Waking Life

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Comedy, Drama

Green Light

This campaign raised $7,000 for production phase 2. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

42 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


A crisis can rip a family apart. And grief can bring us down paths we would have never thought possible. Meet the once close yet now devastated Connor family, who because of one diagnosis and one grief-filled decision, struggle to navigate a new reality without losing what matters to them most.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

We are an all female production team (producer, writer, director)! Inclusion of every kind - both in front of and behind the camera - are very important to us. Our cast also represents a variety of ages, race, and gender.

The Story


WAKING LIFE is a narrative short film that follows the Connor family as memories intertwine between life in a hospital infusion room, where RUTH, a former JAG lawyer, battles cancer (again) and at a present-day lake, where Norman, a grieving dad, attempts to reconcile with his embittered teenage daughter, Clara.


Confined to the hospital infusion room during chemotherapy treatments, life goes on. Or so it seems. Along with other patients and their loved ones in "the room", the Connors try to not only adjust to their new reality, but embrace it as warriors - To live. To love. To laugh. To hope. 


But when hope fades for Norman, his crisis-mode response begins a ripple affect on not just his own family, but on others in the infusion room as well. And so before he loses his daughter forever, Norman seeks to reconnect with Clara while "confined" on a remote lake...a different kind of infusion room. 



1. We are already in full production mode and seek funds for our 2nd phase!

We next need to build an "infusion room" and then film the infusion room scenes in Los Angeles the end of July. Our 2nd phase shoot will last a total of 2 days.  


What is an "infusion room?"

"Getting medications or other treatments, such as blood through an IV or shots, no longer require a hospital stay. The Infusion Room allows patients to have their treatment and return home the same day. Patients are now able to receive their medications and treatments within minutes from their home." (Infusion Room - Rochelle Community Hospital)


2. In August, 2018 we will move into post-production.

And we plan to have a complete project by December, 2018!


3. We will then submit WAKING LIFE to various film festivals around the world. We hope this will raise interest for a broader production, for WAKING LIFE is not just a short film, it is a presentation short film for a LIMITED SERIES that is already written.  The series expands our central characters, introduces us to a several new characters, and draws us into the personal, physical and mental struggles they seek to overcome.





I was a young mother pregnant with my youngest child when we received the news.

A few years later, while sitting in an infusion room as I received IVIG treatments for an auto-immune disease, I observed other individuals affected by either a life-threatening or potentially crippling illness. All of humanity in a room of hurt and hope. Our worlds changed in the blink of an eye, with loved ones and nurses joining in the fight as best they could...a fight that continued outside the room even when treatment ended inside the room.

I realized that in addition to those of us physically battling our bodies, we and our loved ones face other challenges as a result. And respond to those challenges in a variety of ways. And so I wrote WAKING LIFE, for what greater battle is there than the very real battle for life?


Director Statement:

I’ve been a filmmaker for more years than I care to count. I’ve worked on many projects, some meaningful and others... well, at least I was working. Then by some twist of fate I stumbled upon the women behind WAKING LIFE – a beautiful, emotional piece about how events beyond our control can take away our control, at once making us painfully aware that we are no longer at the helm, and perhaps we never were.

WAKING LIFE spoke to me and I think it will speak to everyone, for who among us has not been touched by tragedy – it is part of being alive. We are, all of us, vulnerable and fragile, but the human spirit is resilient and alongside despair lives hope, the very thing we must hold on to so we can carry on.




Any and every amount is most welcome!

Share and like us on social media:

Though we rely on crowdfunding to carry us through, we crowdfund not just for financial help, but to invite and encourge your participation in our story.

We also hope to raise awareness for the WAKING LIFE limited series we are currently developing.

In-kind donations:

Any in-kind donations are most welcome!

Do you have access to a location? An infusion room? A classroom or office space?

How about medical equipment?

Retractable needles?

Or medical supplies?

Medical gloves.

Hospital gowns.

Theatrical IV drips. 

Catering? Sponsor a lunch?



We debated whether to include this or not, and decided to add it here and not in our incentive section. We just ask that you "like" and/or "follow" our campaign.
One of the themes in WAKING LIFE is loss. And there are a variety of losses. But for this purpose, for those of you who would like to participate, email a photo of a loved one who has survived a devastating diagnosis, received IVIG's for a an autoimmune disease, or someone you love who is no longer with us physically, but very much alive in your heart.
Our "Nurse Andrew" in the story, fully committed and dedicated to his patients, keeps a board of photos to remember his patients. We would like to honor your loved one by including them on his board, which will be featured in the film. 

*Please let us know which side of the board to place the photo: "In Memoriam" or the "Thank you" side.

*Please note: due to filming constraints, there is no guarantee all photos will make it into the final edit, though we will do our best to do so.


Thank you for taking the time to view our project, and we look forward to sharing the completed film with you in the future.





Michigan behind-the-scene photos for your enjoyment:




Cinemills Midwest lit our Michigan production:


Thank you!



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

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $200

Bagels. Cream cheese. Coffee totes. Bottled water. Fruit. Snacks. Various cold drinks. Sandwiches.

Medical Props

Costs $1,300

Medical gloves. Retractable needles. Masks. Theatrical tourniquets. Medical tape...etc.

Infusion Room

Costs $1,000

We need a space to dress as an infusion room. Minimum 1000square feet. Windows. A bathroom.

Medical Equipment

Costs $4,500

We medical equipement to authentically replicate an infusion room. IV poles. Monitors. IV's. Chairs.

About This Team



Shaelyn Theule-Koops lived abroad during childhood and has, mostly, since then lived in Los Angeles. An English major, high school language arts/drama teacher, and former children's book store owner, she has lately turned to writing screenplays, including THRICE (in pre-production) and HOLY MASQUERADE (announced). Her family feature THE WINDOW WISH received high recognition at the Austin Film Festival Screenwriters Competition and is currently being shopped around. Shaelyn juggles family life and screenwriting, and loves both jobs. 




Valerie was born in New York and raised in the D.C. area.  She graduated from Boston University with a degree in Film and then moved to Los Angeles to continue her education at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts where she received an Associates Degree in Theater Arts.  She spent the first part of her career working in many aspects of filmmaking from Production Managing to Costume Designing to Acting – she’s always felt that empathy goes a long way in this business and standing in as many shoes as possible was the best way to achieve that.  She’s proud to report that her hard work paid off and for the last 20 years she’s been a working member of the Directors Guild of America.



Current Team