Would you drive after having 4 beers?

Didn’t think so.

But what about texting while driving? Think that’s a piece of cake? Think again.

I was nearly hit by an SUV while crossing at a pedestrian crossing. It sped through making a right turn on red without looking out for the pedestrians who had the right of way. I froze in my steps as it zoomed past me, missing me by just a hair. I stared at the driver in shock… and true enough, she had her phone in her hand. Texting while driving is more distracting than you think.

Just ask Karolyn Szot, the director of Message Received. She felt compelled enough to make a film about it.

Enough lives have been lost, enough people have been injured and enough cars have been crashed. You have the ability to make the responsible choice. On this first national No Phone Zone Day, take the pledge to say no to distracted driving.

Kudos to Oprah for leading this life-saving campaign, and kudos to the 2.7 million people who’ve already taken the pledge. So what are you waiting for?

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Message Received… The Making Of (part 2)

After such a fun time on weekend 1 on the set of Karolyn Szot’s Message Received, I was stoked to return for another dose of movie making magic. On the agenda for the second weekend? Blood! Car Crash! Cops! Uh, exchange students!

I was lucky to get a couple of hours off Saturday morning as only a bare bones crew was needed to shoot our two actresses, Emily Marso and Blake-Briana McKay, driving. Just a couple of shots and a simple scene. Easy as pie, right? Well…

Sign reads "Movie Set! Not Real!". What we mean: please don't call the cops on us again.

The story I heard when I arrived on set? A very concerned passerby had called the cops that morning thinking that the two wrecked cars we had on set was the scene of a real accident. Oh well, at least that means a big thumbs up for prod design well-done. ;)

Karolyn gave herself multiple cuts and bruises before putting some on Johnny.

Another challenge that filming a car crash scene brings is the ridiculous number of people who deliberately slow down to get a better glimpse of your set as they’re driving by. Maybe it was to see if there was a famous actor in the vicinity. Maybe it was to get numbers to buy the American version of 4D. Maybe it was to gawk at the awesome blood effects Karolyn did for our actors. Either way, our crew definitely learned more about directing two-way traffic in one lane. It also helped that we had two actors in cop uniforms on set. I’m not sure what it was, but people tended to drive past faster when it’s a cop signaling them to move. Or so they thought! ;)

Taking a crane shot of the entire crash scene.

When it was time to set up for our beautiful crane shot, it was all hands on deck. Like a life-sized balance scale, we had to figure out the exact number of sandbags to hang on one side to counter the weight of our camera on the other. It was almost like watching a team challenge on Survivor. “Take one more bag off,” one would say. “No, you just have to move one closer to the center!” another would reason. The team eventually emerged triumphant! And our crane shot went as smooth as silk.

Shooting outdoors often means racing against time, especially when you’re dependent on sunlight. Good thing our crew heads had their act together. We completed our shots with time to spare and made some new friends with the many deer roaming the woods near us. I’d say our day was a success! :)

If you thought the shoot so far has been packed with plenty of adventure, wait until you hear about the happenings on our final day of shoot. That story to come soon.

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