Three fellows dream of prize money and a chance for a real Hollywood contract by winning the Liberty-Pete Smith amateur movie contest. They work on a script, as their wastebasket and ashtrays fill. They head outside to shoot: down a manhole, up a telephone pole, through a keyhole, and at night using binoculars. Next they must edit their film, then it's time for a first screening of their product, "The Afternoon of a Rubberband." It's a montage of experimental images, including a razor blade cutting various objects, a baby in a cooking pot, and a snail in the path of a steamroller. After the screening, the boys wonder if that was their only shot at Hollywood fame.