Thursday, September 17, 2009

Taking Things Into My Own Hands

By Gigi

I have a long history of throwing myself into things I love. Today I'll share a story that epitomizes this devotion: the making of the movie The Rescue of Mac and Sam.

It's common knowledge that the greatest television show of all time is MacGyver. A show about an ingenious special agent who uses a Swiss Army knife, duct tape, and science to beat the bad guys? You gotta love it.

I was in highschool when the show concluded in the early 1990s. I didn't want to live without it, so my best friend and I (both theater geeks) wrote a script to pick up where the show ended. After writing the script, we filmed it.

The two of us starred in the movie (do you recognize me here without my glasses?). One of our friends played our screen nemesis (she was also location scout). Others worked the camera (a now-obsolete pre-digital Sony handycam). My dad made a cameo appearance. I directed.

In case you don't remember how the series ended, MacGyver rides off into the sunset on his motorcycle with the son he never knew he had. Our movie takes place right afterward, with Mac and his son Sam kidnapped. The Phoenix Foundation's top agents (my best friend and I) are sent in to find them, using a series of MacGyverisms.

Thus we were able to make a 30 minute movie without Richard Dean Anderson appearing on screen -- except for the brilliant last scene of the movie with some expert editing by a 16-year-old me.

This was long before the days of YouTube. However, a couple years after we made the movie, I had the opportunity to attend an event at the Directors Guild in Los Angeles that was honoring the MacGyver TV series. The whole cast was there. I brought a VHS copy of our movie.

Richard Dean Anderson has got to be the sweetest man on earth. He graciously listened to me ramble on about the movie we made to pay homage to MacGyver. He even took the tape.

Here's a photo of me looking dumbstruck in the presence of the man who played one of the greatest characters of all time.

I'm still waiting for the right opportunity to pass along my sequel to The Goonies. But that's another story...

9 comments:

Lisa Hughey said...

Gigi--
How fun is that?! :) If we ever figure out how to load videos on PensFatales, I think you have to share!! Have you seen the SNL MacGruber shorts?

Sophie Littlefield said...

hey, screening on sunday! Can you bring it? I'll make the popcorn - you were an adorable sixteen year old - why is that no surprise?!

Rachael Herron said...

CUTEST thing ever. I want to see it, too.

Shannon said...

oh, that brought back the old days....and Goonies...

C.R. Evers said...

That is soooo awesome! today I listened to my 7 y.o. daugher tell her neighbor that the didn't need to google a play script, that they could make up their own little "Hannah Montanah" world. I apologize. I know Hannah isn't the same as MacGyver, but to a 7 year old, it's better) Anyway, I love the ingenuity. A series doesn't have to die. An imagination can live! Thank God you were able to be appreciated for it. Awesome!

Christy
(via verla kay)

Great post!

Martha Flynn said...

This. Is. AWESOME.

Gigi Pandian said...

In spite of this movie teaching me that being a director is REALLY difficult, I had so much fun with it that for a whole semester of college I wanted to be a film-maker :)

Lyn said...

Good for you, Gigi! Here's hoping you do find a way to present your film here on your blog. As for film making as a career, I once asked a film maker if he ever got to the point where he hated the movie he was making (because I had reached that point with one of my student films) and he said, "Every one. Every one of them." Of course, I get that way about books, too. Sigh. Good thing we have snazzy blogs to read for refreshment!

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