As the pandemic rages on, Hollywood is still figuring out how to resume production on films and television shows safely. As a screenwriter, I’m right in the thick of this. Before the pandemic hit, I was about to begin production on my feature-length college sex-comedy Sex University, a classic college-romp in the vein of Animal House or Van Wilder about a freshman virgin who’s befriended by a cool upperclassman that’s determined to help him have sex.
In order to make this movie safely, I’ve had to make the following changes.
— The scene where the cool upperclassman accidentally knocks over the protagonist’s journal in class, reads it, and finds out the protagonist is a virgin, can no longer be shot in a crowded classroom. It has to be done on Zoom somehow. The protagonist is going to have to somehow, accidentally, hold his journal up to the webcam for several minutes, giving the cool upperclassman time to read it. From there, the cool upperclassman can deliver his big line (“A virgin!? Bro, not acceptable! Let the Sexmeister General show you the ropes, kemosabe.”)
— The scene where the cool upperclassman takes the apprehensive protagonist to a party to “scope out some trim” can no longer be shot in a crowded frat house. Maybe it could be a virtual happy hour instead. If not that, then they’re going to have to scope out trim at a spacious outdoor location, like a big field.
— There really can’t be any party scenes in this college sex-comedy at all. It just isn’t safe to have so many actors and crew people in a small indoor space. Unfortunately, that means we have to say goodbye to a lot of really funny gags. The following characters are all being cut from the movie:
- Hot Girl At House Party Who Gets Diarrhea In Pool
- Big Fat Guy Who Farts So Bad At House Party That Everyone Barfs
- Horny Guy At Party #1
- Horny Guy At Party #2
- Horny Guys At Party #3 – 47
- Cool Jock Whose Pants Fall Down At Party and It Turns Out He Has Small Penis
- Dorky Guy Whose Pants Fall Down At Party and It Turns Out He Has Big Penis
- Dorky Guy Who Ends Up Becoming the Coolest Guy At Party Because Knowing Math Makes Him Good At Beer Pong
- Police Officer Who Shows Up to Bust Party But Then Accidentally Takes Ecstasy and Becomes Chill
— The inability to shoot scenes in a classroom kills off a lot of funny gags, too. Like that really funny scene, where the protagonist gets an erection in class, or that scene where the protagonist gets an erection in a different class.
— We have to think of a new location for the protagonist to meet the love interest, since we can no longer set it at a freshman orientation. They’ll have to have their meet-cute in a safer, more hygienic location, like a drive-in movie, or a coronavirus testing site.
— We can’t do the scene where our heroes prank the rival college by spiking their punch with ipecac. The prank will have to be some sort of phone call or email, although that won’t be quite as funny because no one barfs. I guess the rivals can still barf, but we’d only hear them barf, instead of seeing it happen for twelve consecutive minutes like in my original draft.
— The characters can still smoke weed, but they can’t share with each other. They all have to have their own individual bongs, and we have to sanitize them after every take. If that ends up being too much work, we can go back to the characters sharing one bong, but the bong will have to be CGI’d in so that the actors aren’t actually putting their lips on anything.
— We will probably have to cut the scene where the cool upperclassman crashes his dad’s car into the school and gets expelled. That has nothing to do with the pandemic; it’s just the CGI bongs may eat up our car-crash budget. The bong thing takes priority. These characters absolutely must smoke weed.
— The scene in the third act where the protagonist and the cool upperclassman have their big fight (because the protagonist is sick of the cool upperclassman trying to turn him into somebody he’s not) can no longer take place at the big “40th Annual ‘Touch-Your-Friend’s-Face Festival.’” In retrospect, the Touch-Your-Friend’s-Face Festival felt like a made-up thing to begin with. I don’t remember what I was going for with that.
Overall, this isn’t quite the movie that I wanted to make. So many of the antics require close proximity, physical touch, and the expulsion of bodily fluids. Despite these setbacks, I still hope Sex University captures the crazy, hilarious, hormone-fueled experience of college. And I still think I have the opportunity to tell a grounded, heartfelt, coming-of-age story about a guy losing his virginity with the help of a guy who’s cooler than him.
Oh, and we also have to cut the part at the end where the protagonist has sex.