Movie synopsis: Inspiration comes to Matt as he sits in a landromat, listening to a Radiolab podcast. From the perfect confluence of events, Matt, an everyday provocateur, decides to build a social experiment to see how much difference a little warmth can make in people’s lives. Much to his surprise or intended plans, a beautiful woman becomes part of his experiment and the seed for a boy meets girl story is sown in the fertile cylinder of a zebra dryer.
Starring: Mike Wissner and Dana De Filippi
Guest appearances by: Raycurt Johnson, Portia Richae, and Lenah Nguyen
Music by Stan Getz
Making the movie (spoiler alert, watch the movie before you read): Warm Clothes is a movie that suits my style perfectly. No script, ever-changing, actors and actress casted on the fly, and an orgy of stolen shots in public places. Running around Virginia and D.C. with that zebra dryer felt like I was peeing in my hot tub. In other words, it felt like I could do anything I wanted because I owned the place. I don’t actually own a hot tub, but I do pee in them.
The zebra dryer was conceived one night when Michael Wissner (the movie’s main character) and I were at Little Miss Whiskey’s. Yes, the same bar that I so denigrated in my Log Warriors “fun facts” section. Irrespective of my thoughts about the owner, I must admit that the bar is quite lovely. To clarify, the idea for the zebra dryer came after we left the bar, but while we were still under the influence of its contents.
We were two young gentlemen looking for adventure in the truest sense on a still winter’s night. As we were driving around, Michael noticed the clothes dryer sitting in the back of my car. He blurted out, “We should do something with…da…dryer!” Now the ideas began flowing through our heads like a champagne flute pyramid. We should leave the dryer somewhere out in the open. We should leave the dryer in front of the Washington Monument. No. They’d probably shoot us because after all, a dryer could be misconstrued as a giant, squarish bomb.
We could sense that a great idea was floating around us in that car and all we had to do was let it land gently on our lap like a dandelion seed dancing on the wind. It may have been because Michael and I had recently talked about Exit Through the Gift Shop, but I finally said, “Maybe we should paint the dryer…with a zebra pattern.”
– The same night that we conceived of the zebra dryer, we went home and Mike furiously started drawing and laying down the painter’s tape for the zebra design. I must say that Michael is a true artist and a most excellent rabble rouser. Now what was I doing while Michael created his masterpiece? I finished up a drywall project that I had started earlier in the day. If you look closely at the dryer construction scenes in Warm Clothes, you will see a silhouette on the back wall with a stick-on mustache from a 25 cent vending machine. That was my contribution to that scene.
– Warm Clothes might have never happened if it weren’t for the fastidious people at Habitat for Humanity Restore. My wife and I had a washing machine that wasn’t draining effectively so we bought my parent’s extra washer and dryer set. Even though the dryer that turned out to be the zebra dryer was working correctly at the time, we decided to give it away with it’s longtime washer companion, the one that wasn’t draining correctly. We scheduled a pickup time for our old washer and dryer with Restore and set them out on our driveway the morning of pickup. Later that evening as I was pulling up to the house coming from work, I saw that the washer had been picked up, but not the dryer. Restore never gave a reason as to why they left the dryer, but took the washer. It made no sense, especially since the dryer worked, but the washer didn’t. Maybe it was because the dryer’s handle was broken. Something that you can notice when “Girl with scarf #1” tries to open the dryer door. Maybe it was preordained that I make this movie.
– Why couldn’t a public dryers business work? I mean the heat vents in D.C. are always popular in winter. Also, per the Radiolab podcast, a little warmth does go a long way in influencing the way you feel about the people around you, your community. Public dryers could be used to revitalize impoverished cities. It could turn out to be more effective than fixing broken windows.
– Dana De Filippi had never really acted before and she was surprisingly great. In the words of Martin Lawrence, her face “belongs on the tizube.” Dana was such a pleasure to work with and had great ideas. However, she did want to name the main character Sven or Storm or something in that vein. Dana and I threw around so many names and rejected so many of each other’s suggestions that we finally settled on something completely average – Matt. In the future, you should never name characters by committee.