Good Choices

New York City, New York | Film Short

Comedy, Drama

Sophia Castuera

2 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $9,600 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

71 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge

$

After blacking out at her friend's birthday party, a woman wakes up with a hangover and both her phone and wallet missing. This story speaks to those who have had to confront their habits with friends and money, and the struggles that occur in friendships with folks from different classes.

In Partnership With

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

The struggle of growing up without a sense of financial security or literacy, and then maintaining friendships with people who come from different classes is an important conflict to discuss. The writer and director wants to use her specific perspective as a low-income artist to talk about this.

The Story

Good Choices is a dramedy set in New York that follows Lola, a struggling barista and background actor, and a hungover search to find her missing phone and wallet following a friend's birthday party. Lola has been trying to make better choices in her life — spending money more wisely and going out less. But after receiving the news of her ex-boyfriend moving on with his life and career, Lola regresses in a moment of weakness and blacks out. The following morning is spent tending to a massive hangover and realizing she left her phone and tab open at the bar. She walks back to the bar hoping that her missing wallet is also there and passes by people shopping and eating brunch on a beautiful Sunday in Brooklyn. The stress of the day and her bad decisions build up until Lola finally explodes at her friend's birthday brunch. Good Choices highlights the inner frustration and pain when life forces you to confront your habits and behaviors, and the uncomfortable and awkward interactions between friends who come from different classes. 

     

* Friendship 

* Class

* Habits 

* Repeating Past Behavior 

* Financial literacy and security 

Lola - Sophia Castuera 

Lola has plans, she just needs to figure out a few things on the way. She's never had a sense of financial security or literacy, so despite her big dreams of being an artist in New York, she's had to focus on surviving first. Even the slightest unexpected or unplanned expense sets her off course, and this affects her greatly. She can't help that she has a big fear of missing out, especially when it comes to her career and life in New York.




Cass - Jorge Felipe Guevara

Cass is very professional, type-A but they have a sense of humor and know how to let loose when they want to. They've worked VERY hard for the income that they have and the lifestyle that they lead. They were taught financial literacy at a very young age but also have a sense of the world outside of themself, which is why they're so understanding with Lola. But they're also Lola's best friend, so they know when they need to give her a wake-up call. Snappy, but not insensitive.

Sadie - Ali Edwards 

Sadie comes from family wealth. She's never experienced financial insecurity, not even as an adult — her dad is her landlord. She generally means well and tries to understand where Lola comes from, but she lives in a very different world. At times a bit short-sighted, she wants to live every day fully and take in all life has to offer her, no matter the price. She just wants her friends to come along. 

I grew up in one of the wealthiest towns in the country. I was not wealthy. In fact, at one point in my time growing up in Laguna Beach, CA, I was living in the basement of someone else's home, sharing a bed with my mother, and cooking food on a hot plate. Financial security and financial literacy were not taught to me — it was about survival at a certain point. 

But upon leaving that basement, I was flooded with the sight of teenagers in designer bags and clothing. If I was invited to someone's house after school, I'd be overwhelmed at the sheer size of their two or three-story homes, some with elevators in them! Trips to the mall left me embarrassed as my richer friends didn't bat an eye while carrying multiple shopping bags back to their car. While I had friends who were in similar situations to mine, the constant shifting of financial expectations and behaviors in friendships left me with a feeling of whiplash and confusion. That, matched with a lack of financial literacy skills, pushed me to spend the remainder of my teenage years to my mid-twenties chasing after a lifestyle I could truly not afford for the sake of maintaining friendships and a sense of inclusion that felt invaluable to me at the time. 

From this tumultuous financial upbringing, I find myself as a low-income artist living in New York, where a $100,000 salary feels like $36,000 (according to this Bloomberg article). I have friends from different classes still. I have reached a point in my life where my past habits with money and how it affects my friendships have finally caught up to me. I can no longer afford to keep up with these friends, nor should I be expected to. I have also had to be honest with my friends in higher classes — small financial mistakes that you make do not affect you the same way they affect me. This is not a city or a country that is known for being easy on folks of the working and lower classes. 

Following many awkward encounters and uncomfortable conversations, I have learned some hard lessons about friendships with folks in different classes. As a person who has been in situations where I've felt like an outsider because of my class, I feel that it is important to tell this story — a simple story that comes from my lived experience of having a low income in New York City, and the hard lessons I've learned. This funny and frank short is meant to tackle these complex themes in a simple and approachable way — not to make light of the seriousness of the themes in this story, but to normalize these situations and create a sense of understanding.  Hopefully, someone else with an economic background similar to mine will see themselves in our protagonist's shoes, learn something about themselves and their friendships, and maybe feel less alone. 

I am directing this short alongside Lady Parts Productions, a production company I founded back in 2019 with Ali Edwards and Mary Elizabeth Monda. This production company's mission is to create and support female voices and stories. 

 

Edward Hopper | "Early Sunday Morning" 1930 

Edward Hopper | "Morning Sun" 1952 

Noah Baumbach | "Frances Ha" 2012 

Gillian Robespierre | "Obvious Child" 2014 

We have the story. We have the cast. We have the team. Now we need your help. 

 

Contribute 

Unsurprisingly, we need money to tell a story about money! We're raising funds for crew wages, equipment rentals, and location expenses. If you have the means, we'd love your financial support.

We plan to shoot this on July 1st, so we'd love to reach our goal by the end of May to give us plenty of time for pre-production. 

Interested in seeing specifically where your money is going? Check out our wish list.

Share Share Share 

You can also help by sharing this project with your friends and family! Share this project on social media! Send your rich aunt a text encouraging her to be a patron of the arts! Send a mass family email if you feel so compelled! Truly, sending this to whoever you think can help is a great way to support this project. 

Follow this project on Seed&Spark! The more followers we have, the better. 

Follow us on our socials: 

Director — IG @sophiacastuera 

Lady Parts Productions — IG @ladypartspro 

We've put together some quick blurbs you can copy and paste when sharing this project on social media or with friends and family! Please feel free to use this. :)

* Support @sophiacastuera and her upcoming short film "Good Choices," a day-in-the-life film that talks about living in New York on a lower income and having friends from different classes and upbringings. https://seedandspark.com/fund/good-choices?token=51cbd8338d51fe2b94352cc7884efe51f8b823eaabecc462b984fab1169973f8

* I am so excited to see this project from up-and-coming filmmaker @sophiacastuera. She is teaming up with @ladypartspro to tell a story about the awkward interactions folks from different income levels and upbringings sometimes have to face. Support their project on Seed&Spark and spread the word! https://seedandspark.com/fund/good-choices?token=51cbd8338d51fe2b94352cc7884efe51f8b823eaabecc462b984fab1169973f8

Beyond This Campaign 

Your help doesn't just stop with this project. This short is a stepping stone for up-and-coming filmmakers. 

Sophia Castuera's feature directorial debut, august at twenty-two, is being released in July 2023 by Gravitas Ventures. Continuing the momentum is everything. This short would be the second release of Sophia Castuera's as a writer and director, and the team plans on submitting this film to festivals in 2023/2024. This will help her move toward her next project: a feature-length movie that has a script currently in consideration for screenplay competitions and labs.

Additionally, Lady Parts Productions has many exciting projects on the horizon, so this short would help keep their momentum going as well! 

 

Thank you! 

Wishlist

Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

COVID Plan!

Costs $100

We want to ensure the safety of everyone on set. Help pitch in for some rapid tests.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Location, Location, Location

Costs $1,050

We need a place to shoot this thing! We'd love to use a local Brooklyn bar to shoot two scenes.

Equipment Van

Costs $1,250

We love the subway, but we cannot and should not lug thousands of dollars worth of equipment on it.

Crew!

Costs $4,500

We need to pay our wonderful crew!

Actors

Costs $2,350

Help us pay our talented cast!

Camera and G&E

Costs $2,000

We need to rent some lenses and lighting equipment. We want to make this look good!

Production Design

Costs $450

Our production designer will need to purchase items to make their vision come to life!

Food!

Costs $300

We need to feed our cast and crew! Food is essential.

About This Team

Writer, Director, & Star - Sophia Castuera 

Sophia Castuera is a filmmaker and actor based in Brooklyn. She left her Southern California home to attend Boston University’s Film & Television program and has since worked with companies such as Sony Pictures Animation and Film Independent. These opportunities allowed her to gain experience in writing, developing, and producing stories she’s passionate about. She moved to New York to pursue a career in independent film and theatre. She created her short film ‘VOCE,’ earned a spot as a Semifinalist in the 2019 WeScreenplay Diverse Voices contest, studied acting at Terry Knickerbocker Studio, and performed at Columbia University and Mabou Mines. More recently, her feature directorial debut ‘august at twenty-two’ has seen success on the festival circuit. At the 2022 Bushwick Film Festival, the film won Programmer’s Choice for Best Narrative Feature. ‘august at twenty-two’ has been picked up for distribution with Gravitas Ventures and is set for a summer 2023 release. With her experience in writing and acting, Sophia is focused on the performances of her actors, particularly on the details and nuances of the connections between two people — what is said, and what is unsaid. She also wholly believes in the power of small, intimate, and personal stories and the impact they have on larger communities. In the future, Sophia hopes to tell more stories about underrepresented communities, and she especially hopes to tell stories that explore her Mexican heritage.

 

Producer - Mary Elizabeth Monda 

Mary Elizabeth is a film, commercial, and VR producer based in Brooklyn, NY. She moved to New York in 2017 and began her film career in production for Netflix, Marvel, and Warner Bros TV. She previously served as the Senior Creative Producer at Moth + Flame VR, an award-winning virtual reality production company that creates interactive content for Netflix, AMC, as well as educational VR content.

She is currently producing for SpecialGuest, a commercial agency, where her main client is Meta and the award-winning VR game, Beat Saber.

Mary Elizabeth's first feature, "august at twenty-two", is being distributed this summer and recently won Programmer’s Choice for Best Feature at Bushwick Film Festival in NYC.

Producer & Co-Star - Ali Edwards 

Ali Edwards is a Brooklyn-based writer, filmmaker, and actress, who wrote, starred and co-produced her first feature, the award-winning coming-of-age drama august at twenty-two. Ali is currently the Head of Development at Academy and Emmy Award-nominated director Amy Berg’s production company Disarming Films. Most recent projects include Phoenix Rising (HBO), Keep This Between Us (Freeform), and The Case Against Adnan Syed (HBO). She is currently producing the upcoming feature Wilderness W/T, executive produced by Aaron Paul and Amy Berg.

Last summer Ali completed production on the horror feature Alan at Night (dir. Jesse Swenson) and the short Persian Cucumber (dir. Amir Mosallaie). Ali is a co-founder of Lady Parts Productions, an all-female production company that prioritizes telling feminist narratives. She is currently writing her next feature, Projection Room.

As an actress, Ali trained at the conservatory program at The Terry Knickerbocker Studio. Ali is committed to creating feminist, challenging work that explores the queer and female perspectives. 

Director of Photography - Melina Valdez 

Melina Valdez is a writer, director, and cinematographer based in New York City. With storytelling, she loves exploring the surreal, the misunderstood, the indescribable, and everything in-between.

Melina is currently in development for a feature film tentatively titled Saca Tu Lengua which was featured in Gotham Week 2020. The proof of concept, Weapons and Their Names, had its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

Her work as a cinematographer includes feature films, music videos, a web series, and several short films. She was part of the ASC Cinematography Intensive for Women in 2018.

Current Team

Supporters

Followers

Incentives