The first script I ever completed (not counting the handwritten childhood plays I put on in my living room wearing my mother’s sequin dresses for an audience of exactly zero) was as short film I co-wrote with Alex in 2007 for our group project in the Carolina Production Guild. The film was called “Unhappiness,” and starred the two of us as an even more bitter and disaffected version of our post-teen selves. Actually, I had only just turned 18 at the time. The premise, I guess, is that the two of us are best friends who hate everyone and everything and can’t seem to get anything right. I slip in the shower getting ready for school. We sit in the quad complaining about how sunny it is. We force-feed ourselves at the local sludge buffet while complaining about the food. We make fun of a homeless guy. Then, at the end, we both call our parents and cry about how hard college is and how depressed we are because we have no friends.
When it came time to actually shoot the film, the production was a huge mess. Alex and I couldn’t focus on anything and fucked around the entire time. The rest of our crew were actually interested in producing a movie, so they effectively wasted a weekend standing around disgruntled watching two totally vain underclassmen obnoxiously act out a movie they wrote about how obnoxious they are. By the time the sun was setting on the last day, we’d only shot about 3/4 of our scenes, and Alex and I waged a french fry fight in the courtyard across from the Franklin Street McDonald’s while our three-person crew sat around, equipment in hand, bored and annoyed. It was amazing.
When we got to the editing lab, we realized that in addition to not even shooting our entire script, there had also been a major audio fuck up for the scenes we actually filmed. As in, none of it had been recorded. No audio whatsoever, out of two whole days of not working really really hard. We had to re-record every scene in voiceover and dub over each individual shot. By that I mean, Alex and I provided the voices in between singing songs from Britney’s “Blackout” while Brandon, our director, did most of the actual, technical work. Looking back, the two of us must have had major undiagnosed cases of ADD, because at points we were just blurting out lines that weren’t in the script and INSISTING they were funny enough to make it into the final cut.
We presented the movie at the CPG screening by standing up in the auditorium, giggling.
“This is a movie by assholes, for assholes” we said to the crowd.
Embarrassed by the fact that it wasn’t really a movie at all, we watched the final product while slumped down in our seats, laughing hysterically, hiding our blushing faces.
When it was the next group’s turn to present, they made their own announcement:
“Well we’re not assholes, so we decided to make something beautiful.”
The group then unveiled their film, a dramatic period piece set in the Depression, sepia toned and everything, about a man whose wife dies from Typhus or something.
It was the hardest I laughed in 2007.
Now, seven years later, and I often wonder what became of our movie. There is no record of it having ever existed – Alex and I don’t even have a copy of our original script. We never did another year of CPG, because at that point we were pretty sure they all hated us. I hope if we are ever a success someone from the Guild will dig it out of whatever old hard drive it may be in and put it on youtube for us and the world to laugh at.
In any case, we had attempted to make something funny based on real experiences. It didn’t turn out so beautiful, because we were just disorganized kids making fun of ourselves. But it was honest. And I guess if the only thing I ever achieve in life is a volume of bad but honest work, well, that’ll suck. But it wouldn’t be the worst thing.