Who doesn’t dream about being a Hollywood Director or Producer? Who doesn’t dream of creating? But how do you get there? How do you stay there? Coppola had the Godfather, Lucas had Star Wars, Spielberg had E.T., and Ford had … well, he had John Wayne. What do they have in common? They are all men. Nothing against that … they are all brilliant men who capitalized on an incredible opportunity. What do you do if you are a woman?
Meet Ilyssa Goodman. She’s a woman. She’s a successful Director and Producer that made her mark all across Hollywood and established her reputation producing the box office hit, A Cinderella Story. She broke the rules with her directorial debut, the critically acclaimed The Standoff. What’s next for this woman who is blowing through the traditional glass ceilings in Hollywood? Her star recently aligned with another young woman who is making waves as a pop star yet using her platform in a non traditional way, Meredith O’Connor. Meredith is blowing through her own glass ceilings as a young woman who was bullied and is now on top of the world. Popstar, Anti-Bullying advocate, UN Ambassador, and 20 year old woman with the wisdom of Methuselah, Meredith is a force that can’t be described unless you meet her. So … if you were Ilyssa Goodman with all those credentials and experience, what would you do? You would sign on to direct and produce the life story of Meredith O’Connor and send a message to young men and women around the world that anything is possible.
As Meredith has captivated millions, it’s easy to see how Ilyssa was naturally drawn to Meredith. Before meeting Meredith in person, Ilyssa was in touch with Laurence Williams, a British Film Producer in the UK who started the project, as well as Rick Galvin, Meredith O’Connor’s manager. Meredith’s story has become Ilyssa’s latest passion project, and she has signed on to produce the movie alongside Laurence William’s LakeEdge Productions, (UK) and in cohorts with Meredith’s team as well, including her manager and New York City philanthropist Rick Galvin. The project has quickly evolved into a movement to help people to begin to think differently and to raise awareness about the anti bullying message that Meredith travels the world to share. With Meredith’s peers from Disney and Teen Nick hopping onto the star studded sound track, actors in the movie include Meredith’s long time friend Garrett Clayton, and Nickelodeon’s Addison Rickie. The story is abuzz with interest from A-list talent that is soon to be confirmed. Meredith has bravely opened her heart to share her story in the hopes of touching others who may be facing bullying or abuse from others. Bullying isn’t always what you think it is, and Ilyssa is determined to both inspire and entertain you through Meredith’s powerful story. I recently sat down with Meredith and Ilyssa to share their personal connection and the inspiration behind their upcoming real life Cinderella story. Tune in to LA Talk Radio’s video channel on June 20th at 1 PM PST/4 PM EST, and watch Meredith and Ilyssa share their exclusive interview and exciting story together on Cat & Kaehler.
As a young teenager, Meredith had her nose broken by a bully in school and went home and didn’t feel safe in telling her parents what had happened. Like so many of us who have experienced the effects of a bully, Meredith blamed herself and repressed and internalized the experience. It wasn’t until her hit “Celebrity” went viral that Meredith began to have her “Aha” moment and realize that this experience had nothing to do with her. She began to understand that most bullies have been mistreated themselves and are simply projecting their own pain onto another. As Ilyssa shared with me, she hopes to dispel the “Mean Girls” myth with the typical popular girls bullying the “nerds.” In Meredith’s case, she was beautiful and a model yet she still encountered cruelty through bullying. She has always been a nonconformist in many ways. Her message is to stay true to yourself. If you are lucky enough to be different, she encourages you to embrace those differences and love yourself just the way that you are. It’s those differences or that unique part of your nature that allows you to stand out.
Ilyssa had her own share of bullying while she was growing up. She wasn’t aware that she was being bullied as the term they used was “teasing” which sounds a bit softer yet it’s harmful in exactly the same way. She resonates with Meredith on a very personal level and she senses that many of you may as well. Both of these incredible women are coming together to share Meredith’s story on the big screen. They are currently in pre-production and looking to partner with co-producers and actors and actresses who share her concern and have a deep desire to impact the lives of others. Meredith travels the world as an Ambassador for the UN. She lives a real life Cinderella story. One moment, she was a young girl being secretly bullied in school and the next moment, she was a pop star with a worldwide platform that she made a conscious decision to use it to inspire others. Her heartfelt message has touched millions around the world as she isn’t afraid to go into those deep, dark and terrifying places we all have inside of ourselves.
She’s known for her authenticity and vulnerability and that’s exactly what attracted Ilyssa and her interest in the project. She and Ilyssa have begun a movement to change the way we look at bullying. Many people aren’t aware that they are being bullied or that they may be bullying someone else. They are out to effect change in a powerful way. Meredith’s music will not only entertain you, it will undoubtedly move you as well. And, in the end, that is Ilyssa’s underlying mission: to draw you into a very entertaining storyline while inspiring you with a deeper message. She’s a woman who has proven herself in all aspects of film production as well as direction. Having worked at many of the top studios throughout her career, she understands the complexity of creating a blockbuster film. She has established a stellar reputation and she is looking for partners who share her passion in creating powerful and entertaining stories.
Ilyssa is a rare woman in Hollywood as she makes herself easily accessible to all. How many Hollywood director/producers are going to give you their personal email? Well, guess what? If you’re interested in partnering with Ilyssa and sharing Meredith’s powerful story and message, she can be found on Facebook or IMDB. If you’re an actor or producer with an interest in Meredith’s anti bullying platform, now is the time to take a stand and join in Ilyssa’s latest project. Disney star, Garrett Clayton, Meredith’s partner in her “Stronger” music video has signed onto the project. Ilyssa and her real life Cinderella are on a mission to create a movement and they are asking for your support. It’s a project with a potential to touch a lot of lives. Follow along with Meredith on Twitter, Instagram, and MeredithOConnor.com.
You can find Catherine Grace O’Connell at CatherineGraceO.com. She is on Facebook, and Instagram and Twitter as @catherinegraceo. Tune in to Cat & Kaehler: Fiercely Empowering Women of All Ages Through the Lens of Midlife with Catherine and co-host Kathy Kaehler live every Tuesday at 2 PM EST/11 AM PST or download as a podcast on LA TalkRadio. You can find out more about The Fierce 50 Campaign and how you can help us and join the Revolution by sending an email to [email protected].
Originally published at medium.com