To read the original short story, "The Bridge," by Edwin H. Friedman, click here.
To purchase the book, Friedman's Fables, by Edwin H. Friedman, click here
How and why we made THE CRUX.
I first heard Edwin Friedman's short story, "The Bridge," over four years ago in a sermon at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury, Connecticut. Reverend Daniel O'Connell used it as a way to open his Valentine's Day sermon about relationships.
I was so taken with the story that I immediately found the book, almost as immediately wrote a five-page adaptation for the screen, and mentioned the story to Judy Barnes, a friend and colleague for years. She was equally captured by the story, particularly because of its message about personal responsibility, and she shared my desire to make the story into a film.
Over the following years, while very busy with other things in our lives, the story stayed with us, as did the dedication to bringing it to the screen. The rights were purchased from The Guilford Press, sources for backing were discussed and, starting early in 2002, the script went through countless versions, including one richly narrative 35 page version written by Alex Stein and designed for a 40 minute short.
Two things brought us to the shorter version we created. The first was a feeling that perhaps a really short film might best translate the stunning short story, which was just three pages. The second was money. On a small budget, maybe the smartest thing to do would be to capture the essence of the story, with a fuller development done in a later adaptation. The story - and the importance of its message - deserves a re-telling that can capture all of its richness.
So we went back and started with my original script that, with Judy's involvement, became the shooting script. And during the rewrites, we became even clearer about we ourselves wanted to say - in addition to the message of the original story - so I believe our version adds some additional levels of meaning and impact, which led to a title change that goes to the heart of not only the story but a person's life.
Judy then brought Ruthann Marcelle to the table, a longtime friend of hers with a strong background in the arts, and as executive producers they provided the resources and input that not only allowed us to make the film but helped us make it better.
When it came time to actually shoot the film, Los Angeles seemed to be the likely site: the ease of putting together a talented crew, securing equipment, finding a location and having good weather - important to a shoot done in February on a tight budget. But there was only one problem: the total lack of a suitable bridge - one of the stars of the story.
After a lengthy search, we settled on the Glendale Boulevard Bridge in Los Felix, a great visual but a complete disaster for production. Intermittent traffic control, huge sound problems, lots of irate motorists to be rerouted, and the danger of fast cars everywhere led producer Eric Mofford to hit the streets for one last time. And he scored the perfect bridge just two miles from his house - Devil's Gate Dam in Altadena became our set.
After we had the location, the rest snowballed: casting, scouting, shooting, and the post process all moved ahead almost perfectly on schedule - not often the case for a small independent film but due to the collaboration and collegiality of literally everyone involved. In addition to Eric's wide-ranging skills, incredible work from Allan Levine at The Image Resolution who brought the visual effects shots to life; Tom Houghton's strong photography; Jeremy Hoeneck's sound work; Max Vladimiroff's haunting original music performed beautifully by Larry Deming; the music of Mythos - where Larry is joined by Jordan Jancz and Guy Dedell, among others (buy the Mythos album at www.orchardhillrecords.com); and, finally, the film's finishing touches applied at Fotokem Film Lab by color timer Dan Muscarella.
Several years in the thinking stage and over a full year in the final writing and production stages has brought us all to a film that makes an impact and makes us proud.
July 24, 2003