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Movie-Making Mess

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You decide to make your own movie, so you do whatever you can to get a video camera, convince some of your friends to be the actors, and buy props to make the movie more believable. However, your movie project hits a few snags in the filming process, so Hilarity Ensues; the actors forget their lines or screw up their parts, props are always falling over at inopportune times, the equipment is clearly visible while filming, etc. It turns out that making a movie isn't as easy as it looks at all.

Expect to see loads and loads of Special Effects Failure, though the final product often ends up So Bad, It's Good. Closely associated with an Amateur Film-Making Plot.

Compare: Troubled Production, a real-life version of this. Contrast: School Play.



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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Books  
  • Richie Rich once tried to make his own western, with Freckles and Peewee as actors. The reviewers hailed it as a great comedy film, but Richie wanted a drama.

     Fan Fic  

     Films — Live-Action  
  • Son of Rambow: A couple of kids remake First Blood.
  • In Super 8, the characters try to make a movie near a train station. Which then explodes.
  • More or less the plot of Be Kind Rewind, as the main duo must hastily put together the films that has been ruined in the videostore.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation was one of these. A bunch of teenagers took about a decade of summers to hack together a nearly shot-by-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. They had to make five or six giant boulders and nearly burned down the house where they filmed.
  • Bowfinger and his "big movie on a shoestring budget" project.
  • Polish movie Nic Śmiesznego is based on incidents that happened during the production of actual Polish movies. Including blowing up a bridge accidentally when the cameras weren't rolling and behind-the-scenes pranks by pyrotechnicians.
  • Dolemite Is My Name derives most of its humor from the wonky real-life production of Dolemite—aside from almost everyone involved having minimal-to-no filmmaking experience, the budget is incredibly shy, the filmstock runs out partly through production (necessitating a shady business loan), the director loses faith in the project very quickly, and it's evident at a glance that the lead action star cannot fight. That said, the final product ends up being a surprise hit.
  • Based on the book of the same name, The Disaster Artist is about the making of the infamous So Bad, It's Good film The Room. James Franco received an Academy Award for playing Tommy Wiseau.

     Live Action TV  
  • An episode of Green Acres had the entire city of Hooterville believing that a famous movie director was coming to their town, so they made their own movie to show to him. However, the movie that they made was so bad that the director was forced to burn up the film, under the orders of his boss.
  • Community:
    • One episode has a variant in which the characters attempt to film a commercial, with several characters treating it as an actual film shooting and things go horribly wrong.
    • In another episode, Abed's movie about Jesus, which is actually a movie about himself making a movie about himself making a movie about Jesus... ends not well.
    • This trope gets is most prominent depiction in the last season, complete with extensive Lampshade Hanging, in an episode where the college attempts to assemble a B-Movie around scraps of footage they have of a suddenly famous faculty member.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - After Dee tells the characters that she scored a part in a M. Night Shyamalan movie, Mac and Charlie attempt to write a script. The script turns out horrible and M. Night Shyamalan doesn't show up anyways.
  • The entire plot of Action is Peter Dragon's attempt to make the film "Beverly Hills Gun Club". Said film is plagued by such problems as a drug-addicted star who demands a bigger codpiece, a director who drowns, a lead actress who suddenly puts on weight just before shooting (leading to an emergency liposuction), and so on.
  • My Name Is Earl: One of the people on Earl's list is a young man who is dying and wants to make a movie wherein he's the star. Earl becomes the producer.
  • The Brady Bunch: Greg's history project of making a movie about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, thanks to casting drama (Marcia refusing to be in the movie if she couldn't be Priscilla), special effects goof-ups (Peter messing around with the fake snow) and Mike's well-meaning meddling. Greg definitely earned his A that time!
  • The second half of the Are You Being Served? episode "It Pays to Advertise" is taken up with the Grace Bros. staff's disastrous attempt to film a cinema/TV advert for the store, with Mr Humphries directing. Mrs Slocombe's eyes keep getting stuck closed by her false eyelashes, Mr Grainger's jacket is too big and his trousers too small, the radio mike Mr Harman (acting as sound man) instructs Mr Lucas (acting as boom mike operator) to put on Mrs Slocombe ends up falling down the front of her dress and picking up the noise of her digestive system, the accordion Mr. Rumbold has been given to play as a gypsy musician makes sounds of flatulence instead of music... all converging in a perfect comedy of errors when they try to do a take. The hat check ticket Miss Brahms gives Captain Peacock is covered in her saliva after she holds it in her mouth, Mr Grainger accidentally squirts Captain Peacock with a soda siphon, Mrs Slocombe's bar stool gets stuck to her backside, and when Young Mr Grace goes in front of the camera to pour himself a glass of champagne, he misses the glass by over a foot.
  • The main plot of the season 5 episode of The Goldbergs, "Adam Spielberg". Inspired by the aforementioned fan-made recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark that he watched, Adam sets out to make his own Indiana Jones fan film, called "Indiana Jones and the Thunder Glove of the Prime Mutant", with help from his mother, Beverly, Erica, Jackie, his friends, the JTP, Johnny Atkins, and Carla. The film's troubled production caused Adam to suffer a mental breakdown, and he eventually abandoned the project. Adam decides to stick with writing screenplays, which is his strongest point.
  • The Victorious episode Slap Fight involved the main characters having to make a short film for a school project. They get sidetracked when they suddenly become obsessed with their social media followings. In the end, they are forced to rush in order to finish the project. The final product gets some embarrassed looks from their teacher.

  • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down, Greg tries to make a horror movie titled Night of the Night Crawlers. He has to shoehorn jokes into the script because the only actor, Rowley, is easily frightened and doesn't even want to make a horror movie. Rowley keeps forgetting his lines and refuses to wear a dress when he plays an unnamed woman. The terrible special effectsinvoked include throwing gummy worms at Rowley's face in an attempt to make a scene where worms come out of the shower. After Rowley runs out of the house with barely any clothes on and climbs a tree to escape the geese that ate the gummy worms on the ground, Greg's dad gets home and the attempt to make a movie comes to an end.
  • The starting premise of They Melted His Brain is that the main characters are an enthusiastic but unskilled school-age movie maker and his stars; nobody likes the results, they get savaged by the people he sends them to, and even the blurb makes it clear that "his genius receives little appreciation, because his movies are rubbish". Then, purely by accident, they discover that the local TV station is experimenting with Mind Control as a more effective form of advertising and decide to investigate. Hilarity Ensues.

     Newspaper Comics  
  • In FoxTrot, Jason's attempt to make a stop motion version of Jurassic Park called Mesozoic Park (which he claimed was a more accurate title as the Mesozoic Era included all of the dinosaurs featured in the film) was a disaster and left him with about thirty seconds of film. His later attempt to film his own version of King Kong met with similar failure.

     Web Animation  

  • Learning with Manga! FGO's Rider (often known as Rabbit Ears) tends to involve the cast in these. Rider is actually a very competent director, but between low resources and the dysfunctional nature of everyone involved, the results rarely end well, to the point that one of their few successful efforts was a low-budget porno. At least one of them seemingly served only as a way to justify shooting Thomas Edison in the face with a rocket.

     Western Animation  
  • The Arthur episode "Arthur Makes a Movie" involved Arthur and friends trying to make their own James Hound movie, but everything kept going wrong, due to the incompetence of Muffy using her new video camera.
  • An episode of SpongeBob SquarePants had SpongeBob and Patrick make their own Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy movie, in protest of a new one being made with actors replacing the real Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in the title roles.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: A big-time director is coming to Retroville and holds a contest to find a script to make a movie out of. Jimmy scientifically constructs a script by analyzing and replicating from all of the greatest films in history. His script is chosen and he and his friends are put into the movie. Unfortunately it was a trap designed by one of Jimmy's enemies trying to kill him.
  • One episode of Family Guy has Peter deciding to make his own "chick flick", Steel Vaginas; naturally, the plot makes no sense, bad effects abound and everyone hates it.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Timmy Turner once tried to make a movie to win a film festival to impress his crush, but using nothing but his close friends and a handheld camera, the results were pitiful. So he ended up using his fairies' magic to film at exotic locations with professional actors with real special effects.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show has an episode called "Stimpy's Cartoon Show", where Stimpy attempts to make an animated short film that'll impress his mentor. Ren is hired as the producer, and turns out to be an extreme Prima Donna Director, tearing up storyboards and producing the short on so small of a budget that Stimpy eventually resorts to using ultra-thin slices of wood in place of acetate sheets. Unlike most examples of this trope, Stimpy's mentor absolutely loves the film, though this is predictable given his personality.
  • On one episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, the writers quit and Buster, Babs and the others end up having to do the show themselves.
  • In Rocko's Modern Life, Ralph Bighead, creator of The Fatheads, lets Rocko and friends do their own cartoon show for him, hoping that the results are so awful that Ralph will be let out of his contract. The result, "Wacky Deli", is as bad as Ralph hoped, but ends up being a runaway hit anyway.
  • On The Simpsons, Springfield decides to have a film festival in order to boost tourism, and several townsfolk make movies themselves. In particular, Mr. Burns has "the Mexican non-union equivalent" of Steven Spielberg make a movie based on his life; at one point after he helps some villagers and tries to go Riding into the Sunset his foot gets caught in the stirrup of his horse and he's dragged away.
    "We did twenty takes, and that was the best one."
  • On The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball and Darwin try to re-film a rented DVD that they broke ("Alligators on a Train") and do an awful job at it.
  • The Angry Beavers, "Dag for Night": Dagget and Norbert find an old trunk full of movie-making equipment and some footage from an unfinished Oxnard Montalvo B-Movie, The Not-Too-Friendly Creature from the Off-White Puddle Who Will Eat You. They decide to finish it themselves, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • It's somewhat the Once an Episode premise of Home Movies. Which is not to say that every home movie made by the characters is comically incompetent; some are, but others are as good as you'd expect from an artistic work made by fourth-graders.
  • We Bare Bears: Grizzly's "Crowbar Jones" movies are incredibly corny action movies where Grizz plays everyone from the title character to his clumsy and incompetent Comic Relief sidekick "Pando" to the villains to various extras, who are often inanimate objects manipulated like crude puppets by Grizz.
  • A movie studio is filming a TV series at Heckle and Jeckle's hotel in "Messed Up Movie Makers," but they're causing damage to the property in doing so. The magpies stealthily sabotage the production in a bid to get rid of them.


Video Example(s):


To Lone Moose With Love

Downplayed. The movie Wolf and Honeybee make combines all of the Tobin's separate ideas (Moon's sci-fi movie, Beef preparing a salad, Judy playing a dead ballerina) and ends up making no sense. No one minds, however, because they're more focused on pointing out the locations from all over town.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / MovieMakingMess

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