Thursday, August 19, 2010
Doomed and Alone - Jerry Goes "Survivorman"
We’ve all seen “Survivorman” and “Man vs. Wild” and we thrill as Bear and Les throw themselves into all sorts of survival situations, which most of us will never experience, or even have nightmares over. Just watching them exhausts me. A week’s worth of survival in deserts, rain forests and frozen tundra are overcome in an hour’s viewing time, though I am nearly certain it would take me far less than an hour to be devoured or perish in the wilderness if I should happen to be trapped or dropped off there by mistake by a drunken taxi driver unfamiliar with local terrain. I have long subscribed to the philosophy that one should never trust a taxi driver, especially one unfamiliar with the local terrain, but unfortunately by the time you realize you have been commandeered by a directionally-challenged simpleton with a vaguely indecipherable accent, it is usually too late. As you watch the taxi skitter off undoubtedly into the gaping maw of a bloody tragedy generally reserved for the weak of mind, you realize you are stranded in the desert, or the woods or the ice-nest – locations that any third-rate murder mystery worth its salt has ever dumped a still-warm carcass. Most of us, myself for sure, are more than likely doomed in such a situation. The most we can hope for is that we perish with dignity – though I am inclined to believe that I would no-doubt be found naked and covered in a pitiful cocoon of my own waste and tears.
It is with this thought that I came up with my most brilliant idea ever for a short video comedy. “Doomed and Alone” would feature Jean-Claude Vanderpoofe (played by yours truly) as an inept, chubby, middle-aged man, prone to panic and devoid of any survival skills whatsoever, dropped into the desert and forced to survive without supplies or support. He is the sort of man who would (and does) weep as the support vehicle drops him off in his remote desert locale and as he sorts through his meager provisions, smiles slyly and reveals that he has smuggled a box of Ding-Dongs along (“I have this pocketknife, thirty seven cents in small change and THEEEEESE…”).
A brief treatment:
VANDERPOOFE, while expounding sound survival techniques, wanders aimlessly in the desert, growing more and more desperate as he increases his pace and sheds valuable clothing and drinks all his water.
Near nightfall, Vanderpoofe tells us how important it is to create a solid base camp and fire and fails miserably at doing both and we FADE to him waking the next morning, sans fire, fire-making tools scattered uselessly about, curled on the desert floor, shivering and babbling about Hamburger Helper and Cutty Sark.
CUT TO: Midday. Vanderpoofe is sitting in the sun weeping, his face smeared with chocolate and the empty Ding-Dong box sitting beside him in the dirt, stuffing the last of the chocolate cake and cream goodness into his mouth.
CUT TO: Vanderpoofe swaying back and forth on his feet, his face still streaked with chocolate, telling us how important hydration is in the desert. “Sometimes it is necessary for one to drink his own urine.” Looks earnestly at camera. “Seriously.”
CUT TO: A variety of shots of Vanderpoofe attempting to drink his own urine. Including, but not limited to:
-Lying on his back, attempting to catch his stream as it cascades over his face like rainfall.
-Peeing into a sock, explaining how to strain the urine, only to stare forlornly at the wasted puddle in the dirt.
-Peeing into his shoe and savoring it like champagne from a prom slipper.
From then on, Vanderpoofe’s shoe squishes at each step, punctuating his worthless pronunciations on survival.
CUT TO: A desperate Vanderpoofe chews on the aluminum foil wrappers from the Ding-Dongs which hang from his lips, weeping in the shade of a mesquite bush. “Sometimes, you simply have to give in to the overwhelming and unconquerable will of the wild.”
He lays down to die and the camera pans back to reveal that Vanderpoofe has given up not ten feet from the “Welcome to Scottsdale” sign. Further panning reveals a busy thoroughfare and we:
Of course, this is only a rough treatment, with much comic potential, given my natural aptitude for physical comedy and uncanny knack for harvesting a deep-seated emotional attachment from the lady-folk in my audience. Any of my filmmaker friends want to have a go? I smell a YouTube viral blockbuster.
To purchase Jerry's third-rate murder/mysteries, go to: