June 15, 2024
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June 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Ever since she was a child, Lisa Fabelman was intrigued by solving crimes. By age 11 she had gone through the entire “Cam Jansen,” “Hardy Boys,” “Nancy Drew,” “Enola Holmes” and “Encyclopedia Brown” series. She spent her free time helping at the local police station, and started a forensic science club in her high school. This entire time, Lisa took writing classes, and apparently had a real talent for writing fiction. By the time she was 17, she had written an entire murder mystery movie script, which (thanks to her writing teacher’s connections) was being considered by a few popular production companies.

On January 18, Lisa got the call she had been waiting for. Fox Studios had decided to purchase her script and turn it into a feature film! Lisa was so excited! First, she called Natalie, her writing teacher, to tell her the good news and to thank her for everything. Lisa then called her family members and closest friends to tell them. Everyone was so happy for Lisa; they knew this was her dream come true.

The next day, Lisa met with the producer and director to discuss their vision for the movie. The three of them, along with Natalie, went through the script scene by scene. It took the group four hours from beginning to end, and the meeting went well. The one issue that came up was the length of the script. The producer and director felt it was too long for the story, and wanted to cut it down a bit. Lisa and Natalie listened, understood and agreed to make a few changes to take a few minutes off the runtime.

A few days later, the group of four met again to review the changes. Lisa and Natalie brought two copies of the script, the original and the shortened version. Each version had highlights to emphasize what was changed. The producer and director seemed pleased with the changes and agreed to go ahead with the new script. A contract was signed, and Lisa left the meeting feeling happier than she ever had.

Meanwhile, production of “The Moth Cave” began, with the hopeful release date set for November 27. Lisa and Natalie spent some time on set, and both felt happy with the way the movie was turning out. However, as November neared, the issue of time came up again. The movie still seemed too long, with a runtime of two hours and 36 minutes. Unfortunately, at this time, Lisa was away on her senior trip. Lisa’s classmates had voted on a wilderness adventure, and none of the students brought their phones along. (A few of the teachers did, don’t worry.) Natalie was also on the trip as a chaperone, so Fox Studios had nobody to contact about making changes. Due to Lisa being unreachable, the studio reserved the right to make their own changes, which they did.

When Lisa and Natalie returned home, their phones and inboxes were full of messages from Fox. The two quickly realized what happened, and immediately headed to the studio to find out more.

At the studio, Lisa and Natalie rounded up the director and producer who told them about the changes, or should we say, change. Only one change was made to cut down time, but it was a major one. The studio decided to remove a 15-minute scene in which the two detectives review all the clues and figure out the identity of the killer. Instead, the detectives are shown entering their office and then rushing out the next morning to arrest their suspect. Lisa and Natalie could not believe it! What kind of edit deleted one of the most important scenes of the movie?! Lisa and Natalie made their arguments, and eventually convinced the studio to give them two days to make alternate changes. Forty-eight hours and an incredible amount of coffee and soda later, they returned with what would eventually become an award-winning script.

Parshat Beshalach contains one of the most well-known parts of the Torah, Az Yashir. While Az Yashir may be a beautiful song of thanks to Hashem, one might consider it to be out of place. How do the words of the song add to the story? Why not just put it in Ketuvim, which includes many words of praise to Hashem, like Tehillim? Perhaps Az Yashir is similar to the detectives putting clues together. By looking through the words of Az Yashir, we see the thought process that brought Bnei Yisrael around to having complete faith in Hashem. Without this shira, we might know that Bnei Yisrael developed a strong faith in Hashem, but we wouldn’t know how. This is not a scene we could afford to cut.


Yair Daar is the director of Student Life at Bicultural Hebrew Academy High School. He can be reached at [email protected]

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