The latest project from BIC Media Solutions, entitled “Rock Bottom and Back: From Desperation to Inspiration,” is set to be released this summer.
Published by BIC Media Solutions and written by The New York Times bestselling author Susan Mustafa with Earl B. Heard, “Rock Bottom and Back” depicts the incredible lives of 22 people who hit rock bottom and then came back from profound despair to help others in extraordinary ways.
When asked about his inspiration behind the book, Heard explained, “I went to rock bottom in the early 1980s and others who have been to rock bottom before me were my best supporters. After that experience, I vowed to do the same thing and this is something I’ve thought about for decades.”
“Earl realized that a book about people who hit rock bottom and then turned their lives around to help others would be a wonderful tool to inspire people,” said Mustafa, the book’s co-author. “When he approached me about writing the book, I thought it was a great idea. Earl and I had known each other for many years, and I knew as soon as he shared his vision with me that this would be a worthwhile endeavor.”
Mustafa, a Louisiana native, is an award-winning true crime author, penning books like “The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching For My Father and Finding the Zodiac Killer.” While it may seem like a leap from true crime to the inspirational genre, Mustafa explained, “I’ve ghostwritten inspirational books in the past, and I enjoy writing them. Also, researching and writing books about serial killers means I get up close and personal with the worst that people can be. I like to write something positive or inspirational while I’m writing true crime in an effort to counteract the horrors I witness. For me, it’s like balancing the worst in people with the best in people.”
“Rock Bottom and Back” features celebrities and ordinary people alike, each with a unique story of tragedy, perseverance and, ultimately, success. The book comprises a wide range of people, diverse in age, race and life experiences. “The key thing I was looking for was not how far they had fallen but who had inspired them to rebuild their lives and help others to do the same,” said Heard, who chose the book’s participants with the help of Mustafa and BIC’s media manager Rose Gladner.
Once the subjects were selected, Mustafa began interviewing them for the book, calling this “the most incredible back-to-back series of interviews I’ve ever done.”
“Everyone seemed to grasp the importance of this project, and they were all very honest about even their darkest moments,” she explained. “To hear how these heroes turned their lives around and then to learn about the wonderful things they now do to help others was very inspiring to me on a personal level.”
While the book was being written, BIC Media Solutions partnered with David Bottner and Steven Scaffidi at the New Orleans Mission to help produce a companion DVD. The New Orleans Mission is the largest faith-based private service provider to the homeless population of the greater New Orleans area and the economically disadvantaged residents of Central City.
“Our strategy is to rescue people from homelessness, strengthen the recovery efforts of the people seeking our support, and foster their successful re-engagement into society as healthy, disciplined skilled people ready to lead a sustainable, productive, purpose-driven life,” said Scaffidi.
As such, Scaffidi had the idea to form a production company at the New Orleans Mission that focuses on film, television and other creative projects.
“The goal was to give the homeless living at the mission an opportunity to learn all aspects of film production and create and produce original projects at the mission,” he explained. “I went to Mission Director David Bottner with the idea and soon after our first meeting, Mission Media Productions was born.”
After meeting Heard and signing a deal with BIC, Mission Media began production on the “Rock Bottom and Back” DVD. Guests at the New Orleans Mission, called Mission Disciples, made up the entire production crew.
“I produced and directed the production and they worked in all departments including camera, sound, grip and electrical,” said Scaffidi. “They also handled post production at our mission office and did all of the editing, music, graphics and everything else needed to finish the production.”
He added, “My goal (at Mission Media) is to produce high quality and thought-provoking films, television and other creative projects including photography, music and other art forms that will inspire people across America and around the world. My goal is to allow people who have hit hard times the opportunity to get back on their feet and achieve their dreams through film and the creative arts.”
The collaboration between Mission Media and BIC doesn’t end there. The two entities are currently working on a “Rock Bottom and Back” TV pilot.
“We are excited about the progress (of the pilot) and especially how great the folks at Mission Media have been to work with,” said Heard. “It also is a wonderful feeling to know that in addition to a great film about hope and second chances, we are helping folks who are homeless learn a profession.”
The ultimate goal for the “Rock Bottom and Back” project—which now includes the book, the DVD and the TV show—is “to give hope to those who are facing adversity and despair, and to ignite a spirit of gratitude among those who have been blessed with success and resources,” said Heard.
“There is something in this book to which everyone can relate, and we hope it helps those who are hitting bottom realize that they can live productive lives, that people really do care about them, and that they must never give up hope…” added Mustafa. “Earl and I hope that this book will inspire positive change in everyone who reads it.”
For more information, visit www.rockbottomandback.com.