Today, we were talking about graduation, and I thought about my graduation stories. But the graduations aren’t for awhile, so I’ll save those. Instead, I thought of something seasonal that I forgot to write about.
Back in college, one of my friends told me that they were really going to get into dating. All of the sudden this great idea for a movie popped into my head based off a cd and that one sentence. When I wasn’t doing homework, I was writing a script. It was like 40 pages, and it didn’t take long at all. I probably spent more time working on the story than studying, but hey, I graduated, so everything’s fine.
When I told my friend, Mickey, I was working on a script, he was super excited. He was in theatre in high school, and back in the day, he and I were in writing class together He was a big fan of the play I wrote back then. He had helped edit it. He volunteered to be in it and wanted to know when we would start. “Immediately?”
Right away, I decided that I wanted Bea, June, Brodie (Mickey’s brother), myself, and Mickey to be the cast and crew–almost equally split guys and girls. Mickey was psyched, Bea was pumped. June and Brodie just kind of accepted that as my friends, they’d be required to help. That seemed like the perfect amount of people.
A week or two before filming, June dropped out, because she found out she was pregnant. I was more annoyed by the fact that we wouldn’t be drinking together any time soon than I was about the movie (she had a bit part, so this was no big deal), but that’s a whole other story that I won’t tell because it’s unfunny. I figured that I would just have to do some re-writing, and to this day, I’ve vowed that if I am ever making a movie, unless I am super sick, close to term, or both, I am not dropping out of a movie for pregnancy.
I told them we’d film over Spring Break.
What they heard was “we’ll kind of film over spring break and mess around a lot. This is FUN!”
What I said was, “We can film over spring break, and whatever we don’t get done can be finished up in the summer.”
What I meant was, “I would like to finish this movie in a week, but I realize that’s not possible. So if we could do half now half then, that would be awesome. If we could do most of it over spring break, that would be great.” I actually may have said that at some interval, but it’s been YEARS.
Like films we’d done during high school, they assumed that it wouldn’t be serious. One of the problems was that we all underestimated how serious I was about filming this movie.
I emailed or gave out scripts the week of Finals, and said, “Look these over, try to memorize some of your parts, but no big deal if you can’t.” But I just expected everyone, especially Mickey, to love and read my whole script, laugh, cry, and be as dedicated as I was to it.
I think it’s officially okay for you to assume I had never filmed a movie before. Exception being my film studies movie, and whatever I’d filmed when we had camcorders in my youth. Soooo a freaking amazing short tv skit of my lizards rocking out to “All the Small Things” by Blink 182.
When I got my video camera that weekend, the obsession really started to get hardcore. No one could film until Monday, so that’s when we started.
Since Brodie and I both aren’t morning people and Mickey had to work, we met up in the afternoon. Bea joined us. We drove out to a pre-scouted location. At this point, I realized no one had memorized their lines. We did a lot of takes, but we finished before sunset. We all celebrated with drinks back at Bea’s.
The next day, Bea didn’t answer her phone. Don’t ask how much I called her, but it started around 1pm. In the meantime, I sat around with Brodie and we watched movies to cool my anxiety. Brodie and I had developed a friendship outside of Mickey, but we still pretty much only hung out when Mickey was around. Mickey eventually had to go to bed. After half a day of being pissed off from Bea’s lack of follow-through, I finally said the words I didn’t want to say. “It’s possible that Bea doesn’t want to be in the film. We have to consider this and come up with a game plan.”
Instead of Bea being the lead, I would have to do it. The actual acting wasn’t a problem, and I had actually read the script. My issue was the romantic aspect. With all the roles were shuffled around, I’d be forced to kiss someone. This was upsetting to me since I had a long-distance boyfriend already under rickety conditions. But I really wanted the movie to be made, so even if it made me uncomfortable, I’d do it. For art, for us, for funsies.
The next day, we filmed in the early afternoon, but I accidentally taped over the footage. I couldn’t have been more angry at myself. We spent the next few days filming.
Since Mickey was going to be working, we filmed a LOT of scenes indoor at night to get them out of the way for when he actually had to work evening shifts. Bea admitted after only a day or two that she had decided not to be in it. It would take up too much of her time, and she wanted to spend it relaxing. She was willing to work the camera a few times and let us use her place for filming though, so I gruffly accepted this. I had feared her commitment on this as well, but we’d talked at length about it prior, and I thought her feelings were sealed.
At some point, I gave up on the script, although not before we’d done countless retakes. I began to recognize a potential dictator in me, but I couldn’t stop it. I wanted it to be perfect. This was becoming a problem, and I feared my actors were beginning to loathe me.
Spring Break ended, and we weren’t anywhere close to done. Also, Mickey just stopped being available. At first, he was working, so I’d hang out with Brodie until he got off work. But slowly, his shifts started changing, and he went back to school. Under Brodie’s advisement, I left him alone for awhile. After awhile, Mickey stopped accepting calls altogether. He was never there when I was around or he was sleeping. It was EXACTLY like when someone wants to break up with you, but they don’t tell you because they don’t want you to be mad. Instead, I ended up madder in the long run, which was also true of how I felt when I sensed a break up coming on.
Finally, Bea agreed to be back in the movie. I gutted the script and decided to supplement the footage I had with the footage I’d already filmed. By the last day we filmed, I let everyone improvise what was true to their character. After we finished, Brodie told me that he would never film another movie with me again, and I believe him. But he did stick with it until I gave the final cut.
I’ll sum up for the TL;DR: I bought a video camera in college, tried to film a movie over Spring Break, and most of my friends dropped out. I was going to say died just to throw you off, but that’s really mean, so I won’t. Plus, no one died, they all just really wanted to kill me. It was like a really long after school special where I realized over the course of a few months that I’m more hardcore than all my friends, and you can’t make people care about the things you care about (something I’d re-learn when I got married). I should’ve ended the post like that. Also, men/women of the world: if you don’t want to do something, date someone, etc., don’t just avoid them. Fucking tell them.