Over the weekend, I revamped my YouTube channel and uploaded a bunch of videos, including my 1998 short film God, starring a young Melissa McCarthy:
Melissa’s amazing, and always was. I’ve loved watching someone so talented and so deserving become a star.
We shot this film after Go, but it was actually finished first.
I wrote the part for Melissa, who absolutely killed her single scene in Go. Over the next few years, I’d cast her in anything I could. She played a recurring character in my WB series D.C., and had cameos in both Charlie’s Angels. I wrote a part for her in Big Fish, but her role on Gilmore Girls kept her in Los Angeles.
Nine years later, Melissa would play her character from God again in The Nines opposite Ryan Reynolds. Her husband Ben Falcone has a small part in the movie as well, and starred in another pilot I did called The Remnants.
God was shot on leftover 35mm from Go, using a lot of the same crew. That’s my old apartment, my old couch, my old answering machine.
I had no particular career goal in making it; it just seemed like fun. We never submitted it to festivals. Rather, it got passed around a lot on VHS, and would often be brought up in meetings. (Casting directors in particular loved it.)
Although I had already directed second unit on Go, this was my first real directing experience beyond crappy Super-8 films in school. I learned a lot, including:
- Using metaphors to explain what you want. I told my DP that I wanted the light to feel like a breath mint. I told the hair stylist that I wanted Hot-Topic Wiccan.
- The challenges of late-90s opticals. That “god” title in the opening shot, which would be three seconds of work today, took about a week of back-and-forth approvals at a lab.
- How expensive music is. The rights to “Walking on Sunshine” cost more than the rest of the budget combined.
- How much of a homebody I am. God started a trend of my writing movies that take place in my house.
Some of the best things that came from this short were relationships with people I keep working with: Melissa, producer Dan Etheridge, composer Alex Wurman, cinematographer Giovanni Lampassi, and editor Doug Crise. They’re all still part of my life and career, which is a remarkable gift.