“In the beginning it was such a shift and really hard,” Alex Zane, dad to Matilda, 5, and Holden, 2, told TODAY Parents. “We were splitting the days between us and we could each work when we weren’t on.”
Desperate for activities to entertain his kids, Zane brought a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe riding toy inside for a bathtub carwash. After losing interest, his daughter Matilda climbed on top of the Coupe and an idea sparked for Zane.
“I immediately thought of the Michael J. Fox scene in ‘Teen Wolf,’” Zane said, adding that he showed Matilda the movie clip on YouTube and demonstrated how to do an air guitar so he could snap a photo.
Zane texted the photo to his friend Andrew Kelly, a professional photographer in Colorado, and asked whether it might be possible to make Matilda look like a werewolf for a more accurate depiction of the movie scene.
“He had been on the road photographing bands and was also stuck at home,” Zane said. “He was the one who came up with the idea to (pose and photograph Matilda) once a day, five days per week.”
From that moment, Zane and his daughter began a journey to re-create movie scenes with their newfound time together. During the day, Zane would research scenes and Matilda would have her photo taken. At night, Kelly would put his photo editing skills to work.
“She’s 5 and bored after 20 seconds, but she loves looking at the photos when they’re done,” Zane shared, adding that their prop budget is $5 or less and his wife is in charge of any hair and makeup requirements.
"We did 'Wizard Of Oz' where I made her dress out of napkins," Zane said. "I felt really good about that one!"
“It’s insane that anyone other than immediate family wants to see these,” Zane said, noting that his Instagram account sat dormant for about five years before he began uploading the scenes. "It's crazy."
During 2020’s election season, the pair took on MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, his khakis and the wall-to-wall coverage he produced using his map board.
Zane said Matilda’s favorite has been a "Bridesmaids" scene.
“We found someone who had a bridal gown for a toddler and she loved it,” he said. “She kept that thing on for two days — wore it on a bike ride, hikes ... she wouldn’t take it off.”
Now that school is back in session, Zane and Matilda only shoot on the weekends, but the budding actor is proud of her work.
“We got covered in our local newspaper, and she brought the newspaper to show and tell,” Zane said. “It was the greatest feeling in the world.”
What started as a desperate attempt for structure and sanity has turned into an unexpected bonding experience for Zane.
“In hindsight, it’s been the best year of my life as far as family time,” he said.
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