Video: Trootcottoun

Movie poster for Trootcottoun
Movie poster for Trootcottoun

In the summer of 2002, I made a short film!  I wrote it and directed it (and Rian Bosak shot pretty much all the tricky bits as my DP!), and edited it all in about… 3 weeks? 4 weeks?  Something like that.  It wasn’t very long, anyway.

It’s a fake documentary about a small fishing town in the UK.  I used to have a DVD that I was selling of it, but let’s just share it all up here!  So, beneath the cut, here’s the complete short.  It’s about 20 minutes long.  Little shorter.  YAAAAY!  Later, I’ll also post the commentary version.  And if you want to read along, or read instead, the script is also included!


“Trootcottoun”

 

 

(Black.   Opening credits come up)

 

(Ext. Shot: Trootcottoun.  At first glance should look reasonably real, but on closer inspection, it should be a lame recreation from model train houses and trees.  While the NARRATOR speaks, the camera will swerve through the town, ultimately reaching going up to the sky )

 

 

NARRATOR (V.O.)

Trootcottoun is just your everyday small town.  People go to work, people play, people work, people love.  But take a closer look.  There’s something much more going on here.  I’m Douglas J. Unmediated, and join me as we look at Trootcottoun.

(The sky dissolves to map of UK.  Zoom in on Trootcottoun on the map [location of London, actually].  The title “Trootcottoun” fills the middle of the screen, showing the title)

NARRATOR (VO)

Trootcottoun started out as your average small town.  A loosely collected group of trout fisherman living in a house.  Soon, it grew.  From one house, to two houses, to five, and soon to even more than that.  Of course, back then, it wasn’t called Trootcottoun.  Back then, it was Trout-Town.

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR being interviewed, in a black box studio)

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

(CG: Suzie Goodeyear/Trootcottoun Councilwoman)

Oh, we’ve got a great history.  In fact, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Christopher Goodeyear, was one of the original inhabitants of the original house.  We have some of his letters, and they’re on reserve at the Town Hall, for anyone who wants to view them and learn about our town’s wonderful history.

(Cut to handwritten letter. VO reads along with it, like in the Ken Burns documentaries)

 

CHRISTOPHER GOODEYEAR(VO)

I think I am very close to being found out.  There have been words about noises coming from under the floorboards, and they are beginning to notice food having gone missing.  I am actually somewhat relieved, however, because I am sick of stealing fish.  That is all they ever eat.  Fish, fish, fish.  I know they are trout fishermen, but you would think they would grow some vegetables or cows or pigs.  How do these people survive?  I cannot take it anymore.  I have to leave.

NARRATOR (VO)

But, of course, Christopher Goodeyear never did leave, opting instead to kill the other inhabitants of the house and become the first mayor of Trout-Town.

 

(Close-up on a second, much nicer looking letter. Camera follows along again, only just down the page)

 

CHRISTOPHER GOODEYEAR(VO)

It is hereby decreed that I, Christopher Goodeyear, will go down as the first mayor of Trout-Town, and that the unpleasantness will be referred to by none.  If such unpleasantness is referred to by name, it shall be punishable by death.   It is hereby decreed that with the money obtained during the unpleasantness, we shall buy residents from nearby towns to populate Trout-Town.  It is hereby decreed that we shall use any extra money to buy seeds for with to grow vegetables.  It is hereby decreed also that we may purchase some livestock.  It is hereby decreed that no longer shall residents of Trout-Town eat nothing but fish, but other foods as well.  To signify the change, Trout-Town’s name shall be changed to the more descriptive name of Trout-And-Other-Food-As-Well-Town.  So it is written, so it shall become law.

 

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR)

 

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

The name change didn’t last for long, and after 3 months of being called Trout-And-Other-Food-As-Well-Town, the citizens voted to change the name to Trootcottoun, in an attempt to condense the name by request of the burgeoning map industry.  It was also seen as a much more dignified name.

 

(Cut to letter, much like the first.  Instead of following along as it’s read, the camera has the entire letter in shot, and pans to the left, much like the second letter, just horizontal)

 

CHRISTOPHER GOODEYEAR(VO)

What an incredibly stupid name they want to change Trout-And-Other-Food-As-Well-Town to — Trootcottoun.  I will do it, however.  I may as well attempt make them happy, and after a few months of having the dumbest name in the history of the world, they will beg to be called Trout-And-Other-Food-As-Well-Town.  They will beg me.  I ever so hate this place.

 

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR)

 

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

Of course, with a dignified name, came a dignified town.  Soon, Trootcottoun became the foremost provider of the area’s food supply.

 

(Cut to letter, much like the first.  Centered around this one section.  Camera steady.)

 

CHRISTOPHER GOODEYEAR(VO)

All of the other towns refuse to trade with us.  At least we do not have any worries about food shortages here in our own town.

 

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR)

 

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

After about 100 years as an agricultural center, we got the first factories in the area.  We built many of the first railroad handcarts, and we also were responsible for making many bars of pig iron.

(Cut to still of hill with white fish with a big X carved into it)

 

NARRATOR (VO)

While the history of Trootcottoun is interesting, the town is known for other things.  Shown here is the original town symbol, carved into the side of a hill by the original inhabitants of Trout-Town, and modified later by Christopher Goodeyear.  Unfortunately, it was destroyed in 1952 to erect the Railroad Handcart Museum.

 

(Cut to empty, rundown building.  A steady shot, but not a still)

 

NARRATOR (con’t)

A salute to Trootcottoun’s involvement in the Industrial Age, the Railroad Handcart Museum included many relics of Trootcottoun’s first industry, including the very first handcart, the handcart ridden once by the Queen of England on her visit to Trootcottoun, a handcart made of pure gold, and the handcart used by animator Chuck Jones as the model for the one used in the original 1952 cartoon Beep, Beep.  Unfortunately, the museum closed in 1964, and the handcarts were sold for scrap iron.  Except for the gold handcart, stolen in 1960, and is assumed to have been melted down into gold bricks.  On the side of the Handcart Museum was a mural by Trootcottoun artist Jocasta Herald depicting Trootcottoun’s history.

 

(Cut to poorly drawn sheet with a very, very rough approximation of what she’s describing)

(CG:  “Artist’s approximation”)

NARRATOR (con’t)

Unfortunately, two years after its completion, a new owner bought the museum, and had the mural whitewashed.  Soon after, a vandal broke into the town hall and the offices of the Trootcottoun Tribune-Post, the local newspaper, and whitewashed all existing photographs of the mural to match the wall.

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR)

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

I saw the mural once as a little girl, and I really remember it as being really wonderful.  It had a picture of my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather founding the town by building the first house, and holding back the other fishermen from ruining the house.  It also showed the fish at the lake, along with all the other food that was grown here.

 

(Cut back to artist’s rendition, this time, the camera follows the action on the drawing)

(CG:  “Artist’s approximation”)

 

SUZIE GOODEYEAR (con’t)

I remember, on one side was the Handcart factory, and next to it was the pig-iron factory, and then in one corner there were a lot of the famous people that have come from Trootcottoun.

 

(Cut to “bootleg” style footage of The Tongue Wombs playing.  Should be sepia, grainy, at a dutch angle, and handheld, with way too much headroom.)

 

NARRATOR (VO)

And many famous people have come from Trootcottoun!  One of the most notable of these is The Tongue Wombs,

 

(Cut to 45 sleeve of “She’s So Small”)

 

NARRATOR (con’t)

who had a #10 hit in the UK and a #20 in the US, with their single “She’s So Small”.

 

(Cut to C. BOB ARCTOR in his room with things on the walls and other items around)

(CG:  C. Bob Arctor/The Tongue Wombs {guitar, vocals})

C. BOB ARCTOR

Well, I was born in Bologna, but I moved to Trootcottoun when I was a baby.  My parents both came from here, and were out on honeymoon when I was born.  I’ve spent my whole life here, except for the time when I was on tour, but I’ve always lived here.

 

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR)

 

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

Oh, yes, Mr. Arctor’s lived here all his life.  He loves it here, and you can hear that in his songs.  A lot of them sing the praises of life in Trootcottoun.

 

(Cut to C. BOB ARCTOR)

 

C. BOB ARCTOR

I… well… I… suppose it’s all right here.  It’s a bit small, and there’s not very much to do here.  It’s a very… small place.  It gets a bit expensive, too, because you have to get most things sent in from other places.  Food’s cheap though, so that’s a plus, but…  If I could afford it, I’d move.

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR)

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

He’s a world-renowned star!  People the world over know who The Tongue Wombs are, and buy all their albums!

(Cut to C. BOB ARCTOR)

 

C. BOB ARCTOR

Well, we’ve got sort of a cult following really.  Our strongest audience is in America, but, even then, most people haven’t heard of us.  Our last album sold a few thousand copies.  We’ve taken to releasing them ourselves, so we’re actually able to afford to do it full-time.  I mean, I’d probably make more working at the pig-iron factory, but, well, I don’t suppose I’m really in it for the money.  I live comfortably, though.

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR)

 

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

Mr. Arctor’s constantly stopped on the street by his fellow Trootcottounians, and they talk music with him, or get him to sign their records, or just say “Hi!”  In most places, it’s not often you run into a famous recording star, but it happens everyday here in Trootcottoun!

(Cut to C. BOB ARCTOR)

C. BOB ARCTOR

No one in Trootcottoun even remembers who I am.  Sometimes, with prodding, they might remember our single, but, well, that was years ago.

 

(Cut to PERSON ON STREET, an empty street, holding a photo of C. BOB ARCTOR)

 

PERSON ON STREET

Pardon?  I’m sorry, I don’t know who that is.  Is he from around here?  Wait, isn’t he the boy who works down at the grocer’s?  Yes, that’s who it is!

(Cut to C. BOB ARCTOR)

 

C. BOB ARCTOR

I suppose it’s nice, not being hassled all the time by fans, but… really, once in a while I wouldn’t mind.  It might be kind of nice, you know, occasionally.

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR)

 

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

The Tongue Wombs are not the only famous people from Trootcottoun!  We’ve also got David Chezzerwick, the 1988 world champion of Jarts!

 

(Cut to DAVID CHEZZERWICK, in his room full of tools and suchlike, holding large glass of what appears to be hard liquor)

(CG:  David Chezzerwick/1988 Jarts World Champion)

 

DAVID CHEZZERWICK

Jarts is, uh, lawn darts.  And in 1988, I was the world’s best Jarts player.  I used to, uh, throw javelins, but, well, I threw out my back, and I couldn’t do it anymore.  The pain was too much.  So, I decided to go with Jarts.  I had a set from a long time ago, and, well, at the time I was so depressed.  So I picked up some of the Jarts, and I’d play.  Luckily, the skill sort of translated, and I’d usually win.  They’re much smaller and lighter, so they weren’t as bad on my back.  Eventually, I just started entering tournaments, and I won those too.

(Cut to wall of certificates of winning Jarts)

DAVID CHEZZERWICK (con’t)

 I went to the world championships in 1988, and I won that, too. After that, I just… retired.  There didn’t seem to be any point to it.  I was the best Jarts player in the world.

 

(Cut to DAVID CHEZZERWICK)

 

DAVID CHEZZERWICK (con’t)

Oh?  You want to see me play?  Well… I don’t have the set anymore.  I just… lost interest.  I took my set, signed it, and sold it to one of the people in the audience at the 1989 Championships.  They asked me to come back as a judge.  So I did.  I suppose that was all I could ask for.  They got me a nice certificate [holds it up].  … (bitterly)  you don’t get a gold medal for Jarts.

 

(Cut to PERSON ON STREET holding photo of DAVID CHEZZERWICK)

 

PERSON ON STREET

Hm… no, I don’t know him ei—wait, wait, that’s the grocer boy’s dad!  That’s who that is!

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR)

 

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

I know Mr. Chezzerwick’s currently working in the pig iron factory.  It must be great to rub shoulders with celebrity on a daily basis!  To hear the kids, most of them just want to be like their parents and work there!  But that’s not when they’re busy at the milk bars and running around outside!

 

(Cut to AMELIA HOWESEBURY sitting on her bed in her room.  It’s a typical bedroom.)

(CG:  Amelia Howesebury/Local Youth)

AMELIA HOWESEBURY

I can’t wait until I’m old enough; I’m going to move to the city.  It’s so dull here; I just hate it.  There’s nothing to do.  The city would be so exciting!  It’s not the factory I mind, I wouldn’t mind working there, honestly – it’s hot, but it’s good exercise, but it’s just so dull here!  You can’t do anything!  There’s only a couple restaurants and one movie theater.  The only bands that ever play are lame local bands,

(Cut to flyer of The Tongue Wombs opening for a few other bands at a local tavern)

AMELIA HOWESEBURY (con’t)

and they only play in pubs that kids can’t go to.  It’s so unfair!

(Cut to AMELIA HOWESEBURY)

 

AMELIA HOWESEBURY (con’t)

What else is there to do?  Well, some of the boys

 

(Cut to forts with people reading comics.  A BOY reads a comic voraciously, while AMELIA takes one rather disinterestedly.)

AMELIA HOWESEBURY  (con’t)

build small forts to spend time in, but that’s about it.   Sometimes I’ll go, but it’s mainly just them reading

(Cut to AMELIA HOWESEBURY)

AMELIA HOWESEBURY (con’t)

American comic books.

(Cut to SUZIE GOODEYEAR)

SUZIE GOODEYEAR

The children here are the future of Trootcottoun.  It’s been said a lot, it’s sort of cliché, but it is true.  And, I think our particular future’s brighter than anything!  We might not have a lot in the way of landmarks, but we’ve got a lot of spirit!  We’re one of the friendliest towns you’ll ever meet!  We’ve got some cozy bed and breakfasts for visitors, and who knows, you may even meet C. Bob Arctor or David Chezzerwick!  There’s always plenty to do in Trootcottoun!

(Cut to ext. town, much like at beginning of film, only a stationary camera.)

NARRATOR (VO)

Trootcottoun.  From its humble beginnings as a small fishing and agricultural village to its place in the Industrial Revolution, and finally, to the cultural center it has become.  What does the future hold for Trootcottoun?  As the UK’s fourth largest provider of pig iron, the future looks solid and unbending.  It’s a small town, a quiet town, but also a very, very tiny place.  As with all places, it has its pros and its cons, but one thing it does have is character – and characters.  This has been Douglas J. Unmediated and thank you for coming with me on my trip to this tiny hamlet in the southern area of England.

 

(Plastic tree falls over.  A hand comes down, lifts it back up, and holds on to the top to steady it.)

 

(Cut to black.  “She’s So Small” by The Tongue Wombs plays)

 

(Roll credits)

 

(Cut to C. BOB ARCTOR)

 

C. BOB ARCTOR

Oh, so you want to know what the C stands for?  I get that a lot.  It’s “Chainsaw”…  my parents were hippies.  (pause) Violent hippies.

 

(Cut to black)                                               END

Lyrics to “She’s So Small”

Me say ‘you’re so small I break you’

‘Baby I don’t wanna hurt you”

but you know I got no recess

from the stuff in my mind’s excess

CHORUS:

Need to escape to somewhere new

Need to find some new food to chew

Got to find a new thing to do

Erase the memory of you

You know I did not mean a thing

When I made you hide your wed-ring

And the finger it’s attached to

I swear it’s not some sort voodoo

CHORUS

I can see now the meaning’s clear

No more of this unending fear

Got to put down everything now

Ride out of here on a milk cow

CHORUS

Got to leave however I can

Try to make it to some for’n land

Got to leave however I can

Try to make it to some for’n’ land

CHORUS

CHORUS

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  1. Pingback: Video - Video: Trootcottoun (Director's Commentary) - Kittysneezes

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