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Behind The Scenes with SMASHED

It began in April. By mid-August about 70 people converged on the CBS Television City (TVC) lot in Hollywood to make SMASHED. Quick background -- Smashed is one of four films selected for The Women in Media CAMERAderie initiative. It takes place exclusively on a soundstage and boasts an exceptionally large cast, particularly for a short film. With so many moving pieces (I call this an action-comedy film), Smashed really was a perfect fit for this years’ Women in Media CMAERAderie initiative.



It’s ambitious and big and required a hell of a lot of pre-production work. And trust me, we were painting and stenciling and dressing sets until I yelled ACTION.


By the time I arrived at the lot, my crew had been actively hanging lights (that MBS generously supplied) for days. MBS also took care of the set construction which was no small feat. At one point we had four sets, but as the shoot date grew closer, we realized we needed one less set if we were going to make the shoot. So, that meant we lost the make up set, but ended up making Lana’s set do double duty. It worked out fine.


This BTS video shows the size of the soundstage and our sets and my confusion.



The pace of this event was a combination of gently moving magma and unexpected quick sand. By the time we made it to TVC we’d been working for four months preparing for three intense days. But, we ended up losing half a day.



Fortunately, we were prepared. Of course, that’s not to say that we didn’t need that time. We did, but it didn’t derail us.


There were several reasons we were able to make our shot list; we were shooting with multiple cameras. This was both a blessing and a challenge. It allowed us to get close ups and medium shots at the same time, and when you only have enough time for two takes, those precious minutes count. On the other hand, with several cameras running, your focus is torn between multiple cameras and you don’t always have time to finesse each shot or moment the way you’d like to.




When it came time for editing, having the extra coverage was nice.


I’ve done a lot of editing, and this was by far the laborious. We lost our first editor a few weeks into post, so I stepped in to get our rough finished while we found another editor. She and I worked together for the past several weeks finessing the film, but I knew that sound, music and effects were going to be just as integral as a solid edit in making Smashed pop.



I was working with the sound editor recently and we laughed about the number of footsteps in this film. So many footsteps! Sound is an integral part of telling this story - there are so many layers. You not only have the sounds and dialogue inherent to the film story, but because the story takes place in the world of home-shopping, you also have the sounds inherent to the television world, and then you have the off-stage world of reactions from the many characters and spin that with the fast-paced action of our hero trying to accomplish her goal at the cost of her co-hosts. I can’t wait for you to see it.


Stay tuned!


Dawn Spinella

Writer/Director - SMASHED



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