Go Big or Go Bust: New Efficiency Model - Comfort, Ease and Relaxation (Part 2)


Another word for my 'clenched fist and teeth approach to career success' might be 'control'. 

But before I get into that, I want to say that my intention was to wrap this post up in one, two entries at most.  For better or for worse, this piece seems to be extending itself.  In the spirit of my ‘New Efficiency Model’ (’relaxing’ and ‘taking it easy’ har har) it’s just going to have to unravel:

When I met and married the dynamic Mr. Green, I put all my chips on a man who valued honesty and the truth even more than he valued control.  His emotional honesty opened a door and made me feel alive in a way I never had.  It also made me feel safe with him.  Luckily I'd gotten some grants right around the time we met and so didn't have to report to a job.  It took virtually all that I had to come out from behind my shield and learn to get angry and vulnerable.  My old way would have been to act like a lady and bolt when the going got tough.  For the first time ever, I didn't do that. 

But after getting engaged, I did go to Cornelia Street to see Ralph Weston, an amazing astrologer whom my psychic friend Julia Wolfe had introduced me to.  I walked in the door saying: ”I don't THINK he's an axe murderer."  Ralph reassured me, knowing all kinds of things about Mr. Green that I hadn't told him and that we were the yin and the yang, that this was my man.  We married sixteen months and one day after we’d met.  

My friend Jayne was once describing Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s marriage on the reality show The Osbournes: “She’s always calling the cops on him and throwing him out.  Their marriage is very alive!”  I won’t say our marriage is at that level of ‘aliveness’ but Mr. Green continues to amuse, delight, surprise and occasionally infuriate me.  It’s exciting to be married to someone who has my number.  And it enforced a sense of security so great that it was one of my first non-substance-induced lessons in how to relax.  

Mr. Green liked to get up on a Sunday morning and make breakfast in a leisurely way.  He wasn’t afraid of getting lost in a book.  He started me on an unravelling that’s still going.  It’s very much related to relaxing and letting go and the opposite of taking a physical risk, something that has always come easily to me.  Sometimes I wonder if the adrenaline rush of risk-taking isn't the equivalent of a street drug.  It overwhelms the rational brain (already in handcuffs in my case) and it allows me to plunge into action before I've really had a chance to look into the details.

This is sort of what happened with going into production on my first feature film How To Be Louise with a big cast headed by Lea Floden and a huge crew headed by Vladimir Tukan.  With a $5000 NYFA prize, we started shooting what was supposed to be a trailer but ended up being the first forty minutes. 

Left to right: Kevin 'Killer' Smith (Key Grip), Bruce McCarty (co-star), Deirdre Fishel (Production Manager), Elena _____ (Second Asst. Camera), Vladimir Tukan (Dir. of Photography), me, _____, ______, Carol Guidry (Production Sound Mixer), Jacquelyn Coffee (Script Supervisor)  PHOTO BY Warner Dick The conditions were difficult in the blazing humid heat of August and the bone-cracking cold of February and the work was hard.  But the people in the cast and crew were Great.  (Most of the people…  There was that make-up person (soon ‘released’) who clucked and moaned as she made up one of the actors: “Such small eyes!”.)  It was an experience of working with a team where everyone was doing it for love.  There was the love of indie filmmaking, the love of working with people you learn from and have fun with and the love of making something happen out of almost nothing, where your contribution is absolutely necessary and valuable. There was lots and lots of positive energy and even a romance or two behind the scenes.  For someone who had started off wanting to be an artist in a garret, alone alone, this huge collaborative effort was completely new territory.

Left to right: Kevin 'Killer' Smith (Key Grip), Bruce McCarty (co-star), Deirdre Fishel (Production Manager), Elena _____ (Second Asst. Camera), Vladimir Tukan (Dir. of Photography), me, _____, ______, Carol Guidry (Production Sound Mixer), Jacquelyn Coffee (Script Supervisor)  PHOTO BY Warner Dick

The conditions were difficult in the blazing humid heat of August and the bone-cracking cold of February and the work was hard.  But the people in the cast and crew were Great.  (Most of the people…  There was that make-up person (soon ‘released’) who clucked and moaned as she made up one of the actors: “Such small eyes!”.)  It was an experience of working with a team where everyone was doing it for love.  There was the love of indie filmmaking, the love of working with people you learn from and have fun with and the love of making something happen out of almost nothing, where your contribution is absolutely necessary and valuable. There was lots and lots of positive energy and even a romance or two behind the scenes.  For someone who had started off wanting to be an artist in a garret, alone alone, this huge collaborative effort was completely new territory.

on the far right is Lea Floden who played Louise, Mary Carrol Johnson who played Louise's best friend has her back to the camera.  I'm pained that I don't remember the name of the young woman holding the slate.  Neil Danziger is the boom standing above us.  PHOTO BY Warner Dick

on the far right is Lea Floden who played Louise, Mary Carrol Johnson who played Louise's best friend has her back to the camera.  I'm pained that I don't remember the name of the young woman holding the slate.  Neil Danziger is the boom standing above us.  PHOTO BY Warner Dick

Knowing as little as I did about directing actors or working with a crew, it might not come as a surprise that I started sleepwalking during the shoot.   Mr. Green woke me one night as I was standing at our window in the light of the streetlight, holding an imaginary clipboard in my hand and trying to communicate with Vladimir the DP whom I imagined was working on the street below. 

Two steps forward, five steps back.  It’s not easy to let go of the fear that tells you you can’t let go… even in your sleep.  (to be continued)

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