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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Don't Drop That Bagel!

Down an alleyway in Collingwood, behind the Nicholas Dattner furniture showroom, a bunch of us surround a hobo. The hobo, an older man wearing sunglasses, a scraggy beard and an expression of profound disinterest, stares back at us. Nothing is said for a moment. The air is still. 'Maybe we should smear some hummus on him,' ventures one of us eventually, 'It'd make him look slightly more homeless. Don't you think?'
We nod in agreement.
'Make sure you get some in my beard as well.' offers the derelict.
We stare at his blackened face.
He stares back.
The sky threatens rain but doesn't.

It's called the 'Fifteen in Fifteen Film Competition' or 15/15 and the basics of it is that you have to make a 15 minute film in 15 hours. It can be an animation or a documentary or whatever as long as you get everything done- the shooting, editing, etc.-in the allotted 15 hour time. To make sure that no one cheats the organisers ask the film makers to put in a secret object (which has to be in 85% of the shots) and a quote which is revealed on the day of the competition.

Why I got involved in this, the competition, the smearing hummus on the homeless guy (I suspect he was an actor playing a homeless person. Maybe), was due to the serendipitous chain of events that had me bump into Evan in Listvyanka (a remote town in Russia that overlooks the famous Lake Baikal where the townsfolk still use goats as lawn mowers) during my Trans-Siberian Railway journey of last year. When he and Kes (the director/ incredibly tall Kurgan look-a-like) were discussing potential candidates for the oh-so-crucial 'Don't Drop that Bagel!'-guy for the 15/15 competition my name happened to leak into the conversation. I suspect the conversation went along the lines of this:

Evan: Let me get this straight. We have all the main characters, locations have been approved, props have been made...BUT WE STILL DON'T HAVE THE BAGEL GUY?
Kes: It's a hard role to fill.
Evan: I'll say.
Kes: (looking all Kurgany) For me, the whole crux of the film relies on this one guy. This one person to point out the struggle between the two main characters and their struggle to keep the bagel aloft...
Even:...while they wrestle intense emotions and even gravity that threatens to wrench the bagel from them.
Kes: He's almost a Cassandra-like figure. Someone who can see the future, the dangers that will befall our heroes due to this one instance. The domino effect that will change the fate of nations. But alas his warnings are seldom heeded.
Even: (Deep silence as his synapses briefly overload)
Kes: What is it?
Even: I...I...
Kes: What man? Speak! Are you choking on something? (Moves to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre)
Even: I got it. I know who can...I know who can....

'You want me to say what?'
'Don't drop that bagel!' they say in unison.
'Don't drop that bagel?'
'See?' says Evan with a smug grin. 'Perfect...my God...that was so perfect.' admits Kes, awed at my performance.


Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

Smearing snake bile on him would have worked better. Putting a bagel in the film was a bad idea. Food always steals the scene because people prefer it to art.

8:31 pm  
Blogger SassyAssy said...

Darn! I thought they were going to smear hummus all over you!

Seriously though, you have much better lines than that in your blog! Maybe you should make a film.

1:15 am  
Blogger Fatman said...

Gorilla Bananas- There were a lot of other things we could have smeared on him to make the situation better. Cow dung, dolphin blood, flubber, sulfuric acid, etc. But budget restraints forced our hand on that one GB.

Sassyassy- I smear hummus on myself in my...um...private times. As for making my own film, well, I can only imagine the pure tedium that goes into writing a script. You've got to write a 150-page draft (unless you're writing Gladiator in which case there's 400-pages of words and pages of cartoony scribbles where lots of people get there heads cut off), submit it, get rejected, re-write, give it to a producer who'll make suggestions along the lines of 'Yes, but can we have more product placement for Smith's Crisps/Mercedes/Wart cream?'. Then, when it finally gets the thumbs up the actors will come in and go 'Duh- I don't gets it.' or 'Look, I'm all about enviromental issues and Third World abortion. Let's put strong messages here, here and here.' THEN, we get to test screen it to an audience full of brain-damaged morons who'll ask for it to be dumbed down and can you please put less gore in it.

6:27 am  
Anonymous broadzilla said...

What the hell is 'flubber', Fats?

6:51 am  
Blogger Fatman said...

Broadzilla! Long time. 'Flubber' was a chemical that was the invention of Professor Brainard (Fred MacMurray), the eponymous lead in the 1961 Walt Disney film The Absent-Minded Professor. There was a sequel (Son of Flubber) and also a Robin Williams remake of the film in 1997 titled 'Flubber'. As for the substance itself...From Wikipedia: "It is highly unstable in bright light, but under all conditions is ductile, elastic, anthropomorphic, intelligent, impressionable, nearly indestructible, and capable of retaining kinetic energy indefinitely, so that if given the impetous it will rebound repeatedly, increasing the velocity and force with each collision."

3:10 pm  
Anonymous broadzilla said...

If it wasn't for the 'kinetic energy' bit, Fatman - I'd think you were describing yourself.

6:18 am  
Blogger Yawn said...

Damn Fatman. I feel so behind in my blogging and between the lines commentary. Not only that I feel so trapped with others travelling and drawing from rich contexts of inspiration. All I know how to do is milk the superficial sensationalism vein...that ran dry 5 to 10 years ago.

9:03 am  

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