As David eats cereal in the apartment, the DVD spine of "Magnolia" can be faintly seen underneath the TV.
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The film was conceived on March 8, 2008. Principal photography took place in several segments totaling 108 days: 78 days from September 10 to November 22, 2009, 10 days from January 16 to January 25, 2010, 9 days in August 2010, and 11 days second unit. The final shot was filmed on December 20, 2010.
At least 588 people worked for free to make this movie (contributing time, talent, services, and energy over the course of three years).
The director and composer collaborated for nearly two years and completed the entire score without ever communicating vocally or face to face. All correspondence was e-mail-based before meeting for the first time just days before the live orchestration of the score.
A large percentage of filmmaking techniques and advice came from DVD commentaries, American Cinematographer Magazine, and learning from mistakes on short film projects.
The first time the director ever picked up a video camera was September 2006. The first day of production on Missing Pieces was September 2009, only three years later.
Throughout the film, several smiley faces appear in the background.
Each character has their own bag: David - heavy duty construction bag, Daylen - disposable plastic bag, Maggie - worn tote bag, Delia - colorful art bag.
In the chalk pyramid scene, Daylen's shirt is a train and Maggie's is a sun. In Daylen's apartment, he puts together a puzzle of train tracks leading to light at the end of the tunnel.
With such a long gap between finishing the film and being able to clear the music rights and release the film, three new feature scripts were written and a short film was made.
Many of the props, costumes, and set pieces are personal items from the filmmakers.
In the glass shattering scene, tarp was laid on the ground to catch the glass shards. On the first take, the shards landed on the ground beyond the perimeter. It took the team four hours with flash lights to clean the playground.
Despite getting permits to break glass on the playground, the police were called. In one of the flashbacks during the break-up scene, a man can briefly be seen calling the police in the background.
To reach the top of the chalk pyramid, a 100 foot crane was rented. The wide shots were filmed during the crane rental period, but the close ups and dialogue scenes were filmed on an adjacent tower which was accessible by foot.
Pantyhose were stretched over the lenses to achieve a "soft" look. Doing that required filming on f1.4 - f5.6 to avoid seeing the pantyhose threads (which are faintly visible in a few shots).
Used old Nikon lenses (mostly 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm).
Most filming days had 3 people behind the camera, but many days had only 1 or 2.
Most extras did not know they were being filmed.
The DVD menu is composed of footage from deleted scenes.
Photography books and Google Earth were used to find several locations.
The production design budget was $300. The costume budget was $0.
Inspired by both Paul Thomas Anderson and David Gordon Green, several characters are named after them (DAVID Lindale, Daylen GORDON, Delia GREENly; PAUL Gordon, Magnolia "Maggie" ANDERSON).
The director's parents' middle names are Dale and Lynn. Combined, these create the names DAYLEN and David LINDALE.
Clementine Theme Park (Daylen's toll booth job) is named after Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
The phone number on David's van is the director's cell phone number.
The magnets on David/Delia's refrigerator are of ceramic genitalia and drug paraphernalia.
The behind the scenes documentary and commentary were made prior to the 19 month film festival circuit, the search for distribution, and the music rights clearance struggles. Overall, it took 1,757 days to fully complete the project and release it.
The film was complete in May 2011, but with an initial $100,000 quote for 'all-rights' for the corporately-owned songs, it took months of negotiations, a team change, replacing a few songs, and selling off equipment/working odd jobs to afford and negotiate a $6,350 price tag and get the permissions under control.
The bar-code on the DVD/Blu-Ray box is phoney.
On top of the $80,000 production budget, $5,000 was spent on postage, film festival fees, and miscellaneous post-production costs. $7,000 was spent to clear film festival music rights, $6,350 was spent to clear all music rights, and $3,000 was spent to manufacture and distribute the DVDs.
Was shown in theaters in Birmingham, AL from September 12-18, 2011.
Mark Boone Jr. painted the "Fire Ridge" painting in about 10 minutes, right before filming the scene.
The author of the fictional book, How Kidnapper's Did It, is "Barish" - named after Joel Barish of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
David's medication can be seen on the shelf above the sink in his apartment.
The movie was financed mostly by a private loan that the director is responsible for paying back.
The fern in David's apartment is alive at the beginning of the movie and dead at the end (after returning from the kidnapping excursion).