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Story and Structure


In 'That’s the Gift' we follow our protagonist, Jill Seward, as she navigates the grief of a loved one who is nearing the end of their life. Jill is the sole caretaker of her sickly grandmother. She almost never leaves her Nana's side, until tonight where she has plans to go to a party. As Jill reluctantly steps away from her role as caretaker, she also escapes the real world into a surreal fantasy masquerade.

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Party hosts, guests, and patrons approach Jill and guide her to process this grief and accept what is to come. Some charming, some rude, and some just confusing her until she finally looks ahead and sees a slightly older and wiser version of herself, Jill ⍺.

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Jill looks to her future self and wants to know everything about her future. When will Nana pass? How much it will hurt? What can she do after?


Jill is met with a calm and confident resistance. Her senior self won't answer these questions for Jill ⍺ knows that giving all the answers would ultimately be robbing her of herself.

Instead, she encourages Jill to look at the beauty of the present moment that is right in front of her. With this understanding, Jill leaves the party, returning to the real world ready to accept the passing of her grandmother and whatever else may come her way.

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The Masquerade

Excitement and mystery, the lively allure of a dream. Energetic conversation is had by people all around her, their faces obscured with extravagant masks and lavish clothing. Specialty cocktails passed around, glasses clink as partygoers open their hearts to the moment. There is a light haze, the glow of rich golds, oranges, and yellows casting halos around silhouetted strangers. All underscored by simple jazz piano, the masquerade is a timeless dreamlike escape from the real world.

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The Masquerade
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As Jill steps into the party, she feels welcomed, yet intimidated. There is a buzz in the air, filled with the laughter and chatter of exclusive conversation. There's a lingering sense that someone is watching her, but wherever she turns, everyone is unabashedly celebrating amongst themselves. Jill knows she's been invited, but can't shake the idea that she doesn't belong here. It's intimately isolating.

Characters and References


Jill, our protagonist is devoted and unbelievably strong. She is the type of person who takes care of others, but not herself. She is both restless and paralyzed in her life. She is very resistant to thinking about her grandmother's passing and thinks she does an excellent job concealing her anxiety. Once Jill steps into the masquerade, she is perplexed, largely fulfilling the role of our audience as the story comes together.


Jill ⍺, the senior version of our protagonist, 2-3 years older than Jill. She has lived through the grief of losing her Nana and knows the pain it caused but ultimately accepts that she has grown after living through it.

Host, Pianist, and Bartender are all portrayed by the same actor. As Jill arrives to the party, she will interact with 3 separate individuals, all of which have completely different personalities but the same face.


The Host is abundantly enthusiastic and excitedly welcomes her into the party. The Pianist has a Nihilistic view of the world and very directly opens the conversation to Nana's inevitable death. The Bartender is confident andcarries himself with ease. He has a presence that calms and validates Jill's feelings, while encouraging her to trust that she is in the right place. She eventually returns to him before leaving the party to acknowledge that she is ready to move on.

Fiona Gallager


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Rebecca Pearson

 "This is us"

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Jill ⍺



Sebastian Wilder

"La La Land"

Phil Dunphy

"Modern Family"





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Nana, Jill's grandmother is instantly loved by our audience. She is precariously feeble and gives the sense that she must be protected at all costs. She loves and appreciates Jill beyond words.


Nana has been sick for a long time and has a laundry list of prescription drugs to take daily. She knows that taking care of her has been taxing on Jill. Nana would like for her granddaughter to let go so that when she passes, Jill can live her own life where she doesn't have to be a caretaker for others.

Betty White

Literally anything she's ever done

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Jill Ω brings an elegant confidence that can be immediately felt. She is 15-20 years older than Jill. She is quick to laughter, and understands her place in the world. The older she gets, the wiser she is and her worldview becomes that much less complicated.


She is inexplicably linked to our Nana character. To bring our story to a full circle, she emits the loving presence that our youngest Jill feels coming from her grandmother.

Dr Jamie Ryan

"Never Have I Ever"

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Jill Ω

The Riddler brings the element of mystery to the forefront as they walk into frame. Imposing but not threatening, they pose a riddle to Jill. When Jill answers, the Riddler says her passage is granted, but then blocks the first direction she chooses and directs her in another.


When the Riddler stands in Jill's way, we understand that they will not be moved under any circumstances, but also that Jill is in no danger.


"V for Vendetta"


The Riddler


Why This Story

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The concept of this piece came to me because I was imagining having a conversation with a version of myself just 2 or 3 years prior. When the world stopped with Covid, everything as I knew it was ripped out from under me. It felt like so many days were passing and passing without any real life happening. I was lost and kept wishing that someone with all the answers could come tell me what to do and how to make sense of the whole mess.


Don't worry, this is NOT a short about Covid… I just couldn't shake the idea of a conversation with an older me. What would they say to me? What could they not say for fear of tearing away all of the nuance.


That is when it hit me. The nuance is the point. The gift is not knowing. That idea is what evolved into this script, written by the unbelievably talented Jacob Hebert, and has shaken me to my core.


Needing to accept the unknown is universal. We all live every day in the unknown. I needed this story. I needed to share this story. Simply put, I needed to create "That's The Gift".

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The Budget


This script, this story needs to be elevated off the page. We have a budget of $20,000, raised via crowd funding to make it all possible. Here's where it's going:


Crew: 50% ($10,000)

Lighting, Sound, Costume, Makeup, Hair


Location: 20% ($4,000)

The 3 "L's" as it was. We need a visually compelling location to work within


Equipment: 10% ($2,000)

Cameras, lighting, sound, instrument rentals


Cast: 5% ($1,000)

This story is about the human experience. We need skilled actors who can authentically live in this space and connect with our audience


Other Expenses: 15% ($3,000)

Editing, Post production, Meals, etc.

The Team

The Team

Meet the creative team who are building 'That's the Gift' from the ground up. Between us, we have decades of experience, acting, writing, directing, behind the camera and in front.

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Christina Holleran



Jacob Hebert



Katherine Dudley

Director of Photography


Thomas Hollow

Executive Producer, Actor

Christina Holleran had her first directing debut when she was sixteen in her high school production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. She then pursued a BA in theatre at High Point University in North Carolina with a concentration in directing. There, she won a directing nomination from ACTF for her work on Frank McGuinness’s Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me. In LA, she’s written, directed, and produced several short films. Recently, she has been 1st AD and Associate Producer on the mystery thriller Proof Sheet (starring Juan Javier Cardenas of The Walking Dead), 1st AD on the romantic dramedy Clown & Out (starring Alejandro Edda of Narcos), and 1st AD & UPM on the Korean short film "Yakson" (directed by Woosik Choi, lead actor of Parasite).

Jacob Hebert is a writer from St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, where he was active in local arts and theater. A graduate of Columbia University, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Studies (CC '14).  He is now located in Los Angeles and has shifted his focus to screenwriting.

Katherine Dudley is an award-winning Cinematographer and Creative Producer with a decade of experience. She started her career in Chicago and Seattle, before moving to Los Angeles in 2019. Katherine has worked on a wide range of genres and styles of film, and has experience with documentary and foreign language content. Most recently, her work on Tamil-language short ‘Kanavili’ earned her an award for ‘Best Cinematography.’ Her style as a cinematographer seeks to create striking visuals, elevate the reality, while remaining grounded in it. Katherine’s main passion is working on projects that can really bring people together, and that both entertain and make you think at the same time.  Long term, her dream is to work on films that promote more international collaboration between filmmakers from different countries.

Thomas Hollow is an actor and singer in the Los Angeles Area. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from UCLA in 2017. His emphatic personality has been seen on full display on stage as Brock in the Netflix Production of ‘The Stranger Things Drive-Into Experience,’ Warner in ‘Legally Blonde,’ and Bobby in ‘Company.’ On Camera he has been seen in several pilots and pilot presentations, including a principal role in ‘Lindy Thompson Wants to be a Star.’ He is a passionate storyteller with a goal of creating art that reflects the human experience, mental health, and journeys of growth.


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This is a crowd-funded film, and we need your help to make it possible.

The fact that you are still looking at this screen is already a huge compliment. We are so passionate about telling this story and hopefully inspiring people to reflect on their own lives when they see it. Any and all donations are so greatly appreciated.

We do have perks if you choose do make more sizable donations:

$50: digital copy of film


$200: special thanks in credits, digital copy of film

$500: invitation to private screening of our pre-release premier, live Q&A with the team, special thanks in credits, digital copy of film


$1000: Associate Producer IMDB credit, invitation to private screening of our pre-release premier, live Q&A with the team, special thanks in credits, digital copy of film


$2000: Executive Producer IMDB credit, Invitation to come to set and see how the magic is made first hand, invitation to private screening of our pre-release premier, live Q&A with the team, special thanks in credits, digital copy of film

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Need a Reason to Donate?

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If any element of this story is exciting to you, please consider donating

If you want to be a part of moviemaking magic, please consider donating

If you want to brag to your friends that you are a producer on a film going to festivals in 2025, please consider donating

If you are moved by my passion or the passion of anyone on this team, please consider donating

And if you can’t donate, please consider sharing this video with your friends and family


All we want to do is tell this story. Please dream big with us and help us bring this script to life. Anything you can contribute to make it possible is so greatly appreciated.

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