Did you know Before I Fall is going to be a film starring Zoey Deutch? We are super excited to see this beautiful book come to life! Luckily for us, Lauren Oliver is here to give us a sneak peek and maybe share some secrets. Read below for a special guest post from Lauren Oliver!
In December I was lucky enough to visit the set of Before I Fall in Vancouver, which was one of the weirdest, coolest, and most surreal experiences I’ve ever had. To celebrate the fact that I recently saw, and loved, an early cut of the movie, I put together a little real-deal retrospective.
5. You will wait. All the time, always.
Imagine you are in a dentist’s office full of the most attractive people you’ve ever seen in your life. That is a movie set. I would estimate that the cameras are rolling about ten percent of the time. Maybe eight percent. The rest of the time, actors are conversing with the director, the director is conversing with the cinematographer, someone is fixing lights or sound or costumes or the lead’s hair.
4. Practice makes perfect.
You would be amazed by how many takes are required for even the simplest moment or interaction. We’re talking seven, eight, nine reshoots of the same four seconds. But interestingly, the actors aren’t playing it the same way every time. They’re experimenting with tone and language, gesture and facial expression, and nuancing the characters to dial the focus up or down on certain feelings or motivations. It’s like…jazz variations. They’re kind of floating around a theme, trying to find the best way to express it.
3. Wires and boom mics and lights, oh my!
This is kind of mundane, but I honestly couldn’t believe the sheer quantity of equipmentrequired to make movie magic. When I arrived on set I wasn’t initially sure I was in the right place–until I saw half a dozen enormous trucks jig sawed in the lot next to a bunch of trailers. The halls had been completely deformed by wires: seriously, it was like a horror movie where electrical equipment comes to life to strange everyone. Moving through the set you’re navigating a maze of cables, folding chairs, banks of cameras, and undercaffeinated people squinting dolefully at their phones, waiting.
2. It takes a village.
Similarly, oh my god!! Who are all those people? I met, like, one percent of the people on set that day–and I’m not even counting all the extras, who patiently hung back and then swarmed the halls when crowds were required, like especially well-mannered locusts. If the zombie apocalypse comes, I will be sure to run to the nearest movie set, as there will no doubt be like one hundred scruffy-cute techie guys (and girls) who know how to fix a half a million dollar electrical equipment with gaffing tape and a wad of gum.
1. The script is never final.
This surprised me, honestly, maybe the most. Up until Day One of shooting, the director, producer, and actors were still making tweaks to the script–but I guess I’d thought at some point this would stop? Nope. The actors improvise; they try things one way and then another. The director shoots footage and then simply discards it. I mean, they’re still making tweaks to the script, now, in post-production (i.e., editing). I am pretty sure that at the movie’s premiere the director is going to stand up and be like, “Okay, fast forward through this part, it’s not working for me, kthanksbye.”
Fine with me, as long as I get to wear a pretty dress.