Social networking has evolved so much in the past decade. Think about it: just ten years ago, blogging was a new concept. Then myspace begat facebook begat twitter, and now everyone’s business is all over the internet for everyone to see. Some people claim that social networking is making this generation anti-social, as they spend most of their time communicating virtually instead of in reality. Such is the plague of Josh, the anti-hero of indie filmmaker David Smith’s new film Escribitionist.
Josh Thomason (Greg Kiser) is addicted to his blog. He goes to college, works a part-time job at an after school program, has no friends, can’t pay his rent, and yet blogs about everything that goes on in his life. One evening, he blogs about a funny comment made by one of his after school kids, which is read by the kid’s older sister Claire (Erin Deegan), who then tells her mom. Josh is ultimately fired from his job for breach of confidentiality. He doesn’t really understand this, since everyone knows that he blogs about everything.
Claire comes to Josh, apologizing for getting him fired, and confesses that she’s been reading his blog for a long time. In a way unbeknownst to Josh, she finds him fascinating. Claire ends up helping Josh find a job, and slowly becomes his girlfriend, as she shows him life outside his computer. Even with a godsend of a woman coming into the life of an overweight blog addicted man, Josh still can’t seem to break his habit and blogs about even the most private of things that happen with Claire.
David Smith, who wrote and directed, handles this subject matter seriously but with a great sense of humor and lots of heart. This film is reminiscent of Clerks (by Kevin Smith, no relation) back in the early ’90s. It spoke to a generation of slackers and angry twenty somethings who weren’t sure what they wanted to do with their lives. Clerks also provided witty dialogue (that is often quoted even now, almost twenty years later) and incredibly memorable supporting characters.
Escribitionist is the same. Josh and Claire have an awkward, hesitant relationship that everyone can relate to; he’s an everyman who isn’t particularly attractive, and she could easily be the girl next door. The voiceover provided by Josh is essential to the film, as we hear his blog entries out loud. They’re quite funny too, it’s easy to see how Claire could be attracted to his internet persona. What makes this film stand out for me is the supporting characters. There are recurring commercials that shows on TV for Peraldo Family Carpets (starring Alexis Smith, David Smith’s wife) that are absolutely hilarious. And the little girl who makes the funny comment in the after school program? She nearly steals the whole movie. Watch for a crazy lady at the lake too, who feeds her ducks gourmet sandwiches.
Does anyone really care what you’re doing every moment of the day? Probably not, but it’s something that millions of people struggle with. Escribitionist is really an honest look at a very real addiction that many people have, and it is a very true example of today’s culture. The script is laugh out loud funny, and the situations are relatable. Being an independent film, the production quality isn’t all that great, but finding an filmmaker with this much talent is always an exciting thing.
As stated before, the film isn’t the best quality. It looks like an indie film, but at least it doesn’t look like it was shot on home video. No “shaky cam” here. The audio quality is what was the most frustrating. There’s a lot of background noise, especially in the car scenes and restaurant scenes, and the volume is sporadic.
The Music of Escribitionist – This feature plays parts of the folk-y score with scenes from the movie. I’d like to see some info about the composer. Who is she? Where can I find her stuff? Is she on tour? We need deets! (7:42)
Roger Bucket’s Truck Powerpoint – This is from a scene in the movie, where students in Josh’s class give Powerpoint presentations. Roger Bucket’s is pretty entertaining. In this featurette, the actor does his presentation about 5 or 6 times, ad-libbing differently each time. He’s a pretty gifted guy and this stuff is really funny, but it gets a little old. (7:52)
Outtakes - More than just outtakes, there’s also plenty of extended scenes and ad lib. It’s funny but very very long. (13:06)
Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams – This must have been an inside joke on set. It really doesn’t have anything to do with the movie, but it’s still pretty funny. It’s short enough to be worth a watch. (0:53)
Peraldo’s Family Carpets – This comes up on the DVD menu as a folder, and if you click on it, you can view commercials for St Patrick’s Day, President’s Day, and Martin Luther King Day. There’s also something in this folder called “Boring Stuff”. If you click on it, you’ll get to view the porno that Josh watches at the beginning of the film.
Escribitionist is a very well done independent film, with plenty of silliness and hilarity, along with some spot on social commentary. David Smith has crafted an entertaining script and memorable characters. This is definitely an indie worth seeking out. David Smith is a West Virginia filmmaker and the film is making its rounds with premieres. Like the page on facebook to keep up with the premiere schedule.
Apartment 2B Productions presents Escribitionist. Directed by: David Smith. Starring: Greg Kiser, Erin Deegan. Written by: David Smtih. Running time: 80 minutes. Rating: NR. Released on DVD: TBA. For more information visit Apartment 2B Productions.