(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 2 by Damian K. Lahey
Before miring myself deeper in the blow-by-blow makings of this project, I wanted to take an installment to give a rundown of the astonishing cast of characters that populated the world of The Last Blunder before going forward with the production itself.
Our casting director was Shifto Jeans. He was an odd man about town who’d come into money when his mother passed away a couple years earlier. He bought himself a candy store, a coffee shop and part of The Last Blunder. His investment not only bought him the casting director position but also that coveted ‘associate producer’ credit. He was convinced The Last Blunder was going to make millions of dollars and was already spending the money in his mind. He believed that if the film was half as good as the trailer, we’d all be rich. He would walk into the production office w/ sail boat brochures and Sharper Image catalogues, already planning what to buy his family if The Last Blunder was but ‘the most modest of successes.’ He also dressed in a trench coat and fedora like Humphrey Bogart and was married to a mannish looking Swedish woman. His prize possession was a Star Wars storm trooper outfit he kept in the front window of his candy store.
Another ‘associate producer’ was a southern gentleman we’ll refer to as Studs Diamonds. Studs had come blazing into town flush with family money a year before all this and had tried to buy his way into several independent productions—unfortunately, all ones I was involved with. He was turned down by everybody. Everybody that is, save for Spanky. Studs bought an ‘associate producer’ credit for ten grand. Unlike Shifto Jeans, he didn’t want any responsibilities—just the title he paid for. I was okay with that. Studs was big on strip clubs, hot tubs, and everything frat house. His way of flirting with female office production assistants was to say, “if it don’t work out baby, you won’t be left with nothing,” before peeling off dollar bills and throwing them down at their feet as if they were strippers. Whenever he came to the office, he brought along a beet-faced drunk lawyer college buddy of his that did nothing for the shoot, but owned a boat that Studs liked to bring his ladies out on.
Along with Studs came Curley Blonde. He was our locations manager and he did a good job. He was brought over from an aborted sorority house panty raid movie Studs had produced in Charlotte. He dressed impeccably and did a real good job despite being treated like crap just because of his association with slime ball Studs. On one hand, I felt he wasn’t given a fair shake. But on the other hand, he had no idea how a location logistically could NOT be used for a shoot. This caused our pre-production schedule to be loaded down with more tech scouts than possibly any independent film in history. He was also shy about letting the owners of a location know exactly what having a film crew in the house entailed, and this led to more than one costly problem after another down the road. But overall, he was level headed and responsible.
Serving as our accountant was Molly Wire. Since I was doing all the accounting, I’m still not sure what sort of accounting she was doing. Spanky hinted that she was helping him raise more money, which none of us minded—but her role was always vague to me. I suspected they were getting it on whenever they got the chance, but I didn’t know for sure. What I did know was that I cut her a check every week. Supposedly Molly, who always wore tight leather pants, was one of Spanky’s first sexual and financial conquests on the way to making The Last Blunder. She was Spanky’s age. There was quite a bit of tension in the office when it was just me, Suzy Midriff, Balthazar Spakenstein, and Molly hanging out. Spanky was smooth enough to show up to the office with Ms. Wire just to announce they were going to lunch together and then leave me and Midriff at the office. As soon as the door closed behind them, Suzy would fall into a deep funk and do even less work than usual. Or, she would get dramatic. Knowing I kept a bottle of Old Mill Stream straight bourbon in my bottom desk drawer, she would say something like “god, I need a shot,” which I would ignore. She would continue to whine and moan until I reluctantly poured her a shot of the stuff. Melancholy would settle in shortly thereafter and she would spend the rest of the afternoon cruising the internet for new boyfriends.
Matte Rose was our still photographer and was going to be responsible for the underwater photography in the production. You see, The Last Blunder contained a scene where our protagonist sees the ghost of his dead mother rise out of the swimming pool during one the film’s climactic moments. As the script had it, EJ’s "Rocket Man" played during these proceedings. Rose had trouble getting work in town because whenever he was on a show, he would try to find a union or contract aberration and would try to sue the production. Word got around fast. He didn’t understand why UPMs in town wouldn’t hire him. He would smoke big cigars at social events and tell everyone who would listen that he was superior to any DP or AC in town and that they were all a bunch of pansies. He was twenty-five. He had lots of fancy equipment, though, and his secretary was his mom. There was also no reason for him to be taking up a lot of our time in pre-production, but he did anyway.
— Damian K. Lahey
(I want to thank everybody for reading and hope you continue to read as the misadventures of The Last Blunder continue next week…)