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Now, the independent filmmaker (Indie) only needs to capture and record one line of dialogue this morning and then the gorilla-crew of friends (The Gorilla Four) can move onto the next scene before one of the four has to leave for errands (which include a haircut and buying his abuela her favorite American candy) before flying off on a plane this afternoon. The actor (friend) will return with longer hair, a tan, and probably reach an inch taller. (The family vacation is just under two weeks, but these changes will certainly occur.)

Anything that can go wrong on a film set does, and it is no different for these juniors in high school.

The line is simple, says Indie. Hell if I know. Say it with the same pizzazz. Like before.

As long as she doesn’t laugh this time.

I’m sorry.

Focus. Hell if I know.


Don’t start laughing.

I’m not trying to.



Camera, sound –

You’re the camera. Why do you call camera?

I’m also the director. So I say it and do it all.

Big deal.

Stay in character. After you mark it. Mark it.

I still don’t know what that means?

He doesn’t even have a marker or know what to mark what with.

And action.

Hell if –

What’s that?

Oh, the church bells. I knew they’d be going this morning.

Why are we shooting, then?

I have to leave!

He has to leave! Not yet, though, right?

No, but that’s why –

That’s why! Shut up.

Why aren’t the bells stopping?

What time is it?


There will be twelve dongs then. Stop laughing.

We’re not shooting yet.

Oh, I have sound going.

Cut it. I only have so much room.

Why don’t you record it digitally?

I am. But the recorder’s messed up.

Use the camera on the phone.

No, that’s maxed out, too.

How are you the director? You don’t know what you’re doing.

All we need to do is get this one part. Why aren’t they stopping?

Probably going until it reaches twelve.

That’s a lot of dongs.

Twelve? I have to go sooner than I thought, then.


I thought it was eleven.

Because you took so long finding the stupid sound recorder. Why don’t you just use the camera like she said?

I said I can’t! It’s all glitchy.

That was eleven.

Okay. Camera.

That’s you.

Shut up. Sound. Action – What the hell?!

Why are they still going?

Maybe it does twelve twice?

I’m really having to go.

To the bathroom?

No. On a plane!

They have bathrooms on planes.

They’ve stopped. Hurry up.

Three chimes only?

Who cares? Action.

To Hell with it.

That’s not the line.

Oh –

Why are the bells going again?

I don’t know. Should I cut sound?

Yes, what are you – yes!

They donged three times before. Maybe it’ll be another three.


Stop laughing.

We’re not shooting.




What if it continues?

The donging?

Stop laughing!

Just – Action!

Hell –


I told you. Three times and then a pause.

I have to leave.

Not yet.


Okay, let’s shoot during the pause.


Everyone ready?

Should I roll sound?

What? Yes! Action!

Sound rolling.

Shut up!

I’m sorry, I’m not ready.

I was going to laugh anyway.

CUT! Cut sound!

The dongs are at it again.

Three at a time?

Stop. Let’s just stop. Hold on. Okay. Is sound rolling?

No. Should it be?

No. Okay. Good. There’s three. And the pause. Okay. The bells are done.

No more dongs.

Now, let’s get this – why is my camera still rolling?


It doesn’t matter. Action!

Hell if –

Oh my god! CUT!

They’re playing a song now?

Forget it. I quit. This isn’t worth it. Forget the line. Forget the next scene. Forget it.

Indie packed his gear and the gear he’d handed out to The Gorilla Four. He decided to return to his guitar and play at the corner farmer’s market on Easter Sunday. You may see what’s coming, but Indie did not. He played one song before the bells of a different church chimed song after song for a half an hour until he packed up his gear (guitar, chair, and guitar case for tips) in defeat and left the scene. He returned to his pad and pen to write a story about a film crew who attempts to shoot a scene inside a church. After they light an excessive amount of candles in the back corner, a member of the sound department accidentally pulls and lifts the bottom of a drape with his microphone boom pole. The golden tassels get a single flame’s attention. The rest of the candles join with their fiery crowns, battling to rule. The church burns to the ground. When the news crew asks the director what happened, he says:

Hell if I know.

Indie’s computer freezes and he loses the entire story.

Dan Jones

Author Dan Jones

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