Peripheral City

Peripheral City
Peri, played by Josh Elrod

Thursday, November 30, 2017

I, Tonya – Vindicating Abused Women Through Film (still a long way to go)

So, I saw I, Tonya tonight. What an amazing movie about an American punching bag – humanized and vindicated by a gorgeously talented version of herself played by bombshell talent, Margot Robbie (total win). But failed by everyone in her life, punished by white men (a judge, the press, heck – punished by all of America) for what abusive white men (husband, husband's best friend) did to her (lied, saying she knew about the Kerrigan attack, ruining her career), and now show-ponied up for all us pseudo-intellectuals to laugh and cry over all the way to the Oscars. While all these white men (screenwriters/studio) make money off her tragedy and fighter/rebel personality. And still kind of make fun of her at the same time, even as the movie itself vindicates her. I mean, I was surprised when the screenwriter seemed still somewhat superior in the way he spoke about her, as if we were laughing along with him about the circumstances and the people that populated her life – as if we were all in on the white trash joke, which maybe I could have been if it weren't for how much he capitalized on her tragedy. He told a full house that he got her life rights and only had to pay a "minimal fee" for usage. Her ex-husband, the numbskull that blew it all, was way more human about it than the writer himself, saying he wouldn't take a fee for ruining Tonya's life. AND MOST surprisingly because I don't think the screenwriter really understood that he penned the all-time empowering abused women banner movie, and then turned around and was kind of a douche by not paying her well enough for how well this movie is probably going to do. I think it's going to do really, really well

Maybe the lack of sensitivity and the lack of financial retribution to his subject leaves me feeling like it's just one more dude using an abused woman. Punching bag continued? Hmmm. Breaking ground? Bummer. I'm bitter. Boo hoo. Just some thoughts. God I LOVED the movie though. The story leaves me enraged that this happens to women far too often. It reminds me of that doc that came out last year, Amanda Knox, on Netflix, which revealed how Knox was warped by press and a few bad men (cops) who portrayed her as a killer, when all she was was a pretty young woman trying to be alive in the world. Enraged at how this can happen. And she was beautiful, not white trash, but a sexually liberated young woman, like Tonya and her funky outfits and unabashed poverty, again, bucking the norm, leaving her beauty and talents a target for male domination and reinterpretation. 

Side note: If it weren't for the ethically bizarre way in which Tonya is getting now financially used and abused once more by industry dudes, the movie really does deserve several Oscars. The actors are all spot on perfection. Allison Janney as the wicked stage mom has outdone herself. As did Margot Robbie as the awkward rebel Tonya, at ALL ages, total transformation. The guy actors played morally corrupt buffoonery sublimely. The movie structure itself took all of the things I loved about The Big Short, breaking the third wall, with actors talking directly into the lens in glib, sly humor, utilizing their tragic vulnerability as comedy, as they spoke to us in their own voices,  about their own warped perceptions, looking right into our eyes, again, in on the joke – but way better when coming from the characters. So now, how do we reconcile that this is a great piece of art with the, once again, the mistreatment of women, Tonya Harding as the stakes? She better be getting royalties is all I'm saying here. Compensation may not bring back all those years of not being able to pursue her passion, but I'm certain it would alleve the sting.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Love in the Connectivity Age, Violence in the Cartoon Age

I wrote Soulmates after a failed relationship of a similar nature as the protagonists, but also a fictionalizing of deep frustrations from societal anxieties of separateness being masked as connecting technologies. Modern intimacy forever altered by technologies meant to help us connect: cell phones, texting, internet, Skype, online dating, and how they seem to be replacing real interaction, an invisible substitute with a real emotional hits. These emotional “hits” or “highs” from devices alter our body chemistry, create endorphins from feel-good interactions without any of the culpability or time constraints of being face to face. How do we authentically connect within this apparent realm of separation? It has become the norm. My belief is that separation is the worst possible thing that can be inflicted upon a human being; without practice in true partnerships (face to face), we lose intimacy, culpability, responsibility to behave well with others, physicality and touch, and then suddenly find ourselves obsessing over whether or not that text message is coming, or if you're going to get that “like” on your status update. First of all, face-to-face-ism becomes a scarier and scarier option, when the reality is that you can get this emotional hit or high off of just a mere response. Your time is your own, your body can be imperfect, judgement eluded. How do we get back to being alright with ourselves with others when these hits are so readily accessible. A great article about online porn taking over real relationships in ____ has been an enlightening read.

It’s a Western Civilization paradigmatic communications technology take over dream come true/real nightmare, where the image of the lone wolf, the entrepreneur and the individual, taken to the kind of extreme that sets the average Joe/Jane up for unrealistic expectations of him/herself within the relational world and potential mental illness and misinterpretations of life. Our protagonist, Josh, of Soulmates, is one of these modern kids with unrealistic expectations of self, while his counter, love interest, older woman Porter, still old enough to remember a time of being physically responsible to a mate, suffers from a generational difference in relating. This paradigm of separations technologies gives us the illusion of feeling connected while alone with our device, engenders and nurtures the technological replacement of lasting human connection.

So this is backdrop one. Backdrop two is a world at war steeped in advertisement, which cartoonizes and makes surreal a sense of heroism and violence, where media images of unrest/war/terrorism intermingle with and are steeped in advertisements and action movies. It’s all one big ad. It’s no wonder our female character Porter, whose POV as the witness, is a cartoon artist/graphic novelist. She witness her relations with ADD, emotionally deadened lover, Josh, from the POV of a non-media person. Mass destruction media billboards and movies flash simultaneously with Barney or Hello Kitty, mixed in with skateboarders and grafitti artists, our cultures last gasp at rebellion commodified by the same profit machine as war, flash high above Times Square, in the first scene we see Josh amidst all the other numbed out, digitally addicted pedestrians. The random back-pack search in the subway is a non-event here in New York, a real yawner, as are destructive, broken relationships, as on-line dating becomes acceptable, where if you don’t like your date- replace them, quick! Terror comes in many forms. The Uni-Bomber paradigm that has cropped up in this century is one of a perverted individual warrior (sometimes a man with a bomb, like Timothy McVey, and sometimes an angry man-boy set loose with a gun amidst a flock of innocents, like Columbine), who think come-across at first as engaged in a fight against “The Man”- but upon closer look, could be a thwarted love interest, unable to communicate real intimacy in a world where that is less and less expected. Where community and family are indeed a growing thing oof the past (although grass root communities pop up all over the place to ward off this anti-intimacy-ism). Meanwhile, this unappreciated anti-hero, Uni-bomber, David with his Goliath- is a cartoon caricature of the modern day warrior. As we watch intimacy and communal tendencies fall away, we also see that physical expression of batttle becomes more and more perverted, and men are not allowed their war on, their fight. It's merely a noticing of the removal of physical interaction being replaced by emotional hits from machines, which is why World of Warcraft, and XBOX video war culture is so popular. We are subverted away from the physical. Josh and Porter wrestle, punch and make love like it's a battle. Josh takes terrorism upon his body like it's the last landscape left to someone who has an unarticulatable, incomprehensibly unexpressed rage about the separation form his own body. I fear this character, Josh, because I understand his male desire for rebellious, explosive expression, something very human by right, while understanding death and devastation is not the correct answer. I also understand both his and Porter's desire for excessive physicality in a more and more removed world. It's not quite 1984, but it approaches it on a more insidious level Fight Club dealt with a lot of these issues, irreverently and made palatable for narrative media. I am trying to do that, myself, with Soulmates.

This trope of the body as the last landscape of terrorism left really interests me. Visual/performance artist, Marina Abromovic worked with this concept a great deal. We witness Josh and Porter’s relationship unfold through technological tropes, video surveillance, video taped interview, through text messaging- over half the communication in the film is through connectivity technology, skype, text, email, data transference, a safe way to communicate from a distance and keep intimacy at bay, while the other half is a dramatic and overblown physicality, as the only recourse for this great divide created by contemporary “communications.” Porter and Josh wrestle, punch, make love- as if all cultural anxiety and suspense of this separation is their own personal burden to bare, and their relations becomes its own form of terrorism. Acts of terror against oneself and relationalism may be the last landscape left to a person who has nowhere else to put any kind of dissidence or questioning of a clearly in-trouble socio-economic system ruled by separating technologies. Because of technological translation problems with the language of intimacy, this very technology can be a potentially hostile structure of separation that creates too large of a gap from authentic human soul connections to even grasp in an everyday consciousness.

I reiterate: The electronic media billboards in Times Square blast media images of war, most likely fabricated by the same profit machine, where skateboarding and graffiti artists are the only rebellious acts left to a young man, even as their images are commodified by this same profit machine advertising culture- Josh, our anti-hero, struggles to find a voice in the herd, but nothing more comes out than angry raw will, his goal perverted. Soulmates is for times when a young man is only allowed to express his warriorness through the kind of antics befitting a secret rebel, and for an older woman trying to find family and love in times when actual connection seems less and less likely.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Guerilla Shooting in Ineffeciency Rehearsal Style

So, on Saturday, I met eight actors in a basement church in Williamsburg-Brooklyn to shoot two scripts in under three hours. I had fifty dollars to pay the sound man and spent another twenty-eight bucks, much to my vexation, on a big Dunkin Donuts coffee box and another of actual donuts. The first two actors and I shot a three page script about a school teacher becoming the devil in front of a silver mime and his cracked out video camera wielding sister, the playing field of social difference, class and race - being leveled by dwindling resources for education and teacher pay in the US - as the subtext. Of course, the third actress, Squeaky, playing the cracked out sister, freaked out when she got close to the church, performance anxiety I think, and didn't show. Non-professionals. When will I learn?

The second was eight actors going to rehab for addiction to watching either TV shows or Sports. The lead was supposed to be played by my co-writer, Reese Waters, but he was sick so Damion Omar Lee, who showed up for Lucky Magic, played the lead James, court mandated into rehab for his Basketball addiction. But when he gets to rehab, it's crazier than he is. Damion was a star. I shot the rehearsal, everyone read off of scripts. I think I'll shoot the whole show that way, armed with only scripts and minimal costumage, and people willing to make fools of themselves, I think I'm on to something.

The judges at the Writer's Guild Pitch competition had no idea how to rate my pitch, as my pitch almost exclusively did not talk about what the show was about, as the show is so absurdly about addiction, even I don't know how to frame the premise in a narrative form. They all thought it was about "watching" and I can see how I mislead them. Who on earth, that isn't an addict, could understand the language of addiction, the deep pathos, the yearning, the crippling fear that in retrospect is sooooo funny to us addicts, just because of those windows of sanity we have in which to see how crazy we addicts can be. Anyhow, the Watchaholics Anonymous, Episode One, is sure to be a hit among addicts everywhere, if not among absurdists.

This weekend, I shoot my first installment of Angry Women, about angry women. I am very excited.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Attenberg, a work of GENIUS

Okay, so I may have seen the best film I have ever seen in my life tonight at MOMA's New Director's Series. Athina Rachel Tsangari's "Attenberg", truly knocked me out, partly due to the sublime performance of dancer/non-actor, Ariane Labed, who plays Marina, the protagonist, and partly due to Tsangari's astute layering of elements in this risky coming of age story that transverses taboo love with the father and Marina's helpless rage at watching him die, all written and directed through intense dialogue, played without sentiment or over-emotion. Maybe, I saw some glimpses of work like this in Lucretia Martel's "Holy Girl", Ming-liang Tsai's "I Don't Want To Sleep Alone", Chantal Ackermann's "Je Tu Il Elle", but nothing as accessible, or a work that integrates the strange bedfellows of narrative, performance art/dance, and the nature documentary, as purely as "Attenberg". I'm not sure if anyone's even ever attempted it, but I'm glad Tsangari did. Other reviews say this film was too weird for weird's sake, but I don't agree. The courage to talk baout some of the topics to a dying father were conversations I could have only imagined ever having had with my own dying parent. Or the taboo of unconsummated father daughter love. Or how you really feel about your best girlfriend. Those conversations were refreshingly honest, yet lacking in reactivity of melodrama.

The human as species is up for grabs here as Marina and her best friend, Bella (Evangelia Randou), tongue kiss like two slugs on a banana, or create synchronized, bird-like mating dances, dressed in matching frocks, that insinuate the biology of sex, the simultaneity, the inability to individualize, the mechanism, leaving behind any source cultural moralistic judgment. That's the world which I feel Tsangari is leaving for us cowards. She brutally, unapologetically, has these gorgeous actresses spitting like monkeys and enjoying it. There is tender dissection and fun poking, too, the humor is dry in this Greek filmmaker's hommage to her crumbling country. Tsangari, who returned to Greece after decades away, studied in Austin, Texas, then started a film festival and was a lecturer in the US. After the show at MOMA last night, she said the film is like a conversation with the father, her father country, Greece, the patriarchy, the lover, Sir David Attenborough, for whom the film references, and his child-like, children Gorillas. The children, Marina and Bella, really are the gorilla's. Spyros, Marina's father (as played by Greek actor, Vangelis Mourikis) teaches his daughter excellent primate calls and squats from his hospice bed rest, while Bella and Marina ape apes and birds alike. Marina's symbolic and literal disappointment in the dying father's imperfections, plus the rage and incomprehensible helplessness of losing a parent too early to forces beyond individual control (something I've experienced first hand), and literally leaving her to figure it all out herself, is the kind of conversation Tsangari has with her "father", the kind of conversation I'd like to have with my fatehr (both biological and patriarchal) and ultimately reaches truly touching human magnitude of tactile conversation, even in the lengths the film seems to take in trying to get away from the very core of sentiment.

Also interesting, is Tsangari's elements being truly removed from the Hollywood model of functioning narrative. The filmmaker said her lead did not speak Greek, didn't even start to learn until one month before shooting, and the town they shot in was a French mining town. Funding was pulled in the middle of shooting as the country of Greece fell apart around them, mimicking the reality of the filmmaker's piece of the dying father, then lastly, and best of all, the success, as Tsangari's film was picked up by ______ yesterday, and even as she flew in for the screening, was to receive news that her crew, who so doggedly stayed to finish the shoot, would be getting their paycheck.

Film Screenings & Events


2010. USA. Kate Barker-Froyland. 11 min.

2010. Greece. Athina Rachel Tsangari. 95 min.

Thursday, March 31, 2011, 6:00 p.m.

Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1

See All Events On This Day »
Full Calendar »


2010. USA. Directed by Kate Barker-Froyland. 11 min.

2010. Greece. Directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari. Tsangari’s Attenberg is a fun melding of (new) Nouvelle Vague, musical, melodrama, and nature documentary, symbolically visualizing a change of generation and perspective as a father and daughter gently negotiate their individual rites of passage. The film follows a visionary architect who has come home to die in the vanishing industrial town that is his legacy to his daughter. Meanwhile, his daughter (played by Ariane Labed, in a performance that garnered her the Best Actress award at The Venice Film Festival) is exploring the mysteries of kissing with her girlfriend and the beyond with a visiting engineer. 95 mi

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pitchathon Weeks

So, last week, I pitched a web series idea at the Writer's Guild East pitch-a-thon and tomorrow, if I don't get hit by a bus, I'll be pitching at Pitchapalooza. I had no idea what I was doing last week and only have a marginally better idea now. I basically wrote the pitches for the events because I have so many ideas flowing through my nogen, if someone doesn't ground me with a paycheck commitment soon, I believe the tap will be broken forever and I may just be a crazy mole person on the corner spouting random thoughts and ideas out loud to anyone who will listen.

I had an idea to do a sports comedy centered on addicts recovering from watching too much sports, but realized I knew nothing about sports. I ran into my friend Margaret Dodge, who told me to contact her friend Reese Waters, a talented comedian, whom I am super glad I didn't know was as talented as he was so I had no time to be intimidated. We exchanged idea blasts on email, then I went to his house off the shuttle line, missing his stop entirely. I was late and he had to go soon, but when he answered the door, completely cut bod in low riding jeans over peek-a-boo boxers, I had to remind myself why I was there for a hot second. I immediately gave my man-hater speech and he told me who he was dating that night, just to make clear on both ends that we weren't a man and a woman alone together in his apartment and could be doing other things. We got down to work writing the sports dialogue for the pitch. It had to be ninety seconds, there were nine other pitchers besides us and I went for what I now know as an unconventional format, a small pitch book ending a sketch, as played by two characters. It was a strange pitch, I tried to cram as much info and a funny sketch into the time limitations as possible. But the problem was that the ninety sec format allowed for either Olympic Athlete, Swiss watch precision, or loose and easy comedy, both of which were the styles that tied for first place- the precision winner being a well-organized pitch about a dated, strange debacle, and the loose and easy winner an understated geek pitching a show about post-coital conversations. Trying to squeeze both styles into one pitch just didn't work in ninety seconds. Lesson learned!

The info down below is who Reese and I pitched to, him playing a Judge indicting me, a young black man going to jail for misbehaviours due to overindulgence at a TGI Fridays. We each practiced at home, I had no idea if Reese would be ready, met a half hour before, in the rain, my insomnia and mad rehearsing taking the nervousness dead away. A friend said it was a disservice to bomb and made the audience uncomfortable, so I was going to be damned if I were that loser doing that to them. And that is why I practiced my two lines over and over and over. I told Reese I wasn't an actor and he assured me I was. Hmmm. Makes me think anyone can be an actor if they practice their lines over and over and over.

Here's who we pitched to.

WGA Pitch Panel:
Don’t miss the next event in our ongoing Digital Education series! More than a panel – this “pitch competition” will be an interactive, educational way to learn what makes an excellent project for new media. WGA members with web projects in development will pitch to experts in digital media and receive feedback on potential for branding and monetization, elements of digital storytelling and building an audience. Hosted by comedian Wayne Federman (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Curb Your Enthusiasm) and with refreshments provided by the New York TV Festival. Staff from the NYTVF will also be on hand to discuss their pilot and teleplay competitions.

Please RSVP directly to Ursula Lawrence at

When: March 23rd 7pm
Where: Offices of the WGAE: 250 Hudson St, 7th floor, New York, New York

Host & Judges

Wayne Federman –

Rob Barnett – Founder and CEO MyDamnChannel.Com

Josh Cohen – Co-founder, Tubefilter – the leading authority in episodic web television and web series.

Jeremy Redleaf – Writer, Creator and Star of Hit Web Series Odd Jobs –

New York Television Festival –

Tomorrow I pitch here, I wrote a pitch for a novel in five minutes. I've never written a novel. It will probably show, but I am learning on stage:

Wednesday, March 30 · 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton St. Brooklyn, NY
Created By
The Book Doctors
More Info
The Book Doctors, aka, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, will be making a house call in Brooklyn at Greenlight Bookstore. They want YOU to pitch your book at their acclaimed event, Pitchapalooza, which was recently featured in The New York Times. Pitchapalooza is like American Idol for books--only without the Simon. Writers get one minute to pitch their book i...deas to an all-star panel of publishing experts. The winner of the Pitchapalooza receives an introduction to an appropriate agent or publisher for his/her book. Plus, anyone who buys a book gets a free consultation worth $100.

Joining The Book Doctors on the panel will be: Richard Nash, and Jason Pinter, Nash is an independent publishing entrepreneur, founder of Cursor, and former Publisher of the iconic indie publisher, Soft Skull Press. Pinter is an agent at the Waxman Literary Agency, former editor at three major publishing houses, and bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Henry Parker series.

Arielle Eckstut has been a literary agent for 18 years. She is also the author of seven books and the co-founder of the iconic brand, LittleMissMatched. David Henry Sterry is the best-selling author of 12 books, on a wide variety of subject including memoir, sports, YA fiction and reference. His last book appeared on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review. Together, they’ve helped dozens and dozens of talented amateur writers become published authors. They’ve appeared everywhere from NPR’s Morning Edition to USA Today, and have taught publishing workshops everywhere from the Miami Book Fair to Stanford University. Find more at

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why I Don't Have a Camera Even Though It's What I Studied

There is something about total surrender to fear that washes the soul clean, like bleach clean, complete with burning eyes, nostrils and chemical burn. It's like mass-murderer clean, boiling bones clean, the kind of scary clean that basically wipes out life.

Oooohhh, scaring myself. I was so afraid of life, who knew? A big-mouth show boat like me, or so I thought. I had to hide behind a camera for decades in order to feel safe enough to experience what it was I was experiencing (as filtered through convex glass, refraction, and optical flipping, onto celluloid, then projected onto silver coated paper in dark rooms, or projected onto walls in dark rooms - 'dark rooms', an essential part of the process of not being present). But, then there is that Quantum Physics element I now understand as the element of participation in the creation of our own lives we take part in everyday. I was changing reality in the act of absorption and projection, a curated reinterpretation or reorganization of information visually. Basically, I couldn't just live life, I had to process it and make it something else. A book, an image, a series. Cameras were, and still appear to be an absolute must.

So, the painful, life-altering, childhood incident came in the middle of one sunny summer day and shifted everything. Foggy kid awareness sharpened and everything came into acute focus. On that day, my sister and I, age nine, were skipping home from the Pearl Street Market, down Lopez, towards Dad's on Brookline St, knowing that the grocery bag swinging between us held something forbidden and luxurious, something so taboo as to cause deep rifts of hatred and resentment between my separated parents: Fruit Loops. Banned at my Mom's house, sugary cereals were an excellent weekend event at Dad's, a high to look forward to. We waited almost lustfully for the weekends to come to get away from hippy mom's raw carrot sensibilities and gorge ourselves on Chef Boy-ar-Dee, MacDonald's and Lucky Charms. Skipping home with drug of choice, one may be compelled to do silly, unwarranted spastic movements, for me that day it was a decision to kick a large black plastic trash bag filled with who-cared-what. In this bag, much to my maligned discovery, sat waiting sheets of broken glass that would tear through derma, muscle, artery, vein, stopping at bone. On the ground where I lay felled, watching the flesh of my leg cleave apart, the fatty white tissue filling in with pin-prick red speckles, then suddenly spurting out a violent pulsing geyser of blood, I really had no clear idea of what was happening. I remember the scream that split the day and the thought, 'Did that come from me?" Then the squirting brilliant red against a backdrop of vibrant light blue - intense glowing neon colors, then in my father's arms, then on the bathroom floor with a towel tourniquet, my twin sister crying, "Does this mean she'll get all the Fruit Loops?" and me thinking, "I know I only get half," then being on the hospital bed as the nurse stitched me up and thinking, "Why are they saying that painful needle stabbing my leg has pain killers in it? Put the fucking pain killers in it crazy people, and while you're at it, stop looking at me!" Those were my thoughts.

Then, the revelation, a camera was lifted to my eye and I got distracted.

My mother held the view finder in front of my face and I looked through into that tiny rectangle reality. I could handle that much at least. Plus, this was a machine that was off limits, and to have her say, "Just keep taking pictures, press the shutter, it will take away the pain," well I'll be damned if she wasn't right. So it was access and aenesthetic all at once. A dream come true.

I never was without a camera from then on. That is, until I was twelve years into studying, seeking a photo and film life, only two classes away from graduating with honors, when I lost sight, moved to NYC, attempted to work in the industry which was creative suicide (see blog before this one). Then came the bleach, and a lot of Fruit Loops (metaphorical, a transformation of one drug to another). So, it's no wonder that I am on a strict diet of no sugar or white flour to keep away arthritis on the anti-inflammatory diet, This may seem like a crazy left turn, but there is a point, a physiological symbiosis to my losing site of the goal. When your joints don't move, you can't function. Now, who knows what came first, the spirit not moving or the joints not moving, but it doesn't really connected. Not having a camera all this time was like having spiritual arthritis. I have resumed my projects now that I'm off all forms of sugar.

I'm currently fund raising on Kickstarter for the still/video camera of my dreams. When I have the camera, I will shoot these stories that I promise you didn't know you cared about yet. More about my drive for a camera:

More on Quantum Activism:

More about arthritis and the anti-inflammatory diet at:

More about sugar addiction being the source of many other life threatening addictions:

More about spiritual/artistic blocking (although nothing about diet/addiction correlation, which I think is relevant):

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why Maid Work is Essential to any Filmmaker

So, really I used to be exceptionally bummed out by having to work outside of the film world in order to pay my bills. But, I found in order to write my movies and scheme, unadulterated by all the frustrated artists attempting to make their films and connections to potentially further their cause, by being part of production teams, grips, electrics, art, wardrobe, gaffers, I had to give up suffering intolerable doubt, anxiety and resentment by these very people who needed to support each other the most. The problem with the film production world is it sucks all your energy and confidence in the long hours and exposure to embittered blocked artists. Gaffers hurt, as a group, the most, because they are by far the most indolent, angry bunch, too smart to consider being a grip, where less responsibility may help them create more, but too insecure to be a DP, because that is too much responsibility and requires a certain adoration of actual light as a zen art form, and too angry to fail enough times to really be a director.

In order to be a filmmaker, one has to know how to make an ass out of him/herself, to fail miserably, then want to get up and do it all over again. Really, this is the biggest lesson of all. That is why I think Maid Work is an essential part of any filmmaker's journey. One finds not only a deep gratification in attention to detail in the work - a deep satisfaction of tying up so many loose ends - much like a film, but the viewer/guest has no idea of the work entailed to get the room in such shiny ship shapeness - much like a film, and the amount of shit work, literally scrubbing shit off of toilets, is monumental - much like film work. Maid work is really, the best film schooling I've ever had. My experience in actual film school prepared me for adulation, unbridled creativity, total freedom and endless student loans posing as a kind of freedom I'd never known before, and have never known since, but was an actually kind of malarky.

I really can't recommend becoming a maid enough to young filmmakers. One learns how to approach and talk to rich people as if they are your friends or allies. They depend on you for a service, as does the Executive Producer, who is trusting you with his money not to make him look bad. I have never in my long, long, long road of not making films, been so prepared to make a film before than after talking to my really sweet, gorgeous wife of an investment banker client, whose beautiful loft I cleaned in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She was the most intensely darling woman until it came time to cut the check, then it was all buiz and total hyper vigilance to minute expense. I learned a lot about what it is to really care about every penny. Every cent. The respect this woman had for cash was unparalleled. I was very impressed and if I could thank her now I would. I have since become much more irreverent towatds my own irreverence about money, although not quite reverent as far as I can tell- yet. BUT, I am considering buying pre-production, budgeting software with my tiny maid wages this month, exited excited at the prospect of becoming my own high priestess of coin and greenback visualization, using this leggy Australian kitten with razor sharp sensibilities as my visualization prop.

The last thing I will say on this subject is that there is such a sense of pride in knowing that I could, if totally rejected by the film industry, know I have a marketable skill to see me into my old age, knowing finally, how to mop my own floors and sleep in clean sheets. No feeling in the world like clean sheet, what was I waiting for? And really, I'm not unhappy. There have been way more unhappy moments trying to create my films than there ever was fluffing a duvet or stacking towels for my great loving creative clients who weep with joy at their shiny floors.

This of course means nothing. I am compelled to make my work, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

I need a camera. It's been 15 years, who do I think I am?