…this video was posted. It’s been a few years since I’ve watched it, but I came across it again recently.
Colin made this for one of his Masters courses. All of the filming took place on one day, in sequence. It was a LONG day… but fun!
The idea came from Colin telling me that he wanted his project to be on the stages of grief, but he had no idea who would be grieving what, to which I said “Mourning the loss of a cupcake! *sniffle* I miss you, cupcake!” And he responded, “YES! Genius! That’s perfect.”
I was joking; he was not.
It seemed like he’d forgotten about it, but it came time for him to film and he told me I was going to be in his project. He created a sort of shot list that vaguely described what would be going on in each shot. He wanted it to be a silent movie, so at least no one had to memorize lines. (I have a terrible memory and a tiny speaking voice anyway.) We picked up the necessary equipment from school. He picked what we would wear. I made the heart prop. The next day we went out at about 7 a.m. to get cupcakes (one chocolate, one vanilla), and thus began our day of filming.
Colin said the acting could be hammy, and so it was. His way of directing was that he’d say, “So here’s what I want to happen in this scene…” or “Um… this is the Depression scene soooo… be depressed! Like really, really depressed!” and then I’d have to just do it. When he was in a shot, I worked the camera and tried not to screw up the movements.
The scene after the “At least I have cupcake” card, Colin cracked up on the first take and we weren’t too sure if he shook the camera or if I laughed too soon afterward for it to be usable, so we had to do that one a few more times. (He didn’t actually eat the cupcake. Didn’t like how much frosting was on it. We hid it in the microwave… which is why I didn’t open it when I was “searching” the kitchen in the next scene.) “Denial,” only took 2 takes, I think, but there was a lot more footage of me wrecking the bedroom, and one point when I checked inside the dog’s mouth, that got cut.
“Isolation'” required some dog-training trickery. Jack is not a particularly well-trained dog. He listens, for the most part, but I haven’t taught him anything elaborate. The dog is sitting next to me, gazing at me intently, because I had a treat hidden in my hand. I said “Sit” and “Stay”, and he did, wagging his tail and licking his chops in anticipation. He wasn’t originally intended to follow me when I got up, but Colin thought it was funny and left it in. There was another take during which Jack followed me when I got up and he jumped at the hand with the treat in it while I walked.
“Anger” took 2 takes, I think, and I hadn’t really wanted to tear up the magazine, but Colin convinced me for the second take. I don’t like destroying reading material.
“Bargaining” took 3 or 4 takes to find an angle where you couldn’t see straight down the front of my dress, and to shoot from the side.
“Depression” took 2 takes because I kept laughing, and then I announced that I was not going to work anymore until I got fed. It was already 7:30 pm, I hadn’t eaten breakfast because I don’t do well with early meals, and we hadn’t taken a lunch break (or any other kind of break). Between shots there were lights to move, and camera repositioning, and blocking (without marks) to be sorted out. We were busy enough not to think about food. I was very near passing out, so we walked across the street to Ruby Tuesday’s so I could stuff my face with salad bar food since there was nothing actually edible in the apartment. (“What about the cupcakes,” you say? I’ll get to them.) We got some weird looks in the restaurant. To maintain continuity, I went out with my hair still disheveled and mascara all over my face. Fun. (:
When we got home we got right to work again. Picking up the crumbs for “Acceptance” took 2 or 3 takes. Colin had very specific ideas of how my hand should move and that I should pick up EXACTLY 3 crumbs.
The scenes where Colin drops the cupcake box and then picks it back up… UGH! SO MANY TAKES! 15ish, I think. Most of the shots for the entire rest of the day took 1 to 3 takes… except for those 2 damn shots because I am rubbish at camera movements. In fairness to me, I had no training and it was heavy.
The last shot, the one in color, what you see there is the only take because I ate that cupcake. I really tried to sell it as being a delicious, wonderful cupcake, completely worth all the fuss. I even threw in a little Yummy Dance… but that thing was awful! After sitting around for over 14 hours the frosting was hard and tasteless and the cake was mostly dry. If it looked like I was enjoying that thing… that was ACTING, people!
Colin then spent a long time (a few days?) editing. I picked the music, except for the ending song. Colin chose that. And then it was posted for the world (mostly just others in his class) to see! And it’s still there! (: I think it turned out well.