The new big-budget disaster movie Greenland comes out on streaming this week. It starts Gerard Butler as the central character, trying to save his family including his son who lives with type 1. Award winning screenwriter Chris Sparling had never put diabetes into one of his movies, but he knows all about T1D. His wife is Kerri Sparling, writer of the very popular, and now archived, blog SixUntilMe.
Stacey & Chris talk about writing something personal into a movie and then handing over control to a different director and producer, as well as what it’s like to try to make movies during COVID restrictions.
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Episode Transcription (rough transcript, computer only – check back for proofed version)
Stacey Simms 0:00
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This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:27
This week, there’s a new movie all about a big global disaster and it features a main character with type one. award winning screenwriter Chris Sparling had never put diabetes into one of his movies. And he was a bit concerned about how it would all turn out.
Chris Sparling 0:41
I became so in a way overprotective of getting it right. And it being portrayed right because the last thing I wanted to do was to finally incorporate diabetes into a movie of mine and for it to end up being portrayed wrong.
Stacey Simms 0:55
Many of you already know Chris, sort of his wife Kerri Sparling wrote the very popular blog six until me for almost 15 years. We talk about diabetes in the movie and at home and about the entertainment business during this time of COVID
in innovations JDRF begins at home early T1D detection.
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
Welcome to another week of the show. I am so glad to have you here. I am your host Stacey Simms and we aim to educate and inspire about diabetes by sharing stories of connection. Something different This week, we’re going to talk about Greenland. This is a movie it’s releasing in the US on video on demand it stars Gerard Butler and Marina Bakkerin who you probably know from the Deadpool movies. I put the trailer in the Facebook group and Diabetes Connections of the group. But the basic plot is that these are estranged parents, maybe they’ll get back together, but they are working on their marriage just as a world ending cosmic disaster happens. And wouldn’t you know it, their son has type one diabetes, so diabetes, type one insulin, this all becomes a plot point.
Now we’ve talked about this a lot before so many films and TV shows have gotten diabetes exactly wrong. But Greenland has a big advantage. And that is as you heard in that opening tease, and that screenwriter Chris Sparling, whose wife lives with type one, we will get to Chris in just a moment.
But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by one drop and getting diabetes supplies is a pain. Not only the ordering and the picking up but the arguing with insurance about over what they say you need and what you really need. Make it easy with one drop. They offer personalized test strip plans plus you get a Bluetooth a glucose meter test strips lancets and your very own certified diabetes coach. Subscribe today to get test strips for less than $20 a month delivered right to your door no prescription or co pays required. One less thing to worry about not that surprising when you learn that the founder of one drop lips with type one, they get it one drop gorgeous gear supplies delivered to your door 24 seven access to your certified diabetes coach, learn more, go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the one drop logo.
My guest this week is an award-winning screenwriter. He is someone that I’ve never met, but I feel like I kind of know because for many years I and many of you read about him in Kerry Sparling’s blog SixUntilMe. Kerri spent more than 14 years writing about her life with type 1 diabetes which included meeting and marrying Chris, who has been featured in blog posts about kids and family and everything you would expect. Kerri has stepped back from the blog to pursue other projects in her own writing. And Chris has a big movie coming out this week as this episode airs, Greenland, which debuts on American streaming this week.
Chris, thank you so much for joining me. Welcome to the show.
Chris Sparling 3:53
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Stacey Simms 3:55
It’s great to have you. I feel it. As I said, I feel like I kind of know you. So I appreciate you kind of taking the leap and coming on not a movie or writing podcast, but a diabetes podcast. So this should be really fun. What made you decide I mean, you’ve been writing movies for an awfully long time. What made you decide to put diabetes?
Chris Sparling 4:14
You know, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while this movie presented a pretty unique opportunity for me to do it for a couple of reasons. One, the movie is the first of what’s called Greenland. And it’s about an incoming asteroid that’s going to hit Earth or comet, it’s going to hit Earth. It’s this existential threat that everyone on earth faces. So kind of by nature of that alone, there’s a ticking clock built into the movie, right? It’s just when this thing’s going to hit you’re trying to get to the bunkers in Greenland. I tried to get there safely and survive.
And so on the macro level there is that that large ticking clock at play, but the movie itself is different than say, deep impact or Armageddon in that it operates more on a personal level than those two movies do. You know it’s not a movie checking in with what the government’s doing to try to up the asteroid or anything like that, it’s really more like the movie, the impossible if anyone listening ever saw that it’s a great movie. And it’s all to do with seeing it through this one particular family’s lens, how they’re going to survive this, this Cataclysm. So built into that I wanted to have a more personal, it’s a more personal story. And I’d like the idea of having a more personal ticking clock as well.
And so the son in the movie has type one. And now that’s not to say the only reason why I gave him type one is to say, oh, that’d be a cool narrative device is to add yet another ticking clock. But it also quite honestly, it just, as I said, at the beginning of this long winded answer is that it gave me You know, I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, you know, Kerri and I have been together for a very long time. So I’ve seen type one up close and personal for a very long time. And, you know, I think it’s kind of, it’s somewhat misunderstood, if not even known condition by a lot of people. So it was, you know, I’m kind of hesitant to use the word educate, because I’m not really trying to do that, but maybe just shine a light on it a little bit. And, you know, this was a, an opportunity to do that on a, I guess, a large screen, or one of your house.
Stacey Simms 6:08
But I’m really curious, as you said, This isn’t a movie where you’re going to take time to actually do a formal education about type one, just as I wouldn’t expect a formal education about a comment hitting the earth, and you know, what would happen, but you do have to explain these things. And I’m curious, you know, how do you work that in, you know, I assume we’ll see things like injections or a pump or something like that. But was it difficult to kind of write it into the fabric of the story without, you know, Hey, everybody, we’re gonna talk about diabetes.
Chris Sparling 6:34
Now, it was, to a certain extent, because, you know, as you will know, it’s diabetes, you know, it’s sometimes can fly a bit under the radar. You know, I recently, it was kind of bizarre to do it. But it’s fun, I did it, I did an interview with Kerri. And so we were talking like you and I are talking now. And as I told her, then, and I don’t always know when she’s low, I don’t always know when she’s high, you know, things are beeping and everything else. And sometimes she takes on a certain characteristics, when that’s going on. And I do know, or if I see you’re sweeping a bunch of juice or whatever, but like, but sometimes I just don’t know. And so to kind of to represent that on screen is difficult, because if you try to go too far in one direction, or the other, it may start to feel very false and forced, and almost cartoonish. And I say 100%, didn’t want to do that. But if you go too subtle with it, which diabetes can sometimes be a rather subtle condition, you know, at times, and, you know, if you do that, then it just, it doesn’t register for the audience at all.
So to kind of dramatize that, what I did was I had the boy, the young boy in the in the movie, let’s take one, I gave him a pump. And, you know, to kind of develop a shorthand with the audience, right out of the gate, there’s a scene early on in the movie, where Gerard Butler who started in the movie, he’s seeing that basically, he’s been away, he, his wife had marital problems, and he’s kind of they’re trying to work it out, he and his wife now and he’s coming back, he hasn’t seen his son in a little while. And you see, there’s a nice tender scene between him and his son, where he notices the pump, the insulin pump, and he says, you know, you know, basically, there’s something to the effect of I do like that better than the shots. And you know, just kind of getting it across to the audience, someone who may not be as familiar with it as you are.
Or I might be what’s like, oh, okay, I get, you know, I can understand that you’re certain things, I have a certain amount of knowledge about diabetes. So yeah, it’s not, it’s small things like that along the way, I’ve no doubt there will still be things that some people watching, it won’t fully kind of hook on to, and they won’t fully get. But at the same time, I think there might be elements of it that people watching might be like, Oh, I had no idea. I had no idea that having diabetes would require something like that. Or even to say, the immediacy and the importance of insulin, it kind of where I spoke earlier about this massive macro level existential threat that they’re facing. But they still have to get to these bunkers in Greenland, if they’re going to survive. And there becomes a situation where this boy get he needs his insulin, because he gets separated from it. And it’s like, well, yeah, the large scale goal here remains, but if we don’t get you there safely, and again, I mean, just maybe telling maybe to a certain degree, informing the audience who might not know that insulin is not just something like, again, you take it whenever you don’t know, I don’t know what some people might think, like, you just take it once in a while you take it as you feel like it or I don’t know, whatever the misconception might be,
Stacey Simms 9:09
that we eat a cupcake, you need your insulin, right? (laughs)
Chris Sparling 9:12
Yeah, yeah. I think if nothing else, maybe it’ll open, not open people’s eyes. That’s actually wrong, especially maybe just kind of illuminate the topic a bit for some people.
Stacey Simms 9:19
You know, again, I said at the beginning, I’ll probably say a few times. I know very little about the industry, the movie industry and and what it takes to write a movie and produce and get, but I would imagine that and you’ve done projects before, where you’ve been involved in every step, right, you’ve written and then you’ve produced it, or you’ve been more involved. But with this, you you wrote it as my understanding, and what happens after you kind of hand off your baby because the director can change things, right. The actors have to change things. I guess I’ll ask it both ways. First about the diabetes. Did they get it right the way you had hoped? And then we can talk about the movie?
Chris Sparling 9:53
Yeah, well, I mean, yeah, I mean, first, even before diabetes, yes, that always happens. I mean, I’ve directed movies, I produce movies, all of which have been ones that I’ve written. So, you know, in those instances, I have obviously quite a bit of control over what the final movies gonna look like in this instance, having just written it. In other movies I’ve only written, you know, there’s always an understanding that when you hand it off, essentially, you know, your depends on the project, quite honestly. I mean, sometimes just as the screenwriter, I am still very much involved with the production because the director or the producer probably see the value of having the person conceived it but but with this, I was involved but not see, like, on a day to day level, that’s for sure. Look for the diabetes of it all. You know, I was happy with it.
And I was, there were a couple days when I was on set. And, you know, there was I just happened to be there. One of the days they’re shooting a scene in in the grocery store and use the sons, they’re shopping with his dad, and he’s like, Hey, can I get some juice in the dad’s like, yeah, sure, go get some. And I remember talking to the directors like Rick, listen, he’s like, I was like, you know, my wife generally doesn’t drink juice for fun. I’m not I mean, again, I know. She perfectly well, I should be no problem. She could if she wanted to just you know, but I was just I became so in a way over protective of getting it right. And it being portrayed, right, because the last thing I wanted to do was to finally incorporate diabetes into a move your mind and for it to end up being portrayed wrong. But in talking with Rick, he was like, No, no, it’s cool. You know, I guess he was, meanwhile, he had his friend on speed dial who was the parent of a child of type one. He’s like, No, no, I talked to them. I’ve consulted with them over and over again. And they said they get no, they let their child have juice if they want it and everything else I was like, and like, on an intellectual level, it made perfect sense to me.
But I was I mean, I was kind of like waiting that we hold on a second rate bumps, you know, so to fully answer the question, I think the director, the producer was I think they did a really good job. I think people watching the movie and will it be 100%? Right? I don’t know. I mean, people might see it and say, Hey, I don’t know if I agree with that. Or not. But everyone’s situation in their approach is different. But I could say if you kind of widen the aperture a bit and take a look at it, I think people are gonna I think it does it handles it accurately. For the most part.
Stacey Simms 12:02
I would have been like Gatorade zero, and then he can get a juice box for later.
Chris Sparling 12:08
Yeah, I mean, that’s I’m saying like, everyone’s situation is different. Right?
Stacey Simms 12:11
So let’s talk about movies for a little bit. Was this your dream job? Was this something you always wanted to do?
Right back to Chris in just a moment. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. And you know, I’ve talked about this before, but it’s still striking to me when Benny was a little, you know, you give your kid a bath almost every single day or he goes swimming all summer long. And I always noticed his fingertips, you know, they were poked so much, that they were full of these little holes up and they just looked really awful. Especially when they got wet. It was almost 16 I’m not looking at his hands very much anymore. But man, when we go to the endocrinologist and Dr. V looks at his fingertips, they are normal. We’ve been using the Dexcom for so long. Now it was seven years. And with every new iteration, we have done fewer and fewer finger sticks. The latest generation the Dexcom g six eliminates finger sticks for calibration and diabetes treatment decisions. Just thinking about doing the 10 finger six a day we used to do chasing my toddler around, it makes me so glad that Dexcom has helped us come so far. It’s an incredible tool. If your glucose alerts and readings from the G six do not match your symptoms or expectations. Use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions. learn more, go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the Dexcom logo.
Now back to Chris and he’s talking about whether this is still his dream job. Does he still love working in the movies?
Chris Sparling 13:38
Yeah, 100% I mean, I started like eons ago, I started as an actor. And I lived in Los Angeles for several years doing that. And while I liked that, and sure, it would have been great to have ultimately done that it just wasn’t really it’s a really, really tough racket, trying to be doing the struggling actor thing. You know, it’s fine when you’re really young doing it. But at a certain point, you just feel like, wow, I have like no agency, I’ve almost no control over my future. You know, it’s just really, really tough. So I just kind of felt I needed a little more control over my career. And so yeah, so to be involved in this industry in any capacity was was always my goal.
Stacey Simms 14:16
How does it work these days? I mean, people will say, well, you can write from anywhere. But I’ve got to imagine that the whole industry, if not moving slower, shut down. I mean, 2020 it’s been a mess for everybody. But from a filmmaking standpoint, how did this even get done? When was I guess we’ll talk about Greenland, but in general, like, how are things getting made right now?
Chris Sparling 14:36
I mean, yeah, Greenland was all written, shot well before the pandemic, but at the same time post production, it got shut down for a while in post production. So it didn’t get completed, completed until in the midst of the pandemic, you know, and then as far as the release of it, yeah, I mean, it’s supposed to be in theaters two or three different times, then take a push back and push back. But separate from that, you know, as 2020 is going on. I’ve actually had two other movies shoot during the pandemic, I just had one that wrapped two days ago in Albuquerque. And so for me personally, it’s been a, you know, again, I mentioned earlier, but I can’t complain people have like real, you know, things there, especially during 2020 people have had really awful things that they’ve kind of faced, I’m not certainly gonna, I’m not going to complain about having a movie pushback or not being able to visit set because of COVID. But yeah, I mean, it’s been a bit of a bummer. That’s, you know, I’m still human, like, it was a bit of a bummer to, to have two movies that, you know, I wrote and produced, and I was basically producing from, you know, one was an Ontario as a movie called Lakewood that I did with Naomi Watts. And then a movie that I just did born in Albuquerque that wrapped two days ago. And it’s like, I was watching real feed, like real time feeds from the camera, in my house, in my home office. And my situation of you know, being very protective in particular carry, you know, having type one, and so we are, we’re very, very locked down here and the COVID of it all. And so me going to set me being on set just wasn’t really an option for me. So
Stacey Simms 15:58
that’s interesting, though, I had no idea that you know, things, I guess a few we’ve seen TV shows, we’ve seen things being filmed a little bit here and there. But it didn’t occur to me that full scale production or partial scale production, because you were in your house looking at things was going on. I don’t even know what to ask, are they putting their masks on until they like jump in front of the camera? Is it locked down? Is it just a free for all? Because?
Chris Sparling 16:18
No, no, definitely not? No, it’s it is I mean, I really wish, you know, for other industries that are still out there, and people are working, you know, maybe it’s just not feasible, but the film industry to its credit, and television industry, they really have some great protocols in place. I mean, it’s their zones that I like, I’m not going to get into like all the like, they were really, really strict measures. Because again, I mean, there are a lot of unions involved to this screen actors, guild writers, Guild, Directors Guild Producers Guild, so they’re very protective of their membership for, you know, in the first place. And there’s regular testing and everything else. And again, that’s a luxury not I mean, not a lot of people have that. And then it depends on the size of the production. I mean, if you’re talking about a big, let’s say, Marvel movie, I mean, you could, in that instance, they’re going to probably create a massive bubble, wherever and like they rent out an entire hotel, or like they do a Mission Impossible, where they literally rented out an entire cruise ship. And just everyone lived on the cruise ship off the coast of Norway while they were shooting there. So like, I mean, that that wasn’t
Unknown Speaker 17:16
like that. But that makes sense. If you can afford Yeah, but
Chris Sparling 17:18
if you can afford it, yeah, I mean, it’s budget plays a big role. But it’s really, really difficult as it should be. Because it’s there are people at risk. And yeah, the actors in particular, because, you know, when you’re rolling the cameras, you can’t have masks on anymore. So you have to be really, really strict and in how you go about your productions.
Stacey Simms 17:36
What do you think is going to happen with entertainment? In the next few years, I was having this conversation with a friend in terms of are we going to see COVID and people in masks and kind of that real life reflection in the next couple of years in sitcoms, where people are trying to reflect back to us what we’ve been through this year? Or do you think we just need a couple of years away from it? Before we can start seeing?
Chris Sparling 17:57
It’s interesting, I’ve had that exact conversation with a lot of people, where is it going to be in stories? Is it going to be that you pretend COVID just never happened? Or do you incorporate it, even if it’s not just like a major part of your story, it’s just an element of life that everyone is familiar with it. So it’s not if you just mentioned all they get someone gets sick during COVID, a couple years ago, you just off handed say it and there’s no explanation because everyone in the world is going to know what that is. So it’s either, you know, in I’m of the mind where, when we’re out of this, I want to be out like I don’t I don’t want to look back on this and try to make it I certainly don’t want to make it part of other people or right now. It’s you see people trying to make pandemic movies and everything else. And I’m like, I want no part of that. I want no part of that at all. And that’s fine. I’m not judging them for maybe wanting to I’m just saying for myself. Yeah, I’m hopefully looking to the future here and want to get past this and move on.
Stacey Simms 18:51
I’m with you. I think we’ll know for sure if like a rom com next Christmas makes money and they’re able to do like a meet cute with COVID. emasculate that takes off, then we’ll know but I don’t think it’s going to.
Chris Sparling 19:03
Yeah, and I know like I my wife watches this is awesome. You know, I I saw a couple times where they’re wearing masks on the show sort of there now, and that’s fine. I mean, I’m not judging it. I’m just saying for myself,
Stacey Simms 19:15
I would but I’m with you. I want to be entertained right now. I’m not maybe as we get past it, we can reflect for but I could be meant, you know, it’ll be interesting to see because there are different opinions about it for sure. Looking back to Greenland, I wanted to ask you, why did you give diabetes to the kid in the movie, and not the wife character? Was there? Was there a thought process there?
Chris Sparling 19:38
It’s tough to say I mean, don’t really recall. I mean, probably wrote this movie by now maybe four years ago, years ago. I don’t know. If I decided at this moment. I’m going to make a movie and give a character in a family that type of diabetes would I make? I don’t know. I mean, maybe, maybe again, just kind of speaking to this. Again, I’m hesitancy an opportunity to make some seemed like I was on a crusade and it wasn’t I’m not on it at all. But like, I think there are a lot of people I’m gonna be frank, I don’t think a lot of people know that kids can get diabetes. I just don’t think that they, I think a lot of people, I think when they just hear the term diabetes, I think they mean type, they just assume it means type two, they don’t even think that there is a type one or type two, they just think there was diabetes, and to maybe see a child, the 78 year old child with diabetes, maybe that kind of will at least, I don’t know, in a waste stop some, someone long enough to say, Well, wait a minute, I never knew that. Little kids can have diabetes. For example,
Stacey Simms 20:35
I mentioned in the intro this interview that, you know, I kind of knew of you knew you a little bit from Kerry’s blog, my son said he was 14 years ago. So she’d been writing the blog for a while when he was diagnosed and was one of the first things I found and like many people, because very, very popular blog, you know, I read everything she wrote, I feel like I knew so much about Kerri. And it was a huge help to me, even though I have a son. And it was something my spouse who has type one, what was that like for you? Was that like a different world kind of like, okay, Kerry’s writing her blog, but you were mentioned it we knew about your family we do about things that are going on? I’m curious what your perspective on six and told me is,
Chris Sparling 21:11
I mean, I’ve always tried to be as supportive as I could with everything that she’s doing in the community and elsewhere and on the blog. Yeah, that was no different. I think it speaks more to just how the internet itself has changed. Overall, we’re, I mean, she started blogging when people didn’t even, like, I want to say she was one of maybe two or three bloggers who were blogging about diabetes at the time. And this was, you know, that’s at a time when the internet, like blogs were pretty new, and people weren’t generally sharing, they weren’t comfortable sharing personal information online, so much. And nowadays, that’s all the internet is. And so like, so it’s kind of a different space. And it was, it was a much more. You know, it wasn’t it wasn’t the juggernaut it is now I don’t mean her blog, I mean, just like any kind of blog, or social media account, or anything else like that. So her writing personal details about, say, our relationship, and then our, you know, our marriage, and then our then our daughter at first, it just seemed we were okay with it for a while. And then just again, speaking for us, this is no comment on anyone else who might be doing this now, currently, but it’s just for us, we just kind of decided that, you know, just wanted to be a little more closed off with the personal stuff in that way. So that’s why if you go back, I’m sure in her blog, maybe when you started. I mean, there was a I remember a lot of stuff we she would talk about the stuff she and I were doing is kind of like a young couple going into New York City and hanging out. And, you know, so because it was kind of it was just kind of fun, and had almost like, you know, almost had like an early Facebook field where you just felt like, Hey, I’m writing this to my friends and family. Right? You know, as opposed to, you know, you write this stuff, and then all of a sudden, it’s just, it’s fodder for anyone to comment on or anything, I don’t know. And it just became, I don’t know, if it’s a conscious decision or not, it just became more of like a Yeah, just to kind of pull back a little bit in that way on her on her blog and stuff.
Stacey Simms 22:57
Yeah, for me, it was almost like a teachable thing in terms of not just diabetes and learning about what an adult perspective was, but really did help me a lot gain perspective. And even when my son was two, it was also a really good kind of template almost in terms of sharing, because it did educate a lot of us along the way. Because that was before Facebook and social media. Really, I know, you’re probably not gonna think about Facebook in college, and that was it. But I mean, for you know, in 2006 when I think she started as a five there was no social media really so right. It was a really good lesson in protecting your privacy, especially as it went on. But you know, it’s it’s a different world. People can’t share enough some people. So isn’t Greenland has been released, I believe in Europe and some other parts of the world because that’s, I’ve seen it in some of the parenting Facebook groups. People have been chit chatting over it. Yeah. I asked if anybody had any questions for you. And most people just said, I loved it. But it scared me or like, Oh, my gosh, I didn’t want to think about those kinds of things. But I did get a great comment from Sarah, who said, Stacy, can you tell Chris how much my nine year old son and I appreciate it? how accurate it was? Yeah, she has a question for you. She wants to know how difficult it was for you emotionally, to write something like this with so much personal experience from this disease that you’ve said it’s been about four years, or maybe more since you actually wrote the script. But seeing as this really is something scary in terms of end of the world, and like a lot of parents I have like, Oh my gosh, if he’s stranded or you know, it’s even just like, it could be forgetting his diabetes back at the movies. It doesn’t have to be a comet hitting the earth or plane crashes. Terrible. Yeah, we’re all scared. Did you get emotional kind of writing this and thinking about carry? Yeah,
Chris Sparling 24:38
I mean, it’s emotional. Now even watching again. For that reason. I think it’s it. There’s another and this is kind of what I was driving at with incorporating diabetes, where again, I didn’t want it to seem like just some plot device. Like you said, it doesn’t have to be a comet hitting the earth. It doesn’t have to be a pandemic that we’re all dealing with. But those things there’s no Another whole layer for people living with diabetes or any chronic condition for that matter, any medical condition for that matter, it’s it there is an another ongoing in a way unrelenting element to your life into the life of the people who care about you. You know, and that’s, I think what I wanted to really portray is that it’s like, again, even though these people are selected, and that’s, you know, not giving away much they are among the very, very few people selected to go to these bunkers in Greenland. You know, someone made the joke recently, it’s like, you know, Gerard Butler has saved the president so many times, it’s only it’s only fair that he’s selected. But anyway, so they were and it’s like, okay, that’s, that’s great. But like, that doesn’t nothing changes it for at least as of current standards of medicine, nothing changes, the fact that this kid still needs his insulin, and it was emotional in that way. Because we’ve been there, you know, we’ve been in those instances, and I’m sure so many people listening have where sometimes stuff can get scary. You know, I talked about the subtlety of it before. And sometimes things can go from subtle or zero to 60 pretty fast. And that by itself, those moments are emotional when they’re happening. And so to kind of to try to incorporate them into even something fake. I mean, you try your best to just make it feel real and realistic and kind of pour yourself into it as much as you can. So yeah, it’s, it was a you know, so yes, sir.
Stacey Simms 26:19
I promise I will not get too nosy. And ask you lots of personal questions about Kerri. But I am curious, I don’t talk to a lot of partners, spouses of partners and spouses of people with type 1 diabetes. And that’s a different experience than being a parent or being a person with type one. I’m not gonna ask you to make a grand statement, you know, what have you learned? or What advice do you have? But I am curious, when you met Kerri. And this is a long time ago, as you said, I’m, I don’t know if you can remember. What did you think about diabetes at the time? Were you really worried about dating and then getting very serious with someone who had something like this? Do you remember?
Chris Sparling 26:55
Yeah, I do. I had a very limited, very limited exposure to type one, only because a good buddy of mine, he had been for a little while dating a girl with type one, prior to me meeting Kerri. And the standout thing was that she was low one time, and she threw a pumpkin at him. So like, that was my introduction to type 1 diabetes, that sometimes when you’re low, like you can kind of like your behavior can be you know, not like, I don’t know, something you come out of here, we’d like you to depending and, and she just happened to get like, very aggressive for some reason that that is, and I was like, Wow, so that was a completely rough and probably ill informed introduction to diabetes. And then I met Kerri. And, you know, thankfully, she never threw a pumpkin at me. But But yeah, I mean, it’s so I learned it a lot from just being with her and being around her and see how she manages the disease. But I mean, this, the thing is that I met her God, I mean, she must have had it for about 18 years, 15 years, some anywhere from 15 to 1819, whatever it was, before I met her, so she was very accustomed, you know, to dealing with this as an adult, because naturally got as a child, and then I should say, naturally, she got it as a child. So naturally, her mom and her dad, were helping her as a child, but then she, I met her as an adult. So she has several years of managing this disease on her own. And so it was kind of like I had to, you know, again, this is just specific to my relationship with Gary, I’m not trying to map this onto how other people do their thing. But like, I learned the boundaries in a way of like, what is the best way for me to be helpful in these situations. And even something simple, like I learned very early into this day, know that if carry is low, you have an instinct, when someone’s not feeling well, for any reason. You’re like, Oh, just sit down, sit out, you know, if you’re feeling if you’re feeling dizzy, whatever, she’s the opposite. And then this is just her. She’s the opposite. She doesn’t want to she doesn’t want to sit down. Because sitting down in a way, mentally allows it to settle in more for her. She, you know, she can’t fully explain what she’s saying. She’s, like, I can’t resist it, if I’m accepting it. And that, you know, again, it’s not some woowoo thing. It just for her. That’s it. So, like little things like that. Over the years, I’ve kind of and then bigger things over the years that I’ve come to say, all right, well, this is my role in this, I guess.
Stacey Simms 29:07
Getting back to screenwriting for just a moment. You know, there’s a lot of I think a lot of people think that any job in the movies is super glamorous. And it’s not as difficult as it is screenwriting has to be so difficult to me to think about. Because you’re you’re pretty much by yourself writing. But I’m curious. Do you have any advice? I mean, for anybody listening who would love to do what you were doing?
Chris Sparling 29:29
Yeah. Um, read screenplays. It’s the best education you could possibly get. I mean, there are entire screenwriting programs. You could go spend a couple $100,000 on right now. And I’m not taking away the value of that but at the same time, I would put it right up there with just reading the screenplay a week.
Stacey Simms 29:46
How do you get a screenplay? Pardon my ignorance?
Chris Sparling 29:48
No, it’s fine. I mean, just go online. Just Just go to Google and type movie screenplays and I’m sure like the vast majority of movies you’ve seen in like are you can read screenplays for
Stacey Simms 29:58
Is it still fun for you?
Chris Sparling 30:01
Yes, I this, I’ve been doing this for, like professionally for over 10 years now it’s been my, my job. You know, just like anything else, things start to get a little old. I think for the next 10 years, I think I look forward more to writing and directing more as opposed to just writing. You know, I’ve directed a couple movies so far, but I want to do more of that I think in the next 10 years will say, yeah, I mean, I still love it. I love what I do. I feel very fortunate that I, you know, I tried for a very long time to break into this industry. And so like, I never lose sight of that. Yeah, I mean, there’s certainly days that you just, it’s just not happening. You’re just trying and you’re like, wow, I’m really awful at this. And so no, and, and other days, you’re kind of like, Yeah, maybe. I think it’s interesting, during, in the COVID of it all, like I’ve been, I remember, especially, you know, early early on in it, where everyone was on lockdown, and everyone’s like, Oh, you must be getting so much done, you must be in so much writing done having all this time. And I was like, I can nothing done. I’m like, I can’t get my head in the game at all. And that went on for a while, like creatively, I just couldn’t get there. I guess, understandably, given the circumstance. But over time I was. It’s gotten easier. I think more than anything. Now. It’s just a time thing i’m sure Kerri would agree with this is that because of how we’re doing things with, you know, with with us and our kids being you know, home from school, and that’s just how we’re doing it. It’s just, there’s a lot of us being here and having to having to kind of shuffle responsibilities back and forth. And so, you know, the amount of time I actually have, and that she has to take it worked on is that’s pretty valuable commodity these days.
Stacey Simms 31:36
Yeah, no doubt. So before I let you go, is there anything that you can share with us that you’re working on now, in terms of writing or things that haven’t started yet?
Unknown Speaker 31:45
Chris Sparling 31:49
You can tell I, you know, I have a long gestating project. Basically, it’s an adaptation of Stephen King’s the talisman. I don’t know if that one’s ever going to happen, quite honestly. It’s just I mean, it’s something that it’s it’s Steven, not the name drop, but it’s a Steven Spielberg project that he has been trying to do for like 35 years, there have been like, I don’t know how many iterations of it that just just kind of come together, then he changes his mind or it doesn’t happen. And then he moves on and then tries again, and like 510 years later, so who knows if that this one will follow that same trajectory. But that’s one that I’ve been working on for a while, and then and a couple other projects. And then I’m just I just started a new script of my own. So in other words, not like a writing a script or adapting a script for somebody else. Right. You know, it’s one that I’m hoping is going to be my next directing project. So,
Stacey Simms 32:34
so yeah. Okay, so we will look for greenlit, I will put all the information in the show notes where people can find it. Anything that we should look for that might be like a diabetes community, in thing I mean, now I have to look for the juice in the grocery store.
Chris Sparling 32:47
Yeah, there’s that scene. I mean, there’s the pump scene. You know, there’s the scene where, um, there’s a lot of them. It’s not like it doesn’t it’s not like some small facet of the movie. I mean, it’s so
Stacey Simms 32:56
cool. The mom isn’t trying to read six until me like the panel there’s no like
Chris Sparling 33:01
easter egg thrown in. Right? Um, you know, it’s interesting though, because the the LED with this there’s Kari asked me this question when choosing interpretive me which again, which is kind of bizarre. She was like, Why? Why does she’s even curious. In the movie, the boys wearing an old like Medtronic pump in? She’s like, why that old pump? Why not like a more modern pump even more modern Medtronic, but I don’t know, I mean, quite honestly, I mean, it’s probably the props department that chose that one. And the director approved it. And then they’re also clearance issues where you can’t just use a product, right? You’d have to get approval from the company. And so I could find out, I’m sure, but still, what I do wonder, and I might have done the same thing had I directed movie is that old model is older model PUMPS LOOK more medical, they look like medical devices where a lot of the more you know, more modern pumps will say they look sleek, they look like cell phones, they look like you know, and so I think for an audience, if the if part of the effort here is to kind of maybe shine a light on this on this condition, this disease, you certainly don’t want them to be confused, where they see something like well, what is that? I don’t know, it’s a phone or what is that? That and, and I think, you know, that’s, I don’t know what that is. I don’t know if that’s a fun fact, I don’t know how you classify.
Stacey Simms 34:15
Now, that’s exactly what I meant that sorry. When because when we look at the screen now we’re all gonna be thinking like, wait a minute, because I know my audience, they’re gonna pause it, they’re gonna look at it, they’re gonna zoom in if they can, and you know what pump is that? And that’s, that’s a really good reason why?
Chris Sparling 34:30
I don’t think it’s a fun fact, because I don’t know if that’s the right way. Right? It’s like a fun speculation. There you go.
Stacey Simms 34:37
You know, we’re bonkers that way we’d like to know. So we’ll see what happens. Chris, thank you so much for joining me and you know, for for speculating and for sharing so much of your time. I really appreciate it. Oh, thank you.
Unknown Speaker 34:54
You’re listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 35:00
For more information about the movie, the trailer where you can watch it, all of that at the episode homepage at Diabetes connections.com, wherever you are listening, if you’re listening on a podcast app, you can always come back to the homepage and find out all of the info. Not every app has a great way to see the show notes. You know, we’re on Pandora and Spotify and apple and everyone’s just slightly different. So I like to keep it at home base. We also have transcriptions for every episode this year. And we’re starting to go back and add them for every episode. So I’m very excited about that. I will also link up the carry and Chris interview that he mentioned, because Kerri scooped me she got the interview first. It was really fun. I interviewed my husband before for this show, and it’s a little bit of a weird feeling. But it was a lot of fun to watch them and I recommend that especially if you’re a big fan like I am of six until me and of Kerri. Up next we’re going to talk about this new at home test kit from jdrf. First Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Jeevan hypo pin, almost everyone who takes insulin has experienced a low blood sugar and that can be scary. A very low blood sugar is really scary. And that’s where evoko pen comes in. It’s the first auto injector to treat very low blood sugar gvl caple pen is pre mixed and ready to go with no visible needle. That means it’s easy to use in usability studies. 99% of people were able to give g vo correctly. I’m so glad to have something new, find out more go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the G Volk logo g book shouldn’t be used in patients with pheochromocytoma or insulinoma. Visit chivo glucagon.com slash risk.
In innovations this week, where we talk about the latest and greatest in the technology sectors and new stuff in our community, I want to tell you about jdrf new T one detect this just came out last week as you’re listening to this episode, if you’re listening to it when it first airs, and T one detect is jdrf snoo screening education and awareness program. So basically, it’s screening you for type 1 diabetes auto antibodies, I’m going to read a little bit from the jdrf website. They say until now t Wendy symptoms and a diagnosis often come out of the blue. Today, families can use testing to detect t Wendy early so they can plan and prepare with one blood test anyone at any age can find out before symptoms even occur. If they are at risk for developing to end, the test is easy, simple and can help save lives. So this sounds great. This sounds a lot like trial net, who we’ve talked to before, my understanding is that it’s different. It’s not quite the extensive test. And by that I mean, it looks like a different test, it’s a finger prick, and you send the blood samples back to the lab. And then you get your results back. And they say you get next steps as to what they mean and what to do. So I’m hoping that that also means counseling of I haven’t seen anything about that yet. Because, you know, that’s the only that’s one thing about doing these tests, any health tests by mail, right, you want to get the results. And then you want to have somebody sitting next to you telling you what you do with those results. So you’re not feeling alone. You know what, if you have these antibodies, you don’t know what they mean, you know what I mean? When you click through the website, it actually takes you to enable bio sciences, T one D auto antibody testing, and that’s from whom you actually order the kit, you make an account with the company, you can check through your options on privacy, you can decide if you want to make your results available to jdrf. You can say Do I want bio sciences to have my personal health information, there’s a lot you can do here. The tests are not free is my understanding. But I didn’t see anything about cost anywhere on the website. However, I didn’t get far enough through it to actually order the tests. And what’s interesting here is that T one detect will be available to people whether or not they have a family member who has type one diabetes, and that’s different from most of the other screenings, including trial net. So a lot of questions here. I have reached out to jdrf they have said that they’re you know more than willing to come on. So now it’s just a question of scheduling. So I’ll be putting in the Facebook group Diabetes Connections of the group when we are ready to go with that, and I will certainly solicit your questions and we will get them answered. My biggest question is, why make this separate? jdrf I believe already helps fund trialnet. So why now fund something different when trauma needs money? So I’m going to find out I’m sure we’ll learn much more. I am definitely in favor of more research and more testing because boy, if we could test everybody for type one, we could learn so much more about possible prevention and treatment and all that good stuff. So don’t misunderstand my questions here for doubter cynicism. I’m just really curious about this new program and of course, we will find out more programming note for the rest of the year. I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure we have about two weeks left to go for 2020 and I do have the shows planned out. We’re going to do wait wait, don’t poke me the Game Show that I aired at friends for life. If you didn’t go to that winter conference, you’ll be able to hear the show and you’ll actually be able to watch it, I’ll put it on YouTube the same time the podcast goes live. That’s always a lot of fun. And then I have another panel that we taped earlier this year about the type one and type two community with some familiar faces to many of you. And that will be the last episode of 2020. However, as I’ve said before, there’s always some interesting stuff at the end of the year. And if we’re able to jump in with some more breaking news, or something really interesting, comes up, you know, it’s not like I’m traveling This year, we’re all sitting around on zoom. So we will bring you you know, any breaking news that happens in our community, and I basically just reserve the right to throw a new show in here or there. But we are almost done. Holy cow this year, and not much for reflection. I’m not quite sure that I’ll do a lot on 2020 I think I need to get a little further away from it and further toward Good Stuff and Being with you all the view more in person before I can really properly reflect but I gotta tell you, I am glad to see 2021 on the horizon. thank you as always to my editor jump you can. It’s from audio editing solutions. And thank you so much for listening. I’m Stacey Simms. I’ll see you back here next week. Until then, be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms Media. All rights reserved. All rounds avenged
Transcribed by https://otter.ai