Ernie’s Surprise Proposal

Several months ago I received a Gchat message from Ernie. He told me that he really dug our bacon film, and asked if I’m interested in a special project. He wanted to show his girlfriend Van the trailer for a movie based on him and herself, then propose to her.

Since conceiving that idea, we began planning in secrecy. Ernie had a rough idea that he wanted to reveal scene by scene the memorable moments of their lives together, and end with his patented “can I borrow your eraser” line when he first met Van in class 10 years ago. The trick is to make the scenes more relevant and specific as the trailer played, so that everything in the trailer would make sense to Van in the end.

I asked Ernie whether he would rent a theater out and have other patrons be there to witness his proposal. He told me he wanted to keep it small and intimate, and that he already has a plan in the works. He would go ahead and create a sweepstakes website for advanced, private movie screenings and ask a close mutual friend of Van’s to get Van to enter. A few days later, Van won the sweepstakes and got to invite a handful of friends to attend the private screening.

On the day of the proposal, I arrived at the theater a bit early to set up in a hidden location to document the surprise. The helpful theater staff suggested that I hide behind the black curtains beneath the screen. The theater lighting was dark enough that anything behind the curtains remained in shadows. We gave the trailers a few test runs to adjust the volume of the speakers. Our fake trailer followed the trailer to About Time rather well. Ernie added that it was also “about time” that he proposed to his girlfriend of 10 years.

Finally, the theater staff and I heard the arrival of Ernie’s crew, and we went complete silent. I motioned my hand to the staff that he turn around and walk away from the curtains to not draw any attention to the small opening for one of my hidden cameras. Ernie’s crew got their fountain drinks and popcorn, settled into their seats, and the rest are recorded in the hidden cameras.

Big congrats to Ernie and Van again!



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