#018 : What Comes First (Director)

Image – Untitled, (Jackson Pollock)

Soundtrack – Fall out – Mount Kimbie

 

“The pursuit of notoriety, respect and financial independence”

 

Your dreams are for sale. Choose the transactions carefully.

I’m a 26-year-old filmmaker with a 1st class architecture degree.

I’ve been fired from every real job I’ve had.

Folding clothes in Uniqlo. Fired. Drawing technical details in an architecture firm. Fired. Maitre’d in a fine dining restaurant. Fired. In-house video editing for a fashion mag. Fired.

There comes a time, roughly 3 months into a new job, when the monotonous activities of regular employment start seeping into my dream space. I have nightmares of endlessly folding clothes or drawing door handle after door handle, each lucid episode building up to a ridiculously depressing workplace encounter that leaves a sickly taste when I awake. Gradually, night after night these become the only dreams I have. I leave work, eat, catch an hour of HBO and return to work as my head hits the pillow. When these dreams start occurring, a clock starts in the real world, every tick adding a notch to my jaded workplace nonchalance. I watch as week after week my manager gets more confused at my disregard for the job, until the poor soul has to fire me. Invariably, they are surprised by my joviality when given the chop. They don’t realise I’ve just escaped suicide.

I repeat. Your dreams are for sale. Choose the transactions carefully.

I’m largely thankful for this strange dreamscape affliction of mine ( I have no idea If I’m alone in it ). Not only am I compelled to create by some * insert half recycled quote on authorship*, the dreams insure I can’t deviate from that compulsion. I have no workable alternative. I’m compelled to monetize creativity to avoid starvation, forced to be creative because anything else will kill me.

So here I am, a freelance filmmaker. You can probably imagine what my bank balance looks like.

But you should imagine my Whiteboard.

Red, Blue, Yellow. Three colours of text scrawled violently along the clean white surface as if the mind itself had been transferred by an explosion, lines like horizontal trickles of primary matter.

Red signifies that which must be done to become a “working director”. How to monetise my creative compulsion. The idea is that every morning I centre myself on those tasks.

Blue, script ideas. These are no more than fog caught under the leaves of a tree – formless and doomed – to be cannibalised over and over by the narrative possibilities they birth, until someday Quba fashions their descendants into a neat little film, half watched somewhere by someone half interested.

Yellow is Admin – renew the passport, tax returns. essential drivel  

Red, Yellow, Blue. A three colour Jackson Pollock on a wall in Brixton.

The Whiteboard is mission control. An actualization system mutates from an idea as soon as it makes contact with the Board. The Board reminds me that the cool idea I had about – redacted – can be aligned with that big brand’s new advertising approach. The Board is where I note – redacted – would love my new piece on – redacted – and could get it seen by – redacted – who manages all those content accounts for – redacted. The Board is where I remind myself of the game I’m playing and the weapons I have to hand.

From that one Whiteboard springs a beautiful chaos. Late night post-it notes, forgotten Evernotes, and notes from mum about the rent. 20 tabs; Paul Thomas Anderson on writing, Kobe on discipline, That Ted talk on making a good first impression. A playlist entitled “ Motivation and dedication”. Emails to people with the power to change a life – are they sending emails to people that can change theirs? Lunch meetings, pre-production meetings and world changing chance meetings. They all spread forth via the Board.

The Board might just save my life, because when I act on it, I get paid. The Board might just save my life, because it demands only the best of me. The Board might just save my life, because when I dream about it, I wake up motivated.

A Whiteboard on a white wall.
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