Here’s a tempting short film on YouTube, “Connor & Jayden: the Story of Us”, 32 minutes, 2022, written and directed by Jerome Elston Scott, from Harbor Heights Entertainment.
Connor Tucker (Christian Barba), a high school football star, has a broken leg, and not allowed to play for the rest of the season. He might lose a chance for a college football scholarship for bad luck. He signs up for a cooking class and meets Jayden Sansbury (Ty Newcomb). Jayden is supposed to be the school patsy, except that he really isn’t.
They start a friendship, and then one morning Jayden helps Cannon get his car started by tinkering under the hood, his hands staying clean. The friendship grows. Jayden challenges Connor to a movie “date” and Connor professes ignorance of movie start times, which carries on with the ticket seller Cameron (Troy Hatt – is the character inspired by “Cam”, or Cameron Kasky?) It seems like an artificial ruse, but the friendship grows intimate, though it never quite crosses the line in the film.
So it’s refreshing to see cis male gay men in a short film again, in all these days of critical gender theory.
But the movie never quite follows the normal story circle ideas in screenwriting. Connor has already paid his heavy price – he broke his leg. At least he didn’t go through the horrors of Washington (now Commanders) quarterback Alex Smith who almost wound up with an amputation, A scene in the movie’s middle shows him without a cast and hairy leg (in shorts) as if nothing had ever happened. So a few months have past and it is mild Los Angeles winter.
Beyond the LGBT subject matter here, it’s interesting to wonder something about writing movie scripts with protagonists who are generally successful teens in high school, college, or some career (like YouTubing). When does the teen “pay a price” when he (she/e) gets what e wants. Sometimes leaving the college experience is a price. Sometimes leaving college sports when there will not be a career in sports is a price. Sometimes it is losing a potential love interest. First breakups are always difficult. Often in the past the “want” was to get into the best school. Today’s kids want more agency sooner, and you start to see a lot of gap years (to grow YouTube channels).
The distributor also offers cast interviews (the interviewer is black) and audition sessions for the movie on YouTube.
(Posted: Monday, June 20, 2022 at 10 PM EDT)