Everybody's Gotta Die!!!
2000, 24 minutes
Black Comedy, Sci Fi Drama
Hi kids, Mike here with a little history of my first directing gig.
“You know, you should really try to make one of these”, that’s what filmmaker, Ross Bigley told me during the editing process of the soon to be cult classic film, THE DIRTY JOB. Sure, I knew I was a superior producer and editor, but could write and direct one of these things?
“Yeah I’ll do it, but I want to make it a comedy.”
“What do you mean "make it a comedy, The Dirty Job is a comedy.”
“No, I want to make MOONLIGHTING.”
You see, I love Moonlighting. When people talk about the great shows of the 80’s Moonlighting is rarely mentioned, but no show has influenced me more. Sure it ended badly , and it’s legendary production problems will always overshadow it, but those first two years were classic. Most importantly, it introduced me to one of the great couples on TV -- Maddie Hayes and David Addison (Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis).
That show, and the Gregory McDonald FLETCH novels taught me that nothing beats great dialogue. Dialogue and chemistry was what I was going to introduce to this franchise. I was going to match Michelle with her male counterpart and watch the sparks fly.
I knew I wanted Michelle and her smart ass partner to go up against the villainous Ralphie Kleinman. Why Ralphie you ask, well I got such a kick out of the big credit he got in the 1st Dirty Job, “and Marshall Mahoney as Ralphie Kleinman”.
Sure he got killed a couple minutes into it, and was never actually called by name in the film but still . . . I just loved it. I don’t think Ross, and most people for that matter, ever thought it was as funny as I did, but it always made me laugh.
So what did I have? A strong female lead, a undefined partner, a dead villain, and no story.
I’m pretty sure CITIZEN KANE started this way.
Confident first time director
Anyhow during this time Ross came up with his own idea, THE DIRTY JOB 2: DEAD AS I WANNA BE. It was an ambitious sequel that brought back Michelle to finish the job she started in part one. The events of this film leave her a changed character and gave me the idea for the next story.
It’s six months later, and we find a very different looking Michelle. She is still haunted by the events of DJ2 and is obviously re-thinking her position with the Agency. So much so that she beings negotiations with Chuckie Kleinman about changing sides and setting up a new alliance. Now all I had to do was make it funny.
Enter Joe Nasa.
The Agency gets wind of this and calls in the Las Vegas hotshot , and nephew of their mysterious leader Mr. Jones, to handle the problem. He is to eliminate Michelle before she can betray them, and also turn over a mysterious religious artifact, the Nazarene Cross.
Betrayal, action, comedy, and a hot chick with a gun. What more could you want?
Naomi agreed to return as Michelle sans the black wig. Mike Weber, Leon from the previous episodes would be Nasa, John Van Slyke and Kid Beat Box rounded out the main characters, so with a script in hand we proceeded to make the next installment.
Filming began in December of 1999 and finished in late spring of 2000. An erratic shooting schedule and the availability of actors, who were donating their time, led to a longer than usual shoot.
Eventually with the completed footage in hand, Ross and I entered the editing room to put together what I was convinced was the greatest Dirty Job of them all . . . EVERYBODY’S GOTTA DIE!
Unfortunately that’s were the real problems began.
Viewing the completed rough footage was heartbreaking. Several scenes didn’t turn out -- too much background noise and an occasional off performances ruined takes, and even the genius director forgot to shoot some lines. This left the film incomplete and unable to show in it’s intended form. I immediately headed to the nearest window ledge.
Now what do I do? What would Orson Welles do? Spielberg? Scorsese? I know, I know, they’d reshoot. They have power, money, and influence. I had none of those things. Reshoots were not possible, even today it’s not possible is it Ross?
You see I never directed before. Not only that but I was also trying to juggle my other production duties as well. I probably should have concentrated on one job at a time. That will come in handy next time.
Unfortunately I had to deliver a film now, or there wouldn’t be a next time.
Eventually Ross was able to talk me in off the ledge and we got to work on making something out of this mess. The amount of unusable and missing footage made telling this story in a traditional sense impossible, that is if I wanted it to make sense. I had no choice but to improvise . . . and pull out my copies of PULP FICTION & OUT OF SIGHT. Time was running out and I needed a quick lesson in creative storytelling.
Ross and I juggled the story a little bit and the continuity jumps around. The end result is probably a creatively interesting film instead of what I had wrote and shot. What was originally intended to be a sixty minute film was now cut almost in half. It was not the film I intended to make but it was complete and as viewable as we could make it.
EVERYBODY’S GOTTA DIE! premiered on MATA television shortly after that and received mostly positive responses. I had survived my first writing and directing experience. I bet you’re wondering what I thought of the final film?
I hated it. I hated it with the passion of a thousand red hot suns. It wasn’t the movie I wrote or imagined. The writer (me) thought the director (me again) was a complete moron. Where was my MOONLIGHTING episode? What’s this jumping around crap? I KNOW IT WAS A LOT FUNNIER THAN THIS!
Anyhow time passed, we went on to shoot SLACKTIME and WHAT WE LEARN, two films that I’m proud to have been involved with. Ross decided DJ3: EVERYBODY’S GOTTA DIE no longer fit into his vision of Michelle, and became unofficially “The Lost Dirty Job” film. He is now working on some new sequels as well as a comic based on the series.
Recently I viewed it again, expecting my anger to flow again. Instead with a little distance I see it with a different perspective. It’s my movie, not the movie I intended, but it's my movie. The good and the bad. It will always be my first born. Actually it's probably the way my father looks at me. Disappointment . . . but it still has it’s moments.
Now if I could only talk Ross into a remake. This time --
ROSS: Let it go Mike.
All right, all right.
I just like to thank Ross, Naomi, Mike, John, Kid, Becca, and the rest of the cast. You all did a great job. Next time it will be a classic.
Written, produced, directed by:
Produced and photographed by:
Ross Bigley and Mike Pinkepank
Joe Nasa, Michael Weber
Michelle, Naomi Leonard
Chuckie Kleinman, John Van Slyke
The Shadow, Kid Beat Box
The Cretin, Donell Jackson
The Ex Partner, Rebecca Konzal
Thug, Dave Rogman
Special Thanks to
Angie & Arron at RORY’S CAFE
Matt at BREWED AWAKENINGS