My First Love Letter - Twice - The Film
Read our blog post about the first time Sarah Arlen wrote a love letter.
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My First Love Letter

I’ve written hundreds of love letters.

Because of Twice, I’ve also watched as people have written hundreds love letters. I’m transfixed by the curious process of capturing love with words. And I know what the first question will always be when I hand people pen and paper: “What am I supposed to write?”

That’s my go-to line for your first love letter. It’s what I realised about writing my first. I’d written little love notes, bits and bobs, but before I started making this movie, I don’t know if I ever wrote an actual, official Letter with a capital L. So my first Letter was written to be read on-screen by my co-star as we made our movie.

What did I write in that first love letter to my leading man? Well, I didn’t know where to begin, but I had a deadline, because I knew that I wanted him to have a real letter to read so that it would be easier for him to act in the scene. And we shot that scene waaaaaaaaaay back in the beginning of filming, within the first few days of Phase One of Twice (we shot the film at staggered times).

I decided to take all the armour off my heart & put it on paper.

That letter was to my ex, the one who I will always love, who shattered my heart in just the right way to get me to create the story that would become Twice out of the shards of me. My hand dictated what I wanted to tell him, but also what I wished for myself. I focused on expressing the things I would want to hear, and a flow started to happen. It was imperfect, but so real.

I took a picture of the letter and when we were on set shooting that scene, I read the letter out loud.  Only Phil (the actor playing “Man”), Greg (our cinematographer) and I were in that room as I read it. Phil held up the paper, Greg framed him in a close-up and I started reading. Neither of them had seen the letter before I read it that very moment.

That letter changed us. It came out of my heart and entered theirs.

When I finished reading it, tears were streaming down my face. And I looked up to see tears streaming down both Greg’s and Phil’s faces. You’ll see Phil’s amazing reaction in the movie, but Greg and my reactions will always be visible to my memory. Because after wiping our eyes, we hugged each other, and stopped for a second to talk about heartbreak.

The letter opened up a conversation. It let us have all the feels. It has crossed-out words on it, and the writer in me re-reads it and wants to correct a few strangely formed sentences, but I’ll always leave it untouched, because it doesn’t need to be perfect. It needs to be true.

When you sit down to write one (and please do, the world needs love letters), there is no designated thing you are “supposed to” write. There are only things you wish to give to someone else. So perhaps you’ll be able to find the inevitable writing flow by asking yourself the question:

What would I like to give from my inner world to the outer world today?

And then get a pen, some paper, take a deep breath and don’t worry about perfection. Give what you want to get.

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