When I enrolled at the Vancouver Film School for 2005 I had two simple goals for what lay ahead during and after my year-long intensive study of the art of writing for television, film and new media: Get paid to write* and make a movie. In the summer of 2010, I was lucky to see the latter through as we began the production of the feature-length independent film “Do Something With Your Life”, of which I wrote the screenplay.
Writing is weird. Art is weird. We talked a lot about community, supporting other artists, working with people both liked and respected for their talents: everyone working together to get better and make better projects. For a long time, this shared mentality lead me to opportunities I would never had even with VFS on my resume: I was able to write and help make** 40-something sketches, two seasons of a webseries- writing and acting in it- I did stand-up comedy, wrote sketches for a bunch of groups and helped produce sketch shows***, work-shopped stuff with other writers, gave notes for projects in production, and I even appeared an iPhone videogame for a popular SyFy series as a monk AND a pirate. When I start to reflect, listing those achievements, (as mundane as some of them may be****) I get a sense of pride I haven’t felt since I was active in the community. That’s weird to me, because for the last 3 years it’s pretty much been petulance and anger.
I was encouraged to dig through my old files to find some inspirational half-starts and unpolished turds. The following is an excerpt from a novel I tried to write about six years ago.
Click below to read chapter 2.
I wrote the following tale of adolescent loss/avuncularly tomfoolery over a 36 hour typing binge in the spring of 2007 when I was an under-employed wannabe screenwriter trying to figure out a way to make money with my whimsical coming of age stories. Some facts about the script, which may or may not deter you from reading the complete 99 pages:
1. It is a first draft so the spelling/story may leave something to be desired.
2. The last name “Kranson” is indeed a reference to Bryan Cranston, however as this script was written well before Breaking Bad please note that I was paying homage to Mr. Cranson’s work in Malcolm in the Middle.
3. If you imagine Tim Allen as Uncle Dick, it’s funnier.
Uncle Dick’s Sick-Ass Roadtrip is a feature screenplay written by me, Andrew Menzies, available to read through Google Docs after the jump. Enjoy.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, which is this thing that’s happening right now* in which someone willingly dumps a bucket of ice water on themselves lest they have to make a charitable donation to ALS (sometimes they do both). Friends, cohorts and enemies are also challenged to do the same within 24 hours, lest they look like a fool:
Below are the common Internet opinions regarding this current trope:
I have not travelled far in my twenty nine years as a tax paying 21st century human boy.
My self-awareness can be measured by dividing the preceding statement with the observation that it is most definitely literal and also probably figurative. The cheaper- arguably more concise metaphor- is that I’m getting older and trying to find my place in the world*.
It’s an old story- if you’re a dickhead you might call it cliché- but I’ve essentially packed all of my stuff in a car and drove across the country in search of a change: location, lifestyle and attitude. This is not something I would do on my own, as I’m fortunate enough to have a supportive companion going through the same late-twenties malaise: debt, career-paths, friendships morphing and decaying, more debt, marriage (to me), happiness and a future teetering on the line between hope and desolation. As an anxiety-ridden fellow often locked in a routine, I would not have made this much needed change without her support and guidance. I jumped off the cliff- the water is coming towards me fast and all I can do is brace and wait to hit the surface. Is it deep enough? Will I find a job? Is there a hidden jagged rock that’s going to rip my knee caps off?**
As bright as the future is, leaving behind friends and family with no timetable of when you’ll see them again is fucking impossible.