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“Cram Ten Episodes into Ten Packed Days of Filming”: Series Creator and Star Samantha Jayne | Quarter Life Poetry

Samantha Jayne in Quarter Life Poetry (photo by Drew Daniels)

Whenever directors watch their own films, they always do so with the knowledge that there are moments that occurred during their production — whether that’s in the financing and development or shooting or post — that required incredible ingenuity, skill, planning or just plain luck, but whose difficulty is invisible to most spectators. These are the moments directors are often the most proud of, and that pride comes with the knowledge that no one on the outside could ever properly appreciate what went into them.

So, we ask: “What hidden part of your film are you most privately proud of and why?”

We had so little time to shoot our series. Due to the budget, we had to cram ten episodes into ten packed days of filming. We all knew that if we didn’t nail a shot, we were screwed—we couldn’t go back. There simply wasn’t any time. But knowing how it turned out, I can’t imagine it looking and feeling any differently. It’s so intentional. I’m incredibly proud of the ingenuity, total obsession and care that everyone, especially our director and co-creator Arturo Perez Jr., took to make it not only work, but succeed in portraying the vision. It was complete and utter beastmode on everyone’s part.

But beastmode can’t even begin to describe what it took to shoot our song “Circle Back.” The planning had to be absolutely meticulous due to time restraints. Arturo walked the halls of that office building for days, sketching and planning. I’ll never forget how he pulled an all-nighter, drawing maps and diagrams, getting everything ready for the day. There were so many moments during shooting “Circle Back” that I was so proud of. I’d say my proudest moment was a long one-take at the end where my character is back at home. There were so many beats to hit, I had a bottle of wine to pour at just the right moment, and my lip syncing had to match up perfectly, all as the camera circle dollys around on a track. It was so technical and we had the tiniest amount of time to get the shot. I remember during one take, I accidentally poured “wine” (Pedialyte) all down my hand and thought that I blew it for everyone. But we all worked together and got the shot exactly how we all wanted it. Looking back, I couldn’t believe how I functioned with that much pressure on. But then I remember the incredible team around me. All the work and hustle and attention to detail from everyone involved—that’s what I’m the most humbled by and proud of.

Sundance Responses 2019

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