My Excuse (a director's hindsighted mission statement)

So we made another movie.  And if I could do it all over, do it differently, I would.  Very much similar to this…what do we call it?  Mission statement?  A manifesto?  An explanation, let’s say.  No, no - an excuse, rather – that seems more apropos for the likes of me.  So.  I am writing this excuse differently than I wrote it two weeks ago (because back then, somewhere in the Adirondack Mountains, two hits of breakfast acid found their way onto my tongue and eight and some hours later, rambling jack dick-shit found its way out of my brain-fingers and onto this machine.  It was like Tim Leary and Beavis and Bubbles (of THE WIRE…and now that joke is immediately low luster) had a Polio baby on Dark Star Orchestra tour).  God.  I’m so fucking stupid sometimes.  I’ll never leave.

But we did (make another movie).  And I would (do it differently).  I’m wet and I’m cold but thank God I ain’t…fuck - I am old.  And tired.  And…well, enough about me – let’s talk about the movie I wrote and directed and Nutty Professor II’d in. 

I will say two things in stark earnestness:  I wrote a great script.  2.) I was not supposed to be in the movie. 

Yipes Stripes, that first earnest was exhausting.  But at this age, the efface is a hungover five-minute mile.  So I’m alright with me these days.  Indifferent, mostly.  But mainly—(shut up shut UP SHUT UP).  K.  {i wasn’t supposed to be in it.} 

But we had a good script.  We hadn’t made anything in too long and we needed to run it back or the whole thing would fade into the indie ether and I’d be a(nother) aged wanker who made a few movies before he grew up at the ripe age of middle thirties.  The latter felt daunting if not downright impossible (see: me: unemployable).  So it was either make another installment of stupid or join…something where it helps.  PSPCA, let’s say.  Clean people’s needles or build domiciles for maimed women in one of the –stans.  Grow up, Help-help, or write a script on middle class mushrooms.  I went in through the dumb door.

But hot doggit, people liked it (too late to act surprised, as I already called the script “great”.  Bozo).  And next thing I know, I’m watching Channing Tatum suck down not four but EIGHT (four) Reese’s nut cups (minis, but still).  **That actually happened AFTER we had shot and edited the fucking thing.  But that tidbit works better frontloaded.  His (Chatum’s) production company (Free Association) got the script from my main squeeze Sam Grey (I’M SORRY, SAM), Free Association thus went to Andrew Lauren Productions who said “let’s party…but in bed by 9, Buster Brown”.

But we were doing it, Man!  March in Manhattan and I was Gene Kelly-in’ through the gray-grubby slush puddles because this was OUR TIME for real this time.  I shit you not I even crawled through the soul-raping chunnel that is the German Value Matrix (another time, friends…another time) with Judy Motherfuckin’ Greer on the other side.  Judy Greer wants to say the rummy sot-jock words that come out of my rummy sot-jock brain.  We got the kid with the face and the girl from the thing where everybody cheats and-and-and I’m so happy and cocky I could kiss Lindsay Graham.  Order whatever you want, kids, we have an ultra-ultra low budget but I don’t give a FUCK this baby’s going to Sundance where it’ll be forgotten but I don’t give a FUCK because as a white unknown dude I’m un-hireable ANYWAY but I don’t give a FUCK because—(email whoosh)…sorry, what?

 Judy’s out.

Sorry, what?  I was jerking myself o—

Judy’s out.  Producers of that show CASUAL won’t let her come to Vermont to shoo—

Just call Jason Reitman and tell him I’m making my JUNO.

He doesn’t care.  Nobody cares.  Ur dumb.

 Don’t “ur” me. 

Yer dumb.

 Thank you.

 Switchboard Susan won’t you give me a line of fucking strychnine because all the dude ever wanted was to someday be a has been.  But as the old saying goes: “FUCK YOU!”  Butterfucked is what we were.  Double draggin’. 

Judy’s out and…well, the answer is this time for sure, no questions asked, down at the bottom of this bottl—NO!  Cut the budget, cue the matrix, Kim Raver’s diggity-delicious, so, better yet, the matrix can kick rocks (because there is most certainly NOT no rock) and we’re telling this story not next year, this NOW, because what does it even MEAN later? - I sure as sugar magnolia don’t wanna find out.

But there are is no rocks.  And the matrix prevails.  **FINE.  The “matrix” I continue to ruefully reference is some sort of TI-83 in Berlin that calculates an actors’ “value”,  be it box office or…argy bargy – even explaining this in jest makes me sad (or would make me sad, rather, as the experience of casting in the aforementioned matrix hast dry iced my soul). 

April now.  Chuckster (Myles) and I decide to go up to Vermont anyway because all is not lost.  Plus we had a date with a billion Double IPAs and my Dad wanted to make us dinner at midnight, so we boogie up I-87, procure a ten-piece McNugget splitter at New Baltimore (HA!  That was a test – the McDonald’s is at the MALDEN rest stop) and a handful of Camel Light Loosies and Thursday turns right into Sunday morning SAD!  Really bummed.  (Chain of fools.  I just let myself remember how much that sucked – how fucking silly I felt.  Oof.  I think maybe the gall bladder is where the silly’s kept.  And silly belly?  Lemme tell you something, my friend.  Silly belly is a dangerous thing.  Silly belly can drive a man insane.  Or make him feel like he disappointed his father only to realize he never appointed him anyway, so sip?  Yes, please.)

But we woke up that Sunday, sad (hungover, redundant) as the day is long, Chuck needing something – ANYTHING – to re-reorganize.  So.  We figured we’d shoot a thing.  Not to kill, not ourselves – to put on Vimeo for some folks to see.  It was 2016, Man – back when people were saying shit like “we out here” when they weren’t really.  Out here.  Or there.  So we wanted our own “we out here” that would serve as a thin veil  for our looming tears and terror.  A “no hard feelings” to Judy.  A goof, a gag, a mock trailer for the movie we probably wouldn’t make.  For way back a week before, when I was en route to becoming Slamdance’s best kept secret (kept from them, too, so yet again, the snake eats itself), I screamed at the youngsters in Washington Sq. Park during a park read “JUST FUCKING SAY IT LIKE I’M SAYING IT!  Fuck my ASS, it’d just be easier if I played all the parts MYSELF.”  (Seeyle comes in with the ominous low rumble SFX: barely discernible, ever telling, ever frightening.)


So my Sister, my Old Man, Myles and I – we made a trailer to defibrillate this pre-mee shoe-in indie darling from it’s unmade digital ashes in its unmade digital urn because we out here, fam?  Well, kinda.  We’re out here at my Dad’s house again because nobody gives us enough bread to make movies anywhere else because we have limited self-worth but we really like making them still or we used to but we definitely did then.  And mainly ‘cause fuck it.




Drugs-drugs-drugs, Knucklehead. 







 HELP-SLIP-FRANKLIN’S, a few freeze frames: “STARRING: Judy Greer (as played by Colin Thompson”, mushrooms, mask, “COMING SOON” (see you never).

Sunday night.  Send. ***This is why you’re alone, this is why you’re poor.***

When my phone lights “WME” before 6pm PST, I assume someone or something close to me has died OR another day-bored production co. is rescheduling the “general” I’m about to walk into (to which I probably biked 6-10 miles).  One or the other.  And I’m not wrong at first hear (on the former, the death), for what would unravel in the year and a half to come would be non-existent career suicide, hanged in unknown ultra-low budget director’s jail.  But…when you ain’t got nothin’…

“RUN DON’T WALK!!  RUN DON’T WALK!” hollered the voice on the other end (my Brother in Arms, Rich Cook).

“To the airport?  You’re having a stroke (do you have miles, though?).”

“THIS IS THE MOVIE!  THIS IS THE FUCKIN’ MOVIE!  THIS IS IT!  The director whose movie falls to pieces so he says ‘FUCK IT – I’ll play all the parts’!!!  This is fuckin’ INTERESTING!  (Or at least it’s something!)

“No.  No-no-no.  Yokonono.  NO!  It’s nothing!  It’s a joke.  It’s joke, Dude.  It’s really, really joke.  Sad joke, fun joke, joke-though-joke.  Please joke.”

“Can you do it?”


“How much can you do it for?”


Covers mouthpiece [doesn’t], screams: “GET ME ANDREW LAUREN ON THE PHONE!!”

“…hey, Dude—“

“I’ll call you in ten.”


“RUN DON’T WALK!!” (click)


That was a year and a half ago.

The ensuing minutiae leading up to shooting (my unborn career in the face) is boring, whoa-is-my-brain stuff.  “But I wanted to be BEHIND the camera!  But-But-But I won’t be taken seriously as a director!” (where’s the fuckin’ whiny font? “But I wanted to be BEHIND the camera!  But-But-But I won’t be taken seriously as a director!”, perhaps) being the wussiest of it all.  The other shit – it being a story about two sixteen-year-old best friends, an homage to my late best pal from the days, and it suddenly becoming the me-Me-MEEEE show – that made my diaphragm (and gall bladder) hurt.  But we figured it out.  Kept some cast to lighten the (over)load, lessen the blow.  Namely the co-lead, the best friend (played by my baby-boy Russel Posner).  Justified the holes (“We’re on mushrooms!”).  Made my rewrites.  A friend of mine talked me off of a cliff when she said “In Communist China, with all of the creative shackles, you know, they had to find ways – any way – to get their stories told.  You have to tell this story and this is how you tell it; this is how it gets told – for the better.  It’s the only way.”  Fuck tomorrow.

***When “Ladybird” came out, that same dame said “the best thing Greta Gerwig did was to not put herself in the movie.”  So.  Friends like these, Dude. 

The other two features we shot, while shooting, were fun.  The most fun.  This one?  Fucked.  A few “fun” nights because you gotta put on the face and Greg Allman died and there’s no money and people are giving themselves and there is love, but…it was fucked.  Everything we knew from the first two, it wasn’t out the window, but it was dosed.  So, basically barely keeping a semblance of who you thought you were before you ate the drugs.  Sun coming up too many times, adults working for free, sleeping in LT’s HooverVille Express, everyone panicking about costumes and ’99 juju, me panicking about food-waste while panicking about my body while panicking about the weather while panicking about locations and money and everyone hating me and me hating me and oh yeah – I gotta know the lines for ALL OF IT and oh yeah – SAY THOSE LINES and oh yeah, small detail, how’s the movie gonna feel.  And then Myles taking all my panic and putting it on top of his holding the looking glass panic and, well…if that’s not mushrooms, then my name ain’t Nathan Arizona.

We shot it in fourteen days.  That was in May & June of 2017. 

 I have been angry (in my life, yes, but in the past year and a half, quite).  I’ve been angry that I didn’t wait for the perfect cast.  And when that anger subsides, I get-got angry that it took this long to put the movie together – after fourteen days of filming nearly two years ago.  It’s not my style.  And, listen it’s nobody’s fault (nobody’s fault, but my owwwwnnn), it’s everyone’s fault, because all parties wanted the best version of the movie, but it’s hard to see eye-to-eye creatively when you’re tripping billies.  But.  It’s my fault.  And then I’m angry again and again.  And then the anger gives way to a void.  Indie apathy.  The fuck-its become “ahhh, fuck-it”s.

We were dying.  Maybe it was time to move on, time for me to get goin’ (to a –stan?).  Grasping at Mojo straws, we tried to remember what the point of this was.  When I first started writing it, when I wanted to do something…not different – I’m not that smart.  But something that honored the “f” word.  Fuck family – we’re talking ‘bout “fun”.  That’s what this was always supposed to be – something we weren’t concerned with in our first two movies.  This one was supposed to be fun, Man.  And I lost it along the way.  But it was in there.  We plugged the drives back in and remembered that the motherfucker bleeds fun.  It puts it’s fun-gloves on and tickles your nethers!  What the fuck?  What the FUCK is wrong with us?!?  (So much, so…much.)  Sharing in the re-groove, Myles threw the Merry Pranks kitchen sink at the wall (it all stuck) with animations.  Our sound guys drip-dropped some liquid into the flick’s cochlea.  The Wizard put some color spells on it.  Sure - it is Kaufman-Klumpian.  But it became Our movie.  Everyone’s.  Anyone who’s been 16 years old, anyone that’s had a dog, anyone that’s seen a divorce, listened to Gangstarr, got their heart broke, loved a beer, been in trouble, smoked a butt, sipped a Yoo-Hoo, eaten mushrooms…had a Friend.  It’s Our movie.

 Andrew Lauren Productions had their premiere for VOX-LUX last night in LA.  It’s getting pretty good reviews.  This Bradley Corbett kid (director) is younger than me.  They had Natalie Portman and, thus, double digit millions to make it.  We have a hundred and fifty thousand dollar spunzy-munzy errr-art flick(?) with no names, pointless dialogue, shot on an A7-S in fourteen days.  A few days we had a three person (cast &) crew.  So I will admit that I am feeling some chemicals.  Gall bladder silly, fer sher.  On paper, I look like a dip-shit (yeah, yeah – “but who’s looking?” – low hanging fruit, Man).  Is this gonna help my directing trajectory?  Outlook not so good.  Is it gonna unburden my financial woes?  Lol.  But.  We privately screened the movie the other night for a few heads young and old.  Folks that didn’t know me from Adam, knew nothing of the year and a half woes, some who know a version (of me, of the woes), a few I ate many-a-cap, drank a billion with.  But the final song hit and I looked at Myles and I remembered the point.  So.  We made a movie.  And if I could do it all over again, would I do it differently?  Fuck you, Thompson.  Not in a million Light Years.