Go Big or Go Bust: Day 22 (on the bumpy beginning of The Louise Log)

In the summer of 2007 I hit a wall with trying to get my second feature produced.  The first one had been in competition at Sundance and I'd taken a break to raise our children.  In the meantime, while they napped, I was going to write a script for my second feature. 

Seventeen years later, there was no end in sight to my little hiatus.  In fact, it had turned into something like hand-digging a tunnel to China. 

And then my luck turned: Delta Airlines relieved me of the notes I'd carefully collected for the final rewrite. 

I've always thought of myself as a visual artist and was, at this point, desperate to make something, anything, preferably a film but I was even willing to stoop to video.  I wanted to do something really funny and short which would go viral and get the attention of Hollywood producers.   I even had a great idea!  It had conflict and it had pain (= comedy) and it came directly from my life as a New York City mother.  It felt inspired.  Video even got to looking like a good thing: with a little camcorder, you can steal shots virtually anywhere.  I'd be the crew, Christine Cook and unsuspecting passersby would be the cast and this independent supermarket would be our location.  Screw Hollywood.  Screw the gatekeepers.  We'd make a film for the price of a mini-DV tape.

A few nights before our shoot, Alyssa Orvis and Jim Poe came over for dinner and remarked that we wouldn't last 30 seconds in this large and busy market at the busiest time of the week (our plan) or at any other.  In fact, they warned, we wouldn't last two minutes in the large or small health food stores where they'd worked.  Stores are apparently very touchy about being photographed.  Who KNEW.

My shock turned to defiance, ("Fine.") my defiance to a plan.   We'll go the Farmers Market at Union Square.  Too bad they don't have shopping carts.  Too bad they don't have 90º angle blind turns or checkout lines that snake to the back of the store.  Too bad the people are all mellow and groovy when anxious and aggressive was sort of the point of the whole thing.  I was clinging to the plan that we would shoot that week, and clinging to my denial that we had a problem- and this in spite of the fact that we had neither a script nor even an idea.

It was a gorgeous Fall Saturday and Christine Cook and I shot and shot.  Eventually we took a break at the café on the corner of East 17th Street and Broadway.  Some of the tape from the café became the first episode of The Louise Log.  I didn't call it that on the video having no idea that this would be the first episode of a series so it's simply called "The Louise Log".

How To Drive Yourself Crazy: The Louise Log #1   (82 sec)  2007