Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well: The Short Film” has earned the singer a nomination for best music video at the 2023 Grammys for its harrowing display of broken romance. Now, she’s giving fans a behind-the-scenes peek at how she pieced together the coming-of-age film.
On Thursday, Swift shared a casual six-minute video comprised of compilation footage with her directorial presence being front and center. Her vision is clear as she coaches co-stars Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien through the carefully planned scenes, sometimes stepping into the moment to gesture the appropriate timing and feelings attached to each movement.
“We should always see a falseness to your smile,” she tells Sink in one shot. Swift is also seen directing the film’s extras with precision in dinner party scenes and Sink’s 21st birthday scene which she attentively watches, requesting the timing of the song’s lyric “It’s supposed to be fun turning twenty-one” aligns with Sink blowing out the birthday candles.
“I want [the video] to be like we’re watching a person lose an element of innocence and naivete,” she explains. “We’re watching her figure out how to turn it into something beautiful…in the older [version of] her there’s a stillness and a stoicism and a seriousness, but a sadness. She’s fine but she’s not who we met. So it’s just sort of one of those things of what’s lost and what’s found and, like, we’re watching a person come of age.”
Swift uploaded the cut on her Instagram with a caption thanking both actors and cinematographer Rina Yang along with the film’s producer Saul Germaine.
“The first seeds of this short film were planted over ten years ago, and I’ll never forget the behind-the-scenes moments of the shoot,” she wrote in her caption. “I owe everything to [Sadie Sink], Dylan O’Brien, my incredible DP [Rina Yang] and my producer [Saul Germaine].”
“I also want to say thank you to our wonderful background actors and crew who made this story come to life so naturally,” she concluded. “I loved every second of it and I will always remember it. All. Too. Well. The behind-the-scenes footage of ATW the short film is out now!”
Swift has spoken about her directorial process before at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival, where she said she would “love to” continue writing and directing. “I don’t see it being bigger, in terms of scale. I loved making a film that was so intimate,” she said.
She described her experience on set as “such a fulfilling experience,” adding, “I’m really secret agent-y about people not finding out what we’re making. Everything was [discussed using] code words. I’m so weird.” The short film is also eligible for a 2023 Oscar nomination in the live-action short category.
Swift will be appearing alongside Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) in Variety‘s annual Directors on Directors series to chat more about her film, with their video premiering on Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. PT on Variety.com and Variety social media channels.