November 6, 2012 by Andrew Bogatek
It’s the moment you’ve finally been waiting before: the day you film your ending scene, the last set of shots that will illustrate its completion. Nothing can go wrong, even if you are overwhelmed or exhausted by the long hours of filming.
It’s the end of April 2012 and Trevor and I are in his basement apartment, ready to shoot the finale with our leading lady and good friend, Stepha.
The ending focuses on Stepha waking up in purgatory (the realm between Earth and heaven), who confronts the demonically-possessed killer, only to learn that it was Trevor as the murderer all along. After a brief fight ensues, Stepha’s left crippled and lies on the floor. Her legs are broken. Just then, the furnace door cranks open behind her and the killer drags her into darkness. Her scream echoes as she is dragged away, into an unknown abyss of terror.
We did it, we got the ending done. But then, the worst happens. It’s the last thing I saw coming. Our footage is gone, lost forever. Why? Because Trevor’s hard drive crashed, and I didn’t think to save the footage on my own computer. I’m an idiot.
I felt like this guy when I found about it…
“During filming of the 2006 remake of The Omen, the day after they filmed the scene where Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber) cuts his son’s hair to reveal the birthmark, the entire scene was completely destroyed.” – IMDB
With a now-missing ending, Trevor and I were left scratching our heads, asking ourselves “What do we do now?”
Search for the Missing Footage?
Both Trevor and I checked his hard-drive to see if we could recover any footage of the ending. Unfortunately, we found nothing.
We considered reshooting the ending altogether, but with Stepha tired of lying on the floor and being dragged eighteen times in the closet, let alone working full-time at her summer job, it wasn’t going to happen.
Change the Ending.
It was the most logical compromise we could think of, but also the most difficult. Rewriting the ending meant changing the course of the story. I had no idea how to change the course of the story. With half of our film already edited, I had to move fast.
After a few days of jotting down ideas with Trevor, and rewriting the third act over and over, we settled on an ending we both liked. It was different, but had more action and humour. Trevor and I gave more emphasis on his own character, as well as hinting what may have happened to Michael B.’s character.
The Lesson Here
If there’s one thing you’ve got to do when making a movie, it’s save your work.
Always back-up your files on an external hard drive or an online storage program (Ex. Dropbox) to ensure its preservation. If you are working with a partner, save your footage on both their computer, as well as yours. It might just make all the difference.
As always, make sure to post any questions, comments or concerns below!