Skip ahead to ‘The Good Parts’
Story by Chris Graham
He’s taking a shower one morning when he realizes something odd.
Three hours have just passed, and he can’t remember what has happened.
Slowly, Rob comes to learn that he has the ability to skip hours, even days, with no perceptible break in consciousness.
Which is great for him, because he is madly in love with his girlfriend, Jennifer, and can’t wait ’til he gets to see her again.
This is the foundation of the storyline in Staunton author Matthew Warner’s “The Good Parts,” a short story that independent filmmaker Allen Richards is making into a feature film.
“When I wrote this story, I was at a time in my life where I had just had my hopes utterly crushed. I had this crush on this woman, and it just didn’t work out, and I was feeling old and feeling like I wasn’t really doing very well. But I remember that when I was dating her, I was just, Oh, my God, I can’t wait until the next time I see her, I wish it were Friday. And so it was therapeutic for me to write this story, to express all of those emotions and those thoughts that I had at that time in a short story,” said Warner, whose books include The Organ Donor, Death Sentences, Eyes Everywhere and the upcoming Horror Isn’t A 4-Letter Word.
The twist to the story in “The Good Parts,” which is being filmed locally in the Greater Augusta area, beginning with auditions at the Waynesboro Players Warehouse on East Main Street on Saturday, involves the girlfriend, Jennifer, who as it turns out has a special power of her own. She comes into possession of a magic fortune cookie from a local Chinese restaurant, and asks for the ability to meet someone romantically who will appreciate her for who she is. She is granted her wish, but as part of the implementation she receives the power to speed up her perception of time such that milliseconds can take minutes, all the better to allow for a full appreciation of the moment in time.
Warner wrote the screen adaptation of the story, and he is serving as Richards’ coproducer. It will be the Staunton-based author’s first significant film work, and he is getting up to speed with what is required to bring a story into celluloid.
“I think a lot of what we’re doing is very common sense. You’ve got to set up a casting call, you’ve got to get a space, you’ve got to publicize it, you’ve got to come up with a list of actors and have people read out of scripts. Allen is going to be there with a camera and take little film screenings so we can see who looks better on camera and who looks best for the part,” Warner said.
The filming will be done on a shoestring budget. One of the primary sets for the movie will be Warner’s home, and filming will be done on weekends this spring.
“This is independent cinema, and independent cinema is sort of like being a freelance short-story writer. It’s just a couple of guys with a camera and a vision,” Warner said. “Hundreds of movies like this get made all the time. If you browse b-independent.com, you get the impression that most of them are horror. It’s people putting fright makeup on and acting like zombies. I’ve seen a few of them, and I wonder why people are gravitating toward something like that. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to make. I have no idea.
“This is not that kind of movie. It’s a little more of a highbrow character study. And very much is going to depend on the chemistry that we get from the actors, from who we cast,” Warner said.
Warner realizes that he is blessed to have the opportunity to be as involved as he is in bringing the movie version of his short story to life.
“Normally what happens when you’re a writer is you write a story or a novel, and maybe it will get optioned by somebody, and optioned just means that they’re paying you for the exclusive right to make it into a movie if they feel like it. Right? And then once that happens, someone else writes a screenplay, and they film it, and you have absolutely no say in it. Or you could be a screenplay writer, and the same thing could happen. Someone could option your screenplay, and it gets adapted and rewritten and filmed, and you have no say in it,” Warner said.
“Allen is being very generous in letting me be involved in every step of the process. I not only wrote the story, I adapted the story, and I’m helping him in the whole filming process,” Warner said.
WHAT: Auditions for “The Good Parts”
WHEN: Saturday, noon-3 p.m.
WHERE: Waynesboro Players Warehouse, 722 E. Main St., Waynesboro
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.