This is the second episode in a web series that I’ve been writing and directing for a year and a half. One of the most consistent pieces of advice I get on the Reddit screenwriting sub is to make your own stuff, create your own shorts instead of waiting for permission from gatekeepers, waiting for agents to maybe read your script or contest judges to maybe like it. And I did it.
So here’s Crunch the webseries, episodes 1: https://vimeo.com/251681604
And now, just released, episode 2: https://vimeo.com/296187613
Lessons learned after 1.5 years to make 2 shorts, 25 minutes of content?
That it’s fucking HARD. If I ever get credited with a famous line like “Nobody knows anything,” it would be, “Movies don’t want to be made.” They will fight you every step of the way, intent on collapsing into black holes.
Any screenwriter who’s grumbled, “they ruined my script,” should do what I did. To be the producer, the director, the casting director, the location manager, the art director, the wardrobe supervisor, the writer, the office PA setting up dates for filming and rehearsal, crafty, transport… To write and rewrite and rehearse and rehearse and rehearse and rewrite some more in rehearsal. To understand that the post production process can be even more grueling than anything that comes before, and that sometimes your script gets “ruined” because shit happens and the art of editing is about duct taping around shit that happened.
I wanted to make a show about something. To stand out in a sea of “really personal films” about twentysomethings coping with a romantic breakup. And what, really, is the only story worth talking about right now?
The Darwinian struggle to survive, in an economy that’s increasingly reverting to a medieval structure of nothing but nobles and peasants.
When I first imagined this idea a year and a half ago, of desperate young people accepting the terms and conditions that would lead them to rent a curtained off cubicle in a basement with five other people, I was writing satire. Thinking of the craziest shit that could possibly happen, people in America living in cubicle-sized quarters the way some people do in Hong Kong for their entire lives.
The house’s landlord, Brad, was a financially desperate man who’d himself been permanently outsourced from the tech industry after he turned 50, and who had no choice but to rent out the basement to as many people as possible to stay afloat. I thought, writing a year and a half ago, that nobody but insane people would pay $200 a month to live in a curtained off space the size of a bathroom.
And now, more and more often I read the horror stories on Reddit of people living in walk-in closets in SF for $1,000 a month, or in basements in Oakland with living spaces divided by tarps. People in my city, Reno, are living in shitty weekly motels and paying $850 a month to breathe black mold. Suddenly Brad looks not like a slumlord but like the chairman of a charitable organization.