By Rebecca Tepp
Season two of Soon By You is underway! Soon by you is a comedic web series that can be found on YouTube about six orthodox Jewish singles living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, navigating the dating scene. It is written, directed and produced by filmmaker Leah Gottfried, who also stars in the show. Filming of season two episode one of the popular web series took place in November over four long days at five different locations. Being a production assistant and an extra was an enjoyable and informative experience.
Day one of filming took place in an apartment in Washington heights. It was challenging to fit 30 plus cast, crew, and extras in one apartment. Every square inch of space was used, whether for shooting, equipment, nourishment or holding. Day two took place in the Marlene Meyerson Jewish Community Center of Manhattan. Many different rooms and even exterior shots were filmed at this location. Day three took place in downtown Manhattan at a beautiful office building, and day four took place in two different locations: Elizabeth, New Jersey at writer, producer and actor Danny Hoffman’s childhood home and at Congregation Anshe Chesed in neighboring Linden, New Jersey.
Some of my responsibilities as a production assistant included escorting the actors to their places, being a stand in to help focus the cameras and lighting, and making sure people do not come in the way of a scene.
One of the most memorable moments was when I was in the car with Keaton Morris Stan (Abby the Kallah) and Jonah Weinstein (Yoni the Chosson). They were wrapped for the day, but more filming was to take place in Linden, New Jersey, as a flashback from Yoni and Abby’s wedding. “You mean we’re not even invited to our own wedding?” was their response.
As an extra in multiple scenes, my main role was as a background actor. Being an extra was the most enjoyable part of being on set since I got to see the scenes so many times and how they evolved with each take. Some scenes needed to be taken again with more energy, and sometimes the energy needed to be toned down. Other times lighting, sound, or film was an issue, and other times Leah just wanted multiple scenes from which to choose.
Being on the set of “Soon By You” was a good learning experience. I learned some filmmaking terms such as “blocking,” which means working out the details of an actor’s moves in relation to the camera. “Last looks” is when an actor gets touchups for makeup right before a scene. A script supervisor is someone who makes sure there is continuity between scenes, meaning that there is consistency between different shots of the same scene.
In order to have a more sustainable model of creating episodes, “Soon By You” season 2 episode 1 is having a pre-release period after the premiere. The episode is available for purchase on Vimeo on Demand, which comes with exclusive bonus content. Having the show available for purchase allows for episodes to be produced faster instead of having a yearlong waiting period.
See you on the show!
Rebecca Tepp is a background actor and production assistant and has been working behind the scenes for Soon By You. She is a dietetic intern at New York Presbyterian Hospital and a Hebrew school teacher in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.