Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Tale of Two Sandals (Part One)

Open Toes is a film currently in production as part of the Film and Media Studies 106 production course. The plot revolves around the segregation between two gangs at UCSB, the Rainbows and the Reefs, and a love story that emerges between two star-crossed lovers from opposing sides. The following is Part 1 of a series of entries about the production of the movie by writer Nick Ochoa. It is completely factual.

For those of you who don't know, I'm making another movie. Well, I wrote it, anyway; other people are making it, but that's besides the point. In late summer of 2006 I responded to a cry for assistance by one Sarah Dietrich, a charismatic producer with a movie idea hot off the presses. This producer had a dream - a dream of an epic tale whose effects would span multiple generations of Santa Barbarians, much as the Bible influenced several generations of Christian fundamentalists. She had a dream of a biting satire of a segregated society, whose very rivalry depended on such minuscule issues as what they wore on their feet. Indeed, this was a tale true to every form of segregation known to man (and only man). This tale was about the bitter rivalry between those who wear Rainbow sandals and those who wear Reef sandals.

It was to this vision that I answered the call. Sitting down with the starry-eyed producer for hours upon end over endless amounts of hot cocoa and cocaine, I learned of the epic nature of her vision.

"Unfortunately," she said to me, "I cannot translate my thoughts into words. where I need you."

Such candor I had never seen before. "I'll take the case!" I shouted. I fervently began writing what I could of her dream, but condensing a 5 hour epic with a star cast (including Morgan Freeman as narrator) and battle scenes that rivaled Return of The King in choreography and extras down to a mere twenty minutes was no easy task. Night after night I walked along the cliffs for inspiration, searching for a muse from whom I could channel creative energy. Alas, the sea was a cold mistress, and I succeeded only in getting my laptop wet. I spiraled into a whirlwind of 60s-era depression, complete with the funky colors and Strawberry Alarm Clock playing in my head, and tried so many combinations of narcotics that I was close to becoming more dead than Steve Irwin in a tank full of stingrays.

And yet, I pressed on. After disappearing from society for more than a month, I emerged from the depths of Isla Vista with a script whittled down to thirty minutes. I debated with myself for literally hours, trying to figure out what had to be cut for the sake of sanity. Ultimately, it was the ten minute sex ghost orgy that concluded the film which had to be left on the cutting room floor. Heartbroken but confident, I returned to Sarah Dietrich with her vision faithfully translated to a Microsoft Word document. I'll never forget the words that she uttered to me upon receipt of the stack of paper.

"That's fine, whatever."

It was my finest hour. With script in hand, we jubilantly marched off towards the film pitches, prepared to tackle whatever obstacles would come our way. Little did we know that the obstacles we encountered made the obstacles surrounding world piece look like a 4th grade obstacle course (you know, with the tires, stolen street cones, hopscotch chalk, etc).

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