When I visit schools to talk about my books, I usually give a quick version of my long and winding path to this job I have now. The part students seem most interested in is the time, in the mid-1990s, when my brother Ari and I lived together in Austin, Texas, and attempted to become famous filmmakers.
We’d grown up writing stories and making videos together – yes on actual video tapes. After Ari finished college (I’m about three years older) we decided it was time to pursue our dream. We moved to Austin, took a few classes and worked on some friends’ projects, and then decided we knew enough, it was time to make our own movie.
It was a political comedy called A More Perfect Union. The basic plot: four young guys decide to drop out of the United States and form their own independent nation in their rented house. That’s supposed to be funny.
Ari and I were sure the movie was going to make us rich and famous. So sure that when we ran out of money (which happens quickly when you don’t have that much cash to begin with) we started taking out credit cards. Why worry about debt or interest rates? We were going to make millions!
The movie opened at South by Southwest Film Festival. It got some decent reviews, and a couple awful ones. It didn’t make us rich and famous. We wound up with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. My brother decided to go to grad school, and I moved to New York and found a job writing for a textbook company. And that, in a weird way, led to my current job, because I could never get any good stories into textbooks, so I decided to write my own books.
Anyway, when I tell all this at school visits, I always get a lot of questions about the movie. Mostly, “Where can we see it?” Everything’s on the Internet these days, right? Well, not quite. Until recently, I hadn’t even looked at our movie for years. I guess I saw it as kind of a failure and didn’t want to think about it.
But students kept asking about, asking to see it, so I figured I’d dig it out. It’s better than I remembered! I may end up throwing the whole thing up on Youtube, but for now I’ve made this short trailer. I showed it at a school in Connecticut the other day, and the reception was great.
So here’s a trailer for a movie that came out almost twenty years ago…