Happy 2-Year Anniversary "NEW GIRL"!
Updated: Jan 20
Our first thought two years ago when we named our then-short film, 'New Girl' was, 'won't people mistake this for the already-existing American Fox series, New Girl?'
We had a great, unique story, and 'New Girl' was the working title because, after all, it was about a new girl whose arrival intimidates the school's resident queen. But we were worried about getting lost amongst the pre-existing New Girl series.
For us, New Girl was still the best-fitting monicker for our film, and so we forged ahead into production on the 1st of July.
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We won't ever forget this film. Not only because it was our first official product, but more because it was nothing short of a miracle, really. Let's tell you a little story:
We'd held auditions a little over a week before the first day of shooting was scheduled, but a few days to shooting, our first choice for Olive called and said she couldn't do the role.
"Because I just made my hair, and my mom won't let me loosen it for the film". She said something along those lines. We were stunned. We were both upset and understanding. After all, it must have looked like a waste of money to the mother who knew nothing about this unknown film studio. But we were clever... Right? We'd selected an understudy for Olive just in case option #1 failed. We called and asked the understudy to come in, but her response was less encouraging. She couldn't take time off work to shoot. Her boss simply wouldn't let her. So, we had rented equipment, built sets, brought in actors, but we didn't have a lead.
It was by an insistent suggestion from executive producer, (aka mom) Dr Rachel Damina that Director Jemima Damina and screenwriter Jesimiel Damina cast their sister, the then 15-year-old Jeiel Damina as the lead. At that time, Jeiel was slated to play "Student 2", a single-line role. Jeiel suit the general description but they thought she would need time to become familiar with the role.
That's when Jeiel stepped up and surprised everyone. After all, she'd read the script in all its iterations when Jesimiel was writing it, and she'd been to all the rehearsals and knew what was expected. Most importantly, it was a film her sisters were making and she knew their minds perhaps even more clearly than they did. She was not a professional actor, but she would work hard and try her best, and that was all they needed.
So, here we are, two years later, and our New Girl (aka now Best Friends in the World | Episode 1) has amassed over 5.7million views on YouTube!
It's incredible. It's unexpected.
As the creators, we didn't expect this much attention or traction. The public response literally blew our minds. It still does till this day. That first episode progressed in leaps and bounds. It's still so relevant and beloved. It's far from perfect-- we see its flaws every time we watch it or come across it among fan posts, but it's in a class of its own and we will always celebrate it because it literally made us who we are.
Two years later and the Best Friends in the World franchise has made such a global impact, we have to pray daily that we can refine and properly exploit it to reach its full potential. It has the potential to become the well that never stops giving. We hope we will always be the hands that are fit to handle it. After all, it's our baby, but, my, how she has grown.
Perhaps we'll continue to share more stories in subsequent posts, but for now, we'll end things here with a special set of THANK YOUs.
First, to the original cast: Jeiel Damina (Olive), Emmanuel Esiet (Adam), Inemesit Essien (Esther), Gift Etim (Maria) and Itoro Praise (Sara). Of course, Miracle Eboumbou (Mr. Ben) and Nancy Eke (Mrs. Lane) too!
THANK YOU to the original 'crew' (aka our friends). They were unskilled in film production but they helped where they could. We really couldn't have made this film without them. They trusted our vision and stuck with us. Thank you, John 'Micky' Idara, Uzoma Peterside, Marylyn Essang, Samuel Sunny, Godsgift Eyoh and Michael Peterson.
And of course, THANK YOU to all the fans who've been with us since day ONE- especially those who pushed and encouraged us to make the Best Friends in the World series. We love you and absolutely won't be here without you. Let's meet often at Neptune3 Studios channel on YouTube <3