EXCLUSIVE! ‘Y&R’ Star Lauralee Bell’s Message To Teens And Parents, ‘mI Promise’ Web Series Debuts Now! Check Out The Most Important Story Highlight Hollywood Has Ever Done

mI promise will debut today, Monday, Dec. 2, and new episodes will be released each Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the first two weeks of December. mI promise can be seen at www.mIpromise.com and #sharemIpromise on Facebook and Twitter. Highlight Hollywood caught up with “The Young and the Restless” superstar Lauralee Bell, who has created a moving and most important web series. mI promise is absolutely something, the star wanted to do, because not only are  her kids,  Christian and Samantha, getting to the age where they will be driving in a couple of years, but several of her nieces, nephew and friends’ children are also driving or soon will..  Bell tells Highlight Hollywood, “I wanted a series that does not preach, as that turns young people off. But, it’s one of the most important issues of our generation, Tommy.  Young adults today live on their cell phones and iPads, texting and feeling as though they have to do so while doing other things, including driving.  It’s not their fault.  Look at how many of us adults do this. So, not only do we need to teach young people they don’t want to do this, but we need to retrain ourselves as well, to stop, it can change your life in a moment,” said the producer, director and actress of mI promise.

 

 

Lauralee Bell (Cricket/Christine on The Young and the Restless) has been a working actress since she was a child and she wrote/directed/produced the web series Family Dinner (each episode debuted on FunnyorDie) and Just Off Rodeo, Her latest web series, mI promise, is the one that is closest to her heart. As a devoted mother of two kids, and aunt and friend to dozens more, she began to worry about two things lately:  The thought of her kids driving in 2-4 years and the fact that all kids (let’s admit it, adults too!) spend so much time on their devices and not experiencing life the way we all did — before we couldn’t live without our phones and tablets, since they (and we) are too busy texting about it. From that, a new web series was born, combining drama and a short attention span.

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Bell, partner of Martin Bell Productions manages to capture the viewer’s attention immediately.  She directed and wrote the mI promise and with husband Scott Martin, executive produced the webseries. With one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming starlets, Cassidy Ann Shaffer, whom Bell immediately realized was perfect for the role, this series, which is not a PSA, but something much more fascinating, really blew my mind.  “That’s what I wanted to happen, Tommy.  I know that this is something that we need to share with not only every parent of a teenager or young adult, but also people like you, who may not have children, but are godparents and friends to many young people who listen to you.  I hope that this series, which has very short episodes will get a lot of attention during the holiday season.  You know, Tommy, after we completed this, I told Scott, I don’t need another necklace, if this series saves just one life, that is all I want for Christmas this year,” Bell continued.

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This series, mI Promise, is in my opinion not only one of the best new web series today, but the one every single person who drives should watch.  Within the first minutes, the young and enigmatic protagonist in it, Riley (Cassidy Ann Shaffer, who recurs as Kimmy on Disney Channel’s Austin and Ally), starts out on her 16th birthday, full of life and wonder, on the cusp of first love and first car. “I wanted to give kids someone they could relate to and tell the story without being preachy,” admits Bell, “and I wanted to show them an alternative way of life where they are living life and not just writing about it.”

 

 

The series  www.mIpromise.com debuts today, with subsequent episodes debuting on December 4, 6, 9, 11 and 13th, with healthy dose of reality right before the holidays. The viewer joins Riley to experience the thrill of someone liking you for the first time via text and then how the same once-in-a-lifetime moments can happen if you are actually seeing the other person’s face and the excitement that only happens when you are face-to-face. It’s definitely not all sweetness and light and that becomes clear in the first episode. Viewers will see the consequence of “mI promise, that I won’t text my life away” and the result of living it fully, real emotions and all. Riley’s choices are highlighted with her best friend, her annoying little brother, her attempt to assert her independence from her mom (played by Bell), dancing with someone she’s crushing on for the first time and following up that amazing experience with … a text instead of feeling the tingle of having that person right next to you, stumbling over their words and feeling the shy awkwardness of first love in the flesh.

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Highlight Hollywood has viewed the first six episodes, and I simply could not believe what growth Lauralee Bell has shown as a producer, writer, director and yes, actress. Then again, having grown up with legendary parents William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell, who not only created television’s most successful daytime soaps, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, but Lee had her own show in Chicago for years, and her guests included presidents, heads of state and celebrities. She paved the way for people like Oprah Winfrey, and Lauralee has definitely with mI promise, made her late legendary father Bill Bell very proud.  This is definitely something Bell learned to do well.  It is absolutely groundbreaking, and with the help of her seasoned performance as Riley’s mother, the two stars light up the screen in some of the most mesmerizing scenes, and storytelling, that I haven’t seen since the 1970s and ’80s classic Y&R.  Like Lee Bell, who brought social issue stories to the forefront decades earlier, such as rape, incest, abortion and other pivotal issues, Lauralee Bell now brings the most important current situation of teen texting and driving to the small screen, and you won’t want to miss a moment of it.

 

Immediately what caught my eye, was watching Riley drive in my own neighborhood, in the Beverly Hills region of Sunset Blvd.  Soon, a decision she makes, which many young people are faced with every hour of the day, is one that changes her life and the lives of her family, friends and loved ones for ever.  Things spiral out of control pretty quickly in Riley’s life, but actress Cassidy Ann Shaffer manages to change the moment for the viewer.  She is absolutely so likeable on screen, a character she makes so charming and genuine, with the writing and production values setting this above par, heading for awards, and dare I say, an Emmy for Lauralee Bell and for young actress Shaffer?  Bell said of finding Cassidy, “I told my agents [House of Representatives] what I was looking for, and they immediately chose her.  Now you can definitely see why. You see what I see in her. She’s definitely a rising star,” said producer/director Lauralee Bell.

 

Every moment of the series is absolutely well done.  The sound, the music, the sublime lighting. It definitely was not thrown together.  Bell admits, “I had to have two editors on the project.  One did the first four or so episodes, but told me ahead of time, they were unavailable to complete it.  Some of the scenes that you see Tommy, I wrote so many notes on, that it was very important that the scene flow a certain way. I think it really made a difference, and everyone on the crew were just like the cast, so unbelievable and dedicated.  We didn’t have a lot of time to put it together, but I hope the viewers will be happy with it,” Bell continued.

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Happy is an understatement.  This will be the series that should and will stimulate conversion and action after viewing..  I cannot overstate enough how important it is for everyone to take the time to watch this.  It can be definitely life changing.  It changed mine.  And everyone who I know that has a child, will be getting this story, and hopefully watching the series.

 

 

mI promise offers you two paths to follow without becoming a PSA. It closes with links to share with people you care about … your kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids and friends. Instead of saying “don’t text and drive,” it’s asking teens to make their own decisions after examining the potential consequences and demonstrating that there is always an alternative because the choice you make may be your last.

 

Lauralee has mastered the highly emotional scenes, but never before as a mother.  It is absolutely breathtaking to watch her growth as a leading lady, just as her parents mentored her to be.  Lauralee Bell has remained in the public eye her entire life.  However, she’s admired for making a difference in others’ lives with mI Promise.  This really hits the mark.

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In addition to mI Promise, Bell writes/directs/stars in her award-winning Family Dinner webseries, with Bell and husband Scott Martin serving as executive producers.  In 2010, she earned a Webby nomination as well and she debuted her celebrity-filled webisodes on the front page of FunnyorDie, Will Ferrell’s industry favorite comedy website. The episodes starred Dan Cortese, Aaron Lustig and Bell with guests the late Phyllis Diller, Cloris Leachman, Shirley Jones with cameos by Jordin Sparks, Richard Marx, Rick Springfield and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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Bell works on the top-rated show in daytime television, CBS’ The Young and the Restless and she brought her character to CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful in 2007 for a story arc. She also starred in Easy Rider: The Ride Back, a prequel to the iconic film and  was the lead in the Lifetime movie, Past Sins, the female lead in the feature film, Carpool Guy and guested on Castle and CSI: Miami. Bell married photographer Scott Martin and after their kids, the couple created their joint production company.

 

 

Now, please be sure to tune in today for the premiere by going to: www.mIpromise.com.  Highlight Hollywood promises, this is the best series on the web, and it’s an most important web series that anyone who loves another person should share with their loved ones.  It’s not only a matter of life and death, but a matter of importance.  Your life will definitely be changed for the better once you see mI Promise. 

 

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:  Lauralee Bell/CharlesBush.com and mI Promise images/Martin Bell Productions
Follow us on Twitter @HighlightHwd or @LightfootinHwd