DATELINE May 24 2023 West Orange

West Orange, NJ - Our Origin Story How our unique film project got its start.

Michael Finan, Rick Weiss

5/25/20233 min read

Today, on the one year anniversary of the Uvalde, TX gun massacre, we officially launched Will You Hear Me Now?,

with its companion website,, our Facebook page, and our GoFundMe page. In 2020, according to KFF and the NIH, gun deaths surpassed all other causes of mortality for children 2-19. We believe that schools should be safe havens for students to learn and flourish.

A week before, Executive Producer/Director Michael Finan contacted me, Producer/Screenwriter, Rick Weiss, and said, we need to do something to make a difference. We are both dads of now adult children who themselves grew up haunted by gun violence in schools. Neither of us faced anything like this when we were kids. Our country has been numbed by the crush of violence. Something must change.

At several points in our long television and film careers, we’ve produced PSA’s and Emmy Award-advocacy videos that asked and answered the question “What do kids think?” We applied this perspective to drug abuse and COVID 19, so while Michael began making calls to solidify our partnership base, I began doing the deep dive research writers do.

Gun violence in at-risk communities is a massive problem, but we’re focused for now on school safety. What do students feel about their personal safety while they work and study to become our next generation of voting citizens and leaders? This is not another political forum for adults for or against guns. Adults have plenty of ways to get their feelings out there. Instead “Will You Hear Me Now?” is a bridge between the unheard voices of children speaking directly to adult, parental and legislative forums to advocate for positive change and safer schools. And what better way to build that bridge than with the kids’ own words and music?

Will You Hear Me Now?, the film, will interview young people speaking to their fears of gun violence in schools and hopes for a safer world.

We’ll then turn their words into lyrics and song, with choirs including the fabulous Detroit Youth Choir under Artistic Director Anthony White. We’ve had many inspirational guideposts for this project, but none quite like the DYC’s rendition of the Guns and Roses song Sweet Child of Mine, honoring 11 year old Layla Salazar who started every daily ride to school by singing that song with her dad Vinny until she was tragically struck down in Uvalde. Be prepared, it is a deeply emotional piece.

The music piece of the film “Will You Hear Me Now” will come together under the direction of Jim Papoulis of The Small Voices Foundation. He’s worked with The Detroit Youth Choir, survivors of Sandy Hook and Uvalde to create original lyrics and engage the healing, persuasive powers of choral performance. We are beyond excited to see Jim work in real time and even more excited to share it with you, with politicians, concerned adults and social media influencers.

To learn more about “Will You Hear Me Now” send us an email at To contribute funds to help us with post-production and distribution, please visit our GoFundMe and give what you can. To stay on top of our project in real time, check back here often and if you want priority notice of new blog postings email us at and we’ll be sure to keep you up on the latest.

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