A Fat Girl's Guide to yoga was shot with 24p video with the Panasonic DVX 100 camera. Thirty-two hours of footage was chiseled down to 12 minutes, mixed and color corrected, in a process that took about eight months.
Production was done in 4 locations in 3 days. All of the interior yoga room was filmed at Crenshaw Yoga & Dance. The lobby of the studio where Wendy has her first mishap is actually the inside of Akila’s Gifts, a popular Los Angeles store for unique African and Asian imports. Aklia, the owner, is a big supporter of local artists and allowed us to use all of her store merchandise as props, right down to the burning incense. Wendy's confessional moments are shot in our generous producer's house, chosen at the last minute when a march prevented the crew from heading south to the original location. Wendy's office and the parking lot scene where she "sees" Diane for the first time were shot at St, Mary Magdalene's Catholic Church. In fact Wendy's desk belongs to the Church's secretary and the priest's rectory was directly above our heads. Trying to get a film crew to be quiet and control their cursing for eight hours is not an easy task. We shot all the exteriors guerrilla style, with no permits. This might explain the muffled roar of a city bus in the background.
Several times we discussed making a short film. The final push came in a conversation with a television agent who suggested that sample specs are always better when they are accompanied by a visual original idea. The premise is inspired by a conversation Taj had with another former executive who, having gained weight now that she was home writing, joked about being unable to find her center when you feel blown out of proportion. Greg knew and continues to know very little about yoga, so his voice was ideal for bringing a fish out of water element to the story.
The directors met over ten years ago when Taj was college roommates with Greg's older sister, Erica, who plays an extra in the film. She is the pregnant woman who stands upside down in the first scene. She was actually pregnant and held downward dog for long minutes between takes. Bless her. Technically, since she was pregnant, Greg's nephew, Xavier, was also in the film, but he was just chilling with his umbilical cord. Sorry, little man, no SAG card for you.
Taj and Wendy are actually childhood friends from church. That's where Wendy first practiced her signature Hallelujah riffs. The relationship between Taj and Wendy made it easier to translate the essence of Wendy's off screen antics into a charming film character.
We put out an open call for extras that regularly practiced yoga. We were surprised at the enthusiastic response. Many people were willing to stay and practice all day. For many of the yoga shots, Taj led the poses as if it were a real class and Lalanya, who plays the teacher, taught pilates between takes. It kept the energy high for our 14 hour production day.
While most of the clothing was planned or okayed by the production team, the "Confidence Wear It" T-shirt Wendy wears in the montage was never part of her wardrobe. Wendy's hairdresser's wore it the day of the shoot. The directors liked it so much they took the shirt off her back and put it on Wendy. Bam! Movie magic. And speaking of t-shirts, Wendy's yellow shirt with the little people on the beach she wears throughout the film can be found for bidding on eBay. Right next to Toby McGuire's Spiderman costume. We're kidding.
In the original script, Wendy has a flirtatious exchange with a character played by Greg who, at the end of the film, asks her out. While the footage was charming and the two had chemistry, that storyline didn't make the final cut.