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A New Kind Of Story
In blending the narrative storyline, Charlyne and Nick knew it would need an arc and structure, so they began writing a script that would support and complement the documentary sections. 

In choosing the story, they felt it would be great to have Charlyne's "character” meet a boy and possibly fall in love, so they began working on a relationship angle for the film. Their ideas in place, the duo wrote a loose outline of the entire movie before production began. 

They then compiled a list of the types of people they were interested in interviewing for the doc portion, hoping to find stories that would tie into or support the narrative. 

Because they were blurring the lines, the filmmakers felt they also might be able to have fun with people's expectations of what the movie actually was. 

"We knew people might get muddled and think it was real,” says Charlyne. "But there are credits. There's a ‘written by' and ‘Nick is played by Jake.'”

 "We found it exciting,” says Nick. "If you thought what you were watching was potentially real, you'd be more engaged in the story. The actors are playing themselves, but it's not them and it's not the ‘real' circumstances…although they're similar circumstances.” 

Overall, they were excited about presenting a love story an audience could believe in, and hopefully creating something even more effective than most traditional takes on the subject. 

The filmmakers agreed that the true, documentary aspects of the film would be very important in helping an audience connect to Charlyne and her quest. To create this realistic feel, they shot in the same style for both sides of the film to ensure a uniform look and feel and avoid jarring transitions between the two. 

Using the script as an outline, they improvised dialogue and sometimes whole scenes, consciously attempting to make things feel as realistic as possible. The idea was to create an entertaining story that wasn't overly structured or too much in the vein of a traditional romantic comedy. 

Producer Sandra says, "I think one of the reasons the film comes across as realistic across the board, with lines blurred between documentary and narrative, is because Charlyne and Nick were not trying to fulfill any formula or manufacture a typically Hollywood film. This is definitely a film with an independent spirit and a unique perspective on love, and that's the film's charm.” 

In another effort to maintain the realistic feel of the film, they actually took a step away from realism: they hired actor Jake Johnson to portray Nick on screen. The filmmakers had toyed with the idea of Nick actually playing himself, but ultimately, "real” wouldn't work.

 "I'm not a good enough actor,” says Nick. "Hiring Jake became necessary for making the film feel real. I couldn't risk someone not believing in the story because I was bad on camera. And Jake is fantastic.” Nick and Jake had previously collaborated on a few short films, while Charlyne and Jake had performed together on stage.

 As they were looking for funding for Paper Heart, the three of them worked for the first time together on a 30-minute stage version of Steven Spielberg's ET: The Extra-Terrestrial. Nick directed, Jake played Elliot and Charlyne played ET. 

The creative trio firmly established, the last piece of the puzzle was to find someone to play Charlyne's unexpected object of affection. They approached actor Michael Cera to be in the scripted portions of the film, as he was a friend and they thought he'd be perfect for it. 

"The first person we pitched was Michael – I did it and it went horribly,” laughs Charlyne. "I<

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