Disproving the age-old adage that real change does not happen overnight, Shayna Smith, a junior in the College of Communication, brought her “passion project” to life over the course of a sunset-to-sunrise film shoot. With a 13-member crew and a two-actor cast, Smith shot her short film “Pieces” in under 24 hours.
“I just thought it would be a cool idea,” Smith said. “So I made it happen.”
The shoot took place at a church in Dedham, Massachusetts from Friday Jan. 20 to Jan. 21, the first weekend of the BU Spring 2023 semester. Smith said the project was a “labor of love.”
“It was really fun, but also very quickly, very tiring,” said Andrew Kim, the director of photography for “Pieces.”
“I think it was just around like 10 p.m. or so when all of us on set were saying ‘it already feels like 2 a.m. Already the hairs are coming out and everything.’ But honestly, the crew was amazing. We all did a great job.”
“Pieces,” chronicles a heartfelt story of love, loss and connection.
According to a press release, the film follows Elaina, who was left at the altar by her fiance. The bride-to-be spends what was supposed to be her wedding night drinking communion wine with Wendy — a stranger who’s also had the worst day of her life.
Smith wrote “Pieces,” for an assignment in her COM course “Storytelling for Film and Television.” Despite the short film having no affiliation to BU’s film department, Smith said she found people to help her out through Delta Kappa Alpha, BU’s professional film fraternity.
“One thing about DKA that I knew going into it is that the people there are often very helpful with other members,” Smith said.
Smith said the process of creating the film was “up and down.” The start date was originally set for December, before the end of the fall semester, but after the original location fell through, shooting had to be postponed.
Although the week leading up to shooting was “chaotic” according to Smith, she said it was a “shockingly smooth” process once she and her team got on set.
“The number one priority for everyone on set is to make a good movie,” Kim said. “Everyone ultimately was just coming together to make this great film, so feeling that camaraderie was amazing.”
For Kim, working on “Pieces” gave him an experience that couldn’t be taught in a classroom, which is why he likes to work on set.
“I feel like 80% of filmmaking is just practical experience,” Kim said.
While they navigated obstacles, the search for filming equipment — the crew didn’t have access to BU’s gear — and scheduling issues, Kim said “everyone ultimately came together.”
“It was really fun, but also very quickly, very tiring,” Kim said. “I think it was just around like 10 p.m. or so when all of us on set were saying ‘it already feels like 2 a.m. Already the hairs are coming out and everything.’ But honestly, the crew was amazing. We all did a great job.”
“Pieces” is now in its post-production phase, and while the crew rallies for funds to pay for transportation and equipment costs, along with entering into film festivals — Smith is working alongside an editing team to assemble the final product. The team’s goal is a finished product by March or April and to organize a premiere at BU.
“We’re just hoping the community can come together to support this production,” said Madi Koesler, a sophomore in the College of Communication and co-producer and media relations manager of “Pieces.”
Ultimately, Smith said “Pieces” was possible because of the community that gathered around it.
“The best thing you can do is open your mind to collaboration and to other people’s opinions,” Smith said. “[Film] is such a collaborative medium that if you try to do everything yourself, it’s not going to get off the ground.”