After getting such a positive response from the first chapter of Letters to Lost Lovers, I couldn’t wait to start the next chapter. But I already had a problem. The stories from the first chapter were ones I had been waiting to tell for years. They meant a great deal to me. I had nothing prepared for the second chapter.
I asked around, to see if anyone I knew was interested in telling their story, and I was amazed by how open people became when recounting their own tales of heartbreak. I tried to find small, relatable moments that everyone has been through in one way or another.
Tracy & Cody
Tracy is a good friend of my roommate’s girlfriend. She told me the entire story of her past relationships, but there was one piece of the story I instantly related to: that moment after a break up, when you’re still so used to sharing your whole life with a person, that you instinctively pick up the phone to talk to them.
I had been going through the same problem for years with Lesley Kerr, the girl from my story in the first chapter. Anytime something important, exciting, or crushing happened, I would always call her, even though we both knew it was a bad idea.
Tracy & I filmed her story in an evening, filming her doing all the sorts of things she used to do with Cody, or wished she could have done with Cody. The funny thing though was she was long since over those feelings, having already moved on, dating a swell guy named Ronnie.
Tavi & Kyle
Tavi approached me about being involved in Letters to Lost Lovers, and wrote two letters. One for her most recent ex-boyfriend, which was a terribly dramatic and depressing story, and I was looking for something more everyday.
That’s when she shared with me the story of her high school boyfriend. A story about two naive & overdramatic kids trying to understand how relationships work through one hell of a trial & error process. It’s what led her to become who she is today; funny, driven, level-headed, and never takes herself too seriously.
Originally we had intended her story to show her getting ready for a date, but after we rewrote her letter to reflect more of who she had become, we wanted to show her being successful. She had recently been made one of the producers of Late Night North Texas, and we decided that the visuals for her story would show the process of her producing the show.
It was awkward on the first day of shooting, when I was in the producer’s meeting as they discussed who the guests would be that season. I was just moving around, filming Tavi, not really explaining myself other than saying I was filming a movie about Tavi. It was less awkward on the first day on the set of Late Night North Texas, since everyone assumed I was filming behind the scenes for the show.
Tavi was tasked with arranged the tables & chairs, handling the guest list, manning the welcome booth, and running their social media. So most of my footage ended up being Tavi running around, and being on her phone. I ended up needing to return to film during several episodes, because of how difficult it was getting the shots I needed without getting in anyone’s way or interrupting the show. (I’ve never been one for filming documentary). It was nice getting to be a distant cousin to the Late Night family, seeing Tavi’s progress throughout the entire season.
After I finished the rough cut, we noticed a problem. Everyone seemed to think that Tavi’s letter was about someone on the Late Night crew, and no matter how I cut it, the visuals still gave that impression. So I met Tavi at her apartment and we filmed some quick bookend scenes involving pictures of her & Kyle before prom. I was really happy with how they turned out, because the look on her face so clearly shows how far she’s moved on.
Parker & Tiffany
My best friend Parker was in a serious relationship with his girlfriend Tiffany for several years, until they ultimately drifted apart after she realized she was a lesbian. He didn’t take it so well.
I came up with this story, and asked if he wanted to be a part of it, and put her name on it. We spent an hour in his room, gathering things he wanted to burn; t-shirts she bought for him, ceramics she had made, letters she sent him while they lived in different states, pictures they had taken of each other, mix CDs she made, books they’d bought.
We set the box in the fire pit in his backyard, doused it in lighter fluid, and he tossed the match. He kept smiling while watching it burn, and I had to remind him that was the mood I was going for. I kept joking how badass the footage looked, like Darth Vader’s funeral.
I wanted the three stories to match the first chapter; blue & depressing story, orange & happy story, and one sentence story. I’m thinking that the next chapter will differ from this formula.
If you’re interested in sharing your story of lost love, please email me at TheVisionBeautiful@gmail.com.