It all started with our class project known as the exchange film, where we wrote a script and we were assigned partners. These partners would hand their scripts off to one another so that they could direct them. I got handed a very crazy and almost impossible script to direct because of its budget and its unnecessary sex scene. Well, I sat down with the writer to talk about his script and I asked several simple questions like “what’s the story about?” “What tone is this story?” “What is happening in this scene?” “What are the goals of the character?” “Why does the character do this?” and so on. He answered every question that I answer with this simple yet cryptic answer, “it’s open to interpretation.” I was left dumbfounded and I had no idea how to direct a film that even the writer doesn’t have a clue of what it’s about. So let me tell you the basics of his story:
Michael is a young man who purposely gets hit by a car and gets thrown to the side of the street. He then calls a girl who picks him up in a truck. While in the truck he lightly grabs the girl’s face and makes her look at him as he smiles. Once the two enter the girl’s apartment they start to have wild, crazy, kinky, masochistic sex. The girl, out of some perverted thrill, digs into Michael’s back wounds. After sex, Michael gets out of the bed and walks into the living room and he sees a naked man with a pig head sitting on the couch. He offers Mike a seat and Mike sits down. The two then smoke together. END
Issue #1: The Equipment
Now the rough cut for the exchange film was due in about 2 weeks and I still couldn’t get actors and equipment because we needed to film this on Bolex and it was a rat race to get to a Bolex and lighting equipment. Here is the ratio: you have 300 kids trying to reserve 30 Bolex’s in about 3 weeks frame. Impossible. So I was left in the dust. I missed the rough cut so I had a week until the fine cut was due and I finally booked the Bolex, the lighting equipment and a nagra a week after the fine cut of the film was supposed to be due but I had no actors.
Issue #2: The Script
Since I had no idea what the script was about I had to come to my own conclusions and the way I saw it seemed really stupid and nonsensical. You see, I see it as Michael sees himself as his sexual pig of a guy and he is okay with that and this sexual deviant personality of his somehow manifested into an naked pig headed man. Well, the script went through several changes. I got rid of the truck because I couldn’t get one. I took out the car hitting him because it was unrealistic. I eliminated the naked man because nobody would do it. I had to change the setting because an all-white apartment with glass chairs was impossible for me to get. This movie went through 6 script changes.
Issue #3: The Location
I contacted several people that might have an apartment that I could use for the film. My buddy would lend me his but he felt uncomfortable letting me use his bed, which I understand. I asked the writer of the movie to lend me his place but he lives with his mom and that would feel weird. Well, at the last minute I contacted Z (that’s his codename to protect his identity). Z gave me so much trouble because it was all through Facebook and I was about 3 days from filming and he responded to my messages in 30-minute intervals. He said it was okay for me to use his apartment on Friday but not Saturday or Sunday because he wanted to party then. I needed those days in case of reshoots.
Issue #4: The Cast
I contacted 3 actors and 4 actresses and one actor was Stephen Holliger (who stayed with me till the end). Needless to say 2 actresses dropped out because of personal issues with family and 1 actor dropped out because he never returned my calls. 3 days before filming and 1 actress dropped out because she got mono and the other actor dropped out because he was a substitute teacher and he got on call.
Well, it was the day before filming and guess what happened? Everything fell apart. My one actress called me and told me that she forgot that she was in a big Broadway play that was going to be in Second City. Z messaged me and told me that I’ll have about 2 hours to shoot at his place and after that I couldn’t shoot anymore. My camera guy dropped out because he had to go to the dentist and my sound guy ditched me. I was in class multitasking and bouncing back and forth between messages. The night before filming I was up all night (literally) messing around with the lights and writing a whole new script. Stephen was still on board because he was dedicated. I left my apartment at 9am so that I could meet up with him at 11am.
I walked from Clinton and Madison to State and Madison carrying a Bolex, a nagra, a lighting kit and a tripod. I took the bus to the subway. Once I got up North we switched locations. Stephen brought his friend Kyle and we filmed at his place and he helped me with the lighting and the sound.
When the writer presented to the class the film that I wrote he turned it into a bunch of jumbled images, confusing sounds and basically he turned it into a really bad experimental film… even though my story was the simplest story you could ever direct. I was so pissed what he did that I decided that I would ruin his film and after 6 script changes, I did. I turned his film into unwatchable garbage. I presented my film to the class knowing that it sucked, knowing that I spent no time on it, knowing that I lazily edited it and knowing that it didn’t make any sense and guess what? THEY. LOVED. IT! Yes, they loved it.
So I want you to tell me what you think of my film. BE HONEST!
Note: I changed the film’s original title from Two Teeth Under A Rabbit’s Moon to Perversion because I needed to find some way to keep with the story’s original theme.
Note: The audio on the feature film is off synch. It's a problem with Blip TV and not the actual video because it plays normally on my computer. Try not to mind it.