Written by Jim Dedman and directed by Alistair Isaac, Pleadings traces the conflict between the past and the present, professional life and personal life, and friends and lovers. Shot on location in Houston, Beaumont, and Waco, Texas, Pleadings is brought to you by Anamnesia Productions, L.L.C
In this deleted scene from the Amamnesia Productions, L.L.C. film "Pleadings," Daphne Harper (Heather Durham) escapes to a local diner with her friend Kara Chambers (Lauren Hance) following a difficult funeral. During this sequence, which was initially placed early in the film, the two characters converse about their lives over the course of a single, uncut shot. This scene was shot at the Early Bird Cafe on Phelan Drive in Beaumont, Texas.

Commentary from director Alistair Isaac:
"This scene was not in early versions of the script and was added by [writer] Jim [Dedman] largely to flesh out the character of Kara. Once it was in, though, we fell in love with it as the monologue really sets up the general sense of malaise which permeates the rest of the film.

The real appeal of this scene, though, comes from the conflation of a neat monologue with two additional factors. First, a great performance by Lauren Hance in the role of Kara. Second a nice bit of camerawork, really capturing the aesthetic we were aiming for in the film. Lauren's performance was so spot on, the camerawork matched the actors' beats so closely, we were able to do the scene in a single shot. Obviously, a large part of this was luck given the constraining circumstances (only seeing the location for the first time mere minutes before, shooting behind the crowded counter, etc. (special thanks to [actress and friend of the production] Veronica Bruce, both for getting us the location, and for playing the invisible waitress)). But if Lauren hadn't hit every note perfectly, I don't think I would have been near as excited about this scene.

Nevertheless, the scene had to be cut. The main reason was the general pairing down of secondary characters in order to streamline the story and emphasize the two primary love triangles. However, unlike many of the other scenes which were cut, which suffered from some flaw in lighting, camerawork, or acting, this one was flawless in my mind. So, I can honestly say, this was the hardest scene in the film to lose."
In this deleted scene from the Anamnesia Productions, L.L.C. film "Pleadings," Diane Nordstrom (Shondra Marie) confesses her suspicions of her husband Jason's infidelity to her old friend, Thomas Wyatt (Ben Pronsky). The scene occurs late at night as the Nordstroms's anniversary party (which is also a costume party) winds down. Wyatt, an attorney, has just made a fool of himself in a putative "mock deposition" with Jason Nordstrom (referred to herein as "Nordstrom" and played by Jim Prindle) and Moira Farris (Katie Stuckey), Wyatt's former girlfriend and the object of Diane's budding suspicions. Special thanks to actor and friend of the film Howard Block (who plays Casey Goodman, one of Wyatt's clients) for allowing the production company to shoot these scenes at his home.

Commentary from director Alistair Isaac:
"Thomas Wyatt is the central character in Pleadings, but the emotional entanglements which make his story interesting involve a number of characters with parallel problems. Initially, [writer] Jim [Dedman] and I had tried to flesh out as many of these characters as possible. After screening an earlier two hour cut of the film, however, we realized that the fleshing out of these characters was distracting from the central momentum of the movie, which centers on the Wyatt/Moira relationship.

"So, in order to allow this momentum to build, and maintain audience interest, we had to lose some of these scenes. The character that was by far hardest hit, however, was Diane Nordstrom. This was especially unfortunate because Shondra really succeeded in imbuing Diane with a nice power and subtlety. Unfortunately, while the story of Diane's troubles with her husband's infidelity was compelling (and originally featured its own bittersweet resolution scenes), it was simply overshadowed by the Wyatt/Moira drama in the last act.

"This scene is a good example. There are some great moments here on both sides, and we learn not just about Diane's suspicions, but about Wyatt's own preconceptions of his friends. Nevertheless, in the original cut, this scene was preceded by the mock deposition scene and followed by the fireworks scene, in which Wyatt apologizes to Nordstrom for his behavior to Moira. All the key facts the viewer needs to know, then, about the Wyatt/Moira relationship at this stage, are revealed in the other two scenes. Once we decided not to show the ultimate resolution of the Diane/Nordstrom plotline, this scene became extraneous, despite the good performances by both Pronsky and Marie."
In this deleted scene from the Anamnesia Productions, L.L.C. film "Pleadings," Diane Nordstrom (Shondra Marie) confronts her husband Jason (Jim Prindle) after their anniversary party.

Commentary from director Alistair Isaac:
"This is another scene that it was difficult to cut because many different factors conspired to make it a great scene. In terms of the story, this was actually one of only two scenes in which Nordstrom and Diane actually appear together, and the other one was relatively insignificant (and cut early in the editing process). Furthermore, the chemistry between Jim and Shondra was great; they really feed off each other in this scene - probably my favorite performance from each of them.

"From a technical standpoint, I was also quite pleased. The lighting turned out great (that's a single light bouncing off the kitchen door, if I recall), and the blue lamp in the living room was a nice touch, fully conforming to Dogme95 rules. The icing on the cake is the nice faux headlights which sweep past at 1:10 - if I recall, the idea (and execution?) was Ben's (Pronsky, who plays the film's protagonist, Thomas Wyatt). They indicate the arrival of Wyatt and Daphne (Heather Durham) to pick up Wyatt's car, which was left at the party earlier in the evening."

"Finally, it was great to get some nice long takes. Shondra and Jim really nailed it, the camera was steady, the sound was solid, and everything came together."
In this deleted scene from the Anamnesia Productions, L.L.C. film "Pleadings," Wyatt (Ben Pronsky) and Daphne (Heather Durham) have returned to the house of their friends the Nordstroms to pick up Wyatt's car. Their adventures with Wyatt's crazy ex-girlfriend are finally over, and this is the first moment they've had for a quite conversation.

Commentary from director Alistair Isaac:
"We shot this at the end of an *extremely* long and onerous day of shooting scenes from the party. Ben (Pronsky) and Heather (Durham) were both absurdly tired, but then so were their characters. I thought they both delivered a wonderfully understated scene.

"From a story-telling standpoint, this is the one scene (well, with dialogue) where we see Wyatt and Daphne interacting in a calm and supportive manner. It's also pretty much the only scene where you get any sense of why they might be dating in the first place. Unfortunately, the scene is redundant from a plot perspective - of course they'll pick up the car at some point, of course they reconcile to some extent. As I recall, it was (editor) Dan (Loyd) who pointed out that the manner in which Wyatt awakes in the next scene (from sleeping in the chair, while Daphne can be seen sleeping in the bed) elegantly communicates everything the audience needs to know about the extent to which the two did (or did not) make up.

"This scene also fit well with our previous deleted scene, which shows the immediately preceding events in the house's interior. In that scene, the Nordstroms fight and are briefly interrupted when they see headlights shining in through the front door. Those were the headlights of Daphne's car, of course, and I always liked the moment when the narrative moved outside even though Nordstrom himself was forbidden to do so.

"So, I cut this scene at the same time as cutting the previous one. It was sad to see them go, since they both added a significant layer to the characters involved.

"From a stylistic standpoint, this is another single shot scene. We really shot it in front of the darn house we shot the party in, and it was shot at 3am, about the time the events in the script occur. I'm a big fan of creating an environment with a unity of time and space. I think it adds a layer of authenticity and creates a productive mood for the actors. I guess it must of because we only did two takes (both one shot) and they nailed it both times."
Pleadings on YouTube

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