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(CENSORED, PG-FRIENDLY) EXCERPT FROM GARAGE MOVIE: MY ADVENTURES MAKING WEIRD FILMS
Gas was shot during the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college. After an entire year of not making a film, I had the itch again and, boy, I had the itch bad. I bet you’re asking why the itch was so bad. Or, ok, maybe you’re not asking, but what I’m saying is please ask, “Why?”
What’s that? Why? Well, let me tell you:
See, that summer, I had landed an internship at Warner Brothers’ (aka WB) Boston news affiliate WLVI Channel 56, which, incidentally, no longer exists. On paper, I thought this prestigious internship would provide good video production experience for me and look great on a resume. In reality, the internship was boring as all hell! I’ve never confessed this before, but I did NOT like that internship, not one single bit. It was so dumb and half the time I was just killing time, trying to find something to keep myself busy around the newsroom. One of my dumb*** duties was to call a list of police stations in various Massachusetts towns and ask them if anything juicy was going down in their town—you know, something that I could maybe get a scoop on. Nothing was ever happening and that one time when something WAS going on? They weren’t at liberty to discuss it anyway.
When I did actually have something important to do, I somehow managed to always f*** it up. I can’t tell you how many phone calls I transferred improperly. My very first day on the job I accidentally hung up on a lawyer my boss (the news director) was waiting hours to schedule an interview with. My boss was not happy with me, nor was the lead news anchor Karen Marinella who gave me a scowl so hairy that my self-esteem has never been the same since.
Looking back on my time at Channel 56, I can only say two good things about it. The first thing is I sometimes took phone calls from celebrities, though, when I say “celebrities”, I should probably say “celebrity”. Yes, the one and only phone call from a celebrity I took was from the actor David Boreanaz who was the star of the WB channel’s show Angel at the time but now you may know him as the star of the hit TV show Bones. Truthfully, I had no idea who David was when I spoke to him on the phone and it wasn’t until after the call that I realized whom I had just spoken with. But I must say…he was super-nice, you guys. So, if there’s nothing else you get out of this book, please know that David Boreanaz is a super-nice guy!
The second good thing about my internship was when they did live shots in the newsroom. Trust me, you know what I’m talking about here. Live shots are when you see the reporter doing a report from the super-busy newsroom with super-busy reporters working super-hard in the background. Now, I realize what I’m about to reveal is tantamount to telling a child the Easter Bunny isn’t real, but all the busy-bee newsroom action you see in the background? It’s all bull****, kiddos. They’re putting on an act for you like background extras in a movie. I know this because I was once one of those busy-bee extras. I can’t tell you how much fun I had creating the illusion that I was a super-busy reporter in the background of live newsroom shots. I would alter my performance—just a liiiiiitle bit—every time and do something a liiiiitle bit different. Sometimes I would run from my computer over to my boss with papers containing “breaking news” when, in reality, the papers were blank, or, at best, one of the hundreds of press releases that got faxed into the station every day (yeah, sorry Bill of Bill’s Barbecue in East Mendonwick, MA., Channel 56 News wasn’t interested in your fundraiser for the local Boy Scout troupe, no matter how many times you faxed in your press release). Or sometimes I would just stay at my computer, scratch my head, look intense and then answer a pretend phone call. One time my boss and I even coordinated a football-esque handoff of a news tape that was totally blank. In other words, it was all razzle dazzle, man. One big show.
Anyway, my point here is that—live shot background action notwithstanding—my internship at Channel 56 was a boring waste of my time. To offset this non-creative, soul-draining internship, I felt compelled to do something extremely super-creative. What I’m getting at here is I wanted to make a new film.
CUT TO: around the middle part of the summer. I believe I had just watched Steve McQueen’s movie Bullitt and I thought to myself, gee, I wonder if I could make some sort of a car chase movie with no budget and no professional stunt coordinator. I thought that, through careful editing, I could maybe, just maybe create the illusion of an exciting car chase. What did I have to lose? Nothing. So, I decided I’d give it a try. And, thus, Gas was born.
In terms of plot, Gas was about two teens named Fritz and Theo who are playing Mario Kart (Nintendo 64 version—the best version), Theo gets pissed that Fritz beat him, Theo says, "Wanna take this outside?" and then a real-life car chase ensues—not between Fritz and Theo, mind you—but between Fritz and Theo’s bodyguard played by my friend Jeremy. Reality mirrors fantasy and all that deep stuff that makes the blood flow into a film critic’s [censored version; purchase book on Amazon for uncensored version]. So, the car chase ensues, which eventually ends up in a foot chase; then, Theo’s bodyguard beats up Fritz in a riveting fight sequence but, then, spoiler-alert, Fritz ends up killing the bodyguard in a surprise twist ending. Sounds pretty cool, right?