Just about everyone is aware of the events surrounding Sharon Tate's death. What was her life like before that? What was her childhood like? What was it like for her entering the entertainment industry? What made her tick? What was her motivation in life? What made her smile? What made her cry?
I tried finding any materials that were both factual and did not focus on her murder or the members of the Manson family, but sadly these were lacking. I had a problem with the way her image was presented to the world, and I felt this urge to do something about it.
I initially wrote a short film script that served as an homage to the iconic moments in her life, but that was immediately ruled out as too expensive. So the idea of turning it into a book of prose came to be. It would not be a traditional biography by any stretch of the imagination, but it would and on aspects of her life that didn't involve her death. I also knew I had to contact her sister Debra, because I refused to publish anything without her permission. Either way, after all this internal discussion, I realized I was about to go into indie publishing.
For the next six months, I spent my days working on this book and my nights working on "Videotape". I was afraid of getting overwhelmed, but the two oddly worked hand-in-hand. I set my sights on a goal: to publish the story on January 24, 2012. That would've been Sharon's 69th birthday. I had started a line of communication which got me in direct contact with Debra Tate, but that took some time. Nearly seven months, actually.
The process of writing this book was both exhilarating and exhausting. My mind played tricks on me during the day, when I swear I could hear Sharon's voice or see her face. I'm not one for progressive spirituality, and I'm not a deeply religious man. But there's no denying the things I saw and felt. While writing it, I felt she was helping me along, in some really bizarre but incredible way.
As it got to January 2012, we designed a book cover and edited the manuscript into something solid. I got in contact with Debra, and sent the manuscript her way. On January 23, one day before Sharon's birthday, I got an email from her praising the manuscript. With that, we published "Sharon Tate" the following day as an e-book.
It spent a few weeks near the top of the free e-book lists on Amazon, and it even managed to capture the top spot for a week. But the reviews were mixed at best, and most readers were turned off by the lack of conventional narrative structure. Some were downright confused by the approach. When I look back on it, I realize our plot synopsis did not fully explain what the book was, that it wasn't a traditional biographical work. That was our bad, and for a time I felt like I had failed in doing the very thing I was setting out to do. Thankfully, we have since modified the synopsis to better reflect my intentions.
There were readers who did understand the nature of the book, and I received emails from them giving praise. I also remember Debra really believed in it, was touched by it, and fully recommended this to people. As she said in an email, "You mentioned things most never noticed." So all-in-all, it was quite the learning experience, and one I will never forget.
Two years later, I put together a short film that incorporated footage from a promo film entitled "All Eyes on Sharon Tate" that was released on the 45th anniversary of her death.