This was really a new experience for us. Shalom Workshop is a workshop for married and to-be-married couples on how to communicate so that peace reigns in the home. They reached out to us and asked us if we could make a film that would put them on the map and get them even more public recognition. With a film campaign that wanted to remind people how awesome it felt when they first met and how much it would be worth it to preserve this feeling or even get it back and cultivate it after many years of marriage. It took us some time to find a starting point for a great concept. So, we did some extensive research and we developed an idea around a marriage proposal with a real couple, placing the proposal in a public space ideally a special one that has some significance and meaning as a place and for the couple.
Challenge 1: Find The Perfect Couple
The first challenge was finding that couple. We searched probably for 2 months and since it is such a sensitive event not many people wanted to commit to do the proposal with cameras present. We also played with the idea of having actors doing this but we found that this is very hard to pull off and our audience would probably get the clue one way or another that this was not a real event. So we through this out of the window quickly. I wanted a real couple. No actors. But no one was to find. Even though I loved this idea so much I thought we would have to find a completely new idea and 3 months of our work would have been wasted. But I didn’t stop praying that someone will come through our door and would be the perfect couple.
We gave ourselves a last deadline of two more weeks before we would change direction. One Thursday night I got a phone call. I wasn’t really able to pick up because I was sitting with my wife for dinner. But the phone kept ringing and ringing and I picked up and it was Leah from Shalom Workshop who helped us with the search of a couple: “We got the couple. We got the couple. We found them.” When I pre screened them I felt immediately, this is the right one. Sam, the groom was a really nice and easygoing guy and he agreed in doing this with us immediately. (Can’t thank you enough, brother)
Yeahhhh. High five and great job Leah. The waiting and uncertainty was all worth it.
Challenge 2: The Perfect Concept
Then together with Sam I planned the actual proposal event. What he would do, location, people to invite etc. The whole thing. We first discussed in length what location to choose.
We first thought about Central Park, but I felt it was a bit too random, not public enough as a significant place for the couple and unique enough.
Then we came up with the idea of doing a public proposal in a restaurant. Even though I liked the idea I have seen this being done a few times and it felt a bit too random. I imagined some big place, as significant as getting married for two people.
Challenge 3: The Perfect Location
Now, Sam had the crazy idea to do it at the Empire State Building. And I said: That’s a great idea. But having done a bunch of productions I thought it wasn’t possible to get a permit without paying an arm and a leg. I thought maybe we could just wing it without telling anybody. So, having grown up in a Communist country where we don’t ask but first act and then we are sorry I thought we would just do the whole thing undercover. But soon I was cautioned that this is not East Germany or the USSR. This is America babe.
I bit the bullet and we inquired with the Empire State Building if this would be possible to do the proposal and film it with a tiny crew. They said they have had some TV soaps being shot there and the fee would be $5000 per 30 min. What??? That was completely out of our reach and I dropped the idea. Dammit. We got the couple. We got the proposal idea and now we would fail on the location?
The Final Call
A few days later I get another frantic call from Leah: “We got in… we got in with the Empire State Building.” Man, she is a marcher.
How did you do this? I asked? She said that Sam had a friend and the friends relative was one of the majority share holders of the Empire State Building. “No wayyy”. If this is not a sign from Hashem then I don’t no what. My praying hard has been heard. Man, our network can get us anywhere. I’m so proud being Jewish
Ok, we had it together. The last part of this whole thing was to get a team with a little foot print. So I hired my beloved PA Brian McCann, Laibl Schwartz together with Elliot Gabor.
I mapped out the exact route how the bride would be guided up to the Entire State Building by her friend Chani Herzig who was a conspirant with us and helped us to get Hannah up there.
Man, this was an amazing roloercoaster project, I tell you. It would not been possible without the help of so many people and I want to thank them all here:
Thanks To All Of You
Leah Savage + Esther Friedman from Shalom Workshop
Sana Merchant of the Empire State Building for the generous help to get us the location
Catherine Kelso who got us the contact to the Empire State Building
My crew Brian McCann, Laibl Schwartz, Elliot Gabor
And finally thanks you Sam + Hannah having had the courage and spirit to do this with us.