Let's start with the fact that, like Bollywood, where the presence of the script is moveton, Mirik and Sanchez did not have the text as such. The film script was written by them back in 1993, when they were both just learning how to make a movie in Orlando, Florida. The comrades deliberately did not begin to fill the schematic script with dialogues, planning that the actors would improvise in front of the camera.
Listening to the main roles took place under strange circumstances. Actress Heather Donahue recalls that she stumbled upon an ad in a newspaper that read:
“Wanted actors in an improvised feature film, filming will take place in a wooded area. It will be a living hell, so most who read this ad are unlikely to suit us. ”
Instead of the standard reading (and there was nothing to read), everyone who crossed the threshold of the room where the tests took place asked the same question: “You have been in prison for 9 years now. We are a commission that can set you free before the deadline. Tell me, why should we do this? ”And as soon as a potential candidate lingered for a second, he was immediately asked to leave.
As a result, the leading roles went to Donahue and two guys - Joshua Leonard and Michael S. Williams. Filming took only 8 days, and each actor received $ 1000 a day. Of course, later, when the film became the leader of the hire, the actors got even more. Williams admitted that in general he earned about 300 thousand for his role.
The original idea of the film suggested that Heather and Josh were former lovers. This point was struck out of the script, but, ironically, the relationship between the two actors did not go right away. The girl and strived to pin up a guy, the benefit that improvisation allowed to go beyond the text. Soon, this unnecessary tension began to annoy the creators of the picture, and they decided to “soak” Josh first. As compensation, the actor was given a festive dinner at a restaurant (on the “shooting area” in the forest, the performers ate mostly energy bars and bananas).
Given the budgetary minimalism, it is not surprising that the props in the forest were also borrowed, and not purchased or created by the authors of the film. In particular, the teeth and hair that the viewer sees in the scary moments of The Blair Witch are real parts of the human body, not a dummy. The hair belonged to Joshua Leonard, and the teeth of the director Sanchez “bargained” with his dentist.
The copyright problem forced the creators of the tape to save on everything: in the frame it was impossible to simply show or quote something, it was necessary to pay the copyright holder. Sanchez wanted to use the song of the group The Animals in the episode where the characters listen to the radio in the car, but it turned out that it would have to pay an amount almost equal to the entire budget of the picture.
Of course, the actors were not given props and were not sent to the forest just like that. Still, the production film process had to be sent to the storyline, so each of the three participants had their own GPS tracker, with which the actors daily looked into a plastic container with milk, inside which were hidden notes - one for each. The note contained general instructions: something like sketches that suggested which way to improvise the dialogues. Moreover, the actors did not share these instructions with each other, so each answer was even more random than a question.
For eight days in the forest, Sanchez and Mirik filmed the material for 19 hours. The original version of the film lasted 2.5 hours, but no distributor would have taken on the rental of an independent horror movie with this timing, so the authors of the picture cut and corrected the tape for 8 months until the Witch of Blair was stitched to the standard 90 minutes
Unused scenes were subsequently used on the film’s website, as well as useful for an advertising campaign, which, however, for obvious reasons, also came out very modest. The website was designed to create an illusion of the reality of what is happening on the screen for the audience, so the extra materials were most welcome. Website development was done by Sanchez himself. For two reasons. First of all, he is the only member of the film crew who has basic programming and “site building” skills. Secondly, the director did not have a girl at that time, but there was a lot of free time.
At the time of the release of Witches from Blair into rolling, the genre of “pseudo-documentary” cinema was relatively fresh, and the people responsible for the business part of the creative process — film distributors and distributor of the film in the USA, Artisan, now bankrupt, did not fail to take advantage. Representatives of the latter did not hesitate to enjoy the benefits of "word of mouth", because many viewers truly believed that the story in the film is based on real events and all the actors of the film really died under strange circumstances.
The filmmakers were deliberately sheltered from the press, and any information about them was kept secret, including from such major movie sites as IMDb. It got to the point that Heather Donahue’s mother began to receive letters of condolence by mail, and only then it became clear that the joke had gone too far.
After the premiere, the town where the film was made was literally cordoned off by the Blair Witches fans. Everything that somehow lit up in the frame was stolen by fans, including signs and signs at the entrance to the city. The woman mayor was frightened by the abundance of strange people flooding the neighborhood of the city, and told reporters that
“Now I have to even go out behind the paper in the morning with a full make-up and a better nightie, as the cameras are everywhere.”
Of the film's actors, only Josh continued his career in Hollywood - over the past 20 years, he managed to light up in more than 80 films and TV shows. His partners in the film - Mike and Heather - can not boast of success in the acting field. Mike appears very irregularly in episodes of all kinds of walk-through projects, and earns his living the same way as he transported furniture before “The Witch of Blair”. Heather tried to become an actress for another 9 years, but then she gave up and is now engaged in the breeding of marijuana for medical purposes and writes memoirs.
After an extremely unsuccessful sequel in 2000, no one ever thought to continue this story somehow, although Sanchez and Mirik still make plans to remove the prequel (prehistory), which will take place at the beginning of the 18th century.