Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Laura Makes Clips That Don’t Get To YouTube

MILTON: There’ll be other films, Roman.

ROMAN: Nobody’s gonna want to work with me. Variety called me a pariah. I don’t even know what a pariah is.

MILTON: It’s good for your mystique.

ROMAN: You think it will help me get work?

Minnie is a reasonably successful, reasonably well-known and reasonably well-liked actress. Laura is Minnie’s friend and also reasonably those other three things, too.

Minnie heard about a supplier that had a shipment of film stock that was at its expiration date and the guy that ran the place was offering to give away the film for a screen credit and some mentions in interviews if anyone was making a film.

Minnie and Laura gave the free film offer careful consideration—they talked about it over vodka at lunch—and decided they would break the first rule of filmmaking, the golden rule of filmmaking: They would produce and star in a movie they financed with their own money.

So they teamed up with a writer they knew who was comfortable with the technical bits of filmmaking and, since the three of them were Shakespeare buffs, they decided to do a low-budget, independent Shakespeare film. Minnie and Laura were well-liked and they were able to talk some of their reasonably well-known actor and actress friends into signing onto the production for scale, basically as a lark and a chance to take a European working vacation for a few weeks. And a chance to “do Shakespeare” for the cred.

Minnie and Laura made it clear to everyone that they had a very limited amount of film, a very limited budget and very definite ideas about what they wanted their film to be. The plan was to go to a few locations, film the script and storyboards exactly, and get out and into postproduction as fast and simply as possible. No improvisation. No genius inspirations. No screwing around.

So they took a bunch of their friends from the show business world to Europe on their own dime and told them no screwing around.

Yeah. Right.

That’s why the first rule of filmmaking is never use your own money.

We cut to about three weeks into production. Filming has wrapped for the day. Minnie, Laura and a reasonably well-known actor friend named Nathan are returning after dinner to their rooms at an old European hotel where the production is working.

Passing the room being shared by two of the stars of their film, from inside they heard men yelling, a man screaming and heavy things banging.

Laura immediately switched on her Flip video camera.

That is the background to the clip Laura made that will never get uploaded to YouTube.

The actual clip itself begins with a visual of Minnie frowning at Laura for switching on her camera and audio of men yelling and screaming in the background.

Minnie frowned at Laura then turned and tried the doorknob. The door was unlocked. Minnie pushed open the door.

Inside, the reasonably well-known actor friend of Minnie’s named Jude who was playing Hamlet and the reasonably well-known actor friend of Minnie’s named Chris who was playing Laertes were both being lifted off their feet and pressed up against the wall by the writer friend of Minnie and Laura who was serving as director of their film. We’ll call him ‘Matt.’

With his right hand Matt had gripped Jude’s shirt at his chest just below his neck and lifted Jude off his feet and banged him up against the wall. With his left had Matt had gripped Chris’s shirt at his chest just below his neck and lifted Chris off his feet and banged him up against the wall. Jude was attempting something that looked like karate chops to Matt’s arm which were having no effect of any kind. Chris, eyes wide, mouth wide, was crying so hard tears were visibly running down his cheeks and falling onto his shirt.

Minnie walked into the room. “Matt, is something going on here, or is this just boys’ night out?”

Chris saw Minnie and screamed. “Minnie! Help us!” Chris yelled. “He’s killing us! Minnie! I can’t breath! Help us!”

Matt said, “Hello Minnie.” His voice was remarkably calm for a man who was holding up two other adult men in the air even if the wall was supporting most of their weight. “Our two stars here decided they didn’t want to film the swordfight scene according to the storyboards,” Matt said. “They told me they wanted to make it longer. And more Hollywood.”

Minnie ignored Chris and looked up at Jude. “Is this true, Jude?”

Jude stopped trying to karate chop Matt’s arm. “Well, Minnie,” Jude said, “yes, but we were—”

Matt banged Jude against the wall and said, “Shut up. I explained to them, Minnie, that our film was about Ophelia, not Hamlet and Laertes, but they didn’t care. I explained to them that any changes this late in production made life hell for the editor and cinematographer and everyone else. But they didn’t care.”

Minnie looked up at Jude. “Is this true, Jude?”

Jude said, “Well, Minnie, yes, but we just wanted—”

Matt banged Jude against the wall and said, “Shut up. I didn’t want to be the bad guy and tell them they couldn’t do what they wanted to do, so, instead, I thought I’d just kill them both with my bare hands.”

“Sounds like a good plan,” Minnie said.

Chris screamed and shook his head wildly. “Minnie!” Chris screamed, still crying so hard tears were flowing off his cheeks. “He’s hurting us, Minnie! This isn’t funny! Help us!”

“I don’t mind killing them,” Matt said. “Unless you think they might listen to you if you talked to them.”

Minnie looked up at Jude. “I don’t know,” Minnie said. “Jude, will you and Chris listen to me if I talk to you?”

“Of course, Minnie,” Jude said. “We only wanted to—”

Matt banged Jude against the wall and said, “Shut up. Okay, Minnie. I’ll leave this to you.”

Then Matt shifted a little to his right and bent at the knees a little and heaved Jude three or four feet through the air to the room’s big bed. Then Matt shifted a little to his left and bent at the knees a little and heaved Chris three or four feet through the air to the bed next to Jude.

Jude straightened himself out, pushed back against the headboard and felt his forehead with both hands, making sure his toupee hadn’t gotten knocked loose. Chris continued crying and scurried next to Jude and pulled a pillow from behind Jude and clutched the pillow over his own head and hid his head underneath the pillow.

Matt turned away from the bed and walked to Minnie. “I’ll leave this to you,” Matt said, again. “See you in the morning.” He kissed Minnie on the cheek.

“See you in the morning,” Minnie said, and kissed Matt on the cheek.

Matt turned to leave the room and saw Laura holding the video camera. He put up his hand. “Hey,” Matt said, “none of that paparazzi crap.” He left the room and walked past the camera.

Minnie walked toward the camera. “Really, Laura, really?” Minnie asked. “Really?” Minnie asked, again, swinging the door closed on Laura and her camera.

In the hallway, Laura kept the camera running. Nathan was leaning against the wall on the other side of the doorway. He was laughing and, as he laughed, he gestured with his index finger for Laura to come closer and give him a one-shot.

Nathan, in a one, choked out words between laughing and wiping his eyes and laughing harder. “The first rule of Gay Club,” Nathan said, “the very first rule of Gay Club is you can push the straights but you can’t push the straights too far or else they’ll pick you up, bang you against the wall and throw you across the room. It’s the first rule!”

Laura held on Nathan laughing, then switched off her camera.

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Margo Makes Movies That Don’t Get Released

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