"Heaven Sucks!" premiered at The Wichita Center for the Arts on July 9, 1999, as part of a program of local shorts called "Heaven Sucks! (Plus)". Works by Leif Jonker, Mike Adams, Jamison Rhoads, C. Nicholas Johnson, and Cameron Pierron were also featured in the prgram which pulled in over 200 people in its opening weekend.
"Heaven Sucks!" made its internet premiere at IFILM.com on March 31, 2000.
the complete cast and crew here.
so does Jason
I think it was November of 1998 when Jason called me. Not the first
time Jason had called me, but this particular call is where this story
I got off work at 11:00 PM. Jason had left the Holyoke house when the
lease was up, and was now living at his dads house for a little
while to save money. His room was freezing. They keep the heat set low.
I think they wear heavy blankets around the house to keep warm. They
call it thrifty; I call it cheap. Me, shivering
in my coat, and Jason sitting on his bed, shrouded in his comforter--we
hadnt gotten into it yet, but I could feel it. Jason was jonesin,
and he needed his next movie-making fix.
He barely had an Idea about what he wanted to do. Usually Jason comes to me with at least the first draft of a script, but not this time.
want to do something kind of crazy, with heavy visuals." Jason
any Ideas?" says me.
really." he says, "I was sort of hoping you could help me
come up with something, you know, really showcase your abilities."
I guess Jason thought flattery would help. It doesnt hurt. But
shooting and editing is a big enough time commitment, and now he wants
to involve me in the development?
for a short, I dont think Im up for a feature yet."
yeah, thats what I was thinking. May be five or ten minutes. Short,
and with a lot of impact."
threw ideas back and forth for about an hour, and by the end of the
meeting had come with some crazy shit that we were convinced was short
film gold. Roughly, it was about a businessman on his lunch hour and
a vagrant who took a on some kind of psychedelic, inter-dimensional,
drugged out mind trip. There were rainbows and floated disembodied heads
and melting skin. It was kind of like Pink Floyd meets Tele-Tubbies
meets the Wizard of Oz. The details needed to be worked out but the
basic idea was there. IT WAS
SUCKS!" I called Jason at work.
We decide to meet back up again in a week. In the meantime, we were to come up with some other ideas, or find a way to make this one work. A week passed, and nothing. Uninspired, I was ready to tell Jason to that I was bowing out of this project.
I had had an idea. Initially, it had nothing to do with our previous
idea. I was in my car, on my way to work. I think the catchy but slightly
irritating alt-pop Joan Osborne song "What If God Was
One of Us?" was on the radio. Joans sugaring-rhetorical question
got me thinking.
me says to me. "What if God WERE one us? Just a slob like some
intriguing proposition. What IF? What if God was just a regular guy.
Maybe hes a general contractor, and the earth and the universe
were just a job he was hired to do. What if you died and went to heaven,
and found out that you were no better off than you were when you were
living. Got to get a job, got to pay rent, pay bills, buy groceries,
stand in line at the bank.
I like it! The next morning, I still like it. Jason likes it too. We must be on to something. I squeeze the idea into a rough semblance of our original Willie-Wonka skeleton, keeping the bum, the businessman, and the lunch hour. I flesh out the plot points and Jason puts it to paper. By the time the script is finished our five to ten minute short has become a thirty-eight page screenplay. About 28 to 33 pages to long! Screw it, Im already too invested in this project to pull out now.
And I must say, its quite a brilliant premise.