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A short film

by

Lee Roy Kunz

Two former lovers navigate the world of social media and datings apps in the #metoo era.

 

Free love may beckon them with every swipe, but that’s all a radical illusion. Status, ego and unrealistic expectations have left our two characters spiritually and emotionally unfulfilled in a world drastically changed by social media.

SETTING

Los Angeles

The City of Angels is a place where people, from all over the world, with different ideologies, practices, and beliefs, come to try and have it all. 

Our two lovers, dealing with social and political differences, navigate the labyrinth of modern dating, as they try to overcome their past trauma.

 

They seek validation from their peers. They look for effortless love.

They learn that love is not easily won but earned through time, commitment and deep sacrifice.

 

CHARACTERS

The ethnically ambiguous, ultra-liberal, intellectual artist, and surrealist painter that is also a successful political cartoonist for a Vice-like online publication. Bisexual and a heartened social activist, Jess grew up dirt poor, in a small town in Oregon near an Indian reservation, with a single mother that never connected with her emotionally and faded away altogether when Jess’s sister killed herself.

 

Jess oscillates between hope and bitterness in her desire to find real and lasting love in the internet age--when one can always keep swiping for something better. Jess suffers from extreme depression and anxiety, stemming from a college rape that has left her unable to have sex without suffering a PTSD panic attack. She has kept this a secret from Liam, with whom she hopes to eventually have a lasting relationship. 

Jess

Jess

Liam

Liam

Not just spiritual, but actually religious, Liam is a good ole' southern boy from Arkansas working in finance. A classical liberal, Liam is not nearly as conservative as Jess makes him out to be which causes conflict in their relationship. But that's the thing that attracts her to him. He is stable and reliable with a good honest nature who has a deep loyalty to his friends and a commitment to truth.

 

A romantic at heart, Liam finds himself sliding into turmoil after too much online dating. His failed past relationships and his current serial philandering culminates in the rebirth of a more grounded self in search of a long-term partner to create a family with. Deep down, he wants that person to be Jess. 

 

SYNOPSIS

 Dopamine

A cry for something beautiful 

 

Warning of their addictive, soul-crushing qualities, JESS criticizes social media as LIAM sets up a profile for online dating. She claims to use the dating apps solely for hookups, and tells Liam who wants a serious relationship, he should look elsewhere. 

 

Later that week, Liam matches with and sets up a date with CAMILLE, a New Age hippie-girl, who hardly resembles her online profile. Liam is put off by this, but his desire to politely end the date fades after a few shots of mezcal. They go back to his apartment where Camille says she doesn't want to have sex, so they fool around in the nude until Liam falls asleep. Camille wakes him up, and they start having sex. Liam stops immediately after she whispers, "no" and Camille insists that she needs to go home. Liam pleads with her to take an Uber, but acting defensive and alluding to sexual misconduct, Camille gets into her car and drives away drunk. Meanwhile, Jess has been with nice guy SAM on a first date for dinner who tries to pay their bill before she awkwardly insists on splitting it. They go back and they attempt to have sex but Jess has a PTSD panic attack. Sam panics and tries to call an ambulance but Jess stops him and insists he call Liam to come to get her instead.

 

Jess and Liam go to the beach and discuss their dates as the sun rises. Jess's secret is finally revealed. They question each other's ability to make retrospectively good decisions before Jess suggests they have sex as a form of therapy. Ambivalent to her proposal, Liam follows Jess into the freezing water of the ocean where they discuss their past relationship. Back at his apartment, Liam acquiesces. He ignores the siren song of the app's notifications, and they share authentic, sexual intimacy. Jess admits she wants something more with Liam.

 

The next morning they get breakfast and leave their phones at home, free from social media tyranny. 

 

I appreciate you taking the time. 

Lee Roy Kunz

 

World's Fair Pictures

© Worlds Fair Pictures. The above original treatment, idea, story, characters, and execution within this document belong solely to the creator: Worlds Fair Pictures. Any re-production and/or sale of this document (or directly related to this document) is forbidden without written permission.