Thursday, November 24, 2011
How I, Jason Soto, Could've Stopped Shia LaBeouf From Happening
I can't think of a better time than Thanksgiving to tell this story. It's an interesting story and after thinking about it a few weeks ago, I came to a horrible realization:
If things would've went better for me, Shia LaBeouf wouldn't have had a career. That's a bold statement, sure. And looking at his IMDb, I doubt little ol' ME would've actually have stopped him, but it's fun to think that if the events in the story I'm about to tell you played differently, some other guy (maybe me?) would've been making out with Megan Fox in two horrible Michael Bay movies.
Ok. The year is 2000. I was unemployed at the time and I was living with my dad and grandmother. It wasn't really a high point in my life but hey, I was still alive and I had a roof over my head. I couldn't complain. I was a budding screenwriter, just writing scripts left and right. My ex-girlfriend, who I talked to on occasion, told me about this awesome contest she heard involving screenwriters. You submit your script and if it wins, it gets made into a movie.
This contest was called "Project Greenlight".
I don't know if anybody remembers "Project Greenlight" but basically Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and some other guy started it, opened it to the public and fronted the money to make this movie. The instant I heard about this, I said "Fuck yeah I'm in!"
After carefully selecting which script I wanted to submit, I went with a comedy I wrote called "The Adventures of A Loser". It's the touching tale of a high school reject who goes on his first date with a girl, who only used him to help get money she owed to some dangerous drug dealers. I still think it's a cool little script I wrote.
So here's how this process works. You sign up on their website and they give you a little account and space. You upload your script to this space. This was 2000, and I was still using dial up. So this process took a few hours. After it was uploaded, I had to wait.
The next step then was on a certain date, they were gonna place three other scripts into your account. They were randomly selected and I had to read them, take this stupid test to prove I read it, and send it back with my thoughts.
So to clarify this step, all of us people in this contest got to read other people's scripts and had to say if they thought it was good or not. If you think the trolls of 2011 were bad...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I barely remember the three scripts I had to read. I remember one was a straight up comedy about some guy pretending to be a therapist to get back at an ex-girlfriend and he used the office of some lawyer and things get mixed up or something. The other was some action film about a homeless guy. I promise it wasn't "Hobo With A Shotgun". I liked both of those scripts.
Then I got the third one. Take David Lynch's worst movie, give it to Hunter S. Thompson, and then have Salavor Dali throw up on it for good measure and you got this movie. I had NO FUCKING idea what was going on in this script. Some guy went into a basement, got turned into a woman, who was alive in the 1950's, there's some party going on, some ice cube trays start talking. It was....a fucking mess. And I said so. I think I even failed the little test cause I didn't understand fucking anything.
Ok so, I finish all three scripts, send in my recommendations and then we had to wait again. Now comes the fun part. The feedback from the people that read my script. I guess how it worked was each script was sent to 10 different people so a wide array of people would read and judge it. Meaning 9 other people read that third script I read and said "WTF was that?!"
Anyway, all 10 people send in their feedback and recommendations for my script. To put it in a nice way...they were less than nice.
Needless to say,I didn't make it to the "second round". Yeah, there's "rounds" to this thing. The semi-final round was Afflect, Damon, and that other guy actually read the script and pick a winner. I think if they read my script, I would have a shot cause I know they have a great sense of humor. A bunch of starving screenwriters don't.
Ok so what kind of feedback did I get? I don't remember exactly what they said. I know someone said it was the "worst thing they ever read" and "the screenwriter has some maturing to do" and something about "this isn't even a REAL script. FAIL!" Something to that effect.
Yadda yadda yadda I have self esteem issues.
Anyway, the winner of the year I partook in this ended up being some movie that starred a unknown guy named Shia LaBeouf. I'll tell you now if I won, he wouldn't be in my movie. I was picturing the "Dude, you got a Dell" guy.
Yeah, it was a sign of the times.