Never Stop: chasing William S. Burroughs through outer space
You know what they say: it takes a village...to make a short film about love and loss in a dystopian era of psychedelic drug-induced hallucinations, inspired by the works of a dead literary mastermind
Something like that.
We’ve been working on Never Stop since early 2016. But it really started in Chicago back in 2012, when it was an experimental stage play.
The story centers around Jimmy, a “miracle worker” in our desert future, who controls the local supply of a strange and wonderful drug. This stuff lets you re-live the best moments of your past life in high saturation. But every time you do, it costs you hours, days, or even years of your remaining life.
In a world poised for certain destruction, your life is the only currency left.
William S. Burroughs ran with the likes of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac...and in that group, it seems, he was the weird one. It was his style and his methods that inspired this script in the first place. At every step, we keep that in mind.
Using his version of the cut-up technique, he and his friends arranged his eclectic writings into a delightful nightmare of swirling poetry called Naked Lunch. I’ll be the first to say: it’s not for everyone, but I love it dearly. And, apparently, Burroughs believed the words that flowed from his typewritery fingers came from transmissions beamed into his brain — from outer space.
But who knows. Stories get told, repeated, changed, and re-arranged. Still, in the end, I just love a riveting story.
Regardless, we’ve approached Never Stop in a similar way to Burroughs and Co. I started the writing process using a version of the cut-up technique, pushing myself to odd late-night flurries of strange discoveries. And since then, the project has truly taken on a life of its own, snowballing into a film I never intended to make (but now seems inevitable).
Now that we’re deep into post production (and almost finished), our editor has noted that he, too, went to some weird places in his mind and body while sorting through our insane-o footage. I love that.
Sometimes you have to let outer space guide the way.
Jimmy gets lost in a spiral of self-destruction, and starts using (and over-using) his own potions. We learn that his lover, Big Ten, a gender-fluid figure of mythological proportions, has died, leaving him in charge of their secret drug lair. That is, until a couple strangers arrive with aims to take over. That’s where we enter this not-so-distant-future world.
In future Trap Street productions, we hope to explore this story further. To learn more about Big Ten and Jimmy’s past. To find out who killed Big Ten.
We’re so excited to share this film with you. After countless setbacks due to jobs, conflicting schedules, tight funds, filming locations getting sold out from under us, and a million other challenges, we’re now inches from completion.
As we’ve said a thousand times, and still believe: Burroughs would be proud. Well, at least, wherever he is now in outer space, we hope he feels that way. And we trust he’s sending us new transmissions to push us forward.
This summer we’ll finally release this thing, host a screening party in LA for our backers and friends, and send this transmission out around the world. We hope you’ll join us, and we hope that this story will bring you as much weird and unexpected joy as it’s brought us.
Stay tuned, friends.