In October of last year, I was working on all sorts of projects, big and small, as a crew member on pilots, shorts and features, and earning bigger boots as AD and Script Supervisor instead of just a PA. One of these gigs was a little one up in Beverly Hills, for a short film and television pilot called “Anatomy of a Breakup”, which I accepted knowing little except what the director and writer, Matt Hagerty , had told me over a pleasant Skype interview. All I knew was: there would be a pool involved, somebody was going to get wet, and the director wouldn’t actually be physically present. It wasn’t the weirdest thing I had been invited to do, and the director seemed to have a brain on him, so I went along.
Riding in an Uber up Mulholland Drive into a picturesque gated community, I immediately started looking around: okay so THIS is where the rich and famous live! The driver and I had some issues with the security before we were let in, but when we did, it was obvious why, and I was taken on a nice little cruise around paparazziville. Arriving at the address I was welcomed in by the producer, who had gracefully let the production use her $10 million mansion as a location. Sitting together with a bunch of people I had never met, we all slowly introduced ourselves to each other. Some people had never done a PA gig before or even been on a set; others were experienced pros. It was there where I met a good friend of mine, Michael Babyak, the extremely talented DP and second unit director. The shoot was rather unconventional, but pleasant, and it became more unconventional and more pleasant as the long day wore on. The actors were incredibly professional and friendly, so I knew the caliber I was dealing with. Often times, you work on these projects, and it’s all a little bit all over the place; you go along with it, then the actors come on and – SUCK. Then you lose faith in what you are doing. Or the script = SUCKS. But neither did in this case, so I started getting even more excited. Since Matt was tied up at college in New York, one of my (many) jobs on this skeleton crew was to mediate for him while he directed the shoot through Facetime from a Cornell University library. With such a small crew, all hands were on deck, so we each wore multiple hats. I held “the director” in one hand, and did crew things with the other. Of course, we didn’t go without the usual camera, sound, transferal, internet, SD card and sunlight problems; but morale stayed high, our bellies were well fed, and the Captain, over
the phone, was guiding us with unshakable positivity. We pushed through, scene after scene, shot after shot, losing light, more light, and just barely finishing before total darkness.
Although I could tell there was a lot of talent afoot, I hadn’t read the complete script. Since I was viewing the camera through a phone most of the time, I, needless to say, had NO idea what the final film would look like. Furthermore, the post production process seemed it would never end, and although Michael kept reassuring me throughout the year that it was good, I was skeptical.
Almost a year later, the result AND the response has been so far beyond my expectations. With its Amazon release last week, this tiny project from ‘paparraziville’ has, all of a sudden become a lot bigger—far bigger than I ever expected. Of course, as a part of the crew we were given links to “screenings” throughout the process; but watching it on TV last week with my husband, who was seeing all of it as a finished product for the very first time, was different—like watching it fresh. And, of course, it’s pretty cool seeing my name up there – on a product that I can actually say I am proud to have been a part of. Because here in Hollywood – you more or less drown in shit. But this isn’t that. This is one of them rare Hollywood
“The seventeen minutes Matt Hagerty serves up in Anatomy of a Breakup blend a youthful,
Birdman-like waltz with Tarantino-esque chit chat. Its characters are cocky yet complex– grounded
by Jaimie Steck‘s deceptively emotional performance, and Matt’s innocent Freddy Highmore-
ish solemn willingness. Its rhymes, rhythms, quick cuts, frisky editing and great original music by
the talented Kenji Ueda, fuel a flickering fire, hardly contained, whilst teasingly slapping you (and the
protagonist) across the face. The end is a sentimental and uplifting one, which, after everything, wins
you over to the hero’s side. Mixing all of these elements, Anatomy of a Breakup is a concept fully-fleshed,
ready to be swept up by whoever is clever enough to do so.”
‘Anatomy of A Breakup’ can be streamed right now, only on Amazon, via this link: http://amzn.to/2fE9aEd