What Rush thought was the debut of a family-friendly film about overcoming bullying at The Venue Creekside in Cleveland, was actually a carefully orchestrated scheme on her behalf to totally surprise her.
“She thought she was going to be watching a short film on bullying in the education system,” Alderman said. “She’s so smart that we had to make it real, so she didn’t realize what was going on. We picked a topic that was hot and made sense. She knew I worked with 5:01 Studios writing some scripts, and that I worked on the script of this anti-bullying film called ‘Unpopular.’ She also knew that our company had been hired to promote it. I even created a Facebook page for it.
“But what she didn’t know is there were two Facebook pages! There was a secret page called ‘Ashley’s Secret Proposal’ and a real page called ‘Unpopular.’ We told our story of falling in love — using Cleveland Middle School students — and 5:01 brought in a real film crew with a red epic camera — being filmed in full film quality. Adam Lowe gave us The Venue at Creekside. We even had a guy pretending to be the educational director from Nashville to pretend to come here to watch the film!”
Chad Guyton, owner of 5:01 Studios, said, “Ashley actually planned her own proposal and didn’t know it. She wrote the press releases, oversaw the coordination of talent, helped us find the actors, helped coordinate the logistics with the shoot — she was emailing me throughout the process asking for things along the way for the event — the whole time being completely clueless that it was all for her.”
Rush said she was totally caught off guard, adding, “Apparently everyone knew but me! I pride myself on being very intuitive and aware, so I couldn’t believe that Rob — and all our friends and family — were able to keep such a big event a secret from me! But I was truly, 100-percent surprised — shocked is actually more accurate!”
Unbeknown to her, Alderman went to Guyton at 5:01 Studios to plan the entire ruse. Guyton agreed and, in turn, called to set up a business meeting with Rush and Alderman.
“We’ve worked together on a ton of projects,” Guyton explained. “So it wouldn’t be unusual for me to call and say I need to set up a meeting about an exciting new deal. We met for about an hour and laid out this whole thing about how this could potentially be a great thing for Cleveland with a series of short films. So I hired them to put this whole event together and Ashley went to work!”
Even Guyton and Alderman admits they did not realize how big it would ultimately turn out to be — from a brief trailer to a 6-minute short shot with a production crew of eight and 20 to 25 kids as extras.
“We had to walk a fine line,” Guyton said. “Because the film was supposed to be about bullying. But what it really was about was Rob and Ashley’s love story through the lens of middle school-aged kids. It was about this unique kid who gets picked on and Ashley, instead of piling on, kind of puts her arm around him. It turned into a big production — shot over three days, 12 hours total.”
“Ashley is such a kind person,” Alderman said. “She gives and gives and gives. She really loves people. So I started to think, ‘What if there was one moment that was focused just on her — just one — where it was all about her?’ This way people could celebrate her as well as our love. So that’s what this was about. We’ve worked late night, filming. We had volunteers working on this. We had press releases and Facebook pages. Everyone wanted to help. Her family and friends were there. She’s the only one who didn’t know!”
Implementation of his plan took several months, although Alderman admits he had been thinking about it for at least eight months. “We’d been dating for about a year and I love the woman!,” Alderman said. “The press release is true. We did make the film. The film IS about a kid who gets bullied. But the fact is, this was all about a proposal. In the end it’s really a love story and it ends with a proposal — my proposal to Ashley.”
Ashley said yes. They kissed and everyone celebrated the debut of the engaged couple whose romance was played out on screen with a live conclusion offering the perfect reality show happy ending.
Guyton told Alderman, “I could buy you a shower curtain or something, but this is like the best gift I could give you. This is my wedding gift to you two.”
Alderman, laughing, said, “It’s one of the most fun and challenging projects we’ve ever done together! The idea of putting together something like this of that scope was awesome! But to do it in a lovingly sneaky way was even better!”
Alderman and 5:01 Studios had the entire event filmed, from planning stages to Ashley’s reaction and acceptance.
“There are special moments you always dream of as a little girl, but I could never have imagined anything as spectacular as this!” Rush confessed. “I’m completely in awe of all the planning and creativity Rob, and all our friends, put into giving me the gift of this magical experience. Rob is the most creative and brilliant man I’ve ever met, but he absolutely outdid himself with this proposal! I’m honestly the luckiest girl in the entire world.”
The video is now available on YouTube under: Man tricks his girlfriend into planning her own wedding proposal or: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0FC39rJ0eg&feature=youtu.be