My Life's in Turnaround
Eric Schaeffer and Donald Ward managed to scrape together $22,000 to make this independent film about the making of an independent film. Schaeffer plays a New York City cabdriver (which he really was), while Ward costars as his roommate (which he really was). They have no money, no script, and admittedly not much talent -- but they're determined to put a movie together about a couple of slightly overweight twentysomethings who are united by their "outsider" status. Talent agent Lisa Gerstein, the boys' mutual friend, takes a maternal interest in their project. Along the way, they manage to charm to genuine celebrities -- Phoebe Cates and Martha Plimpton -- into appearing in their film (Cates really was cajoled into appearing when she stepped into Schaeffer's taxi!) My Life's in Turnaround debuted at the Seattle Film Festival, where it scored a hit (despite its misogynistic undertones) and earned Schaeffer and Ward a multimillion-dollar studio deal. Incidentally, the word "turnaround" is a Hollywood term referring to a movie project that has been in development so long that its chances of ever being produced are slim to none; detractors of Schaeffer and Ward (and there are many) tend to wish that this had been the fate of My Life's in Turnaround.