The Lost Script

A while ago I plugged an old USB stick into my laptop. I hadn’t used it since my college days, so was surprised by what I found. Amongst the sub-standard history essays and error-ridden schoolwork was a little gem I had completely forgot.

‘Vote for Me’ was a script I had written during my time at the college’s film club. I was the most senior member in the group, but at that time had little confidence to plough through an idea. Rather than doing the treatment on this (which I never presented in full), we produced an overly-dramatic tale of a girl who commits suicide because of the bullying she recieves (*sigh*). It was just as bad, if worse, as you imagine.

Following this, I was due to complete an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in my final year. Somewhere down the line I came back to ‘Vote for Me’, hence it’s philosophical note in the synopsis.

Whilst it’s far from a work of art and could of used with slightly more time and passion, it still has a certain charm to it. So here it is, plonked on the internet for all to see – untouched for just less than three years. I’d love any comments you have!

‘Vote for Me’

A short film by Jordan Rowe

SYNOPSIS:

Shot in a mockumentary format, ‘Vote for Me’ (single-camera comedy) is the story of an over-confident student (played by TBA) running to be elected to the student union – unfortunately he doesn’t realise just how unpopular he is within the school. Pulling out all the stops to win votes, he must battle with a grumpy camera crew, an unhelpful personal assistant (played by TBA) and a slightly perverted shopkeeper (played by TBA). In the end, despite the campaign being run into the ground, Erik somehow wins.

On a philosophical note, the film gives an insight into just how much people are willing to do to achieve their dream or to get what they want. My inspiration for the idea came from TV sitcom ‘Modern Family’ which has mockumentary aspects to it. ‘The Office’ and the 1999 cinematic film ‘Election’ starring Reese Witherspoon also helped in the process. The humour throughout is dry and sometimes dark, with a hint of satire.

CAST:

Erik Hassler:

Danielle (PA):

Olivia Wilde (competitor):

Shopkeeper:

Announcer:

Camera Man (unseen):

Boom Mike Guy (unseen):

SCRIPT:

SCENE TITLE: HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A BIN?

The camera is travelling through the corridors of the school – passing a number of election posters as the title ‘Vote for Me’ appears on screen

ERIK

Vote for me! Do you want a leaflet sir? Hey, ow! Well, that was just uncalled for.

The camera heads up a final corridor where we see the student handing out leaflets

ERIK

Oh good you’re here, I was wondering where you got off to.

Hi, vote for me, take a leaflet!

Erik hands the leaflet out to a female passer-by who promptly scrunches it up and chucks it on the floor

A girl walks into the corridor and sees Erik. She tries to do a double take and go back, but Erik spots her.

ERIK

Oh well, if it isn’t my closet competitor in this race. Olivia it’s a pleasant surprise to see you.

OLIVIA

You do you realise I go to this school, meaning it’s hardly a surprise that I bumped into you… just an unpleasant nuisance.

 

ERIK

Joke all you want, but I’ll be the one laughing on January 11. All of the polls taken show that I’m on course to take that slot on the union.

Olivia looks puzzled

OLIVIA

What polls? There are no polls.

ERIK

My assistant took a snapshot of the political air running through Chalmers School, and the wind is blowing towards me, my friend. Isn’t that right, Danielle?

DANIELLE

Whatever.

Danielle is blowing a bubble with her chewing gum and texting on her Blackberry.

OMG 

She giggles at something on the phone and walks of

OLIVIA

(sarcastically) Wow, looks like you have a strong team.

Olivia begins to walk of, but returns

 

Before I go, can I just ask why you have a camera crew following you?

ERIK

They just thought I was such an interesting person, there going to make a documentary about me.

CAMERAMAN

The cameraman is out of shot, Olivia turns round to look at him

No I’m pretty sure you’re paying us to film you. Well, that’s what it says on all of my cheques, anyway.

Erik is signing for him to keep quiet and pointing at Olivia. Olivia turns back around to look at Erik and shakes her head. She then walks of. Erik looks embarrassed. The cameraman calls Erik an idiot, but this is covered up by a cough. The scene ends with Erik saying Vote for Me to passers by.

 

 

END OF SCENE

 

SCENE TITLE: BANNANAS, BLACKBERRIES AND BEATS

 >> This scene was never written, but would have taken place at a local smoothie shop where Erik attempts to put up a campaign poster, resulting in an argument with the shopkeeper <<

SCENE TITLE: 11.6%

ANNOUNCER

Now turnout for this year’s student election was high people! 11.6% of the school turned out, so I think that deserves a thorough rantamaplause!

There’s faint applause, a few people mutter – an awkward silence as the announcer tries to hide away his embarrassment

ANNOUNCER

Yes, right, well. Now, without any further a due I can reveal how the voting for the 2011 Chalmers Technology School’s Student Union election went. Now let me tell you it was close between the top two. Olivia Wilde had 35% of the vote, but Erik Hassler has won with 42%. Congratulations

Everyone in the crowd looks shocked, Danielle drops her mobile in pure disbelief. Olivia walks of stage, shoving past Erik in the process. Erik smiles and is visibly jubilant.

 

CAMERAMAN

Why on earth would anyone vote for that a-hole?

People filter out of the area as Erik says thank you to the announcer and waves at his adoring crowd.

 

END OF SCENE

SCENE TITLE: A RATIONAL EXPLANATION

We move to a small room with the election box in it. A message comes up on the screen stating ‘1 hour before election results announced’. We see Erik with lots of small pieces of paper and mouthing out ‘Erik’ as he puts crosses in the boxes next to his name, as the audience finds out the results were rigged. He turns to the camera (which isn’t really there – not the doc crew).

ERIK

What? Everyone needs a plan B.

He smiles and continues to put crosses in the boxes

New Island Values: Attend Debate Society

Bonnie Greer at the UCLU Debating SocietyUniversity College London provides a brilliant debate series regularly focusing on political, social, and religious issues. The panellists themselves are usually recognisable too. Controversy magnet Katie Hopkins appeared back in February to argue that women were (paraphrasing here) stupid to think there was a glass ceiling, whilst the likes of Bonnie Greer and Chris Bryant MP have also made appearances this year.

So it was of no problem to add this to the New Island Values. It would serve to both enlighten my knowledge of certain subjects, whilst also helping refine my own debating style.

For one reason or another I never showed up. I’ll have more chances come this October, but by then I’m guaranteed a busier schedule. It would be a surprise if this particular objective will be achieved this year. Alas.

>> New Island Values

Feminism as a Dirty Word: Time to abandon the Political Extreme?

A rather interesting article crossed my path a while back. Kira Cochrane writes in The Guardian on the rise of Femen, a controversial feminist group adopting visual methods to condemn perceived female oppression in society. They confronted Silvio Berlusconi as he cast his vote in the Italian Elections last February – topless; chopped down a landmark wooden cross in Kiev to express support for Pussy Riot – topless; and protested outside the Vatican during Friday prayers in support of gay rights – topless. Sensing a theme here?

It got me thinking about the broader state of the feminist movement in the 21st century. Undoubtedly there has been true progress for women since the foundation of modern-day feminism, but is that really down to self-acclaimed feminists, or actually in spite of them?

How much does society change when a group of protesters exhibit their bare breasts in front of the world media? Intentions aside, the ensuing debate is inclined to focus on their tactics, rather than on what the tactics are meant to prompt. In fact, all it does is split the feminist movement ever greater – Femen coin their actions ‘Sextremism.’ 

Division would be the key word to associate with 21st century feminism. That’s not to say that Femen’s work is particularly wrong. It’s a ballsy experiment from a group of women who believe their cause has stagnated, and rightly so. Feminism is a dirty word within the mainstream. This is largely a result of failing to shake off an unflattering cliché.

Femen Protestors (Credit: Hillary, hellp!)

To find out why Feminism has stagnated as a cause I asked a middle-aged woman, 47, whether she would describe herself as a Feminist. The reaction was instantaneously a no. Yet she went on to list how patriarchy unfairly dominated society: the most passionate plea was how she is expected to take care of children to a larger extent than her partner even though they both work. Seemingly the eradication of these assumptions is exactly what the feminist movement is there to fight. So why not count herself as a feminist?

“The word has become associated too much with hard politics. It’s a political extreme to describe yourself as a feminist.”

On this point, I would urge Feminists to work harder in coordinating their efforts. This sort of political cohesiveness has worked for the global LGBT movement. Gay rights campaigners led efforts to educate people about AIDS in the 1980s, became increasingly active on promoting transgender issues during the 90s, and this century have led successful campaigns on intersectionality and same-sex marriage. Considering it took until 1990 for the World Health Organisation to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases, the LGBT movement has progressed supremely well in the 21st century.

I can only aim to address this subject from my (male) point-of-view. From that perspective, it seems clear that Feminism doesn’t have to be particularly radical in 2013 and beyond. Laws concerning gender are well in reach of equality in the western world. The biggest hurdle left is tackling outdated thought and assumptions. For this task, Feminism doesn’t have to be the domain of woman.

Society and politics need strong factional movements in order for the norms of community to be challenged. Feminism is vital to the health of our long-term political dial. At the moment, it seems that Feminism itself is on life support.

>> Kate Nash – ‘Rap for Rejection’