Sunday, August 05, 2012


Okay, guys: You’re enjoying a relaxing dinner in a restaurant with a nice young lady, when you start making marriage plans, talking about the children you’ll have together, introduce her to your parents who appear out of nowhere, and take a photo of everyone together for the next Christmas card—and it’s only your first date. Is this a good thing or not? If you’re stumped, here is the video for you!

Amateur filmmaker David Mills has put together a “survival guide” that will answer these and many other questions about the world of dating. I recently stumbled across this video on YouTube and thought I’d watch a couple of minutes just to see what it was like, but ended up viewing the entire 30 minute production, smiling and chuckling away.

The video actually is geared toward members of his church, but it could apply to anyone. And it’s just plain fun to watch whether you’re single or an old married lady like me! Entitled “YSA: Survival Guide to Dating”, the comedic short film guides a group of friends as they learn “what not to do and what not to say to girls.” YSA stands for Young Single Adults, a group in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or “Mormons”). I’m a convert to the Mormon Church and so during my dating years I was not around any young, awkward LDS boys like those depicted in this video. I went about finding a husband the old-fashioned way: picked a guy I liked at college, went after him and got hitched before he knew what hit him. (Well actually it wasn’t quite that simple.)

For David, the idea for the film came after he was divorced and found himself back in the singles ward, or congregation.

“I felt out of place,” he said. “So I decided to combine my passion for film-making and my situation of dating again and make a movie about dating.”

To get ideas and insight, he passed out surveys to church members on what girls want on first dates, with questions about favorite activities and places to eat.

“I even had summit meetings with various girls to talk about problems with dating,” he said.

David, who has a bachelor’s degree in film from the University of Las Vegas, collaborated on the production with his older brother Brian. Together they make up the filmmaking duo “The Brothers Mills” which is their YouTube user name. They have completed three short films together about dating, and have several side projects as well.

“Making movies is my passion,” said David, who was born and raised in Las Vegas. “I can honestly say the movie turned out better than I had hoped. The cast did an amazing job and most had never acted before.”

The cast was comprised of people from his ward and one other singles ward. It took several months to complete due to problems ranging from scheduling conflicts to audio mishaps, not to mention David’s broken toe which halted production for three weeks.

“So we had several setbacks, and there were times when I didn’t think this would ever get made,” he said.

The production starts out with a group of guys gathered around the TV screen, coffee table littered with chips and other snacks while they are intently involved in a video game. Someone mentions that they can’t believe one of their friends missed this because he was out with a girl.

“Who needs dates when you have video games?” says one young man. “Like there’s anyone to even date,” says another. Cut to a scene showing a group of lonely young women spending the evening date-less. Then we’re back to the boys when suddenly a loud, stern, boot-camp drill sergeant guy dressed in full camouflage appears out of nowhere and the group is off the couch, standing at attention.

“On your feet, maggots!” he bellows with his in-your-face attitude. “Play time’s over! Is this the best this ward has to offer? No wonder there’s so many single women in this ward! You losers couldn’t hit the ground if you fell out of an airplane! It’s time to start DATING!”

And date they do, with some much-needed support. One young man stands at the front door waiting for the young lady to appear. “Ring the doorbell, MORON!” shouts the man in camouflage, who only the clueless guy can see. So he rings the doorbell. She answers. “Compliment her! NOW!” The young man tells the girl that she has nice shoes. And so their romantic evening begins.

“One of the main goals of the movie was to point out problems with dating, so that we (guys and girls) can fix the problem,” David explains. “For example, some people might be unaware of how annoying it is when your date is on their phone.”

Indeed, the film demonstrates that making your date your priority is a must. We see one couple dining at a restaurant when the guy takes a text message and is very upset about something that happened to someone.

“Is that a good friend of yours?” she asks, concerned.

“It’s worse! He’s on my fantasy football team! He’s my top scorer!” he replies, whipping out his computer to “change the lineup” of his game.

Another dating no-no is to avoid faking an interest just so your date will like you. (“Wow, I can’t believe we both like crocheting!”)

Throughout the movie we see more entertaining and often surrealistic skits and scenarios where the guys learn how to dress, where to take their date, how to improve their confidence without being overbearing, and how to avoid being what might be considered “creepy”. We even get to hear a couple sing a duet professing their feelings for one another.

“Guys and girls have the same goal of getting married, but often it feels like not only are we not on the same page, but not even in the same book,” David says. “I hope that the movie was successful. I hope that people realize that they might have bad dating habits that they need to change.”

Click here to watch The Survival Guide to Dating. You might also enjoy the short trailer or teaser, which is a parody of those classic 1950’s PSA videos. Trust me, even if you’re not in the dating scene, you’ll like it. So just do it, moron! NOW!

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