After reading Csaba’s first draft of the film, I was immediately on board. He had a moving story, great characters, heart-wrenching moments, and yes – he had a title. Anna. It was no-nonsense, easy to remember, and the name of the central character. There was never really any question about the name. Sure, when producers, Alyssa Roehrenbeck and Deborah Lee Smith joined us, they made a point to remind us that there are all sorts of reasons we may need to change the title, but we gave it zero energy. We had enough on our plate just trying to make the film. It wasn’t until many months later that the name Here Awhile would come into play. Here’s how and why.
The Name Here Awhile Came During Post-Production
Flash forward to late summer, production had wrapped, and we were deep into post production. For the four of us, that meant eating, drinking, and sleeping the movie. When you’re in post, particularly the early phases, the brain never really takes a rest from working on the project. When I wasn’t actively watching scenes and working with Michael Ward (Editor) or Mark Orton (Composer) I’d be burrowed deep inside my head flitting from one element to another. What was working? What wasn’t? Is there a good solution? Film making takes a lot of brainpower. It is mentally exhausting.
One morning I woke up to an email from Alyssa saying she found another movie called Anna on IMDB. With fingers crossed that it wasn’t true, I typed in ‘Anna’, and there it was….Anna. Except not OUR Anna. Luc Freakin’ Besson was in the middle of making a film with the same name. Same name, except that this film was being made by the fella who made The 5th Element and La Femme Nikita; Not to mention the fact that their Anna had a budget about one hundred times ours. I’m not exaggerating – the budget listed on IMDB was 100 times ours.
We all knew it. We needed to change the name of our film. There was no competing with a film that would be getting a lot of attention from the filmmaker’s name, let alone the powerful marketing budget that was sure to put wind in its sails. So we were back to the drawing board. Looking at it now, although it didn’t seem it at the time, it was a good thing.
Csaba, Alyssa, Deborah, and I started an email chain, throwing out possible names. I threw out ‘Hummingbird’, which was a reference to the tattoo that Anna’s character had on her neck, and subsequently Anna Camp got permanently as a tribute to not only the film and her astounding work in it, but also to the wonderful symbolism surrounding the hummingbird.
And the names kept coming: Princess of Mess, Fly On Home, Personal Choice. One Move Left got a lot of attention, until someone pointed out that it sounded a lot like a Steven Segal action flick. We all laughed and crossed that one off. We even opened it up to our cast, crew, and friends on Facebook with a brief survey.
Finally, I was back into the post-production thing and reviewing a scene in the film where Anna is reciting a poem, and I heard her say:
If I should die and leave you here awhile be not like others sore undone…
It landed for me. I love how the phrase Here Awhile not only comes right out of the film, but also expresses the briefness of all of our lives, and the limited amount of time we all have on this planet. When we presented this one, the whole team knew, this was the one we had been waiting for – it just fit.