Look At Me Again: The Story Behind The Story
Writing the script for Look At Me Again began as a very organic process for writer/director James Christopher. After principal photography wrapped on Funny Books¸ Twitchy Dolphin Flix’ second feature, James sat down at the computer to write about regular people in regular relationships in their twenties. The film was intended to serve as a vague sequel to his first indie feature, Littlefield. Without benefit of a treatment, outline or any of the other staples of screenwriting, James pounded out a first draft: a very rough first draft. So rough, in fact, that it was put up for a few months before James started the rewrite process.
Motivated by the few people he let read the script, James went to rewrite the script. After seventeen drafts and hundreds of minor tweaks, James felt that the script was ready for Twitchy Dolphin to produce. Working on the micro budget level, James knew he had to find the right cast that both believed in the project and would make the project believable. And they had to have enough faith in the script to work for a percentage of the back end of the movie.
First to sign on was Stephanie Dunbar as “Sherry.” Stephanie, a tremendously talented actress from Georgetown, Texas read the script and signed on immediately, gravitated to the realistic portrayal of good people often pushed to hurt the ones they love.
Most of the cast signed on right after reading the script. Brandi Blevins, to that point playing mostly smaller roles, took on the tough role of Kendra, the eldest sister. Derick Morris would resume the role of Liam, while new comer Jesse Ferraro would play the role of Mike. Richard C. Jones signed on to play Alex, the good natured friend who finds himself in the middle of the turmoil. The company needed to cast Melissa, a character who encompasses strength, innocence and vulnerability. For this role, Vanessa Perry was selected. Rounding out the cast is Amanda Blalock, Sarah Granger and Colby Wallingsford. Cheryl and Scott Christians, James’ in-laws, reprise their roles as Sherry, Kendra and Melissa’s mom and dad.
Now that the cast was set and rehearsals underway, James, Producer/D.P. Chris Copple and Producers Nathan Bybee and Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic needed to find a way to make the movie stand out amongst other low budget indies. Unable to afford the expense of shooting on film, the team invested in a 35mm lens adapter for their Panasonic HVX 100. This tool gave them the ability, through increased depth of field and other attributes, to bring drama through the camera that complemented the drama in front of it.
On set, 1st AD Sabrina Gremmel managed a small, but effective crew including 1st AC William Cooper and grips James Donovan, Carmen Hilbert, Debra Blaine. In June of 2009, as the company entered production, Texas entered something as well — the worst heat wave in decades. Every day the production shot was above 95 degrees, most days going over 100. The cast and crew labored on, the spirits generally high. Fans we’re brought in for the actors to help them beat the heat between shots while the crew pulled focus, bounced lights and rearranged sets in the grueling heat.
Over the course of 22 production days, the cast and crew pulled together to get the project just right. There were some hilarious moments, Jesse Ferarro’s bare rear end among them. And there were moments on set where the intensity of the project overwhelmed the cast and crew. The result is a project that stands alone as a well told, well acted story of love, life and forgiveness.
Look At Me Again was written and directed by James Christopher and produced by Nathan Bybee, Jessica Bybee and Chris Copple.