We’re less than a week away from the Oscars, where if things go according to plan, “La La Land” should be taking home an armload of trophies. But at this point in the waning days of the awards season, it can be easy to forget that at one time, this year’s frontrunner was seen as a risky and even niche musical from the guy who made “Whiplash.” A lot of blood, sweat, tears, and music went into making the movie, and this rehearsal footage of the film’s opening number “Another Day Of Sun” is a great example of the extensive work put into the production.

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It’s worth noting that after the film had wrapped, director Damien Chazelle had the sequence placed later in the movie, and even considered dropping it altogether, before the song found its place at the beginning of “La La Land.” With limited time to shoot the scene, the filmmaker rehearsed and planned everything in a parking lot beforehand with a little help from his iPhone.

“We were able to secure the highway location for half a day a few weeks before shooting,” Chazelle told USA Today. “We all went in feeling pretty confident because we were quite happy with how the iPhone (video) had worked out. And the dress rehearsal was a total disaster. The crane could not move the way an iPhone moves … The choreography looked different, the slant of the freeway created a lot of other challenges. Everything was just tricky. We had to go back and regroup and make some adjustments.”

Well, it all worked out in the end, and you can see the early stages of the sequence below.