My life’s always been a bit of a muddle for me. I never quite knew why, but things just started leaving from my life. Maybe I should start from the beginning. But be warned, it’s like nothing you will have heard about.
It was the last day of Summer term. My final day of year nine, and I was pretty excited about the Summer holidays, where I would start filming my first ever film, Wishing for Wishes, which I would hopefully finish then be able to hand in as a short film by the end of the Summer holidays.
I waved goodbye to my friend Melissa. Back in year 7, we used to be really close, but over the years, we’ve truly grown apart, and I don’t actually think she genuinely likes me very much. It makes me sad sometimes, if I think about how close we could have been, but in all honestly, it’s not really the world’s biggest loss as she’s not exactly the most loyal friend ever.
The most loyal friend ever is my best friend in our class, Tara. Where the girls in my class have either started smoking, (which, by the way, is so last year), smoking marijuana, (which is rather uncommon as it costs) sleeping with boys, (which is why that boy across the road is smiling so much) or become rebels (too complicated) there have only been two people who refuse to fall into this ploy- me and Tara. Tara is so amazing, she’s the most honest, dependable and completely unpretentious friend I could wish for. And me, well, I refuse to do it. I have absolutely zero intention of spending my pocket money on self-harming substances. No, give me a DVD any day.
As I thought about this, I avoided hugs from the girls surrounding me, who were only being nice because they heard about my film and wanted their chance to be in it.
I arrived on the set of filming in my smartest shirt. Our first five scenes were to be filmed in the park. Something interesting about this project was that there were only two people in the film- me, and a quite famous boy who actually had absolutely talent, Rupert Shed. Why did I employ this young thesp, then, I hear you ask. Well, the answer is simple. I’m but an amateur actress, I will look far better on screen if I’m acting alongside somebody talentless.
Tara arrived three minutes after I got there. She was going to be behind the camera, zooming in, zooming out, and making Rupert and I look every bit as good as we deserved. And that was it. Three people working on a forty minute feature. As I said, interesting.
Filming went very well. Rupert was as wooden as expected, and did actually make my acting look excellent. (I’ve never been very modest). He was, however, very efficient with learning all his lines; not rude at all about the low budget; and had even brought in some catering in the form of fruit salad, which was extremely thoughtful, as the sun was shining brightly and there was no way we could have eaten something sticky or dry.
In our first day we had over four hours of film, of which five minutes I would actually use. Sounds wasteful, maybe, but compare that to the amount of time and money Hollywood spends on their big budget glitches which doesn’t even sell anymore.
When I got home I went up to my room, opened the windows, took an ice drink out of my mini fridge and turned on my T.V. I put inside the DVD player the DVD of Far From Heaven, my sixth favourite film of all time. I leaned back in my chair, sipping at my drink and admiring this excellent cinematic achievement. Summer holidays were bliss.
After nearly two hours, it finished, and I found myself crying at the ending scene as I always had. Just then the front door opened, and I slouched outside to see who it was. It was my mum, carrying bags of shopping. She stared at my tears, alarmed.
“Angeline, are you okay?” she inquired.
I quickly wiped my eyes. “I’m fine,” I replied honestly. “I just watched a sad film.”
My mother’s worry immediately disappeared. “Oh, films,” she muttered coldly.
I really didn’t like the way she said that, but I was used to it by now. Neither of my parents were very supportive of my obsession with films. They wanted me to grow up and have a boring job, something that involved Maths, no doubt. Neither of them actually knew about my exact details of my summer film project, they just cared about my schoolwork.
“If you have time to watch a film, Angeline, surely you have time to do your extra Maths and practice the violin?” my mother asked me, right on cue. I rolled my eyes.
“Okay, I’ll go practice my violin now, mummy,” I replied, sickly sweet. My mother was surprised at my non-existent argument towards being asked to work. Well, this Summer, I planned on being on my parents’ good side. So I didn’t argue.
Instead, I went up to my room, turned on the CD player to play a violin compilation, and turned it up full blast, to make it sound like I was actually practising the violin. Then drank another beverage was I read up about special effects in films.
As I lay in bed that night, I wondered if I was normal for a teenager. While most of the others were either addicts of some kind or self-loathing, I was busy writing screenplays and making short films with utterly no other thoughts or aims. My life compared to theirs was far more satisfying, but I felt like something was missing. I just wished what that was.
I never made that wish aloud. But the next day, I started learning what it was.
It was about one o clock in the afternoon, and absolutely sweltering hot. I had brought ice creams for Rupert, Tara and I, and we laid back in the grass enjoying the soft cool feeling of the cream on our tongues. (Wasn’t I just born to be a writer?)
As we lazed there, one of the girls in my class, Rose Rodway approached us. A little bit of background on Rose, her ambition is to be an actress, and someone, maybe her drama teacher or her ego, has convinced her that she’s good. She was the first person to start sucking up to me when I announced to the class that I was actually putting together a film, although before that she had treated me like an alien. Shows how low humans will go, eh?
Anyway, she was accompanied by this heavily built, somewhat scary looking boy, several years older than me. They walked right up to us and sat on our grass, completely uninvited.
“Hi!” Rose said chirpily, as if we were the best friends ever. I sat up, and started gathering all my filming equipment, worried that they would steal it or something.
“Hello” Tara responded coldly. Rupert just stared.
Rose turned to me. “Do you think I’m a good actress?” she asked.
I really had no idea how to answer a question like that. In all fairness, I suppose she was an adequate actress, nowhere near the greatness of the likes of Meryl Streep or Dustin Hoffman. She did have some charisma, but from what I had seen in drama lessons, she overacted far too much. Even more than Rupert. I smiled politely.
“Oh, I couldn’t say… do you think you’re a good actress?”
Rose’s ego’s was so large that she didn’t even recognise my sarcasm. “Yes, I think I’m excellent,” she replied, staring me straight in the eye.
I fought back laughter. Maybe it was the sun, but I was also sweating a bit too much. Or maybe I was just that tiny bit intimidated by this girl, who was, ironically, thirty centimetres shorter than me.
“So I really do think I would do good in your film,” she told me earnestly, as if it was her film to tell.
Neither me, Tara, or Rupert said anything. I shrugged. “We only need two people,” I said, trying to sound apologetic, although I just wanted Rose to leave.
The chunky boy who hadn’t spoken so far put in his five pence worth. “Let her in your film or die,” he snarled.
Needless to say, I was thrown aback by that comment. I just looked at him, thinking about in Punch-Drunk Love, my seventh favourite film of all time, when Adam Sandler was being threatened by a random man who threatened to kill him.
“I will triumph over you and beat you up with a crowbar,” I told him blankly. I was thinking about the scene in the film.
“What?” Rose and her fat friend asked simultaneously.
“In the film… the guy was threatened… but he got his own back,” I told them. The two looked at each other, confused. I suppose people like themselves didn’t have time to watch films, only threaten rising film producers like myself.
Rose looked me up and down. “What a loser,” she declared, and stormed off with that boy.
Tara defended me by sticking her middle finger at the two people, and Rupert just kept staring at me. Finally I got just a bit annoyed with his staring. “What?” I demanded.
“You just received a potentially dangerous threat from two freaks,” he told me. “And you just started talking to them about films. Why?”
I shrugged my famous shrug. “She really like films,” Tara informed Rupert.
“Yeah, I knew that!” Rupert said. “But… Angeline, do you have any grasp of reality?”
I nodded. Of course I was.
Rupert doubted that, I could tell. “Right,” he said, raising his eyebrows. “Can I just test that?”
“Go on then,” I said, shrugging.
“I’m going to say a word, you say the first word you think of when I say that word, okay?”
We did it, and Rupert was right- I had no grasp of reality. Every word he said made me think of a film, or a film star, or a director, or something associating with films. I had never noticed it before, but now that I had, I realised it was worrying.
That was what my empty feeling inside was. I couldn’t tell what was fake from real life, all I had knowledge of was films, films, films. I was obsessed.
As I sat there, trying to complete my Spanish homework, I remembered how I used to judge teachers on whether or not they knew anything about films. I remembered all my teachers scoring pretty badly, especially my French teacher, who confused Kill Bill: Vol. 1 with Cold Mountain. Now, I’m not being nitpicky, but you agree that’s a pretty stupid mistake right?
I also remembered how I would only go to birthday parties where we were going to the cinema, and how I missed important invites if I was in the middle of a good film; how the only books I read were film adaptations, etc.
As I thought about all of this, I smiled bitterly. No wonder I was no longer close friends with Melissa, no wonder my parents favoured my brother over me, no wonder everybody I came across would avoid speaking to me.
The whole situation was making me feel sorry for myself. Tears spilled out of my eyes. I wished that I wasn’t so obsessed with films. I wished I was still friends with Melissa. I wished my parents could be proud of me again. I wished the girls in my class would go back to ignoring me. I wished so many things. I wished things would change.
Four years later…
“…Surprisingly, I’ve never actually wished for any kind of wishes. Although, as I’ve just told you, I have wished for all sorts of other ridiculous things. Anyway, I think I’ve been talking for long enough, I’d better step off the stage now. Um… just one more word. I’d like to thank the only two people who have ever really been there to help me. My best friends in the whole wide world- Rupert and Tara. You two rock!”
And with that, Angeline Yu, Oscar winner of Best Director for Wishing for Wishes, walked off the stage. Everyone present at the Oscars clapped politely. Though it was the longest Oscar acceptance speech in history, it was also one of the most interesting, and by far the most well deserved win.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Wishing for Wishes
A ficlet I write when I was 13. It’s terrible, utterly terrible. But good for a lol.