Trust Fall box art.
(Left to Right) Terri (Judy Jerome) with her mother
Patricia (Sheila Heskett) and her little brother
Tommy (Mindy Lariviere) mugging for father
Alexander’s (Aaron Parham) home video camera.
(Left To Right) Cameron (Scott R. Caseley)
receives crucial information on Terri (Judy
Jerome) from her cousin, Kyle (Randy Marquis).
(Left to Right) Brett (Jonathan Cipollina) tells his
best friend Claudia (Liz Maxwell) that he’s a
changed man, and no longer wants to be called,
a “Chick Magnet”.
Hostilities between former roommates Tiffani
(Katie Steliga, left), and Gina (Chrissy Heskett,
right) intensify while Leo (John Verner) looks on.
Terri (Judy Jerome, right) enters her first
college party with roommate Sam (Stephanie-Kaye
Powers, left) as Bruno (Kreighten Moore, center),
a student bouncer checks her out.
At 21, I decided to fulfill a dream to become a filmmaker that I held since my father took me to the movies to see “The Empire Strikes Back” when I was five. Together with my friend Randy, we recruited two hundred and twenty-five people at Franklin Pierce to help see this goal through to fruition. We started one film, but only got halfway through. The summer following this failed attempt, I dreamt about this woman coming to me for help while I sat in lotus position atop my metal swing-set in my backyard.
The film “Trust Fall” was born that night, and the next morning, I set about writing a script loosely based on what she told me. Randy helped me out revising certain scenes and writing others from scratch. Together, we decided we would co-write, co-produce, and co-direct the film. While we were in pre-production, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s “Good Will Hunting” was released, so we thought we’d be another pair of friends from New England who could find cinematic glory too.
In the spring and fall of 1998, we shot the movie on S-VHS on campus and in my father’s house with a budget of $83.70. Many of the faithful people who embarked on our botched film odyssey came aboard the project. When all was said and done, we had two successful screenings on campus, and the following spring, I won an award for Excellence in Mass Communication. But more importantly than that, it was a really intense learning experience, and I forged many friendships that I still have today.
The film tells the story of Cameron Smith, a student who decides in his senior year to forgo family tradition of becoming a doctor, and try his hand at filmmaking instead. During the campus freshman orientation, he meets the spunky and charismatic Theresa “Terri” Jefferson and elects to make her the focus of a documentary which will chronicle her first year. He films a party she attends hosted by his rival Brett “The Chick Magnet” Jilette. At the end of the night, she leaves the event screaming, and Cameron wants answers. Using his camcorder, he starts an investigation into what happened to her.
24 EXT. TERRI’S DORM ROOM – NIGHT
Cameron’s left hand knocks on the metal door, the camcorder wobbly on his right shoulder struggling to hold focus. The pink paper fish from orientation that holds the name Theresa Jefferson on orientation weekend is torn in half, though the blue fish that says Samantha Goodwin is still intact. However, the ‘antha’ has a Sharpie line through it. After knocking, Cameron waits just a few seconds and then tries again. The sound of the DOOR BEING UNLOCKED from inside is heard. It opens slightly, and Sam stands there in an oversized white t-shirt and shorts. She is considerably sleep deprived.
Cameron, what are you doing here?
It’s four in the morning.
I’m sorry that I came so late.
It’s just… I haven’t been able to
think straight since you guys left
the party in such a rush.
Is Terri all right?
I don’t even know… It’s just so
Sam steps out into the hallway, looks in both directions for any nosey people out and about. Convinced there aren’t any, she drags him in by the arm.
Just get in here.
25 INT. DORM ROOM- MOMENTS LATER 25
Once inside, he pans the camera over to Terri’s side and sees that her bed is stripped yet her clothing and other belongings remain neatly in the closet or on shelves nailed to the wall.
Sam paces about in the room for a bit, afraid to look at him.
Listen Cam… I don’t know… I ju…
I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you.
She sits down on her bed.
But… but why… why not?
What happened to Terri tonight, she just
doesn’t know who she can trust
Quite frankly, neither do I.
But, I can help her. What happened
at the party?
I can’t tell you. It’s up to
Terri, it’s not up to me.
She’s not here right now. I mean…
I want to be able to help
her. I can help her really.
Please Cameron, I told you. It’s a private
I shouldn’t just go around telling anybody.
HEY! I’M NOT JUST ANYBODY!
I’m a friend.
Cameron heads for the door, Sam gets off the bed, and he stops before grasping the doorknob.
Wait, Cam… I didn’t mean to yell. Don’t leave.
Cameron turns around find her right behind him. Her face fills up the frame.
I’m so confused.
She starts to walk away.
If you’re confused, imagine how I feel.
I know Cam, I’m just not sure
if it’s my place to tell you
something like this.
Sam, I’m sorry, I’m just concerned.
I want to be able to help her.
Hold on a sec, I want to
set up a better shot.
26 INT. DORM ROOM – MOMENTS LATER 26
Cameron puts the camera down on a tripod, as Sam sits on her bed with her back against the wall, avoiding eye contact with him. She bunches herself up tight and is shaking. He studies her in the frame as he sets up for a wide shot making her seem much smaller and insignificant.
He walks out from behind the camera and sits down next to her on the bed causing her to squirm a bit.
I’m sorry. I know I don’t have
any right to come over here
He inches closer to her, she inches further away.
When one of my friends leaves
a party screaming, forgive me, but…
I get concerned.
He picks up on her unease and stays still on the bed.
Listen, you’re a good guy, Cameron,
I know that. I know you’re
just as worried about Terri as
I am. Believe me, if I thought
telling you would do some good—
Cameron places his hand on his chest.
Hey… why don’t you let me
be the judge of that? I just
wanna help her. But, you gotta
He puts his hand on her shoulder and she quivers.
Cameron, Terri was raped.
He takes his hand away.
What?! I had no idea.
I know… nobody knew.
He looks away from her and out into space, darkness settles over his eyes.
Has he been arrested?
Huh? Has who been arrested?
Disclaimer: Trust Fall was originally shot in color in 1998 on an S-VHS camcorder. Sadly, over the years, the deterioration of the footage led to severe decline in the color of the footage, so Mr. Caseley made a decision to make the stills from the movie be in Black and White for use on this page.