Sunday, September 30, 2012

Backwards the Movie: Detailed Report

If anyone has been keeping up with this blog over the past year you may have noticed that I was in a locally shot film last year entitled Backwards. The movie tells the story of Abby Brooks, a competitive rower who misses her chance to be on an Olympic team and becomes a rowing teacher in a prep school and helps inspire two young rowers accomplish their dreams. The movie was released over the weekend in select cities and I went and saw it on Friday. I really enjoyed the story line and it was especially cool seeing myself in all my blurry glory in the background of about ten scenes. Seeing the film brought back a lot of memories of shooting and I figured I could share a few insider secrets about the filming since the movie is now out.  In all of the pictures below I am visible.

This scene was shot at a bar on the Main Line.  I had to drink 'movie beer' which can be described as carbonated apple juice that sat out for three days and went flat mixed with water. It did not taste that great obviously. I got to sit right next to the leads which was cool. That entire scene I think I kept repeating 'Pizza, French Fries' to my friend that came to meet me and made it look like we were having a conversation. We can't really talk while filming so we did a lot of pantamiming. There was a girl on set that day that yelled 'Hey Dawson can I get a picture?' to James Van Der Beek. He took a picture with her, but I did not see her after that since background cannot approach the actors. I tried to warn her not to do it, but she did not know set etiquette.

 This was my first day on set for the cafeteria scene. I had to pick up a brownie about five times and walk to my seat. Production told me not to eat the brownie for continuity reasons, but of course I ate it. In fact you can see me eating in the scene. That was also the day I approached the two female leads and started a conversation thinking they were also background. They did not mind my mistake and talked to me for about five minutes during their lunch. Both girls were extremely nice and did not mind discussing their film making experiences.

The prom scene was a long shoot. I was a little jealous of the one lead girl because they basically told her to pick out a guy from a line up that she would kiss in the prom scene because there were so many good looking guys there. The night we filmed I almost passed out because wearing a heavy prom dress on a freak 107 degree day was not fun and I was very dehydrated. Luckily craft services brought gatorade. I was actually right behind the two leads while they were slow dancing, but that was cut. Luckily, you can still see me in this little scene in my prom dress from 10 years ago, I do not grow.

This day we filmed the big race sequence. It was really weird pantamiming yelling and screaming, but we did it for many of the shots so the leads could say their lines. I actually brought HughE Dillon with me to this scene and he was in the background of this shot as well which was new for him being that he is typically on the outside looking in with a lot of productions.

 The day that we filmed on the Waterworks and inside the Art Museum was especially painful. We were told to be there at 8am and we were used for the scene in the picture at 9am which was fine.  In this scene is that I was told to act like a tourist and take a picture with two girls.  The funny thing is we had to take the picture about four times so I had four versions of the same photo taken for the scene.  One of those four photos is below.  We were then brought back to holding to change our looks to go inside the Museum to film. We were stuck in a small room with no air conditioning for about 8 hours until they finally brought us to the Museum around 6pm and you can barely see any of us in the Museum scene. It was all in good fun though as we just sat there and talked to each other about our lives and movies and pop culture. I would have done it again if given the chance. Plus we got to plank inside the Art Museum on a day that it was actually closed.


The pizza party scene was actually filmed the same day as the bar scene that I was in. We had to literally be taken back to holding where we were given about 5 minutes to change our looks. I put pigtails in my hair for some reason and a skirt. We did not do much except try to make each other laugh in this scene. I think one of the other girls at my table starting laughing really loud, we did not get in trouble though.

The airport scene was great to film. I arrived late because I was working late the night before and had to arrive an hour late. I was taken over in the car with David Allen Bosche and he actually lifted my bag out of the van for me. He seemed like a really cool guy on the ride over. They actually placed me in that location so my butt was toward the camera. They switched me with another girl so that my butt was the first thing that you could see in the line. I guess I should be flattered. Suprisingly I was in a lot of the airport sequence. They must have liked me! No I'm just kidding. This was probably the longest scene that you could clearly see me in the background. Suprisingly my feet did not hurt too much later even though I was wearing those huge heels.

The final scene that I was in was shot outside the Vesper boathouse on Boathouse Row. For the one portion of the scene I was talking with one of the principles and she hugged me in the first take. I had to hug her about four more times for the other takes, but it was not shown in the final scene. Mainly you can see me laughing at them in the background. One of the other extras was told to stand by the grill but at the beginning of every take he would walk down with tongs in hand to the front of the action and he ended up right in the center of the shot. It was just funny because he said that he did not want to be left out of the shot. I think I was laughing about that in the scene. Even better my prop that day was cake, yum!

Now that you have heard my behind the scenes insights I highly recommend you go see the film. It is a great family film that focuses on how sometimes putting others dreams in front of your own is the better option. The movie is available on itunes and video on demand if it is not showing in a city near you. Go to for more information! Thanks for reading!

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