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Art Imitates Life

s a boy, Maxwell Harrington, loved the theatre. His father, Bradford, often took him to Broadway plays and Opera Houses. Maxwell's joy in these things was apparent from the first time he step foot on Broadway for a play. It's much like when a parent

takes their child to a baseball game or sporting event and they get a special look in their eye, the parent realizes that this moment has touched their child's very spirit and the child goes on to do great things. Looking at Maxwell's face light up with previously unreached excitement, curiosity and real joy was inspiring to, Bradford, who shared a similar love of the arts. It was on this night the pair saw, the iconic, "Phantom Of The Opera" , as the gripping tale of a mysterious man whose passion and love not just for the opera but for a young woman unfolded, Bradford, observed his young son mesmerized by the visual presentation. It was as if in his mind he wanted to remember line for line, outfit to outfit even the little things like, lighting, angles, voices, Maxwell seemed to be making a mental note of every little detail of this show.

Maxwell's love for the theatre grew as time went on. Any spare time he had he was seen walking by the buildings that often held shows and performances hoping to just catch a distant note of song being played. When he turned ten, Maxwell, was able to start working inside the opera house doing small things such as placing signs in the windows, posting posters to advertise upcoming events and cleaning the dressing rooms of the stars. To many people this would be work, to, Maxwell, he was able to be close to something he loved. He enjoyed being able to mingle with such talent and people who he deemed knowledgeable of the theatre. On rare occasions, Maxwell, was even able to talk to famous stars even if it was a simple, "How's it hanging kid?" it was as if he had just caught Babe Ruth's last home run.

As, Maxwell, grew older, his jobs around the theatre became more important such as, selling tickets, assigning dressing rooms, and even security at different points. He soaked in all of these things like a sponge. It was a true joy for him to be associated with such a sophisticated art as acting. He found it fascinating that such great and honest men and women could play such corrupt and cold characters on stage and screen. He knew very little at this time of just how dark and cold life could be when the lights turned out and these mega stars were left with cold dark realizations of what they had become.
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Art Imitates Life

In high-school as a project, Maxwell, decided to produce his first ever short film. He entitled it, "The Creature Who Came to Dinner" it was based on a werewolf who befriends a little boy and actually occupies the house as a brother like figure to the boy. While cheesy at best, even at this young age, Maxwell, showed great promise and even greater demand of his friends whom starred in the play. Much like famous directors and playwrights, he commanded excellence of his friends who were clearly nowhere near as passionate about this project as he was. It did win first prize though and sparked, Maxwell's creativity.

After high-school, Maxwell, attended Yale University to further both his basic and theatrical education. It was here where his promise truly showed and grew. Maxwell, was an impassioned student, saving no time between his studies for girls, parties or frat clubs, Maxwell, spent every second of his time always improving, writing several scripts and mapping out multiple sets and scenes. Simply put, Maxwell, allowed nobody who wasn't as passionate about theatre and music as he was in his world. During this time he produced several very good short films. His greatest feature was, "Shooting for History" which documented a young basketball player named, Jason Williams, rise to basketball immortality. In true dramatic fashion, Maxwell, showed how, Jason, came from an abusive background from a family that laughed and mocked his desire to be a professional basketball player. As the film progressed, Jason's steel-hearted determination never wavered and he became the number five overall pick by the, Chicago Bulls. From here the film turns to a more basketball oriented focus. You see, Jason, being the first one in the gym working on his shot, to the last one leaving the gym practicing his free throws. Maxwell, captured the true art and dedication it took to be a success at a pro level sport. The film concludes by having, Jason, hit a game winning shot in the NBA Finals to give the Chicago Bulls their seventh championship. He won three junior film awards for the film then graduated.

After graduating, Maxwell, bought his own home and moved out of his parents home. This was a huge move for Maxwell and a coming of age one as well. It wasn't anything fancy, just a small little one bedroom apartment overlooking a nearby strip club. It was enough however
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for Maxwell to begin his first featured film. He had started it during his college days but shelved it in favor of, Shooting for History. It was a film based on a corrupt Government who manipulated and controlled the citizens of the United States into nothing more than robotic mindless sheep. He called it, "The Manipulation Project" the film was extremely controversial and didn't garner too many willing actors and actresses so in all the film took two years to produce. Maxwell, was now twenty-four by the time the film had begun shooting. Much like in his younger days, he demanded excellence from his cast. Perfection in their line delivery, brilliance in the camera shots and of course spot on direction from himself. While the filming hours were long and brutal, after the project completed in the summer of 2010, all felt confident in their work.

"The Manipulation Project" was one of several films viewed at an independent film showing. Much to, Maxwell's surprise and disappointment, the film was heavily criticized and one critic even wrote that it was a joke and the writer should be banned from ever putting pen to paper again. Literally, years of hard work went to crap in mere moments. The highly controversial material in the film was a turn off for many, after all nobody really enjoys a movie that focuses in on something that is so real and dark...and at least in Maxwell's mind true. You see this was not just a mere dollar sign to, Maxwell, he believed in the project, he put hours, days, months and yes even years into making this film a reality. In front of his cast, his family and to him even more importantly knowledgeable and dedicated theatre critics whose livelihood depended on makings of films, his work was made a mockery of.

After this disaster, Maxwell, felt a less sinister look at the world would be due in his next film. He would call it, "A Day in the Life" the film was a comedic look at the life of a film writer and director starring...Maxwell. He decided to poke fun at his obsessive habits such as using a certain pen for his writing, only using yellow lined paper to write on and writing in a dimly lit room in his home at an old wooden school desk. This was a risky move as the film was all about him and showed how creative he was. The film was shot by him primarily and really cheap....after all he was the only star. This too was shown at an Independent film festival and while critics were less brutal in their verbal attacks, the film still did not receive much praise.
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Maxwell, frustrated in his attempts to breakthrough into Hollywood, decided it was time to really put his nose to the grindstone and force his creativity to heights never dared reached by any other writer/director. Maxwell, still in his one bedroom apartment searched the Internet for hours upon hours just searching for any subject matter to spark a twinkle in his eye. Finally after three months of searching, Maxwell, decided he'd write a film based the world's obsession and abnormal need for the Internet and all its social networking sites. He would call it, "The world at your fingertips"

In his first lines he wrote about how the Internets meteoric rise to the top of the food chain mimicked society's need and craving for more and more. From there he went on to show the rise of sites like, Myspace, Facebook and Twitter. The film surprisingly enough was his most successful to date. While still not favored heavily at least many film critics recognized his creative talents for writing and directing now. After the semi-success of, "The world at your fingertips" Maxwell, wrote three more films, one followed a soldier which documented his life hours before and months after going to battle. The second was a comedy which took us inside the light hearted mind of an 8 year old boy and how he saw his fascinating and colorful world. His third and most successful was a classic PI tale about a private investigator named, James Janos, who had to solve the murder of his client a wealthy business man. The three films while not revered were certainly a joy to the critics and it seemed as if finally, Maxwell, was on the road to stardom.

After the local success of his last three films, Maxwell, moved out to Los Angeles to further his mind and writing abilities. It took about a year but finally his first film was a reality. It was called, "Justice For Some" It was here where, Maxwell, went back to his controversial political views and wrote about a judge named, Bart Maston, who used his power and influence to dictate the outcomes of his cases. The cast was very well thought out and the role of the Judge was played by, Alfred Casino, a world renowned actor who fit the role of a menacing corrupt judge to perfection. The film was controversial enough to garner serious attention...even from
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Art Imitates Life

federal officials who didn't like the idea of being portrayed as evil people. This film saw a huge level of success, financially and just as far as interest level. It got, Maxwell, his first public and national television interview with, CNN. The nearly hour long interview allowed, Maxwell, to show his intelligence and explain his views. For better or worse, Maxwell, was honest about how he felt all government officials on some level were corrupt and willing to let things slide as long as it benefited them. The film combined with this interview made Maxwell Harrington, the hottest topic in Hollywood in quite some time.

Justice for Some, was the first of four highly controversial films, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, was the second. This film showed the life of a senator who starts out as a respectable man but his desire and obsession with becoming more drives him to do unspeakable things. The third also caused quite a stir, "Police Protection", followed a beat cop who shook down shop keepers and beat down unwilling payers. "Sex and Politics" was both his most controversial and successful film. This film followed an unspecified president throughout campaign and run. The film showed all of his....promiscuous activities in graphic imagery. The scenes were so explicit that the film needed an X rating, it also gave, Maxwell, his greatest success as the rating alone elicited a tremendous reaction from critics and movie lovers alike. While not originally his attention, the graphic sexual material shown in the film was the hottest topic of conversation. Every interview he gave following the films release he was asked to explain what made him decide on such a boisterous and risqu decision. He explained that the scenes were not meant to cause a stir, but rather to show just how possessed the president was and how he demanded control over every aspect of his life.

While enjoying his new found success, Maxwell, bought himself a gorgeous home overlooking the lake. It was a great improvement over the tiny little one bedroom apartment he once had. Maxwell, released four more films all of which garnered praise from the critics. After the success of five films, Maxwell, decided he was burnt out. He had put every ounce of his fiber and being into every film project he started and while sitting down to right another film he discovered the drive simply wasn't there. He felt it was time to take a break from film writing. He had spent the last twenty two years of his life in the theatre arts. Finally achieving a level of
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success, sure he was far from the most sought after director/writer in Hollywood but his highly controversial films garnered both attention and success. He was comfortable financially, not affording eight cars and six houses rich, but comfortable enough to not worry about bills or food on the table.

After a week, Maxwell, grew bored. With no ideas flooding him as they did when he was younger, the now thirty year old man went to a local liquor store and bought a six pack of Bud Light. That night while sitting on his deck watching the wind blow over the clear blue water of the lake, Maxwell, chugged down the beers like there was no tomorrow. The following week as, Maxwell, observed two college kids a male and female walk down the street holding hands looking very much in love he had a thought. He had put so much time into films, he never enjoyed...anything. It was always a constant grind to meet only his own expectations of excellence. Nobody put any pressure on him to be perfect, just him. Maxwell, feeling his gut tie into knots headed to his home. After a nice long hot shower, Maxwell, took a hard look at himself in the fogged up mirror. He was no longer a boy. His thick goatee and receding hairline were evidence of that. Yet, he had never really been a child. His love for acting had consumed his life from a very young age and from the moment he saw, "Phantom of the Opera" his life was always to strive and perfect and succeed. Never once had he stopped to smell the air after a rain storm. Never had he, skipped along on a cool fall day. He had never looked up at the sky wondering just how high it was or why it was blue. He always felt he'd create those answers himself. After these harsh realizations set in on him much like the brisk wind on a winters day after a hot shower, Maxwell, grew depressed. His depression brought him back to the liquor store where he had found his most recent joy. That night, Maxwell, decided that one six pack wasn't enough. He proceeded to gulp down eight six packs and throw up about four of them.

After indulging in a night of heavy drinking, Maxwell, woke up with a hangover and realized that wasn't a stunt he should try again. After a year had a passed, Maxwell, finally got an idea for another film. After reaching a successful point with, "Sex and Politics" Maxwell, felt now that he had some recognition he could go back to a less offensive and controversial film. His next movie would be a drama called, Young Summer" he drew his inspiration from the day in
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which he saw the two college students holding hands. The film showed a very upbeat couple that went through some difficulties such as two careers going separate ways, trouble making ends meet and the male parties wandering eye. In the end though, love conquered all in one of, Maxwell's most feel good movies ever. Unfortunately, the happy upbeat likable couple weren't too likable in reviews. The film was slammed by every major critic in the world seemingly. Maxwell, tried a happy upbeat approach to his next two films but those too were flops.

Maxwell, felt it was time to go back to explicit and controversial material and did so with, "Power Lust" the film documented a call girls, depraved and illicit world of selling women to highly ranked members of society for a price. It was here where, Maxwell, returned to the in many ways brilliant scenes able to capture the true lust of having non-committal intimate relations. The film was a gigantic success, and Maxwell, knew now that he had a winning formula in raunchy adult oriented films. From here, Maxwell produced a series of political and sexual films making him a sought after name in Hollywood. It seemed that society craved negativity and raunchiness in movies and, Maxwell, was able to feed them their hunger seemingly at will.

As, Maxwell, produced filthy film after film, his stock rose, as did his paychecks. After an extremely successful sequel to, "Sex and Politics" called, "Sex and Politics II" Maxwell enjoyed his dream in a way. He was praised in the media for being able to reach out into depravity and capture it on film. He was called a genius and a mastermind by the people he held in the highest of regards...intelligent people, passionate people movie people. His films though, after you got past the raunchiness of them were really unimaginative. The content was borderline pornographic and the scenes of violence were often grotesque and the media and public ate them up.

Late one night while watching, "Sex and Politics II" Maxwell was hit with a cold hard dose of reality. He had allowed himself to be compromised. He watched the film almost ashamed of himself. He found himself asking out loud
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"Where's the plot?

Where's the storytelling?

Why is this girl so willing to do these degrading acts for this man?"

Maxwell, allowed other people to strip him of his imagination. You see all Maxwell really wanted out of films was a creative outlet for his mind. These latest films were not creative, they were smut! Angry at himself, Maxwell, flung his phone through his flat-screen television and shouted out every vile word known to man at himself before going to the liquor store and buying anything he could. Maxwell, drank and drank then drank some more hoping to wash away the shame he felt.

Sure, he tried to make a successful film about feel good stories but those never worked. The media and public craved more sex, more violence, more gore. Maxwell foolishly obliged each and every time. Then every night after a premiere, Maxwell, would drown away his sorrows under alcohol beverages. After the release of another hit picture entitled, "The Renegade and the Outlaw" which was an old western picture full of blood and guts with sprinkled gunshots. Maxwell, was to appear on a late night talk show. Maxwell, stumbled onto the stage...then staggered off it, embarrassing the host and himself. The embarrassment continued as a clearly extremely intoxicated, Maxwell, could barely form a proper sentence when asked what gave him the idea for the film. The truth was, nothing had given him that idea. Maxwell was a programmed sheep, simply putting out films he knew the public would eat up. As long as the praise and paychecks kept coming, Maxwell, cared very little about integrity.

Art Imitates Life

This embarrassing showing, caused, Maxwell's father who he had not spoken to in years to call him.

"Hey son. I think we need to talk."

Bradford, says on the other line to an intoxicated, Maxwell.

"Ugh, well, um, dad, I'm afraid talk, don't have time to."

Maxwell said speaking backwards.

"You can't even talk right, you obviously have a problem!"

Bradford shouted angrily.

"I...Don't...Care!"

Maxwell, says rocking back and forth standing by his booze filled refrigerator.

"Look. Come back home for a while, I'm worried!"

Bradford pleaded.

Art Imitates Life

"ha-ha, why come home?

I got lake house the on. Mercedes drive way in new"

Maxwell rambled barely coherently.

"Go to got, dad."

Maxwell, said hanging up the phone before drinking himself unconscious.

Maxwell, shut himself out from society shortly after this. He still produced violent and explicit films but no longer did public appearances. His latest film was entitled, "Darkness" it was a simple film. It followed a man as he started out as an intern for a law firm. As he rose through the ranks, his private life spun out of control. He lost his wife, his kids and his brand new car but still kept the high paying job and that's all that mattered. While the tale was sad and dark at times, the more concerning part was the film was almost a glimpse into what, Maxwell, was feeling. The public loved it of course and nobody cared enough to ask what gave, Maxwell, the idea for this non smut filled film.

Maxwell's next film was, "No Hope", the film focused on the life of a salesman who again as the previous film loses everything he ever wanted out of life. The film again, was a huge hit with audiences and the pay checks rolled in one after the other. Maxwell's last five films had garnered him over five million dollars and still his appearances were limited to short 3 minute sound bites and were usually very incoherent and more like senseless mindless ramblings. Maxwell, was completely addicted to alcohol by now.

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As, Maxwell's film turned from, raunchy to dark, nobody felt there was anything to it. All creative minds test the waters outside their comfort zone after all. But, Maxwell's father who had seen every film his son ever wrote and directed knew something had happened. Bradford, flew out to Los Angeles in hopes of saving his son from the abyss he seemed to be in.

"Ahh man, who turned on the lights?"

Maxwell shouts holding his hand over his eyes.

"It's me son."

Bradford said, smelling the strong scent of liquor upon opening the door.

"Oh, hey...dad"

Maxwell, says attempting to stand up off the couch but falling flat on his face.

"Have...have a seat!"

Maxwell, says wobbling.

"Okay. Thanks."

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Bradford says sitting on the white leather chair.

"Want a drink?"

Maxwell asks.

"No thanks."

Bradford replied in his stern voice.

Well, I do."

Maxwell, says staggering over to his refrigerator,

"Son, I think you've had too many already, don't you?"

Bradford asks, in a tone letting his son know regardless of his answer drinking would not be wise.

"You're the boss, you're the boss, you're the boss!"

Maxwell, says in a chipper slurry voice before awkwardly plopping down on the couch.

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"What happened to you son?"

Bradford asks in a deep sigh.

"Haven't you read the papers pops? I'M A GENIUS!"

Maxwell says with a drunken smile. Maxwell stands and grabs a stack of reviews.

Bradford sits and listens.

"Listen to this one dad!"

Maxwell, says flicking the paper a bit.

"Maxwell Harrington's latest film, Power Lust" is an absolute masterpiece. Brilliantly written and directed. Maxwell, should be praised for his ability to show such explicit acts on the big screen.

"You hear that?

That garbage is the best thing I ever did!"

Maxwell says going from proud to angry.

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"Guess how much effort that film took dad, guess!"

Maxwell asks.

"I'm not sure son."

Bradford says knowing the direction of this conversation is heading south in a hurry.

"NONE! Not a single scene or word had any creativity at all I wrote that purely based on what I thought the public wanted."

Maxwell says with a chuckle.

"Oh hear this, this is great!"

Maxwell says grabbing yet another paper.

"Maxwell Harrington's Sex and Politics II has been able to out dew the first film. It's intense and lusty sex scenes are used to emphasize the story. You hear that? Degrading filthy sex enhances my story, WHAT STORY?"

Maxwell screams while throwing the paper.

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"There wasn't any story. But I got great news dad, great, great news!"

Maxwell says with a smirk

"What, what's that, Maxwell?"

Bradford asks.

"I finally got a huge house, a great car, and all my movies are blockbusters and you know how I accomplished that?"

Maxwell asks with a puzzled look on his face.

"No, how?"

Bradford asks allowing his son a chance to vent.

"I DON'T GIVE ANY EFFORT OR PASSION INTO IT AT ALL I JUST FEED THOSE PERVERTS OUT THERE SICK DESIRES THAT'S ALL I HAVE TO DO TO BE SUCCESSFUL. I SPENT YEARS TRYING TO PUSH BOUNDARIES OF CREATIVITY AND ART AND NOTHING THEN I MAKE SOME SMUT FLICKS AND THE WORLD GOES APE OVER IT!!!"

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Maxwell shouts infuriated.

"Calm down son."

Bradford says standing and grabbing his son.

"I am calm dad look at me. I got my dream house, my dream car, and multiple hit films. And all I had to do was give up any pint of integrity and self-respect I ever had isn't that wonderful?"

Maxwell, says now hitting depression.

"Just go, leave me be dad."

Maxwell says beginning to sob.

"But...

Bradford says.

"I said go!"

Maxwell says in anger. Bradford reluctantly leaves.

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Maxwell made three more smut films as he calls them almost like feeding the hungry gator, the movie did wonderfully on the box office. Maxwell, drank more and more while writing his next feature presentation. This was the pattern for, Maxwell now. The booze helped feed his mind, at least that's what he told the few friends he had. He'd write, then drink, write a bit more then drink a lot more. Maxwell's latest film was entitled, "Stairway to Hopelessness" It featured a young boy who absolutely loved movies, loved the theater and even documented his first opera ever was, "Phantom of the Opera" the film progresses to young adult hood where the boy now in his late teens makes several unsuccessful film. Then follows the young man into adulthood where after two failed movies, he produces a sexually graphic film. The film hits it big and from there the man becomes a depressed alcoholic whose private life is practically nonexistent. Every time a movie he makes hits it big he buries himself further into liquor. Finally the film reaches its climax. You see the young man sitting in an empty living room, a bottle of Jack Daniels in hand and he's staring at his aging face in a nearby mirror. It appears he's screaming at himself

"How could you betray your own soul?"

Until finally, he wraps a noose around his neck, stands on the chair and before kicking it out from under him he says:

"This is the only way to stop the madness."

He then kicks the chair out and hangs himself in a very powerful scene. As the film and credits end you see, Maxwell, alone. He looks into the camera at the audience and says:

"This film is dedicated to who I once was and the end of what I have become!'

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The screen then goes black.

Fearing the worst, Bradford, gets the earliest possible flight to, Los Angeles and rushes frantically to his son's home. Upon opening the large white French doors he sees his son's limp body hanging from the ceiling of his home with a bottle of Jack Daniels smashed below. Bradford cuts the rope, and clutches his son as tears of pain flow freely down his face.

"Why?

Why?

Why?"

is all he can say.

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