A Methodical Madness For May
A man who works with his hands is a laborer;
a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman;
but a man who works with his hands and his brain and
his heart is an artist - Louis Nizer
The season has certainly sprung into whiplash action, much like those time- lapse sequences in nature documentaries narrated by Sir David Attenborough:
We see a naked tree standing solemnly in winter accompanied by the stirring strings of a lone violin. BOOM! Dramatic strum of an acoustic Spanish guitar and ringing castanets cue her to transform and flourish in a flamenco dress of vivid green leaves (Ole!); releasing seeds in droves and creating havoc for us allergy suffering civilians. Suddenly, we're bitch slapped into Summer and left speechless as the newly Brazilian-waxed tree slinks along in a twiggy G-string.
There seems to be scant time for these shocking wardrobe changes, no?
As I flip May open on my calendar, it's fitting to see this Charley Harper artwork: two birds feeding their frantically hungry chicks much like Doug and I are nourishing and carefully guiding our web series. I've taken an even surer financial footing by riding out another wild catering season like a cowboy herding rampaging cattle. Yet, this time the pay rate has bumped up substantially as I'm now assigned to an array of events ranging from bearded hipster weddings and Bat mitzvahs blaring Taylor Swift, to champagne- chugging galas and country clubs hosting intricate five - six courses each paired with wine of a ridiculously high price tag.
It's fascinating how my brain works as I straddle two worlds. To be Captain requires strategy and a mathematical mind skimming through multiple logistics aligned with rapid problem-solving. I orchestrate these events with floating geometric angles and degrees; always calculating in my mind's eye. But the artist in me breathes right alongside of it. I improvise with vivid ingenuity as my intuition can foresee the curveballs. Five beats ahead, I work my varying teams (of varying catering companies) through the transitions. Sometimes bumpy, sometimes smooth as silk but, in the end, strong and proud that they worked together cohesively and feeling like absolute pros as they glide through to the finish line. I hope the way I marshal my forces will translate so well into our production.
It's only when I'm on the subway that I'm reminded of my damned feet! Being on fire all day and even into late of night, the mask of hospitality at last resigns to reveal the face of exhaustion. Yet, I still have the audacity to day/night dream. I catch myself reflected in the window, smiling like an idiot as I visualize the beautiful shot sequences captured in episodes of our web series! Each time I doze off, I cast a wish through the tunnels, down the tracks and out into the starry sky: "Please just help me bring together a small team of talented and dedicated creatives to make this project." Always do I abruptly wake to the alarm of the MTA's pre-recorded "Stand clear of the closing doors, please" and bolt upright to rush out the doors to my station. Standing on the empty platform, it is here that I pause for a moment; dreams quietly nestled on my parched tongue and grateful that I'm finally back home.
As the gigs continue to crowd my Google calendar, Doug and I take advantage of those rare moments of downtime and wade through the vast online ocean in search of remote coves containing microcosmic tide pools of talent. There are surely a ton of gifted females in all aspects of film populating this city who can enhance our vision with their own promising and unique points of view. But it's been quite tricky to locate them. We cast our nets afar, swimming down through the murky depths for a closer look at shiny objects. Bringing up more handfuls of sand. Often, the ones we are impressed by are already successful (and therefore frustratingly out of reach due to high demand by those who can pay much better). Pearl diving on a single breath and armed only with a knife, we disregard the danger of drowning because the exhilaration is so worth everything else when you realize you've discovered buried treasure. We know the hidden gems are out there and we refuse to give up hope. Any recommendations of great women DPs/directors/crew are welcome!
Complicating all this (and the scheduling of two separate readings for feedback from writer friends and then industry creatives) is the thick bog of the month itself. Our anniversary and both birthdays all fall just one week apart! We've squeezed in some brief encounters of the dining and celebratory kind but overall, breathlessness persists. Let me eat (Tiramisu) cake!
There are some films that just reaffirm your belief that the artform is singularly magical and has no real limits. Tarkovsky's The Mirror was released worldwide in 1974, and I cannot even begin to fathom how this remarkable Russian master storyteller "sculpted time" through fragments of his childhood memories and dreams recounted and captured against the backdrop of history with such jaw-dropping technique. How on earth do the heavy, bulky cameras used during that time move with the feather feet of a graceful ballerina? We were reminded all over again to never compromise on a unique vision because someday someone somewhere will be grateful for something which defied audience expectations and that all this hard work going into our creation, development and preparation is worth it.
An indie film reduced down to brass tac(tic)s, Catfight is an absurdist romp directed by triple threat (also writer and painter) Onur Tukel. Watch these astonishing actresses savagely battle their way through one of the sharpest and most brutal satires imaginable of the crazy historical moment that we are living through. An extremely potent mix of the smart, hilarious and oddly compassionate that hasn't been seen since the prime of Todd Solondz.
I didn't realize writing this newsletter would seem like a Jackson Pollock splatter of emotions and images but it's a miracle to share a piece of my life amidst the hustling chaos! We've landed a date the first weekend of June for our first table reading. "A Momentary Breathe Caught By April" was about the quiet strategizing between husband and wife to get this web series on its feet. Paper airplanes were floating past our window then as neighborhood kids used our courtyard to test them. It's a fitting metaphor of this next phase. We're now about to see how well it flies.
Love and Ahoy, mateys!
Cap'n Di xxx