Synopsis: James Morris is lost. He’s an army veteran with a brain injury that has now lost his job as a security guard at local mall. He reluctantly calls his friend Bruce Thompson, and tells him he’s in for tonight. James picks up Bruce at his campsite in the wood, and they head to an abandoned warehouse. Inside, they hide as Daniel, a heroin dealer, enters. He starts organizing the bricks of drugs in his bag when Bruce sneaks up behind him. He gets him down on a table and punches him in the face until James is forced to stop him. He claims, “It was him or us.” Bruce steals the drugs and Daniel’s gun.
Back at the camp, James and Bruce burn the drugs by a campfire and drink whiskey. Bruce gives James Daniel’s gun and tells him to shoot one of the whiskey bottles that sits on a table. He says it’s test if his head injury effected his aim. James hits it dead on.
The next morning, James takes a piss in the nearby field. Suddenly, there’s a gun to his head. It’s Daniel. James turns around, and Daniel realizes they went to high school together. He says if he gives him the drugs he’ll be okay, but Bruce won’t be as lucky. James walks him to his car. He opens the back of the car, and unzips his duffle bag; Daniel’s gun from last night is inside. He turns and shoots Daniel in the chest.
Bruce awakens from the shot. He realizes they need to deal with this right now, and get out of town, but James is in shock. He reveals that he got his head injury early on when he was deployed, and “barely even served”. He was the only survivor of the attack, but now feels like he’s screwed up his life despite it.
James breaks down. Bruce puts his hands on James’s shoulders. He reminds him he never liked this town anyway, and the two of them can survive if they keep moving. James agrees, and they burn Daniel’s body, and then drive off down the road.
Paul Hickert (Bruce (lead))
David Ventura (Daniel (supporting))
Matthew Gerrish (Mark (voice over))
I wrote this short film in college, and as the years went by it seemed more and more relevant. It seems like a lot of people feel very lost right now, and are being influenced by bad people to do what they think is “good”. In a better world, people like James could more easily find a purpose in something worthwhile. It can be found nowadays, but it’s surrounded by nonsense and predatory people that want to use people for their own goals.
My desire to make films came at a young age when my parents wouldn’t buy me the lego set for “young filmmakers” (not sure if anyone else remembers those). Eventually they did buy me a camera in high school, and I got a bit obsessed. I ended up going to Emerson College for screenwriting, was nominated for some EVVYs, and did pretty well at the Austin Film Festival.
After that, I studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute for two years. I was taught by amazing teachers such as Geoffrey Horne and Robert Ellermann. I did things I never thought I’d ever do like sing, dance, and cry in front of an audience. It broke me out of a shell I didn’t really know I was stuck in.
Since then, I’ve been creating my own projects. For the Benefit of Mr. Winston, The Edge of Town, and currently finishing up a short film based on Rajiv Joseph’s play Gruesome Playground Injuries.