(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 20 by Damian K. Lahey
The last day of shooting began with a phone call from Reynard Scroggins. He was embarrassed and apologized first for not coming up with that money and second, for not showing up to work. He said we could keep the money we owed him for the days he worked (we were anyway). But he wanted to make up for it and buy the crew lunch for the day. He would pick it up and drive it out to Orton Plantation. I wasn’t going to say no to that. It was going to be pizza, but that was five star dining compared to the slop the crew had been eating the last couple of months. I told Scroggins I’d call him back later when I knew how many were going to be on set and how many were vegetarian.
Biff called later to tell me he’d tried calling Spanky, but he hadn’t answered. He told me to pull him aside and let him know we were temporarily shutting down the production. Biff said we’d continue shooting in a month or so once we raised more money. I was fine with that. Biff was stressed out about the money he owed the vendors. I had a bunch of receipts from money of my own I’d spent on the production when I didn’t have time to go to the bank. I’d planned on putting the receipts together and then withdrawing the money before leaving town the next morning. I needed it bad. I’d already taken out payroll and there was enough left to pay me back and another thousand I felt could be paid back to the vendors. But this was not to be. Biff had already taken out the rest of the money and given it to the vendors so they could stop breathing down his neck. I was assuming I’d be getting that eight hundred dollars. Assuming? Hell, I was depending on it. And now I was going to be going home broke once again from having been screwed over by another film production in Wilmington. It wouldn’t be the last time either.
I brought out all the booze and put the word in everyone’s ear. If they wanted a drink – the Bar (camera truck) was open. At least I’d managed to put away some production funds for some drinks for those who wanted them. My original idea was to have a party for everyone at our house the next day – partially to say thank you but mostly to say sorry for shutting down the production with such short notice. But obviously the “budge” didn’t allow it and since the production had now sent me to the poor house, I didn’t really care. I just wanted to get through the day and get out of town.
It was a nice day. Spanky had no idea it would be our last for awhile. I wasn’t going to say a word. Biff could handle it. I was done as far as I was concerned. No more call sheets. No nothing. Resentment was growing in me for being out all that money. I should’ve paid myself back a week sooner. I hated going home a loser. But since I’d been slaving away for seventeen weeks on some loser’s vision, I guess there was really no other way to do it. Everybody had a good time that last day. Spanky even made a comment to Morrison that he was glad the crew was getting along. He had no idea that the only reason everyone was in such a good mood was because it was their last day!
Reynard Scroggins showed up right on time with his pizza party and apologies for everyone. As everyone scarfed down their pizza with their optional cocktails, I passed out their pay checks. It felt good. Biff came up to me and began telling me what I needed to do the next day as he was going to work on “The Big Show” making three hundred dollars a day to hump cable. Before I could even open my mouth to ask, Biff let me know there was no room nor would there ever be any room for me on “The Big Show”. I smiled and nodded my head. I was leaving for Florida at 5:00am. I wouldn’t be at Biff’s house in the morning trying to figure out how to return the copy machine.
We wrapped early that night, though it was still late. There was a lot of booze left, so I invited some of the crew members back to my house and we drank and talked about how we couldn’t believe we’d survived what was technically only Phase 1 of shooting The Last Blunder.
Halfway back to Florida, around 9:00am the next morning, Spanky called. I had a feverish hangover. I assumed he’d heard from Biff. Not so. He had a question about next week’s schedule. I told him we weren’t shooting. I explained we were out of money and we needed to focus on raising more so we could start shooting again in a couple months. He was shocked. He stammered something about us all getting together and having a “pow-wow”. I told him there would be no “pow-wow”. Biff was working on “The Big Show” and I was driving through Georgia. There was silence and then he asked what he was supposed to do. I told him to sleep in and hung up. That had gone on long enough and I needed to pay attention to the road. I was driving.