Peripheral City

Peripheral City
Peri, played by Josh Elrod

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?

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