Colin’s history of Arab in America: The Short (Part One)
// November 21st, 2008 // Making Arab
I remember the day Nabil pitched Assassinate George to me. Much like Tim Bryan, I didn’t care for the idea that much. I didn’t go so far as to say it was a “Dumb Fan-Film” but I wasn’t on board. “It’s a funny concept Nabil, but I don’t know. You should make something else.”
“Why make something else? This is a great idea! Two friends driving across the country to kill George Lucas! It’s great!”
Well, needless to say – but I’ll say it anyway – Assassinate George was never made.
So Nabil went back to thinking about new ideas. I went home to Rhode Island and began thinking about new things as well. I wanted to make a short based on Macbeth, but in modern times and revolving around a mob family. I had a script written and everything! Well that script had too much prose and descriptive paragraphs that would take up half the page. Nabil didn’t much care for the idea either. (It’s just because he thinks Macbeth is Shakespeare’s worst play. But we all know that his worst is Much Ado About Nothing.) But I digress.
Summer break was over. I was about to fly back to school. Nabil agreed to pick me up at the Jacksonville airport (Flying directly into Savannah will cost you an arm and a leg). Jacksonville is about two hours away from Savannah. Nabil picked me up and we were on our way. I have to tell you that road trips with Nabil are a scary experience. If you ever get a chance to have one with him… I suggest you run away as fast as you can. With the constant looking at his iPod to change songs every 2 minutes and talking on the phone to whichever high-school-friend/girlfriend/parent/girl-he-likes-but-doesn’t-really-like/anyone-who-calls, there is not much safe driving involved. Anyway, Nabil picks me up, we’re driving along in the August heat and Nabil decides to put his A/C on, which is something I’m not opposed to (I get hot very easily, and sweat a lot. Not ‘a lot’ a lot, but more than most perspiratory humans).
Ahhh. Fresh, cool air blowing in my face. Right now I don’t mind the crappy music Nabil is playing. I’ve got chill air from the vent blowing my hair back. Nothing can go wrong. This is a great feeling. Wait. No it isn’t! The air, that was once cool, is now hot. This is not cool (in both senses of the word)! Suddenly everything on Nabil’s dashboard turns off and we hear a sudden “brrrrrrr’ from the car. “Uhh, what was that?” I ask.
“I don’t know dude.”
“I think that’s a bad sound.”
“I think so too.”
“I hope my car isn’t —-”
Wait!…. Im getting ahead of myself. Rewind about 30 minutes. We’re driving along the road away from the airport and Nabil says to me. “I’ve got a great idea for a movie.”
“It’s not a ‘dumb fan-film’ is it?” I ask, adding a slight Kansas City accent to the words dumb fan-film.
“No Tim!” Is Nabil’s response. “It’s about this Arab guy. And he’s, y’know, he’s Arab. But like, American. He’s like, half Arab, half American.”
“So this Arab guy is like smart y’know. He’s just graduated college and needs a job. But he’s really smart and he can’t get a job.”
-This is how Nabil pitches idea’s that he hasn’t fully formulated. If you ever have to sit through a developing idea from Nabil, I suggest you run away as fast as you can-
So I sit there listening to Nabil meandering around, searching for a point to get to. About ten minutes go by.
“So then, he like gets turned down a lot at job interviews because he is Arab, and he decides to just, like change his name or something, to get a job, or something? I don’t know. What do you think?”
I don’t really know what he is talking about at this point. “Uhh I don’t know. Sounds lame.”
“No it’s not! It’s a great idea! It’s the best idea ever! Is it hot in here?”
-Jump forward 10 minutes-
Nabil is now on the phone with his Dad telling him the problem with his car.
“The dash just shut off. –Yes- Yes- Yes Dad the car is running. No but the lights… yeah…. I love you Dad….. Uh huh… Yeah. No the car seems fine. But the dash is out- no. You think I should pull over? Yes- Yes- Look Dad, I love you… Really, couldn’t it just be some electri—yeah. I love you Dad. Ok. Ok I’ll pull over and call you back. –I love you too Dad. “ The conversation went something like that.
So we take the car to a … lets call it… a ShepBoys auto repair place.
We’re in the waiting room. It’s hot. The room smells like stale body odor and almonds. I hate it here. I want to go home.
A man with greasy hands comes over to talk with us. I don’t like the look on his face. “We’re going to have to keep the car overnight and work on it in the morning.”
“What!?” Nabil and I say in unison.
–Well, we didn’t, but it would have totally been like a movie if we had. -
“Yeah, the guy who knows how to fix the problem works tomorrow. And we’re about to close in 30 minutes.”
“Are you serious?” Nabil asks.
“There is a motel down the street if you want to stay there for the night.” He points a greasy finger down the road. “See you tomorrow then.” He walks away. Not only do I hate the room I’m in, I also hate that guy. I hate Nabil’s car and I hate Florida.
I take a deep breath and decide not to be angry. “Well I guess we’re stuck here.” I say.
“I guess so.”
“Tell me about that idea you had again.”