Obsessed With Script Writing (Again, At Long Last)

I spent the last four days working on my script about my brother.

The writing was done with sober determination, head’s down, with my friend Mike.

I’m about half way through the script (it’s a feature length film).

Mike and I played in a band together, and we have a lot of creative history together.

It’s difficult for me to steal time away from work for personal projects, but I keep reminding myself that time is slipping by and I need to make the most of every moment.

Ironically, or perhaps in perfect complementary fashion, Mike is writing a script about a predicament we have both found ourselves in.

Which is this:

You’ve had a creative aspiration all of your life.

But life has distracted you.

Maybe you are married with kids, or you are single and you work too much.

In either case, many years go by during which you are tired and too often choose not to steal moments to paint, write, or create. Instead, you drink wine or watch TV.

And then one day you wake up and realize your window of youthful opportunity is nearly shut.

It is a wakeup call.

What will you do?

That is the premise of Mike’s film.

Mike’s film is called, “Driven”.

It is the story of a guy who works at the YMCA.

I can’t tell you anything other than that.

Mike doesn’t want his idea swiped.

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Like Mike, Episode 3

Phil, Craig and the stripper arrive late to the press conference; local news teams are filming and photographing their sloppy, highly anticipated and completely inappropriate entrance.
As they walk through the metal detector, the stripper sets the alarm off, prompting a body search.  The stripper keeps taking clothes off until finally the cause of the alarm is determined to be her pierced clitoris.

The reporters get wind of this unraveling story.

“Did you say, ‘pierced clitoris’?” a journalist asks the sheriff.

Mike is becoming enraged.  He puts his head in his hands.  How did he ever think Phil and Craig could do anything other than make this situation worse?

We see a montage of Mike as a champion wrestler –  we see his eyes as he pins an opponent to win the state championship.

Looking at Phil and Craig, he has the same look in his eyes.  Unable to control his anger, he charges, throwing the two drunks around like super balls.

The cameras catch everything as the police rescue Phil and Craig who, crying for help, will appear on the cover of the next day’s newspapers as victims of unprovoked violence.

“All they did was walk through the metal detector and that lunatic lunged at them,” the janitor is quoted as saying.

“Man, I have to clean up a lot of messes in my life, but nothing…like Mike.”

Like Mike: Episodes

Phil wrote:

“Ok guys:

We have to keep writing this:

Mike used to drink a bottle of vodka..
Now he does….. (blank)….. a day…..

What does mike do now, in replacement of booze..?.

Brainstorm and Please fill in the gap above For this crucial part of the series….”

Here is my proposed episode:

Mike goes to tons of AA meetings. They ask him to do the sound (which he is btw).

He starts hearing the most amazing stories: housewives fucking crackdealers, oil tycoons hiring the most elite class of escorts.

Mike decides to secretly record the stories in order to send them to his friend Phil, who he believe is becoming an alcoholic. Mike thinks if Phil hears these stories, he will be forewarned and slow his drinking down.

Rather than hearing warning messages, Phil instead sees great material in the recordings. He begins podcasting them without Mike knowing. Almost overnight, the podcasts are an Internet phenomenon.

AA finds out. Horrified, they begin a commission to find out who was behind this.

Mike, the only sound person, is first in the line of fire and it’s only a matter of hours before he is arrested by the organization that has given him his life back.

<end of episode>

<scenes from next week>

Mike pleads with Phil to take ownership of the crime. Phil agrees he will tell AA it was him behind the podcasts. Moments before Phil shows up at the AA press conference, we see Phil and Craig in a strip club, finishing yet another glass of whiskey.

“Come on,” Phil says, “we’ll be late for the press conference”.

“Not yet,” Craig says. “I have this hot black chick all over me.”

“Well, you can take her with us. I bet if you pay her $500, she’ll come with.”

“Great idea!” Craig says.

Phil, Craig, and the black stripper exit the strip club and head to the press conference to restore Mike back to good standing with AA.

Like Mike

Today a string of emails about Mike recounted Mike’s many lives.

His state wrestling champion phase, Christian phase, which was quickly followed by an enormously sordid partying phase (during which time I played in a band with him – “what happens in Oregon stays in Oregon” was a band motto when we came back from our gigs there), which landed him in rehab, and now “Mike Beta 2.0”, which is a confusing sober.

I say “confusing sober” because if you look at Mike’s life patterns, you see extremes. So he will need to find extremes in sobriety.

I know a reformed alcoholic who went from drinking a bottle of rum a day to eating 8 cantaloupes each day.

So, during the email string, a handful of Mike’s friends pitched in stories about Mike’s life.

Then we realized we had a great sitcom in the making: Like Mike.

My suggestion was that episode one would open with Mike staggering off a bar stool. A voice over says, “Mike should have just gone home and masturbated, but in his drunken stupor, he had other sordid ambitions.” At this point, Mike would pick up a hooker, pass out in the back seat of his car and wake up to the sound of a cop knocking on his window. Mike would realize then that his cock was out. Minutes later, when asked for identification, he would realize his wallet was stolen.

Phil approved of the idea for the opening scene, but added:

“EVERY episode should start with that voice over.”

Another friend suggested that once a season, something good would happen to Mike.

I pointed out that something good could only happen because it created something that could be lost.

Mike, with good humor, ended the sitcom planning with:

“With friends like you guys, no wonder I drank myself into the ground…”

He might have a point. When he landed himself in rehab, I demonstrated my support by sending him the following letter.

“Dear Mike,

Phil recounted the gruesome story of the hours leading up to your admittance to Mountain Vista Farm, and the violent, brutal details were so shocking that I decided to write this letter in support of your rehabilitation so that you may never have to go through such an ordeal again.

I know that at times like these, it is important for those in your life to share support to keep you going.

And so it is my goal to offer a few words of support and advice so that you will never again find yourself gagged, wearing a straight-jacket and covered in your own feces.

Do not fear sobriety. I have heard wonderful things about it.

Now, onto my most important point: You must meditate on sex; it is the key to your rehabilitation.

Let’s think about what sex is for a moment. Sex is rage, sex is jack-hammering, it’s running naked and pissing on your neighbor’s lawn, it’s a guitar at 11, it’s screaming as loud as you can, it’s taking a baseball bat to an old car and just beating, beating, beating that damn thing until you fall down with exhaustion.

The fuel of sex is alcohol, so you cannot talk about redefining your relationship to alcohol without reframing the way you think about sex.

Think of it this way: when people get drunk, what do they want to do? They don’t want to discuss whether Zarathustra was Pre-Socratic or Bildungsroman in tone. No, they want to fuck. Alcohol = sex.

What is the very first thing you note about someone when you meet them? Right, it’s whether or not you’d fuck them. That is THE first thing.

And think for a moment about the people you have met at Mountain Vista Farm. Are you attracted to anyone? You know that slightly tickled feeling you get when somebody you’d totally fuck is in your presence?

Now, if you have that tickled feeling in the presence of anyone there, you must do the following mental exercise: Imagine yourself hammering her hard, so hard that her head is banging against the wall. Imagine yourself letting violently loose, slapping her ass from behind as you ride her like a wild bucking horse as she screams for mercy.

And if you repeat this exercise every day for 2 hours, you will construct a sober relationship to sex. No longer will alcohol be the fuel of sex, but it will be your primal, natural perversion and, on occasion, 1 mg of Viagra.

I am also concerned about your mental health.

Think of this:

A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.

In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.

Later in the series of these letters, I will include instruction on how you can cull the weak brain cells without the use of alcohol. But I’d like you to first start with the daily two-hour exercise. After one solid week of practice, I’ll send you a letter containing the details of the next exercise.

You will also be receiving, from Phil, materials that will facilitate exercise #1 in case there are no attractive people at Mountain Vista Farm, or in the event that you begin getting bored meditating on the same person. We all know that variety is the spice of life, and so Phil and I, fully supportive of your rehabilitation, will spare no expense equipping you with the materials required for success.

Your friend,
Craig”