Ten Seconds

Ten Seconds
by Philip Dean Walker

The only way to really describe our film, Ten Seconds, is that it's a documentary/performance art/drama hybrid. It will be called "genre-bending" by some critics. A "snuff film" by others. But don’t be fooled. This is pure art of the moment. It’s spectacular anticipation valued over career longevity. Really, it’s just ingenious. 

We're planning to approach Zosia Mamet for the lead. She plays the kooky, fast-talking, slightly rodent-like Shoshanna Shapiro on HBO’s Girls. Her character smokes crack by accident at warehouse parties and gets de-virginized by homely men. She’s the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet and Academy Award-nominated actress Lindsey Crouse. She once played a lesbian on Mad Men. Why Zosia? Well, she’s clearly up for anything, which is exactly what we need for this role.

The whole theory behind the film is that after a person is beheaded, there's enough blood in their head to allow for a final ten seconds of consciousness. Ten seconds in which the eyes still function. Ten seconds in which the mind still comprehends. Ten seconds during which that little movie in the back of your head (“your whole life flashing before your eyes") plays out until the house lights dim forever.

When we contact Zosia about this project, we’ll be sure to tell her that there are several other actresses we have in mind, but that she’s the first one we’ve actually approached (actresses love hearing that). We’ll tell her that Lena Dunham was never even considered. We’ll make it sound like this is the most coveted film role of a generation. But she will only be cast if she agrees to do the film outright. She will know nothing about the film or the nature of her role until she agrees. In fact, she’ll know nothing about the film until we actually begin shooting.

She’ll have ten seconds to make it count. Only ten seconds. What will she see as her head rolls down the slight incline we’ll erect for its final descent? How quickly can art be captured before it simply bleeds out of her?

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Philip Dean Walker holds a BA in American Literature from Middlebury College and an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. His fiction has appeared in Big Lucks, Collective Fallout, Jonathan, Glitterwolf Magazine, theNewerYork, Anak Sastra, Carbon Culture Review, and Driftwood Press. He hails from Great Falls, Virginia and currently resides in Washington, DC.