(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 17 by Damian K. Lahey
Oddly enough, news of our production’s money woes got to the crew sooner than I’d planned and it wasn’t from me. It came from an oddly convoluted source as a matter of fact. Whew. Where to begin? Okay. Biff was at the point where we owed the camera company money. We hadn’t had the money to pay them the previous week. Biff had told our buddy who worked there, Bobby, the situation. That we were broke and this week would be our last. Now, Bobby had asked a “favor” at the beginning of the shoot which was since he was getting us such a good deal on the camera equipment, we hire his jack leg buddy, Reynard Scroggins. Scroggins was a lot like a Billy Bold or Studs Diamonds - a southern frat victim with family money, no work ethic, and a penchant for drinking vast quantities of beer and liquor. He didn’t get obnoxious like a Randall Dillon, but instead got predatorial when it came to the ladies. It was disturbing. I paid Scroggins one hundred dollars a week, thinking I could starve him out of socializing with the crew. Not true. Being an authorized user on his parents’ credit cards meant he could hang out all night and keep the crew up all night with him. But it all came back to his problems with girls. He was extremely inappropriate and as we were getting closer to the end, the complaints from female crew members had gone from harmless to severe. For the life of me, I can’t remember what his position on the film was.
Bobby went out with Scroggins one night after shooting and told him how broke we were. A drunken Scroggins vowed to help. They decided to stay up until crew call the next day. They both came blazing onto set, plastered and giddy! Scroggins announced he was going to save the day and demanded to speak with Biff. I asked him what was going on, but Bobby cut in front and said “this is some important shit to do with savin’ the movie”. I told him to keep it down. No one was supposed to know. Scroggins told me not to worry about it – he was taking care of it. They stumbled off to find Biff. As skeptical and cynical as Biff was, I was sure he’d laugh these guys off. Not the case. As we were approaching lunch time and I was thinking of an excuse to leave set and dine elsewhere, Biff stormed up to me. He said I needed to put together a “budge” for five to ten grand. He admitted Bobby was a bit of a clown, but this Scroggins guy seemed cool. He was impressed enough by Biff's hard work (none of the rest of us had worked hard, of course) that he was willing to invest. I was supposed to draw it up on my laptop. Biff was getting excited. This would get him out of some hot water. We could shoot another week and pay the vendors. And maybe during that next week we could raise more money and finish the film! Biff went back to work, happy.
Reynard Scroggins stumbled up to me, reeking of cigarettes and beer, and slapped me on the back. Since he’d saved the show, he was wondering if he could take the day off to look into some financial business and see if he could get the money by tomorrow or the day after. Since he never did anything anyway, I didn’t see why not. Bobby was proud. His buddy had saved the day. He spent an hour going to everybody on set and telling them how we’d almost ran out of money. Everyone had been on the brink of losing their jobs, but his Reynard Scroggins had stepped in with the funds to take care of all of us!!
I didn’t believe any of it. And what’s worse – the cat was out of the bag about our financial situation. And we had no money in the bank, just the drunken promise of one drunken southern brat. I walked over to Reynard as he was getting in his car and told him we needed to talk after we wrapped that day. He wanted to know at what bar later, and what bars were open right then. It was 7:30am. I thought he had financial stuff to do. He told me it was “no biggie”. I told him we needed to meet that night and finalize his investment – five, or ten thousand dollars. There was also paperwork that needed to be signed. As I spoke, his eyes wandered. I told him to look at his banking info, make some phone calls if he had to, and we’d meet up later. The reality of the situation looked like it was sobering him up a bit. He nodded and then drove off. I knew this wasn’t going to pan out. And now everyone knew what was going on. I walked over to Biff and told him I wasn’t that confident in Scroggins and wouldn’t be surprised if he flat out left town. Biff thought this over and told me to take the day, work on the budgets and make up excuses from time to time to call Scroggins to keep him on task before meeting up with him later in the evening.
As I was leaving set, various crew members were coming up to me and high fiving me. They were glad the shoot was going to continue. I couldn’t figure out why. I got in my car and drove back to the office. I stopped along the way and had a drink. At the office, I typed up a couple different budgets. I made up some questions to ask Scroggins and gave him a ring. No answer. I assumed he was sleeping it off. I continued calling him the rest of the day. He never answered. I went to the Blue Post bar to meet him for beers as we’d planned. He didn’t show, but Bobby did. Bobby told me Reynard wasn’t going to have the money. What a shocker. It was the booze talking, Bobby explained. “It does crazy things to your head.” No kidding. Bobby couldn’t join me for a drink however, as he’d had too much the night before. He told me not to give Scroggins a hard time. He meant well, he just didn’t have it together. He was ashamed. That’s why he hadn’t returned my phone calls all day or met me at the bar. Shame. Plain and simple. I told Bobby to leave me alone. I drank from the bottle of beer in front of me and thought of a thousand different things that wouldn’t help a situation that was broken in a thousand different ways.
(I want to thank everybody for reading and hope you continue to read as the misadventures of The Last Blunder continue next week...)