Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Firestarter Rides Again... Again.

Some things never die.

A friend of mine recently had as his facebook status message, "Is it possible for old acquaintances to be forgot since the creation of facebook?" or something like that. It was a reaction to the new phenomenon of stalking people you used to know on facebook to, let's face it, see how they look now. Okay, I'm kidding around (although, admit it, you've done it, too.) But I have been contacted by several people that I went to high school with that I lierally haven't seen in 15 years. Here's the funny thing; if you're thinking of stalking anyone you went to high school with 15 years later because you want to know what they are doing, I'll save you the trouble. Nobody's doing much of anything. If they were, you probably would have heard about it already. If you truly wish to reconnect with people you may have lost touch with, then by all means, facebook away. If you're just curious to see who is doing better or worse than you, then don't worry yourself. We're all in the same boat.

However, despite my grousing, it is also kind of cool when you can hook up with old friends. I was recently contacted by an old friend who wondered how he could obtain a copy of Dursin the Firestarter, the film we all shot back in high school. Now, I use the term "film" loosely, but it was feature length, and I must say, I've seen a lot worse. Considering we were about twelve kids, a VHS video camera and a couple cans of hair spray. One day, we thought it would be fun to burn some GI Joe figures and film it, and thus, a legacy was born.

The logline would be something like "a crazy man is accidentally imbued with the ability to shoot flames from his hands, and uses his powers for evil." And that was pretty much the plot of our first seven-minute short, with about five minutes involving said burning of action figures. Then they kicked me (Dursin the Firestarter, natch) into the a lake and I was done. Thing is, people really dug it, so we made another, where I returned, burned more figures, until I was run over by the good guys. We started to make other movies, but got bored so we figured we'd go for a trilogy. this one was longer, but was still basically me pretending to shoot fire and burn action figures (Boy, I could have made a fortune on eBay with them) until the good guys finally kill me dead.

While word spread around Abington High that some of my friends and I were doing this, more people wanted to see what was going on. We submitted to public opinion and made Dursin IV, set in the future where Dursin is the ruler of his own country. Wow, a plot. I don't even think we burned many figures in this one. In fact, I think Dursin even had some kind of mind-control powers. Anyway, it was still silly, but somehow we stretched it to last around 45-minutes, even throwing in the origin of Dursin, although what it actually entailed escapes me. I'm sure someone will help me on that.

Finally, after our other films failed to live up, we decided to shoot one more Dursin movie, this one combining elements of the four previous ones to make the definitive version. It grew and grew, mostly because my friend John had actual vision and ideas. This one still involved a guy shooting fire out of his hands, but we also had an all-powerful orb being studied by the army, a foreign power hoping to recruit Dursin as their emperor, and our first-ever onscreen kiss. of course, it was still pretty bad, but the imagination is there, even if the acting and budget was not (I distinctly remember several members of the crew piling into a station wagon to drive to the local school to film a scene, and everyone throwing in some change to pay for the gas to get there. We bought just over $2.00.)

It's all about perspective. I mean, when you consider the fact that Joel Schumacher had millions of dollars to make Batman & Robin, and we couldn't pay for gas (and this was with 1993 prices), and we still made a better movie, then you have to wonder where the true creative vision really is. And honestly, I never forgot the good times making that thing (in the pre-Youtube era, we were only doing it for the fun of it.), but to be asked about it on facebook 15 years later, and to be asked where my old friends can get a copy, well... that's not something I would have ever predicted. So I bemoan facebook, but it will say it does also giveth.

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