Taylor Firth's diary from the set of "Ice Castles"

Skater having the time of her life in first movie role

Director Donald Wrye (left) helped Taylor Firth (right) muster up some tears for the big, break-up scene with Rob Mayes (middle).
Director Donald Wrye (left) helped Taylor Firth (right) muster up some tears for the big, break-up scene with Rob Mayes (middle). (Chris Large)


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By Taylor Firth, special to
(04/21/2009) - U.S. senior lady Taylor Firth keeps up-to-date from the set of Ice Castles.

Last film day
Today was so bittersweet. I was excited that we would be wrapping, but I know I'll miss all of this terribly. We filmed sectionals today so I got to do "Firebird" again. It was so awesome; my hair and makeup was insane!

It was just crazy! Barbi, my hair stylist, was amazing through this whole shoot! We had so many different hairdos, and they were all done so well.

Elizabeth, my makeup artist, made me look the part day in and day out. Whether I had to look blind, natural or like a flashy firebird, she did my makeup perfectly, and I'm so grateful for that.

They are the girls who are responsible for making me look like Lexi should. The skating part of the day was so fun. There were four cameras going the whole time, which included the big camera that was following me around on the ice getting aerial shots of the whole program. It was quite distracting, but it was so cool.

I couldn't believe it when the assistant director said that I was finished with skating for the whole movie; it seemed so unreal. When Rob and I did our final scene together, it was very heart-wrenching. They had added the scene in that day, and I really felt that it was a great scene. I think he was supposed to be emotional, but listening to the words he was saying and thinking that it was the end I had a few tears fall.

When the assistant director called Morgan and Rob's picture wrap, I gave Morgan, who played Aiden, a big hug, and when I looked at Rob, both he and I had tears streaming down our cheeks.

It was an incredibly sad moment realizing what we had just finished but still had another scene left to do. It was an interview scene so it was totally unscripted. When we finished the scene, they called my picture wrap. I was happy and sad, then, the assistant director said, "It's a wrap on us. Great show, everybody".

It was in that moment that I realized that it was all over, and I just started sobbing. It felt like there was a huge weight lifted from me that made me sick to my stomach once it was gone. I got my casts that we used, and everyone had signed them.

The camera crew gave me one of the slates that they used for marking. I got my roll of tape that they stick on the floor so I know where to stand, and I got a plaque from the cast and crew that said Ice Castles with a skater on it.

I cried so bad when they gave that to me. Well, when I got all of those gifts I cried really bad. I was just really touched by how thoughtful they were and that they wanted to give me those things.

I fell in love with everyone on set. They all made me feel very comfortable, and I am forever grateful for what they all did to make that possible. I had the absolute time of my life working on this project. I can't believe the things that we accomplished in the past month.

I never planned on having a role in a figure skating movie, or any movie for that matter. I was doing things that I never thought I would be able to do. But, I had an awesome director who treated me like his own daughter; a cast that really encouraged me even though I was pretty much the only one who had never acted before; a crew that would joke and talk with me all the time; a hair, makeup and wardrobe team, that truly took care of me and made me look spectacular; and drivers that made it possible for me to get where I needed to be and get there on time.

I cannot extend my gratitude enough to all of them. Now, and forever, they have a piece of my heart with them that no one can take away or replace.

I cannot put into words what this experience was like for me, I had the most amazing time of my life filming this movie, and I will remember every single moment of it and hold onto it so dearly.

I thank God everyday for this blessing. He gave me the strength to do this project and is the reason I was able to do it all to the best of my ability.

Thanks to everyone who made this journey enjoyable and possible for me.


Week 4
This was a crazy week. It was pretty stressful for me because we had three days of shooting huge skating scenes. On Monday, we filmed the nationals scenes, where I skate to "Through the Eyes of Love." There were 2,000 people watching as the background people. Sandra Bezic was there for the commentating, and it was so great to see her again. It was cool, but, when you are nervous as it is, to hear a girl in the crowd yell, "Nice underwear," to you -- it's enough to set anyone off.

When I was skating around at one point, I felt like I tripped over something on the ice. When I went back over to pick up what I skated over, I realized that it was the paint they just put down. It turned out that they had just finished painting it the night before, so there was less than an inch of ice to skate on. When I started to jump, I would cut down to the unpainted part on even my Axel take-offs. Needless to say, they didn't allow me to jump too much on that ice. We filmed the scene where I fall on the flowers too; it was funny because I kept really falling on them.

That night I got to skate with Michelle Kwan. It was so cool. I've looked up to her for so long, and it was amazing to just relax and talk with her. She is so normal; she's not intimidating or arrogant at all! She was a really awesome girl.

The next day was even harder for me. We filmed the same things as the day before, but everything was in spotlights. It was so weird -- I liked it, and I didn't. I love the dark. It makes me feel very alone and calm, but having to jump into the darkness was very hard for me. I did what I needed to do, and I feel good about it.

That night my dad came into town, and I'm so glad he came. My dad really loves and supports me, and he is so excited to be able to come to set and check out what my life has been like for the past month.

Wednesday was pretty low key, but Thursday was another intense day. We filmed regionals, where I'm with my new coach, Aiden, and I skate to "Firebird." I'm in love with that program. The other two that I performed were very low key and simple, but "Firebird" is intense and almost mystical. I had so much fun filming that program. The background crowd really encouraged me and were more than I could have asked for.

My dad got to be in a scene at the end of the day; he had to be taking pictures of me at regionals. I'm so glad that both of my parents were able to have a part in the movie. After everything that my parents have done for me over the years, I'm glad that they could share this with me. Even though it seems so small, I'm so excited that they can be a part of this with me. My mom has been with me on set every single day, and I have three sisters still at home. It is hard for me to have my mom here this whole time knowing that my sisters are home without her and missing her terribly. So, I was actually happy when my mom told me that she was going to see my sisters this weekend, not because I wanted my mom to leave, but because I knew that it was what was best for my sisters.

After we filmed all of the hospital scenes on Friday, my dad and I decided to spend the weekend touring. We went to Peggy's Cove, which was amazing! I am such a nature girl; I just love it so much. I feel like God has revealed Himself to us through the world He created for us. Peggy's Cove was a bunch of very large rocks, where the vast ocean just beat down on them. Something about rocks just makes me feel strong and dominant. It was so awesome to experience such a beautiful sight.

I have been so blessed through this whole trip. I can't express my gratitude to everyone involved with the making of this film enough. Everyone makes me feel important, and they reassure me that I'm doing a good job, even when I'm having a really bad day.

This has been a very exhausting, but again incredible, week for me. God bless.

Week 3
This was kind of a low-key week for me, but it was as fun as all the others. It started out pretty quiet. I had to start tutoring, which was a bit of a struggle. Any free time I had on set was devoted to me squeezing in homework, so I didn't have much down time on set.

Tuesday was fun; I got to work with Tattiawna Jones, who plays Melissa, Aiden's assistant. In the scenes we did, she was showing me around the skating facilities. We had a good time, but the building was so hot! That day was also my very first crying scene. I was tired at that point, because it was the last scene of the day for me, so I was very emotional. It was cool to do something different like that, even if it was only a few tears.

Wednesday was the big break-up scene with Nick and Lexi-- that was when I had to really cry. I actually wasn't in a great mind frame for that scene at the time, so I told the director. He started talking to me and helped me get depressed ... well, just emotional. I started thinking about how much I miss home, and I lost it. I was sobbing in the middle of the scene! It was incredible!! I was so surprised I did that, and Donald was so happy. After that, the rest of the day was filmed at the spa. We did all of the spa scenes; it was so fun!

I actually had Thursday off, which was kinda nice. I skated with David for a while and made sure I was ready for Friday. That was my first day of filming competition.

I was pretty nervous; there were a lot of people in the stands watching -- way more than I expected. But it was totally fun, and I did a really good job! I was sooo tired by the end. I had to do my program so many times, but I loved the program so it didn't bother me at all. It was crazy to have the camera crew in the middle of the ice filming me and following me around for another camera angle -- it was so cool!

Week 2
This week was long, but the end was quick. That sounds sort of weird, but that is the only way I can describe it. I had my fair share of injuries this week. The beginning started off with me having to do scenes where I'm blind and I'm trying to jump but it just isn't working.

I had to fall, purposefully, like 50 times. Man, was that frustrating. As if that wasn't enough Rob and I had an accident. In one of the scenes where I had to fall, he had to skate over to me and make sure I was alright. When he was quickly skating he slipped off his blade and slid into me. His knee went right into my lower back. Since I have back problems already and he hit my soft spot, I was in a great deal of pain. But after a few days, it was fine again, just in time for my next injury.

Rob and I were doing another scene where I was blind, and angry, and I want to get away from him. We had just come from the rink where we had a big fight, so Lexi wants no help at all. I was having a very hard time with the scene I wasn't doing what the director was looking for, he wanted more energy more anger and more, yep, blind falling.

So, in the next take, I'm flailing my arms like it's nobody's business with my skates slung over my arm. It was feeling like a good take, when all of a sudden I saw my skate flying up, and I felt it hit my mouth. I was shocked, and I just started crying. Afraid that I might ruin a good take, I just went on with the scene crying.

Once they yelled cut, I walked away with my hand on my mouth crying. Rob rushed over to see what was going on, because he thought that my crying was acting. If only!

So, I had to take a few minutes to get myself back together, but, at that point of the week, I was tired. I was frustrated with the scene, and I was in pain. So, it took me a few minutes to pull myself together.

But it all worked for the better of the scene, the director got exactly what he wanted. But other than my many injuries it was a great week. The whole cast and crew are totally cool. We all just joke with each other and have a great day of "work." We are still on track, and I'm loving every minute of this experience. This has been a dream come true for me, and I really don't want it to end. I'm truly having the time of my life here.

Week 1
My first week of filming was amazing! I had such a blast. I had no idea what to expect, but nothing could have prepared me for it. I didn't realize just how much work goes into making a film, and how much time is spent on each part. I also didn't realize how tired I was going to be.

Here I was thinking, 'Well I'm an athlete; this will be nothing.' But like anything new, it took more than I thought. It is a different kind of hard work, and it's something I wouldn't expect anyone to understand unless they have been in this situation.

My favorite part of this whole experience so far has been skating on the pond! It was absolutely divine. We had perfect weather, and a perfect scenery, it was like heaven on Earth. But it did come with some problems. Since it was so beautiful outside, the ice didn't want to stay frozen, so by about 1:00 p.m. each day we were trying to skate on a thin layer of ice that was covering ice that was like a snow cone.

It is funny now that I'm remembering it. In the very first scene that I acted in, Rob Mayes (he plays Lexi's boyfriend Nick) and I had to chase each other on the ice that was changing into pebbles. They showed us the spot on the ice that was hard and safe, but in the middle of the take I forgot how far was too far, and I skated right into a sink hole.

I went straight down! That night they had an ice caretaker out fixing the pond up until 4:00 a.m. The poor guy, and it was freezing! But he made the ice so much better.

I got to do one of my programs for the movie on the pond. They are making it into something beautiful. I have never loved to skate more than I did when I was on that pond; it was simply perfect. We had a bright blue sky, snow on the ground, an exquisitely bright shining sun, and the most beautiful background of trees I've ever seen. It was breathtaking, skating that early morning. It just didn't seem real, and thinking about it now seems like it was only a picture that I had looked at.

There were some other cool parts of the week too. I got to act for the first time in my life; that was really cool! I got to do my own falling stunts -- the accident scene where Lexi goes blind.

I also got to go snowmobiling. Now that was awesome!!! I was squealing with joy the whole time. I got to get all beautiful for the party scene. That was fun. The director kept saying I looked like a geisha.

Taylor Firth