So there was this girl I was e-mailing for a while. She was a friend of a friend of mine from college, but I'd never met her in person. After so much on-line dialogue, I asked her to send me a picture of herself, to get a better feel of who I was "talking" with. When I saw in my inbox an e-mail from her containing a picture, my mind suddenly raced. How would my knowing how she looked affect our future interactions, when our dialogue had previously been uninhibited by superficial notions of appearance? Would I change?

Like most people, I bottled up all these emotions and dashed off a screenplay. I see it as kind of a Pretty In Pink for the new millenium. My therapist says it's Oscar™ material. See for yourself:


Okay, we've got this boy. He's kind of dorky. But I'm thinking of a latter-day McCauley Culkin, really (except not the actual latter-day McCauley Culkin, but rather someone who evokes the former-day McCauley while still existing in the latter-day). Cute and charming to everyone watching the movie, but for some reason his character is perceived as awkward and dull. Suspension of disbelief — it's big with the younger audiences right now. You know, irony and all. Anyhow, he goes to this nice high school and has a normal existence and all. He's a smart kid, not too popular. Think "pubescent David Byrne". Geek chic — scores well with the indie film crowd. So this kid wants to run with the in crowd, but he's too dorky. He has geek friends, but he yearns for something more.

Then one day he meets this alien girl. Because this is in the future, you see, when aliens are commonplace and all at high school. This provides much of the comic relief in this film as humans are constantly learning the pitfalls of social interaction with aliens. I'm thinking of scenes where someone is talking to what they think is the alien's face but it's his butt, and the alien gets all angry or something. Or a human tries to make out with an alien, but he gets zapped by some power-thing or something. The point is this: alien is funny, like foreigners, but moreso. We can probably work in a montage of funny vignettes with awkward homo-galacto interactions.

Anyhow, this alien girl is ugly and/or a big dork, but this guy befriends her because of his big heart of gold. Maybe he sees her drop her books or fail a geometry quiz or something, so he helps her out, and she's really thankful or something, and they start talking and he realizes she's really nice.

Regardless, everyone else thinks she's ugly or whatever.

Or maybe she's an invisible alien. I could see it go either way. If she's invisible, then all his friends think he's insane for talking to "himself" all the time. Which, you understand, he's not — he's talking to this alien. We can represent her by a faint outline (the old "Pete's Dragon trick") or something so the audience doesn't get confused and also think he's talking to himself. But it probably would be easier (by which I mean cheaper) to just get an ugly girl.

So they're friends and all. Maybe another video montage shows this. Them running in the fields. Them picking flowers. Them laughing over coffee. Friendly stuff.

But then the boy finds out that the big high school dance is coming up. And the way he does this is he sees this other cute girl putting up flyers that say something like "Big High School Dance Coming Up" with pictures of balloons or clowns on them. Now this cute girl is a member of the student council so she's popular and all, but she's also nice. She says hello to our guy as she's putting up posters. Just, you know, being nice. But he takes it the wrong way. He totally gets a crush on her. We could do a shot of her in soft focus, maybe wearing a feather boa or something.

So now we've got conflict, right? Our guy wants to ask out the cute student council member, but the ugly/invisible girl expects him to ask her out because he's her only friend and all. The ugly/invisible girl is always dropping hints about the dance, but he's always dreaming of the cute girl (it would be funny to show a "thought bubble" with the cute girl in it coming out of his head while the ugly/invisible chick blabbers at him). Maybe we even see the non-cute girl getting ready for the dance, with her mom sewing up a tacky "fancy" dress and all. Visions of yards of taffeta dance in my head. This scene would be a lot better if the girl were invisible, though, because the dress would just be hanging there in midair, and you don't see that every day, while ugly chicks in ugly dresses are a dime a dozen. Plus, it's not clear how test audiences will respond to an ugly girl getting so much screen time.

Okay, I just had the billion dollar idea of the century: the student council girl is more than just cute — she's hot. Foxy! Sexy outfits, short skirts, lowcut tops, cleavage, the whole bag. But, get this: she's also not a human, she's an alien. But she looks just like a human, only with maybe a cute antenna or glowing eyes or green skin or something. Nothing that detracts from the sex aspect. This way, we can get the 12–25 male demographic drooling over the sexiest shots we can get, but the parents don't get upset because we'd just be showing alien skin. If she's an alien, then when we show the guy daydreaming about her, we can show her naked, and it won't matter if she's under 18 or not. Brilliant!

Anyhow, it's obvious this guy has almost no chance of going to the dance with this hot girl, because he's just a normal not-too-popular guy. We show the hottie getting hit on by all these buff guys. Maybe show her having sex with them, too.

Anyhow, there's lots of time used up showing the boy dealing with his decision — I guess it's what they call a "moral quandary" — of whom to ask out. And we intersperse that with images of the ugly girl moping about, but a lot more images of the hot girl going swimming, giggling, playing tennis, getting a massage, whatever.

Now here's the clever part: We see the boy decide to ask out the hot thing. And it seems like he's just made the wrong choice. But it turns out that the hottie doesn't really speak English that well (which is why we've only heard her say "hi" to him so far) and his asking her out sounds like an insult in her language or something and she tries to eat him, because her species does that kind of thing.

Movie poster for UFO U.

We then kind of change gears for a bit and show the space-cops showing up, busting down the school doors/walls and blasting the heck out of the hot chick with their lasers and missiles. I'm seeing lots of cool pyrotechnics, computer animation, and all sorts of blood all over. Here is where it's brilliant again that she was an alien, because the blood can be green, so the parents don't get mad that it's human blood, and it's not immoral to kill an alien.

This, of course, launches a war between the hot girl's home planet and Earth, and we have lots of cool shots of space ship armadas and planets exploding and lasers and so forth, and I guess we'll show Earth triumphing, because we are going to sell this on Earth. At the end of the battle, there's a royal medal ceremony at the White House celebrating all the victors. Lots of robots.

Then we segue back to the main plot line. We see the boy, who I guess has cleaned all the green alien goo off of him by now, asking out the ugly/invisible alien girl to the dance, because he doesn't have any other options at this point. She's really happy and stuff, maybe also because her brother was a brave victor in the space battle that just took place — see if we can work that in. And she says yes, she'll go with him to the dance.

Now here's the part I still haven't worked out yet. See, the girl turns out to not be ugly or invisible now. If we go the ugly route, maybe the girl was really a parasite or something in this ugly host, right? And she suddenly switches host bodies to a far svelter, more buxom hottie Maybe she switches hosts because the ugly host body died or got a dent in it or something. Or maybe the ugly girl was a shapeshifter and was testing the boy all along, but she wasn't really shy and is in fact really outgoing and wants to have sex.

If we went with the invisible route, maybe the war that just took place sends a big burst of gamma radiation or neutrons through Earth at that very moment when he asks her to the dance, making her permanently visible, and it turns out she's a total bombshell, like in the other option. What I'm getting at here is: sex. Hot hot hot. You know, money.

So they go to the dance and have a great time. Maybe we could turn it into a joint high school dance/war-winning ball and so a lot of the hero fighters from the battle scene are there dancing in their cool space fighting outfits Also, lots of robots dancing too. That's always funny. And they play cool techno space music.

So the boy has learned a lot about not judging people by their covers, especially now that the girl is, as I mentioned, hot hot hot, selling tickets tickets tickets with the 12–25 demographic.

And the denouement of the film has the boy and the girl getting a room at a hotel after the dance and they try to make out and have sex but it turns out that her species has like four sexes, none of which are compatible with those on Earth, so it doesn't work out anyway, but you get the point. And it's a nice light note to end the film on.

And the moral of the story (we could scroll this at the end of the film like at the beginning of Star Wars) is something like: if you just learn to love what's inside a person, eventually they'll turn out to be really sexy, even if they have to change host bodies or get lots of plastic surgery.

Cockahoop presents film

Other films and screenplays from Cockahoop

Cockahoop home page

Below: stills from the short film Gerry Toll and the Hostess Cupcake