Another thing; I finally got around to watching "Basket Case." I knew she had been in contact with the director, Frank Henenlotter, who was still a friend. I knew she got him to do a cameo in the film. And he might be at the premiere. I figured I would finally have to bite the bullet and see the movie. I told her I saw it. I told I was glad I didn't see it before we did the movie because I would have been too influenced by it. It's a weird little film and I get why it's a cult classic. And watching a younger Beverly was a revelation. She had chops.
There was a bit of a stage show before the movie. Cast members got to do stand-up or performance bits before the film was unspooled. After the movie we had a Q&A, where we got some pretty simple questions, but I made the mistake of saying "yada-yada-when I wrote this" and Beverly jumped in and reminded me "we wrote this"
I only took ONE picture all night. It's something I've never been good at, at any event, family or otherwise, to remember to take photos. And I had my cell phone with me! The one photo is me trying to get my credit on screen and I got Beverly's instead. It's weird seeing what you (co)wrote on screen. It's what you created, yet isn't. There were a thousand different decisions made between the time we handed in the script to the time it was projected onto the screen. New people came in. Some scenes weren't practical to shoot. Couldn't get into the city and film on the sly. But she pulled in all her friends and got some ridiculous effects and creatures built. She pulled in someone to score the whole thing. I don't know how she pulled it all together but she did.
Beverly got a lot of solid feedback. Afterward, she did some more editing and then started to send it out to festivals. Naturally, the great pandemic of 2020 put a crimp in our style. We got accepted into a number of festivals, which were far off cities. But one festival was in Scranton, PA, October 2020, one year after the sneak preview screening. And Beverly was determined to go to it, COVID or no COVID. And she did go. I chickened out, naturally. She had a great time. The fans were there. She had friends there. She wore the shirt I send her. I saw the film stream from their website (It was not the same as being there). But Beverly got to be there. As it turned out, it would be her last hurrah. She died a month later.
I was working in the back yard during one of the warmer days of October and Beverly called. She was over the moon about the film festival and the feedback and reaction the film was getting. I was happy and happy for her. Then she announced she was going to be a producer! I told her "go for it." She had plans. She wanted me to be part of it somehow. I said sure. I was rolling my eyes when I said it (thank goodness it wasn't a video chat). I was right in the middle of building a tool shed, so I wasn't totally focused on the call or her plans. But she said we would be talking soon. There was a voicemail later about setting up a website for the movie. That was our last communication.
Word was slow to reach many of us. And we were stunned. It was later I remembered a text exchange with her from years earlier. She had dropped out of sight for a bit, having been sick. She mentioned she suffered from congenital heart disease. I remember reading that and coming up short, thinking, "That's not good. I hope we finish this in time." We did. We're still pushing it out there. But where it was developed as a vehicle for Beverly, a chance to get her in front of the camera again and maybe drum up interest as a full length movie...it's now her memorial. I don't know how we can push it past a certain point. I don't know how to build off it now. It was kind of a gimmick, having Beverly, to appeal to her fan base. And now we don't have her.
As I said, the film is being entered into film festivals as we can afford it. I hope we are able to get it out to the general public in the future. And I hope her fans are pleased with the work. And I hope we all have a next act.
So, there's my tale told. Thanks for reading. Stay safe. Keep working for your dreams. And be ready for opportunity where ever and whenever it appears. Or the broccoli will get you...