Wheel of Fortune gave me a lucky name.
The Luckiest Shauna traces my journey as I set out to find my namesake - the winning contestant on the Wheel of Fortune on November 28, 1979, the day I was born. I was born to a family of modest means, which worked hard over the years to pull itself up by its bootstraps. Building on the lesson to work hard, I felt compelled to seek success, leaving my small-town Iowa home for college and never looking back, criss-crossing the globe before settling into a career in Washington, DC. The odds weren’t necessarily in my favor, yet here I am - somehow I am special - lucky, as my mother put it, just like my namesake.
Over the years, seeking those successes has driven a wedge between me and my family. Feeling like I no longer fit in at home, I set out to find a sense of belonging elsewhere – starting with my namesake. But finding the other Shauna proved harder than expected, since all Wheel of Fortune tapes prior to 1982 were erased, and contestant rolls destroyed.
Despite the setback, I push forward with a few clues and a lot of determination. Although I worry that the other Shauna may not exist and I’m completely at a loss for what I’ll say to her if I do find her, I’m excited for the possibilities of the quest: to find my namesake, to learn the stories of others’ namesakes, and to hopefully find a way, through this searching far and wide, to confront my past and reconnect with my own family back in Iowa.
We are going on a quest, in search of Shauna(s).
We've launched a social media campaign, leveraging the Internet to help in our search for Shauna. The Luckiest Shauna team will update our followers with new bits of info, interesting Wheel of Fortune facts, and seek out restaurant recommendations as we travel across the US to interview my family in Iowa and New Mexico, as well as on our way to attend a taping of the Wheel of Fortune in LA. Your donation will fund our journey, cover film and production costs, and purchase any incidentals necessary for the research, such as records, or any costs incurred to develop and maintain the social media spaces. Only with your help will we find the other Shauna!
We are a collaborative team of film novices.
What started as a story I told at cocktail parties became, with the encouragement of wonderful and talented friends, a documentary idea. Though none of us have much film experience, we each bring expertise from other areas to support the making of the film. For a list of these talented individuals, check the "Biography" section on the right.
- (50 days)