At different points in my life, I have been involved in what one might deem “the creative world”. I have been an actor, a writer, a film/TV director, the bass player in a country and western band, a lounge singer. Some of these came with payslips; several did not. However, when I look back at some of the projects that could have been made with my name attached and didn’t come off for whatever reason, I can only say now: whew. This is because many of them would have really, really sucked.
I forced myself to think back to some of the worst. Then I culled the really unmentionable ones and just left the really bad but in a funny way near misses. Enjoy:
- It’s a Long Way to Hell – The Musical
The plot of this never to be made “masterpiece”: Michael Jackson is called on to be the judge for the final round of a “world corporation of the century” competition. It’s a pretty big deal, as the winner gets a cheque for one trillion dollars (quite who or what would be bankrolling such a ludicrous offer, the musical never makes clear). There are two finalists when the whole thing starts: Tisroc, who in a lovely little song inform the King of Pop that “they make everything”. Their competition: Proto, whose day-to-day operations are a little hazy. Their CEO is a 30-stone woman who calls herself Jabba the Slut.
If you’re barfing already, then look away now: Jackson is approached at the first act turning point by his long lost, white half-brother, Bichael Backson (I swear, that’s the name in the script – I recall it clearly as that was the role I auditioned for). Backson needs a bone marrow transplant and has come begging, sparking off a moral dilemma for his newly found fraternal relationship, one that eventually leads to a “We Are the World” style number that may well be the worst song ever written. The musical ends with a 20-minute, song fuelled, pie throwing war. It never opened anywhere, which I’m sure will shock some of you.
- Untitled Afghanistan documentary
Basic premise: I wander around war-torn Afghanistan with two weird Americans who would constantly be making horrendous cultural blunders. Looking back, the one on this list I’m most pleased never came off, for obvious reasons.
- The Bad Guys of Baseball
One my Chicago Connection got me wrapped up with, this was a proposed feature length film which would have been about a bunch of baseball players who cause havoc by means of baseball related items. Think of a baseball that’s actually a bomb, a bat that you could kill someone with (although you can do that with a normal baseball bat anyhow, so that was a little unclear in the script). You don’t need to know anything about America’s favourite pastime to know this film would have sucked.
- Revolution in the Pudenda (working title)
My Chicago Connection and I were given peanuts to write a treatment about a fish out of water story in Central Europe. It involved a woman being killed by a disco record; a song called “Don’t Stop the Klezmer” becoming a massive dance hit across the continent; a female antagonist called “the Black Widow”; a family that lived off used motor oil. Surprisingly, the production company passed on what we gave them.
I bring all of these terrible would-be projects that thankfully never saw the light of day up for one particular reason: the next time something that you wanted to come off – a job, a relationship, a project – doesn’t, and you’re wallowing in your own misery about it, just think about being associated with “Don’t Stop the Klezmer” for the rest of your life, or being beheaded in Kandahar because some yokel from Iowa pissed all over Pashtunwali. You’ll feel better, promise. Often times things don’t happen for a very good reason.