his goodness. Always surround yourself around positive and influential people and most of all never give up! I thank God for blessing me with a genuinely kind and caring heart, because I truly love people. My plans are to create many more books and films to spread positivity and find ways to give back and help others. I have been told by the readers that after reading my 5.0 out of 5 stars rated book that they feel so alive, renewed, and full of purpose.
The world needs inspiration, and I would like to take that same positive energy from my book to the big screen. My true stories are relatable, uplifting, engaging, inspiring, and funny. If you know me, you’ll know I love to see people feel good and value the life that God has blessed them with. My powerful testimony and transparency will make you laugh and cry at the twist and turns of my character Ananda’s life, filling you with hope and faith as you walk through the journey with her, trusting God every step of the way.