By Rebecca Tepp
July 9, 2018
Exclusive for 5 Towns Jewish Times
“Can I get a glass that’s a little less—spilly?” This was just one of the memorable lines (said by Leah Gottfried, asking for a better glass to drink out of as drunk Sarah) during the filming of episode five, the season finale, of Soon By You. Filming of the popular web series took place last October at Congregation Anshei Chesed in Linden, NJ. Soon By You is a popular 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.
When I first met Leah Gottfried and Jessica Schechter at a camp event, I was starstruck and surprised to see them. Later, I found out how to get involved with the show and signed up to be an extra in episode five. It was my first experience in the film industry, and it was eye opening.
The extras acted as wedding guests and were asked to come to the set in wedding attire. My main role as an extra was playing one of the witnesses for the halachic prenup, officiated by ORA, one of the show’s sponsors. I was also in some scenes pantomiming, which is pretending to talk in the background, in order to have clean audio of the dialogue. The most fun scene to film was dancing with the chosson and kallah, which felt like a real wedding. Filming took place over three long days around Sukkos time in October of 2017.
It was fun to see the actors in person and how they interact in real life. During the downtime between scenes, there were opportunities to chat with the cast. For some of the actors such as Leah Gottfried (Sarah Jacobs) and Nathan Shapiro (Ben), there is a stark contrast between their characters and the person playing them. For others, there was a blurred line between where the character ends and the person begins. There was a strong sense of achdus from the cast and crew, who were all very welcoming and friendly. Leah has called the Soon By You team a family, and I could definitely see why.
Being on set was a good learning experience. I learned that scenes must have many takes in order for the show to be so professional looking and high quality. When there are multiple takes, it is not only because someone forgot his or her lines; there are many reasons a scene must be redone, including requiring another camera angle, needing different lighting, or having shadows in the wrong places. I also saw firsthand the different departments that are needed to create a high-quality show such as the art department, camera, sound, actors, makeup and hair, and wardrobe.
Since the filming of episode five, my appreciation of Soon By You has grown. I became part of the Soon By You team as an intern, where I create newsletters, help with fundraising, edit pictures, conduct research, and write articles. It has been a pleasure working with Leah and the Soon By You team and I am looking forward to season two.