River Manor: Behind the Series!

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My friends and I created a season of television for the internet. I guess you could call that a web series. Or a miniseries. You can call it whatever you want. I wrote 6 intertwining stories and then we filmed them and now we’re showing them to the world to see if the world hates them. That’s the gist.

Here is where I’m going to post all of them and then write about each one along with adding behind the scenes photos and videos, mostly for my own enjoyment, so if you happen to take something positive away from this or are entertained in any way, that’s all gravy to me. Okay cool!

Oh also, S1E1 means Season 1 Episode 1. We’re all learning!

S1E1: “The Deli Caper”

I’m not good at writing pilots or introducing characters. I don’t like spoon feeding exposition and that is what a pilot wants to be most of the time. I had to be reminded the whole time we were filming this to make sure and say everyone’s names so the audience knows what to call us. Even that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like insulting an audience’s intelligence, although in retrospect I should have bowed to that whim a bit more than I did.

I decided as I was writing the season that I was just gonna throw the audience into a whirlwind and see how they like it. Which is what this pilot ended up being. Also, the pilot sets up a big theme for the series which I call “filling the shot.” I wanted most shots to have 2 or more things happening in them at once. I wanted the audience to have to watch the episode a few times to catch everything. One of my favorite movies is Ocean’s 11 – I’ve watched it around 25 times and I still catch new things to this day. It gets me going, so I assumed it would get other people going as well. If you’ve already watched this, watch it again and see what new things you find. In fact, that applies to all of these episodes. Watch them all about 10 times if possible.

Oh, and the shot of us running across the backyard and Marc getting pummeled? Jo really hit him. Hard. Don’t be fooled by her tiny stature. She hits like a monster and we did that 6 times. Marc was sore for a week. It was hilarious.

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S1E2: “Everyone is Poisoned”

This is the first episode we shot which was purposeful. I wanted our first go at making this series to only have the 4 main characters in it so that we could build some semblance of chemistry and then carry that over to other episodes where there are more characters with screen time. This is also the day we realized GBaby’s character is wonderful in his simplicity which would be a constant theme throughout the season.

I go back and forth between what episodes are my favorites and this one always seems to pop up in my mind. I love Steph’s makeup, I love the Frasier scene & the good cop bad cop with Marc and Elliot, I love the dubstep Frasier at the end and how GBaby keeps eating the poisoned food the entire time. In fact go back and watch this episode and just watch GBaby. You’re welcome.

Marc and I acted out the good cop bad cop scene most nights for 4 months prior to shooting this. In fact that is the way most of this series was fleshed out. Marc and I sitting on our porch and acting the entire episode ourselves. We rewrote the entirety of episode 4 that way, but more on that later. Also, as a last note, this is the episode we had Alex Meeske on set for and you can tell if you know him that he was there. That warbler line G says? That was his. Fun facts!

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S1E3: “Elliot Finally Shuts the Fuck Up”

This episode was to do 2 things. First off I wanted to show that Elliot’s character is basically the house scapegoat and secondly I wanted to introduce every character the audience hadn’t met yet.

At Elliot’s forced wedding we meet his insufferable brother Peter played by one of our Executive Producers, Johnrobert Vergati. You also get to check up on our local cockneyed talking delusion ridden Milk Toast played by our EP/DP Dylan after meeting Milk in episode 1 along with the ever quiet and mysterious Olive Druthers played by Stephanie Vergati who has a nice lil’ monologue in this episode. Then we add Olive’s best friend Lola Montez played by Allie Rivera, one of the funniest humans I know, throw in some Robinson Mahler, who brings a sort of grounded delusion you don’t really get anywhere else in the series played masterfully by Justin Hagen and then Jo is back, no longer tied up and in straight up in the dating game with Marc who is eye banging her most of this episode. Oh, and I can’t forget Abigail playing Elliot’s new Russian mail order bride, Ulyana Larinov!

This is a good time to talk about how we shot these scenes. There was no script. There was a detailed outline – sometimes I would give people lines to say, sometimes I didn’t. That means we built every new scene from scratch as we filmed it, did an average of 6 takes per shot with two cameras running, and usually used the last take.

We talked a whole lot prior to shooting about these characters with every actor who I chose specifically for their ability to make funny shit up on the spot. Some of the best parts of this series are things I didn’t write, and that’s my favorite. I bring this up soon after bringing up Abby’s Uly because she was so super worried she wouldn’t nail the Russian accent that she had me write every word of hers out. She then came in and murdered it anyway at which point I started making her say more things she hadn’t practiced, much to her dismay and much to my delight. And hopefully yours as well.

Also, it was raining that day. All of these shoots were one day long and that day the wedding was supposed to be out in the back yard but it was raining. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the garage looks like the absolute worst place to have a wedding, which Lola points out and to me makes it that much neater.

Here’s a behind the scenes video of JR hitting Elliot in the balls a bunch of times:

S1E4: “In Stapp We Trust”

Up until a few weeks before shooting began in the Summer of 2015 this episode was something completely different. Originally this episode was going to be called “Bed and Breakfast” of which the general gist was going to be that the boys opened up a B&B a la those food carts people open sometimes where their main selling point is being mean to their customers.

The boys plan goes awry once the first two people trying out the B&B is Lola and Olive and Lola basically takes over the entire day as GBaby and Marc escape by swimming away down the river while Ryan yells at them to come back and follow through on an idea for once instead of running away. In response, G and Marc tell him to shut up and keep swimming.

In all reality I wanted an episode that explained how good of friends Lola and Olive were and that idea was my chosen vehicle. But from idea to execution it felt weird. It just wasn’t written well and I didn’t like it which is something I made clear to Marc one night after coming home from the bar. And it was in that moment Marc pitched that he start a cult, and then I pitched that it be about Scott Stapp, and then we both improv’d the entire episode in the hallway in about 15 minutes. Then, still a little drunk, I opened up my laptop and wrote the episode, intertwining the Olive and Lola story line into the Stapp story line. Marc gets a writing credit on this one and deservedly so but he also brings a gravitas in this episode that was absolutely amazing to watch from the other side of the camera. He hit his stride acting wise as a cult leader, nonetheless. I don’t know if it’s the best one, but it’s the one we all laughed the most on set and that’s for damn sure.

S1E5: “Step Up Your Hat Game, Fool”

Most of the people around me thought this episode would suck from the beginning and I can see why. This is the most insular idea I chose to do. It’s based on inside joke after inside joke that I had the task of making into outside jokes as well. Step Up Your Hat Game, Fool acts in dual capacities. One is as the 5th episode of the first season of River Manor and secondly it is basically a time capsule for my late 20s. And from the outside looking in that looked like, to everyone else around me on the project, like not that much fun.

Until you see Marc and I screaming at a camera, or G fighting a plant, or Elliot dumping Sunny D on himself – Until you hear the soundtrack that JR put together – until you see that this episode is by all accounts a concerto of dialogue that ebbs and flows with a rampaging sense of urgency – until you see all of those things live I can very much understand how you could think it would suck.

Thankfully I love this episode and how weird it is. AND I HOPE YOU DO TOO sorry that was pushy have a nice day LIKE IT LIKE IT NOW.

S1E6: “Olive’s Low Key Get Together”

Season finales are important to me. When I was being a child I didn’t read enough, and it’s not because I didn’t enjoy reading. It was because Television was so god damn entertaining.

As I started to figure out what stories were and the kinds of them that I liked, I realized that one of my favorite parts of a Television series is that it’s stretched out. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end – and all of them matter. With a movie you can skip the middle sometimes and still be just fine in the last 20 minutes. Television doesn’t allow for that. There are small details everywhere, there are character developments that happen in mere moments, and there is an ongoing decay that you as the audience member are tasked to observe and understand. The season finale is the ultimate payoff for all of it.

River Manor is not exactly like television, though. Character arcs are sporadic, plot details are heavy handed, and each episode can choose to be closed into itself at any given moment it chooses. That is, until you reach the finale, at which point you will perhaps realize it was all connected the entire time LIKE MAGIC. Hopefully. At the very least, that’s what I was trying to do. You, the audience, can be the judge of the success of that.

On a more grounded level, this finale was shot on one very long Saturday that was a day of pure exhilaration for me. We were filmmaking by the seat of our pants that day more than any other time we broke out a camera and hoped for the best. It was so much stupid fun.

If you liked this series at all I would urge you to watch it again. Every episode is meant to be watched multiple times with tiny little details you’ll pick up that you didn’t see before including running gags that wrap themselves up in the finale – one of which goes 6 episodes long and is my favorite thing ever.

But anyway, thanks to everyone who worked on this project and thanks to everyone whom enjoyed it. This is my favorite thing I’ve ever done. Okay cool bye.

 

 

 

 

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My Favorite Tree

There’s this one gigantic evergreen tree that stands alone in an open field near my house. It is big and tall enough to be the world’s Christmas tree, I always said to my Mom. I truly envied it. It had all the room it could have wanted to grow. All the space it could have ever asked for to flourish and every bit of sky above it to be rained upon and to gain the light of the sun. This tree had pride.

One day while driving by I saw a crowd gathered in the open field. In the center of them all stood a lowly tree stump protruding with gusto from the ground where the tall evergreen used to stand.

I parked on the side of the road and walked over to the crowd, pushing my way to the front. “Where did my tree go?” I offered up to no one in particular.

An older gentleman with heavy brown boots and weathered corduroy suspenders chirped up, “Someone came in the night and took it.” The crowd murmured tiny notes of agreement.

I dropped to one knee, my pants soaking in the morning dew from the ground. My eyes fixed on the stump. It was like someone grabbed the linchpin out from the machine that ran me. The tree was a part of home. When you get off the highway you pass the poorly painted building, you see that crazy lady yelling at her eight dogs, and you gaze upon the magnificent lonely tree. But not anymore. Someone had taken that from me.

The top of the stump was not a clean cut like it had been sawed off. The bark that remained was angled and sharp like it had been pulled into two by the hand of God.

“That’s not what happened.” A little voice no one could hear but me said out loud. As I turned my head I saw a little black haired girl in a white sun dress with pink flowers all over it holding her father’s hand. Her words had been falling on tall ears. Her other hand was holding on tight to an old book that was practically falling apart.

The little girls gaze met mine momentarily before she looked back at her tree. “What do you think happened?” I kept as quiet as I could to try and keep this a private conversation between the obvious child and the little girl.

“I don’t think anything” the girl scowled at the thought that she was only hypothesizing, “I know where my tree went.”

“Okay. I’ll bite little lady. Where did it go?”

“It left.”

“Left?”

“Yup. It had grown all it could here.” She looked over at me for a moment to see if I got it yet. I didn’t, so she continued to explain. “I used to come to this tree every morning and read it this book about the rain forest. Every time I talked about the number of trees in the rain forest the wind blew and the branches swayed. It was my tree but I knew it wouldn’t be forever. One day it would have to move on. Today is that day.”

My eyes blinked uncontrollably. “Why did it have to go?”

“Because it was looking for friends.” She said as a matter of fact.

“But you read to it every morning. Weren’t you its friend?”

“Yup. But I’m a person. It wanted to go somewhere where the other trees were.”

“Like the rain forest?”

“Yup. Like the rain forest. I guarantee you” Her eyes locked in on mine, stolid and true, “You go to the big rain forest and one tree there will look nothing like the others.” She looked back towards the stump. “He had to go find where he belonged.”

“But doesn’t that make you sad? You lost your tree. The place you used to go every morning to read your book.”

The little girl shook her head. “Nope. I feel just fine. He was never my tree. I was just borrowing him from the ground and this ground was just borrowing him from anywhere else on earth it could ever be.”

“But, aren’t you going to miss it?” The crowd started to disperse and the little girl got pulled by her father in the other direction. When I looked up for an answer she was skipping away. As I gathered myself I realized that on the ground next to me now was the little girl’s tattered book. In a tizzy I picked it up and stood to walk towards the father and the little girl.

“Hey!” I yelled, “You forgot your book!” The father didn’t notice my yelling at all as the little girl turned back, but only slightly.

“That’s okay! I was only borrowing it!” she yelled and smiled before turning back around and continued skipping. I turned back to look at the stump, then down once more at my new book, and held it tight to my chest.

Now when I go home I pass that poorly painted building –

I see that crazy lady yelling at her eight dogs –

And I sit down to read about the rain forest and think about that one tree that doesn’t look the same but is right at home. And so am I.

Once Upon That One Time – Chapter 1

My name is Ryan, I’m 50 years ahead in time of whenever you are right now, and shit has — Just. Gotten. Real.

I know, that’s confusing, and I don’t care. Listen, I don’t have a lot of time. Only like, the next few hours, and then all hell is gonna break loose. Before that happens I’m writing everything that has happened in this past year to me, my friends, and the race we still call human beings. That hasn’t changed. A bunch of stuff has changed, but we still get called that, so there’s at least one win for us. Chock that shit up to the score board, ass holes.

49 years from where you are right now is pretty much the same. It has cars that don’t fly and run on crude oil, it has solar panels that no one uses except for like 3 people and they’re always so uppity about it, and the President of the United States is a white dude and has been since that one time that other thing happened. Then it all went haywire. Because white people are the worst. In case it all goes badly I’m going to write down everything that’s happened as quickly as I can and then put this letter into the time capsule code named “Plot Device” that can very actually go back in time and warn everyone what this planet has become – which is full of ass holes.

See, it all started when this science lab where scientists were paid to do science did something other than science. They might of accidentally sort of started a chain of events that ended in all of the remaining animals on the earth to evolve into genetically enhanced versions of themselves that you could tame if you had the balls. After that, the rest of the animals (who were not already paired up with a human being) were killed off or went to the woods or something, point is they are gone. Now the only human beings and animals left on this earth have their friends and each other. Some notes that are important to the story and that I won’t explain because there isn’t time and also fuck you is that some of these animals can talk, and some can’t. The ones who can’t talk aren’t called dumb to their faces cause that’s just mean but…they are. Sometimes that matches up with the human riding them, sometimes it doesn’t. Whatever blah blah so on and so forth.

Other important things include that there are about 1000 people left alive on earth, the sun is getting hotter each and every day, Pangaea is a thing again so the land is just all mushed together, and there is an ongoing war between the two factions called The Colony and The Disciples Inside the Calamity Kingdoms. I didn’t choose those names, someone else did. Also there are The Outlaws who aren’t really a faction, they are just people who don’t give a shit and are on their own side. That’s where my friends and I come in.

We are the leaders of The Outlaws. Pretty sweet, right? Yeah, I know it totally is.

Are job is to fuck shit up. For everyone. All the time. No matter who is doing what, we fuck it up. We figure the sun will roast us alive, the seas will swallow us whole, or everyone will end up getting stabbed in the face – so we might as well have some fun before any of that happens.

Before I go on with all that has happened in the past year I have to tell you about my crew. I can’t just start using names and telling stories without you knowing some background on these people. First off there is no leader, there are alphas and betas but we all decide what to do together. We aren’t some group of douche bags with one biggest douche bag who thinks they know best. No one knows best. People who think they know best is what got this planet into the situation in the first place. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll tell you bout my peeps.

There’s Abby and Mike who are married to each other. Abby, the cunning and the bold, rides Sepharoph (Seph for short) who is the king of the eagles. Mike, the logic and the balance, rides Jasper, the aging moose who is as wise as the amount of years he’s been alive grant him to be. Elliot, the wildcard, rides the Emperor Penguin Duo Koo and Stew who are strapped to his feet and make ice with their belly’s so he can slide around everywhere. Koo and Stew and stronger than most penguins and don’t like each other or change or learn lessons. There’s also Pat, who is on a brown bear that hasn’t changed at all.

Stephanie and JR are here too, they are engaged to be married on a mountain. Steph, the no bullshit go-getter and JR the deceptively kind ninja scientist ride on an albino Jaguar named Bertram and an Elephant the size of a house named Flounder, respectively. Marc, the hungry and bearded, rides a Rhino named Carl with steel for a horn that Marc forged himself in an erupting volcano. As for me, I’m on my trusty flying polar bear named Ralph who shoots acid out of every hole he has in his body. (that includes his butt)

Adam is on an iguana. GBaby is on an Emu. Kate walks. Also there are others who I will get too later as their story wouldn’t make sense yet.

So all of us are in the outpost like a year ago and then some shit got to shakin’, and I mean shaking bad. The earth basically had a fuckin’ heart attacked and changed all of its shit up. The Chancellor, the dick head leader of The Disciples, built a gravity device that brought all of the continents together again because, and I’m quoting Mr. Chancellor here, “Who needs friends when you made the continents friends once more.” Sad as shit, I know.

As all of this is going on my friends and I are all sitting around, probably intoxicated, and being all like, “woah what’s going on?” Then we found out everyone was going nuts and dying and we said to ourselves, “let’s ride our animal friends into the night and see what’s to do.” So we all jumped aboard our animal friends except for Kate because she walks and went to the biggest building we could find immediately which was a liquor store that was made to look like the Lincoln Memorial. Inside we see the guy standing behind the register who is set atop a big fucking lion.

“Whatchu doin’ fools?” said the guy with the big fucking lion. Then we proceeded to explain to him what was happening outside and he was like “we should drink” to which we were all like “yeah that makes sense.” So we all start getting fucking wasted and next thing you know we sleep through the next few weeks and wake up, only to go outside and see a barren wasteland with nothing left standing as far as the human eyes can see. Seph, Abigail’s eagle friend, flew into the sky and told us that she could see something so we all hopped aboard our animals and headed off once more.

Except Kate. She got stabbed by that Lion.

6 Things to do to Make Valentines Day Not Suck

I lean towards being a cynical human being. On Valentines Day you can take that lean and assure yourself it will turn into a full blown tilt. But, I decided this is the last Valentines Day I will spend being bummed out. Single or otherwise, I will make Valentines Day the best day of the year, and I will do so by following these 6 steps:

1. Stop scrolling through Social Media that you know will make you sad. People will be writing amorous haiku’s to their significant others – new couples will be wondering openly if they really have to take part in this profit fueled nonsense, and you’ll be reading it bein’ all like:

2. See a movie (The Lego Movie is my recommendation, it sorta makes you believe in yourself) or binge watch House of Cards Season 2 – either one will work just fine as a distraction. Although, this step in the process does quickly lead me to step number 3.

3. Healthily indulge. You know all those terrible things you do to your body? Eat horrific food, drink a comically large amount of booze/mountain dew, and stay in bed for days on end? Stop that. Don’t do that today. Those are all fast tracks to deep existential depressions – never ending loops that get blown way out of proportion on days like today, so DON’T DO THEM. Eat better today. Run. Jump. Dance in public. Get out there. Smile. Go to the gym. Get your pump on while listening to heavy 80’s techno music. Ya know, all the normal stuff people and techno cats do.

4. Let this be the day you say you don’t give an F bomb and actually mean it – I’m talking like 98 year old dude crawling into the freezer at the super market not giving an F bomb. Every time you say you don’t give a bleep to me, it just means you totally do. All the time you spend making sure everyone else knows you don’t give an F takes time away from what you should actually being doing which is accomplishing goals that truly make you happy.

5. Locate all of the human beings you know who are single and make you smile and force yourself upon them. They will thank you later. Like me for instance – I’m going out with some bros this evening to drink a safe amount of whiskey and smoke a certain amount of cigars that has yet to be determined. The only way you can be happy today – a day where the odds are never in your favor – is if you exert enough effort to actually make it happen for yourself. Which, for the record, you should, because if I had to choose between being happy or sad on a day that is very literally built for sucker punching single human beings, I’d pick happy 10 out of 10 times.

6. And if all else fails buy a hamster, cause that thing will love you just for getting him a super sweet wheel to bro out on.

That Time My Blind Date Stood Me Up Because She Was Going to Jail

I must preface all of this with a statement: This story is true. I changed one name because this is a real story and I don’t want to offend anyone, but it’s a story that I’ve been telling to friends for years and that I finally figured I’d write down. So here it goes.

My mother is wonderful. She is loving and caring and always wants what’s best for my brother and I. But, I am 26 now and you can kind of tell she’s getting antsy for me to be in a relationship that eventually leads to grandchildren. This manifests itself quite often in sentences that start like, “There’s this great girl I know that you should so on and so forth plus other words.” When she says that now I always refuse the offer for two reasons. The first is, when I meet the girl of my dreams I don’t want our story to start off with, “Well, my mom!” The second reason is this story I’m about to tell you.

In 2011 my life was a weird roller coaster full of long hours at work (which I was traveling every week to Long Island for, staying for 5 days, then coming home for the weekends) and treating myself badly. That’s all I did for a solid year. Within that year my mother started to offer up female candidates for me to meet and after a while of vehemently refusing, I said yes. Mostly to make her stop asking, but secondarily because, “Hey, it might work!?”

Her name was Greta. She lived down in New Haven, 30 minutes away from where I reside, and worked with my mom. All my mom knew about her was that she was a nice mid-twenties human being who always got a ride to work, played roller derby, and was not a lesbian. Oh, how did my mom know that last part you ask? Well, that got handled pretty quickly with this pointed sentence from my mother, “So, you gay?” To which Greta replied, “No.”

So as modern technologically based love stories go, I added her on Facebook. I was spending my weeks in a hotel so I had a lot of free time on my hands which I  used that one week to talk to Greta constantly. We told each other about our lives, I told her I liked drumming and writing, she told me she liked hitting people while on roller skates – so it was going well.

The next week I decided to take a leap. I hadn’t gone on a proper date in a very long time so I just came out and asked her. And she said yes! I was flabbergasted. We were going to go to a coffee house that’s near her house (she didn’t’ have a car so driving somewhere wasn’t an option) and meet around 12pm on Saturday for some dark coffee and light conversation.

The entire drive down I had all the windows open and the music blasting to try and keep me from sweating bullets while my mind raced about what I had chosen to wear and what I’m going to say and more importantly, where I’m going to park my car in New Haven so that someone doesn’t steal all of my belongings. I finally parked around the corner (still 20 minutes early) and wandered my way to the coffee shop. This place was awesome – filled with Yale professors grading papers and Yalie students being students who go to Yale. I was a bit out of place with my forest green plaid long sleeve and dark jeans, but Greta and I had talked recently about how she loved dark flannel shirts, so I went for it. I go up to the counter, look at the menu that is one million options long, and say “the double espresso please” because I’m an idiot.

After I got the tiny shot glass of a drink I sat down and started looking at Facebook, the way you do when you’re trying to pass time. While not paying attention my body decided to drink the espresso like it was a normal coffee, so within 5 minutes it was all gone. Still 10 minutes to go until she arrived and my leg was now in a full blown tremor. I saw a newspaper on the ground near me and picked it up because every moron spouting their opinions and personal records on Facebook were making me angry so I opened up the newspaper to read. It was a bit of a futile endeavor though due to the fact that my hands were shaking so badly I couldn’t read any of the words. So I put the newspaper down and found a clock above the counter. Still had 5 minutes. So I sat in silence for what I thought was going to be 5 minutes.

5 minutes passes. I’m watching the door like a hawk and checking my phone for the time every few seconds. She’s not there. 10 minutes passes, nothing. 20 minutes, nothing. I called her phone number, it was turned off. I Facebook messaged her, got no response. Half hour late, nothing. Called her again, still turned off. At this point I had a little bit of hope left but my buzz was leaving me so I got another drink – it was a regular coffee this time.

40 minutes late, nothing. The coffee I ordered came with a napkin and back in those days I had a pen in my pocket at all times for some reason so I took it out and started drawing. Pointillism is the kind of painting that is just little dots up close but when you zoom out it makes an actual picture. I decided to try it out with a painting of palm tree on a tiny island in the middle of a lonely ocean. Not a metaphor at all.

When I looked up from the finished drawing, she was an hour late and my coffee was all gone. So, with my symbolic tail tucked between my legs I got back in my car and drove home. That weekend I told my friends about the date that wasn’t which they said they were sorry about and I started to move on with my life – a life where people ditch me for utterly no reason….that is, until we got to Monday.

My Mother had called to ask how the date went on Saturday and I had told her she didn’t show up which was odd, because I thought we were getting along well. My Mom, the protective lion mother she is, was not at all happy with her son being ditched and marched into school on Monday preparing to demand an answer. But low and behold, Greta was not there. In fact, no one knew where Greta was until the end of the day where a notice came from the State of Connecticut expressing to her place of employment that Greta would not be showing up for a very long time.

Turns out Greta had committed her 3rd DUI in 3 years about 6 months prior to the date day. In this final DUI she caused a 4 car pileup on a bridge that injured 4 people including an infant. Greta was taken to the hospital and after being cleared was told to wait in her bed for the police to arrive to ask her questions. So she did what any fine upstanding citizen would do – she waited for the doctor to leave and then fled the scene. The next day the police found her at home hiding in her closet and brought her to jail. She posted her bail, and had a court date set. That court date was the morning of our date day, where she was told she would be going to a Connecticut based correctional facility for 3 years for her crimes. After she got this news she apparently wasn’t up for coffee.

The reason she didn’t have a car and didn’t drive to work herself was that she couldn’t have a car. Legally. The Government didn’t let her. I didn’t know if I felt better or worse about the situation. On one hand I understood the predicament she was in. What was she supposed to say to me over coffee, “Oh my future? Well, probably a lot of working out and not talking to strangers! Hope I look good in Orange!” Probably not the most uplifting of scenarios for her. On the other hand if I had just gotten convicted and sentenced to jail (which she had to report to 3 days later) I would have needed a drink badly – and what better person to pull out of a coffee bar and into a real bar than a complete stranger. Then you very obviously run away with them. This movie writes itself.

Needless to say I haven’t seen Greta since…in fact I never met her in the first place. But out of all the date stories I have, this one is probably the most interesting to tell and easy one to speculate on. And because I fancy myself a bit of a novice screenwriter I just HAD to try it out as a script. So, CLICK HERE – this is the first 10 minutes of a movie based on what I thought should have happened between myself and Greta, but with new characters names and a fictional back story. Hope you enjoy it.

 

I Forget What Love Feels Like: Free Write

I forget what love feels like. That sounds overly dramatic, and it is. But hear me out. The last time I was in love was almost three years ago now. I remember being within love. I know that everyone experiences the state of love differently. For me it’s always been a very cerebral process of adding an asset to my life and then adapting to being plural by making the relationship better than both its parts. My brain does that by itself. That is not an effort that I wrote down years ago and then repeated due to overwhelming success. In fact, every relationship I’ve ever been in has failed. If you’re not currently in a relationship or married, every romantic relationship you have ever been within has failed. That’s one of my life hypotheses I always harp on along with white people being the worst kind of people hands down. Those are two of my strongest beliefs…..yeah. Come on over, ladies.

Let me get back to my initial point. If I was to act out a love scene right now, which in the future I will most likely have to do since I write films that have me in them and I use films to act out relationships I wished I had in the first place –  so chances are I’ll have to act out being in love at some point in future, it would be just that. Acting. Acting to me is remembering. Remembering that time you felt that feeling, extrapolating it, blowing it up, and then putting it back together with everything you have and performing those moments in time. And right now I’m having trouble remembering.

When I was in love I was a better person. Well, not better. Nicer. Yeah, I’ll go with nicer. My demeanor towards the world as a whole was brighter, at the very least. I am now three years out of love and my view of the world is filled with bird shit on the windshield that wasn’t there before. Turns out though, that most of the time I prefer the bird shit. It’s just those nasty moments before sleep where you can’t help but feel alone in the bed that is meant for two and only serves one. Those moments in time are easy to act out. I have memories of being alone that are from last night. Not a very far reach.

I’ll take it from another angle. My favorite love sense is touch, which is not my favorite life sense (smell, for those baby birds out there wondering.) The best way I can explain it is….Okay, here is a scenario.

You are in bed with your significant other. A person whose faults you’ve come to terms with. You wake up before them and they are facing the other direction. They moved a bunch during the night, hitting you in the face multiple times, but you love them so you resist the urge to beat them with a pillow in the dark. Their body figured out around 4am that it wanted to be the little spoon and it took that position against your will. That’s not the way you wanted to sleep, but you didn’t want to wake them up and you have to get up in a few hours anyway for something you don’t want to do, so you settle in as big spoon and fall back asleep. Now, you’re ass hole internal alarm wakes you up 10 minutes before the actual alarm goes off. You roll slightly to turn the future alarm off then your body rolls over to see their back. They didn’t put on a shirt the night before. It was warm when you two went to sleep. Now it’s cold and they are asleep but shivering. Their back is full of goose bumps. Your hand runs over their shoulder, feeling the bumps against your skin. The hair on their arms raise up to meet your touch. Their torso adjusts but they don’t wake up. You put your hand in between their shoulder blades and wait for your hand and their back to be the same temperature. Then you move your hand over to their arm to keep the part of their body the covers aren’t reaching warm and you watch the goose bumps fade away. You kiss the back of their neck and then slip out of bed as to not wake them. When you’re getting dressed they wake up and watch you without saying anything. Right as you’re about to leave they make fun of you for wearing that piece of clothing from your old life; the shirt or the shoes or the pants that scream “single and not trying to impress anyone.” Their reward for making fun of you is a kiss goodbye. You turn around halfway out the door and show them a tender spot on your face. “You did it again you know. I’m going to have a black eye and the entire world will know who did it. It was you, by the way. I don’t want to be coy about this, you beat me in your sleep, and I’m gonna hashtag the word beat when I tell Facebook what you’ve done.” Then they give you the finger and say “I love you” simultaneously.You say you love them too and now the rest your day is a countdown until you can love them in person again instead of looking in the mirror and poking your eye to remind yourself of how love is a particular kind of insanity that you can’t believe you’re lucky enough to be a part of.

That’s what love feels like to me. I can describe it in detail. I can act it out. But I can’t actually experience that moment right now.

Love is learning the shape of someone’s back.

Love is forgiving them for the terrible things they do in their sleep.

Love is learning the amount of noise you need to make to “accidentally” wake someone up before you leave for the day so that the last thing you do before you go is say goodbye. They will think it’s a coincidence it happens every time but it’s not. It’s only the byproduct of you not being able to live with the thought of it not happening.

Also sometimes, I mix up forgetting something with wanting something.

Graham the Cracker

When I get creatively stunted while writing a certain project my method for getting rid of writers block is making the stupidest thing I can think of. Just turning off my brain, and making something so bad that it hopefully kickstarts my brain back into writing something of worth. I do things like this all the time but I never show people because…well, because they’re dumb. But I figure, it’s funny to me at least a little bit, so it might be funny to one more person. So here ya go, this was today’s. (click to make bigger)

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