Last Wednesday, New York Times technology writer David Pogue pulled off an awe-inspiring marriage proposal that touched all our emotions. It had us chuckling, teary eyed, shaking our heads in wonder and mumbling to ourselves, "Wow."
Pogue produced a Hollywood-quality, five-minute fake movie trailer – complete with beautiful cinematography, a cast of professional actors, set changes and musical score – that capsulized the blossoming bi-coastal, Skype-supported love story of David and Nicki.
On August 15, Pogue convinced the movie theater at a summer resort to play the fake trailer before the movie Pogue, his girlfriend and their families went to see. He hid a video camera in a ficus plant at the front of the theater so he could capture the real Nicki's reaction.
The trailer tells the story of a man and woman, each divorced with young children, who meet and fall in love despite living on opposite sides of the country. Through the magic of Skype and instant messaging they are able to keep their blossoming romance alive.
As the story plays out, we see the real Nicki in the lower-right of the frame as she slowly realizes that the actors in the trailer are telling her story.
As the trailer transitions to the ultimate scene, where the fictional David is kneeling down, ring in hand, to propose to the fictional Nicki, the REAL David calls, "cut," and enters the scene as the director.
"This is the real deal," Pogue, the director, says. "It has to be done in person. It has to be done by me. Live!"
Then the real David leads Nicki in front of the small theater, while the fictional characters on the screen seem to be watching the live action from behind.
"Nicki, I've never met a soul as selfless, as beautiful, as wise and funny as you and I am not going to let you slip through my fingers," the real David says. "My dream is to be with you every day of my life. Nicki, will you marry me?" The real Nicki screams, "Yes," and reaches both hands in the air in celebration. Amazingly, the fictional cast on the screen reacts as if on cue.
At the Vimeo video site, a reader asked Pogue how he got the recorded video of the cast's reaction to align with the live action. "It was too perfect," the reader wrote.
Pogue's answer: Great question! First, I wrote out what I was going to say, and recorded my speech on my phone. Then when we filmed, the actors were all listening to my recording, so that THEIR timing was right. Then I just rehearsed with the video over and over again before the big day!
Enjoy this amazing piece of work.