After the success of Life Fine Tuned, Nina May realized that her production company, Renaissance Women Productions could provide hands-on training for up-and-coming filmmakers and generate quality projects without moving to Hollywood. Having pitched her latest project, a web series called Daily Bread, to executives on the West Coast, she knew that her high concept ideas could flesh out story arcs better if she kept absolute control of them in Virginia. Instead of being stuck in development hell as a Hollywood feature-length film, the apocalyptic story of a group of women surviving in a post-technology wilderness is available to be streamed now, and she can edit as she goes.
“Our younger generation has become tethered to their devices and technology in a way that’s destructive,” May proposed. “I wondered what would happen if these people were forced to deal with life without technology.”
May explained that 150 years ago, people lived without the technology they depend on today. Two hundred years ago, she said, they were fighting for independence and culling out a country from the wilderness. The concepts were brought forward to the present day in the story of seven women involved in a cooking show who must now fend for themselves without phones, internet, and more. And May couldn’t be happier that her production approach has allowed her to call the shots.
“I have a motto about Hollywood and life,” May shared. “‘Big ships turn slowly.’ Hollywood is a big ship, and it’s kind of rudderless.’”
By shooting on location in Virginia, May was able to move the pieces around, and ironically, thanks to the drop in prices for technology, she was able to do the same things filming, editing, and uploading in a user-friendly way. She pushed for good writing and acting, encouraging younger, less experienced filmmakers to push the series along.
Whether it was young people majoring in marketing or press relations, May found that the people she surrounded herself with were up to the task. And then changes had to be made for scheduling, things turned organically with shifted emphasis on those willing to put in the work.
“This couldn’t have happened this way in Hollywood,” May added. “We saw ourselves as a speedboat, able to turn and adapt however we needed to.”
In Daily Bread, May wanted a storyline that no one could blame on humanity, so she used a solar flare (not unlike the events of last week) to knock out technology from car engines to iPads. One of the characters even says, ‘It’s like God flipped a switch,’ in the opening episode. But now these women must chose to survive or thrive, a key element that May is aiming to highlight.
“People in the rural area are much more prepared for what happens,” she explained. “But these girls are much more prepared to thrive than some of the other people are. Civility devolves, as some of the people are entertained by kids fighting, and not everyone wants their group to allow in outsiders.”
Once the lights go out, it’s every man or woman for himself or herself, unless in the dark, they discover who they were meant to be in the first place. If the audience gets it by watching Daily Bread, May will have succeeded in flipping the switch herself.