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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Welcome Laurie Kahn and The Popular Romance Project!

We at Lady Scribes are very excited today! We have Laurie Kahn, from The Popular Romance Project and the upcoming documentary Love Between the Covers, here as our guest...

Laurie Kahn is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who dreamt up (and is Executive Producer of) the Popular Romance Project. Have you all heard about it? She is currently shooting the feature length documentary film that will be called Love Between the Covers – it’s about the global community of women who create, consume, and love romance novels. The project is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign right now.  If you go to LoveBetweentheCovers.com you can see a short, fun video about the film.  She needs our help!  So we asked her all about the project and what we can do to help out….

What kinds of films do you like to make?

I’m especially interested in telling the stories of extraordinary unsung women and the communities they build. I love making films about seemingly small stories that reveal the complexities (often epic in scope) that are left out of conventional narratives -- stories that might seem insignificant to others, but not to me.  
My first independent film, A Midwife’s Tale, was about the life and world of an 18th century midwife who moved to Maine during the American Revolution.  Martha Ballard saw everything that happened in the small town of Hallowell, and she kept a daily diary for 27 years! She was a healer, midwife, mortician, and pharmacist for her neighbors – and seeing early American history through her eyes, you can see events and people who are invisible in the conventional historical records.

I also made a film about the forgotten but remarkable marketing genius Brownie Wise and her Tupperware Ladies, who built the Tupperware empire back in the 1950s. I interviewed more than 300 of the early Tupperware Ladies for that film, and found old footage that had never been seen before in archives, attics, and basements all over the country. (I love doing research.  For me, it’s like detective work!) I uncovered an amazing story and, believe it or not, the theatrical rights to my film have now been acquired to make a Broadway musical.
How did you decide to start the Popular Romance Project?

That’s a great question! The communities women build interest me, so how could I not be interested in the huge global community of women who write, edit, publish and read romance novels?  Romance fiction is a financial and cultural powerhouse fueled by women.  Yet there’s never been a film that looks carefully at this industry, and the remarkable, technically savvy, passionate community built around it.

What has been the most unexpected thing you’ve discovered?

I did not expect to find that the women in this community span all socio-economic groups, ethnic backgrounds, and romantic preferences (ranging from chaste evangelical romance to erotic gay romance and BDSM). I also did not expect to find that the romance community has been on the crest of the tech wave, pushing the boundaries of digital publishing and social networking. (Romance authors are using 21st century innovations to re-shape archetypal stories that can be traced back hundreds, even thousands of years!)

Tell me about your Kickstarter campaign.

Kickstarter is the largest platform for funding creative projects in the world. Several weeks ago, I launched a Kickstarter campaign.  When you do this, you choose a goal and a deadline. We have a $50,000 goal and a deadline of August 26. That means we have to raise $50,000 in pledges by Sunday the 26th or we receive NONE of the money that has been pledged! If we raise more than $50,000 by that deadline, we will be allowed to keep EVERYTHING that has been pledged.  So the stakes are high.  And it's crucial to mobilize people who want this project to happen in the next few weeks!

Can people see some of the film you are shooting?

Definitely!  If you go to LoveBetweentheCovers.com, you can see a fun, five-minute video preview of the film.  I showed a version of this at the Romance Writers of America conference in Anaheim, and I can’t tell you how many people came up to me in the halls to cheer me on and tell me how much they liked it!

In addition, if you got to our website, PopularRomanceProject.org, you can also see lots of excerpts from the interviews I’ve been shooting (with Jayne Ann Krentz, Beverly Jenkins, Suzanne Brockmann, Eloisa James, Jodi Thomas and dozens of others), behind the scenes videos, and short, lively essays about popular romance from a dazzling array of perspectives.

Where will the film be seen when you’ve finished making it?

When the film is finished, it will be broadcast worldwide, seen at film festivals, and used in high school and university classrooms, like my other films.

If you pledge, to you get anything in return?

For a pledge of $35, you can pre-buy a copy of the film, and also get a credit at the SUPPORTER page of the Popular Romance Project website and a fabulous magnetic bumper sticker (everyone who give $25 or more will get a fabulous magnetic bumper sticker). 

But there’s a wide range of donor gifts, for example: a lovely cloissone pin, first chapter critiques by published authors, a thank-you in the film credits, a copy of the limited edition film poster, tickets to the film premiere, and a day in the editing room.  EVERY GIFT MATTERS! Project supporters can give as little as $1, or as much as $5,000 (for $5,000, I will fly to your hometown in the continental US before the film is broadcast for an intimate private film premiere you’re your friends/family/readers. We can hang out and I’ll answer any and all questions!). 

Is this money startup money or completion funding?

Thanks to a recent production grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, we now have almost 75% of the total budget ($851,000) that we need to complete the film and launch it in the world. We have enough funding to shoot the film and begin editing, but we still need the funds to complete editing, do the pickup shoots, hire a composer, complete the post production sound editing and sound mix, hire an animator, and help keep PopularRomanceProject.org alive and growing.  The details of what $50,000 in additional funding would pay for can be found at the Kickstarter page, LoveBetweentheCovers.com.

Any final words?

I am really really grateful for all the support I’ve received from the romance community.  This is your film as much as it is my film.  I have high standards, and I intend to make a film you will all be proud of.

Wow! Let me tell you, at Lady Scribes we could not be more excited or proud to be part of promoting this project. I (Olivia) think that getting the word out about what we write and who we are, banishing those misconceptions about Romance writers, is so important. It's true: Romance powers the publishing industry, so why aren't we taken more seriously? Well, I'm not going to rant (be grateful, I can hella rant with the best of 'em), but I am going to say that we wish you the very best, Laurie and hope this documentary gets made! I can't wait to see it! :)

NOW... we wanted to add a little incentive to donate to The Popular Romance Project (other than getting an awesome movie made!) and so the Lady Scribes are offering a prize pack of Lady Scribes novels if you donate! Please feel free to comment even if you do not donate, because we always love hearing from everyone, BUT if you do donate for Love Between the Covers, email me (Olivia Kelly) at olivia.kelly1800@gmail.com and you will be entered in the drawing for the prize pack! ANY donation is welcome. 

(I ask you email me privately so that who donates and who doesn't remains a private matter. Thank you, my dears!) <3


  1. Welcome Laurie! I've loved the snippets of the film that I've seen! I saw the bit you did on the NYC Lady Jane's Salon at your website, and also the clip at the RWA luncheon. I can't wait to see the finished product!

    Romance has created a lovely community. Thank you for showing it to the world!

  2. Hi Laurie! I'm a huge supporter of this documentary. It's been an honor to be a small part of the filming at RWA National in NYC and the Moonlight and Magnolias conference in Atlanta last fall. I wish you all the best and am looking forward to when the completed film will be shared with the world.


  3. Laurie, I can't tell you how excited we are about your film! I love your passion for this project and can't wait to see it finished. Thank you so much for sharing this with us today!

  4. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Laurie. I can't tell you how excited I am about your project. I love it that you're going to be dispelling myths and educating people (in such a fun way) about Romance Writers. YAY!!!

    Also, will you include self-published authors in your documentary?

    Wishing you much luck and success! :)

  5. Welcome to LadyScribes, Laurie. I am so excited about your film and can't wait to see the finished project.

  6. Hi, Laurie! I'm so glad you've come to Lady Scribes to talk about your project. I didn't get to go to RWA this year, but I've been hearing about it since everyone got back from the conference. Such a great idea, and I can't wait to see the finished product.

    I'm to the point that I'm rarely surprised by anything I learn about the romance community...but I have to wonder what has been the biggest surprise for you in all of this. What's been the thing that has taken you by surprise more than anything else?

  7. Laurie,
    Thanks so much for being with us today. You've become a familiar face at RWA, so it will be strange to no longer see you bopping around when you're project is completely finished. But I'm so excited to see the film. The clip we watched in Anaheim brought tears to my eyes. Good luck with the campaign!

  8. The clip we saw in Anaheim was amazing, Laurie. I am beyond thrilled you have undertaken this project. The Romance Community is an incredible gathering of readers, writers, editors, publishers, agents, bloggers - brilliant women (and some men!) who believe in the power of the written word and in the life-affirming theme of the happily ever after. I cannot wait to see the finished film. I truly believe you will open the eyes of many people in regards to the many gifts and the power of the romance genre.

  9. Thanks so much for coming to chat with us at Lady Scribes today, Laurie! I'm with Samantha - it was an emotional (in a good way!) experience to watch it on the big screens at RWA. I think this project is outstanding, and I'm thrilled to be able to contribute in any way I can. There are so many misconceptions about romance writers and readers - I just love that you are looking to give this incredible community its due.
    Good luck with the campaign!

  10. Laurie - I loved this snippet and I love this project. Such a wonderful way to dispel misconceptions about our community. :)

    Thank you for your work!

  11. Thanks to all of you! I really truly appreciate the support! I can't tell you how much it means to me...

    In answer to the question about self publishers, yes, we will include authors who are self publishing -- both in the film and at our website. And we will also include authors from a wide variety of sub-genres.

    So stay tuned. And stay in touch. We'd love to hear your comments and suggestions at our Kickstarter page, lovebetweenthecovers.com (up until August 26), and also at PopularRomanceProject.org, from now till the distant future.

    cheers! thanks again!

    1. Thank you for your guest appearance, Laurie! I love that we were able to be involved, in any small way possible, and wish you the very best of luck...

  12. Wow I have actually seen A Midwife’s Tale and what a fantastic film it is. As a book seller and a reader there is not much that surprises me about the romance industry. Perhaps the naivety coming from those who do not read romance would be the biggest thing that does hold some kind of surprise, I suppose. There is still a stigma that romance readers have to hide their books behind brown paper sacks. I really wish I had the funds to donate, as I know you will produce a quality film, but I'm a full time student funding my own way through college on a part time budget. I will spread the word though and see if I can drum up more support.

    1. Spreading the word is a very valuable contribution! Many thanks!
      I'm glad you liked "A Midwife's Tale"! good luck with your college courses,
      best wishes,

  13. It's great to see someone tackling this subject, Laurie and it looks fabulous. It's great to have you here at the Lady Scribes and I'm really looking forward to seeing the end result!

  14. This is so very fantastic, Laurie! This project is so full of awesome, it's just amazing! I cannot wait to see this film finished and to see how it changes the stigma that's been placed on our industry. Love, love, love it! Thanks so much for being here today and for making this incredible film. We ALL thank you!

  15. The video clip was funny, moving, and only a snippet of what the documentory will cover AND I CAN'T WAIT!

  16. Thank you Suzie, AvonLadyJerrica, and Nancy,
    I truly appreciate your enthusiastic support! WOW! It was a pleasure being part of Lady Scribes. Stay tuned. Follow us at Facebook.com/PopularRomanceProject.org and let us know what you think! Make suggestions, and join the conversation!
    best wishes,