“The Documentary That Was Meant To Be”
Hi, my name is Terry Simons and I have never started a cancer foundation, and I have never produced a documentary, now I have done both in just the last 2 1/2 years. All this because I lost my heart and soul dog Reveille, to canine lymphoma. They say sometimes out of bad comes good, and I know this story was meant to be because during production all the right pieces started to fall into place… from our director to our medical experts to the friends old and new who gave their time, it was as if fate brought us all together.
“The Song That Inspired the Title”
When Terry Simons had the very first meeting with Sunset Doheny Productions to discuss what he wanted from the film, the conversation came around to music. Director Stacey immediately knew the perfect person for the job. She and “My Friend” writer/composer, Page Jackson had been friends since the early 90’s when her then-boyfriend was one of the band’s many drummers. Stacey became a huge fan of Page, Bob, and Mary Carves The Chicken.
The moment the production meeting ended, she contacted Page and put him in touch with Terry. The two spoke and the song, “My Friend” came to life and instantly was the film’s anthem as well as Terry’s cancer foundation.
Mary Carves the Chicken performed the song for the first time at CLEAR’s Launch Party and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Terry and Stacey began referring to the documentary as “My Friend” and before long, they sat down for coffee and created the rest of the film’s title.
“The Voice of MY FRIEND”
Terry Simons and Stacey M. Zipfel had many conversations about who they wanted to narrate MY FRIEND: CHANGING THE JOURNEY. They both agreed the narrator should be female and countless names were tossed back and forth (usually on flights or road trips to and from locations). Finally on one long drive back from UC
Davis to LA, Terry said, “You know who’d be great to have? The woman who voiced Belle.” Stacey not being a huge Disney Princess aficionado, replied with a quizzical, “Who?” Terry explained he meant Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Stacey’s ears perked up.
The suggestion by Terry was yet another case of fate lending a helping hand. Stacey’s high school drama teacher, Phil Randall…the very man who got Stacey into the entertainment business in the first place, just happened to not only be the stage manager on her show in Las Vegas but was also a close friend of the one and only Paige O’Hara aka Belle.
Stacey called Phil the next day and explained what she was up to. Phil told her he’d run it by Paige and within a day or so, Paige gave Stacey a call. Paige, a huge animal advocate herself, had also lost a dog to cancer and was eager to help. In no time, Terry and Stacey were on the road to Las Vegas to record Paige at with Bill Ebmeyer at Oakdale Post on the very mic she used to record Belle.
“Creative Fundraising…You See It All Started With a Dare”
Production began on MY FRIEND: CHANGING THE JOURNEY before Terry Simons and CLEAR completely had the entire amount to fund the film in the bank. As the production moved forward, donations continued to come in, but a large portion was needed to get through post-production and finish the film. Little did Terry know, he was about to partake in a fundraising event like no other.
While competing at an agility trial, Terry was dared to run his dog Ripper, while wearing high heels. Never one to back down from a challenge, Terry accepted. Seizing the opportunity to raise awareness for CLEAR, he upped the ante!
For one of his runs with Ripper, Terry offered to not only wear heels but complete the outfit with a sexy little number from Blackheart Lingerie. (Ripper, of course, would run naked). He agreed to partake in this event with one caveat… Terry would not do it unless he raised at least $1000 for CLEAR. Soon an anonymous donor sweetened the pot and agreed to match all donations up to $5,000! Before long Terry was getting donations to wear full makeup, fingernail polish and even was paid to shave his legs. Taking pity on Terry a good friend offered to join in and run his dog decked out in a similar fashion. Suddenly the Risqué Agility Run was the talk of the local canine agility community. A very pretty Terry was stunned to learn that what began as a dare, raised 15K and allowed him to finish the film!