LOGLINE Matt Zarley’s original, (nearly dialogue-free) musical is a universal story about loving, letting go, and holding onto faith that there’s somebody for everybody.
3-LINE SYNOPSIS hopefulROMANTIC is a universal story about loving, letting go, and holding onto faith that there's somebody for everybody. The nearly dialogue-free narrative is articulated solely through Matt Zarley and Andy Zulla's soulful pop score...introducing a fresh new format in musical storytelling. George Takei co-stars.
MEDIUM SYNOPSIS hopefulROMANTIC is an original musical film about one man's emotional journey through love, heartbreak, and healing. It's a universal story about loving, letting go, and holding onto faith that there's somebody for everybody. It may sound like a somewhat familiar story....but what makes hopefulROMANTIC unique, is the way in which it is told. The nearly dialogue-free narrative is articulated solely through Matt Zarley and Andy Zulla's soulful pop score. Is it a music video? Not really. Is it a musical? Sort of. hopefulROMANTIC is best described simply as a love story....with music as its guide. Matt Zarley (The Romantic) co-stars with Chuck Saculla (The Boyfriend) , Jolie Jenkins (The Best Friend), and social media/pop culture icon, Star Trek's George Takei (The Mentor).
LONG SYNOPSIS “Just say it!” shouts from the TV as the film opens up on an opening segment from the popular dating game show, S4E. As the scene unfolds, we are introduced to a couple that has clearly fallen into a routine. It’s not clear yet if that’s a good or a bad thing. One of the two men (Chuck Saculla) is obviously a fan of the dating show; while the other (Matt Zarley), not so much. Just then, the picture freezes and we are thrust back in time. Images flash of the past year, a rapid reminder of how special and wonderful the year had been. “I JUST KNEW” opens up with The Romantic (Matt Zarley) sitting nervously waiting for someone. When The Boyfriend (Chuck Saculla) arrives, it’s instantaneous. Love at first sight. As he sings simply, “I Just Knew, I knew, just knew, knew that I loved you.” It seems to be mutual. They hit it off so effortlessly immediately. It would appear that they stayed in the cafe for the majority of the afternoon getting to know each other. Towards the end of the date, The Boyfriend kisses The Romantic at the table which sends us off into a montage of their first year together and all those important milestones: introducing each other’s dogs to each other, moving in together, birthdays, Christmas, and ending back in the cafe where they first met. The Romantic then proposes to The Boyfriend. He says “yes” and they kiss. We are catapulted back into the present day and the two are still watching S4E. As the theme song plays, the lyric “just say it” seems to be taunting over and over in The Boyfriend’s head. Then suddenly, without warning, he emotionlessly blurts out: “I’m not in love with you anymore.” The sound goes out. Life just stops. From this moment forward, music will guide us through the remainder of the journey. Days later, as they say “goodbye”, The Boyfriend attempts to give back his engagement ring, but The Romantic insists he keep it. As he watches him drive off, he sings “Yes, I knew….knew that I loved you.” He peels himself away from the window and immediately the reality of his situation begins to sink in. The Boyfriend left his ring. As he picks it up, the pain begins to wash over him. He sings: “if it’s true, that time will heal all wounds, then will it start?” His Best Friend (Jolie Jenkins) shows up to offer some comfort; but the hurt is so deep that he begins to retreat. After several unanswered calls, the Best Friend shows up to check on him. When he doesn’t answer, she leaves a business card for a life coach/therapist in his door. As the song “CONSTANTLY” closes, he sings “my heart still breaks for you constantly.” He is clearly in need of help so he takes his friend’s advice and contacts The Mentor (George Takei). After a few sessions, it would appear that he’s getting well. Then one day, as he’s staring at a screen saver of his ex love, he actually sees him at the doorway singing to him: “I had to go so far away to find my way back to you. I had to lose a part of me to make me realize the truth….” He can’t believe that he has actually come back and is saying all the things he has longed to hear. The Romantic sings back: “can’t you see these are words I wish I’d hear from you. If I did, I would run. Yes run right back to you.” As the camera rotates back to the doorway, we see The Mentor standing in the doorway. It was just his imagination. The Boyfriend wasn’t there at all. A day goes by, he flips the TV on. S4E is on again….only to remind him of his reality. Days later, he’s doing some social media stalking and discovers his ex is obviously seeing someone new. He also notices The Other Man (Joseph Arellano) wearing the sweater he gave him for Christmas. He remembers the sweater is in the closet. He left it when he moved out. Which means he was seeing this guy when they were still together. A light bulb goes off, he gets up and throws the sweater evidence in the trash, cleans the house, and begins to pull himself back together. As he sits down to delete the ex’s social media sites, he gets sucked into a daydream. The fantasy takes place inside a video game with the lead character, Big Z, bearing a very close resemblance of himself. The Boyfriend sits childlike on the floor as they taunt him with the ABCs, At the end of the game, Big Z blows up his social media page to reveal “GAME OVER”. Just then, he looks up to see him in the doorway. This time for real. He’s obviously come back for forgiveness. The Romantic sings: “I don’t know if it’s you or me that’s holding on so desperately. I know that I can’t do this on my own. I need you. I’ll always love you…but let me let go.” Dumbfounded, The Boyfriend exits. The Romantic then sits down and flips the TV on to reveal S4E once again. As the announcer says “there’s somebody for everybody. You just gotta believe.” He smiles for the first time in a long time. As he offers his gratitude to The Mentor and raises a glass with his Best Friend, a comforting revelation washes over him. In “HOPEFUL”, he sings “before you, i never knew i could feel this way. Because we were, I know I’ll never be the same. I finally believe in possibilities…” And as he looks over the hillside and out to the ocean he sings “I am feeling so hopeful…and I’d do it all over again.” Just then the birds begin to sing and the sounds of life fade up. He smiles. Life has begun again….