(The Last Blunder is a humorous weekly serial detailing the making of a true independent filmmaking catastrophe. I hope all of you who read along find it entertaining and can relate to it to some degree. The names of the participants have been changed. Any comments, suggestions, compliments, or criticisms can be sent to damianATkaverasfilmDOTcom. Enjoy!)
The Last Blunder: Chapter 10 by Damian K. Lahey
We haven’t discussed Karen Hall, the art director of The Last Blunder, very much and there’s a good reason for that. She loathed Balthazar Spankenstein and just about every other aspect of the production as well. She stayed away from the office as much as possible but was very intelligent and hard working. She’d assembled a cool group of guys to help her in the art department that I liked drinking with.
That afternoon I had lunch at Pizza Palace, my favorite spot in Wilmington. I had a slice of pizza and a shot of bourbon before heading back to the office. As I was pulling up, Karen stormed out of the office. I saw that both Shifto Jeans and Spanky’s cars were in the driveway. That explained things right away. I got out of my car and asked Karen what was going on. She told me she could now confirm what she knew all along about Shifto and Spanky. They were raving pedophiles. She told me she went to the office to pick up a petty cash envelope and Shifto and Spanky were watching audition tapes of ten to twelve year old girls in bikinis. They were watching with the sound off and rating the girls from one to ten. She told me it was disgusting and unprofessional and was thinking about quitting. She said she was going to talk to her husband about it. But she was appalled by their behavior. She got in her car and drove off.
I walked into the office and there they were - sitting cross legged in front of the TV, giggling and pointing at an eleven year old girl in a bikini sitting on a stool and reading what I assumed were sides from The Last Blunder. You couldn’t tell, though, because just as Karen had said – the sound was turned off. I watched as Shifto and Spanky decided that she was an eight and then high fived. My production assistant, Emily Loft was sitting at her desk reading a magazine. I motioned for her to follow me into the kitchen. I asked her what the hell was going on. She told me that Spanky had called while I was at lunch wondering if there had been a FedEx delivery from a talent agency. There had been. An excited Spanky and Shifto had showed up within five minutes, torn the package open, and had popped it into the VCR, salivating at the mouth. They’d been having themselves a ball for the past thirty minutes. I told her to stay in the kitchen.
I walked back into the office area and asked Spanky and Shifto to turn off the VCR and speak to me for a second. They asked me if I thought the twelve year old on the screen was hot. I turned off the TV and asked Shifto what his wife and kids would think if they knew what he was doing. He said he’d tell them he was on official casting director business and exchanged a smirk with Spanky. I told them that whatever sick, twisted shit they were into - they needed to cut it out. We were two weeks away from shooting and there were still a couple roles that needed to be cast. Shifto told me not to forget who was paying my bills and Spanky agreed. I told them to keep that stuff out of the production office and back at the bunker. Spanky told me that was out of the question because Midriff was there. I told him it was out of the question to do that shit at the office as Karen, who they both knew was already sensitive to things of that nature, was now thinking of quitting because they were a couple of pigs. Spanky made a comment about that being her problem. I told them it was our problem and a big one and we needed Karen and she couldn’t be replaced and to do so would be at too great an expense. I shoved the VHS tape into David’s fumbling hands and told them to leave.
As soon as the door was closed, I called Biff Frank. I knew Biff was gonna ask if Spanky had raised any more money. I was going to have to disappoint him. Biff was getting stressed out. He was making promises to the vendors based on money we hadn’t raised yet and we were two weeks out. We were about 25,000 off, but going forward anyway. This was really driving Biff up the wall. He had suggested a week earlier that I cold call for Spanky to raise more money. I suggested he do it himself. I called Biff and told him about Karen Hall and Emily Loft and the audition tape. He laughed and told me Karen and Emily were probably making it up because they didn’t like Spanky or Shifto. I told him I saw it myself and that he needed to call Karen and talk her into staying on board. He stopped laughing and said he would make a couple phone calls.
Molly Wire walked in five minutes later. I hadn’t seen our glorified “accountant” in quite some time. She plopped a large manila folder on my desk and told me she was quitting. I’d been paying her weekly salary for about seven weeks and had never even seen her. Spanky would pick up her check. I asked her why she was leaving us and she told me it was because Spanky was an ass-hole. She said I could keep her last pay check and left. I opened up the manila envelope and looked inside. It was filled with production accounting sheets. And all of them were blank.
(I want to thank everybody for reading and hope you continue to read as the misadventures of The Last Blunder continue next week...)