You're a young man, and you're driving frustrated tapping your fingers on the wheel, slithering between lanes and cars in order to go as fast as possible through a big city. It is unfortunately, not the big city though. A podcast about filmmaking plays from your phone on the dash mount. A celebrated director is being interviewed in the podcast, he is talking about the struggles of filmmaking, before one truly makes money, and how it finally changed for him. He starts describing how resilience is important. It’s affecting you, instilling hope in your eyes, for a second you're transported out of your reality... until you're grounded back by 2 big, disgustingly smelly bags of fried chicken seating in the co-pilot seat. You look at them in disgust and sigh in hopelessness. Google Maps tells you you've arrived at your destination. Next thing you know, you slam the door and you're out of the car. In the backseat, remains a Doordash red bag.
[[Enter the restaurant]]
A self-righteous cashier is arguing with you.
"Listen boy", the cashier says, "it’s as simple as this: no bag, no food. How come every other Doordasher has a bag. How do I know you’re not stealing the food, huh?"
"How would I know the name on the order then? (Frustrated) Listen man… I don’t bring the bag inside in case I run into someone I know. Do you think I like people knowing I deliver food as my main gig? If I bring the bag, then everyone knows I am a delivery guy. It would mean that I’m okay with people knowing that, accepting it as my reality. And I refuse to. This is temporary." You say.
"Nice speech, delivery guy. Now get the fucking bag, ya fucking snob." And with the sound of doorbell you are:
Walking [[back to your car to get the bag]] frustrated.
[[Leaving entirely because you're angry.]]The cashier is pleased to see you back with the bag, and is ready to deliver a life lesson. He says:
"Ah, there you go! See what happens when you cooperate, very nice, I knew you—"
"Yeah, shut the fuck up." You take the food, immediately exit the store without looking back, and [[drive away.]]
"You're right, sir. [[Thank for your making me a better worker.]]" You say, being polite above all.You're driving through several recognizable spots of Milwaukee. The podcast isn’t playing anymore. You pass The Oriental and look appreciatively, it’s the only Milwaukee thing that resembles California a bit. At last, you're in a really nice Wauwatosa brownstone neighborhood. It could pass as New York if you weren’t so depressingly aware of it being Wisconsin. You are in awe. You think, <i>Fuck, this is a nice neighborhood.</i>
You take a moment to look up, trees envelop the entire street. You feel weirdly guilty about having a cliché yearning to get rich, but you can’t help it. After the initial awe, you sigh with hopelessness again. It seems so unattainable.
[[Finish the delivery ]]You walk up to the house, leave the food at the doorstep, take a picture and walk fast back to the car. You don’t like interacting with the people.
After driving for a while, you're near your shift’s end, mostly frustrated now and wanting to go home. Traffic is fucked but you're being responsible except— FUCK, SOMEONE JUST HIT THE BACK OF YOUR CAR. You're so overwhelmed that at the beginning you're not pissed, you're just exhausted by all the shit this day has amounted to. You tell yourself: "God, wha- wha- Can you fucking give me a break?"
You exit to see that it's a really nice car who’s hit you. A handsome, drunk, suit-wearing, mostly confused young man is on the driver’s seat. You can smell alcohol coming from the inside. He remains inside looking hazy, until you knock angrily on his window, but then notice he’s looking really bad.
[[You get intimidated by the situation and call insurance.]]
[[You try to speak to the guy.]]<h1>THE END</h1>
Come on, he could be in serious danger. You gotta check on him before insurance or anyone shows up. Check on him and see if you have to call the police immediately. Otherwise, live a little. He looks rich, you could work out some kind of personal deal. I bet if you threaten to cancel him on Twitter because of being a drunken maniac, he'll offer you something. "Hey, man. Are you okay?"
"Yeah… (He opens his eyes and realizes what happened)… Did I… Did I do that?"
"Oh, you fucking bet… And I should be pissed at you for it, but I’m more concerned. Don’t worry about calling insurance, lets just get to a hospital. Hop on my car, I can drive you."
"What year?" The rich man takes a look at the car and asks.
"What year, what? 2020, you concussed fuck."
"No, no. What year is the car? Not driving in anything before 2018. We’re taking my car. Catch. (He throws you the keys.) Besides, I have 10k worth of gear in the backseat. I’m not leaving my Ronin in the fucking interstate."
You takes the keys, look without too much attention when he talks about the gear and open the door of the car as you realize:
"Wait, that’s a Ronin. Did you say Ronin? Wait, who are you?!"
"Oh, you recognize the Steadicam. My name is Robby Melbourne, but that probably means nothing to you. Music video directors are the biggest ghosts in the industry. No one cares about what the camera is doing, as long as the band looks hot."
"Holy shit holy shit, no I know who you are! You did this video for The Wallflowers, the one with Super 8, before every single fucking music video had them!"
"Oh well, you know your shit. Are you a filmmaker?"
"YES! Well, I like to think so. It’s what I would love… I would kill to do, but uh, at the moment it’s uh, it’s proving to be hard."
"Do you have a camera?"
"I’ve been trying to do some stuff with my phone but uh—" he breaks into a shriek of pain before he can finish that sentence.
"Listen man, how about this, you drive me to the hospital, and I give you a GH5 that’s been sitting on my shelf since I got picked up by the label?"
"A GH5!? I’VE LITERALLY BEEN DELIVERING SOME HIDEOUS CHICKEN SO I CAN AFFORD THAT CAMERA!JESUS DUDE, YES, THANK YOU THAT WOULD CHANGE MY LIFE."
"Yes, yes, but make a nice insta post about how generous a philanthropist I am, okay? Then you got yourself a deal. I’ve been meaning to damage control my public image since a PR incident where someone filmed me while tripping balls on acid. Almost got me fired, I swear man, you teenagers and your fucking iPhones are gonna put TMZ out of business… GAAAAH, TAKE ME TO THE FUCKING HOSPITAL OR I’LL DRIVE MYSELF AND KILL US."
Still in the good kind of shock, you reply "NO NO NO, YOU’RE RIGHT. On our way... (you look at the name on his license, which he had ready for the police) You’ll be okay... Robby. (After taking a breath and excitingly setting the stick to GO)… God what a FUCKING night!"
[[Take him to the hospital]]
You're sitting by Robby’s side on his hospital bed. He awakes from deep sleep, very disconnected from reality. His tone is completely different from last night. He sounds normal, no manic quality to him. He even sounds tired:
"What, what day and time is it?"
"Friday, it’s 10:45 in the morning." you say.
"Fuck... I have a shoot in 15 minutes."
"Really?! Who are you shooting for… (calming down) I mean, no Robby you had and accident yesterday. You should rest."
"No, I crashed my car while fucking drunk. That’s not an accident… (sigh) This is it. I’m gonna get fired."
You're about to reassure him but he sighs. You agree, this guy’s about to get fired… except he has a plan:
"Wait a minute, you said you were a filmmaker right?"
"Have you used the GH5 before?"
"Yeah, but I’ve only rented it for a few days at a time. I’m not fully familiar with it… Why?"
"Ah fuck it, we’ll try and save it in the edit. I’m not losing my job. Not today. This is what you’re gonna do. Here are my keys again, do you know where the Sony warehouse is?"
"Of course, no one ever names it, but if you pay attention that’s where they shoot everything—"
Okay okay there's no time bright boy. You’re going to drive there and say that I sent you. Tell them New York called, that they needed me to shoot a bigger client and I had to take a red eye. Tell them you’re gonna shoot it using the GH5 and show them my car keys if they don’t trust you."
"Wait no no no, this is too much. This is insane. How would I know I’m up to the task? Who is the band…"
"Listen Luke, the band doesn’t fucking matter. If you become a filmmaker, you're going to shoot dozens of different fucking bands. All that matters is your vision. It’s an alterantive rock song that is at times sad because it’s about a long distance relationship. Have you ever been in one of those?"
"Perfect, guess what? Doesn’t fucking matter. Just channel whatever’s strongest in you about a situation that made you feel similarly. Because we all have something. We’re all fucking human. (He pats on the shoulder, pretending he’s closed the deal) Break a leg, kid. "
"Robby is just ahhh- I don’t know I—"
"Ahhh alright look. If you don’t think you’re up for it you just gotta let me know now cause I can find someone else. I’m just telling you, this opportunity is not normal. If you think you got something special on you, this is the chance boy. If you think you should have this over someone else, this is fucking it. Are you, or are you not crucially obsessed with filmmaking, so obsessed that you can’t fathom doing anything else without being mildly depressed for the rest of your life?"
This strikes a chord in you, and you feel directly addressed. You flashback to how miserable delivering chicken makes you. Your face changes instantly, from self doubting to fully sure. You nod your head a couple of times building up to say:[[I'll do it. ]]
[[You tell him no and finally go home to get some rest now that you know his fine.]]
<i>Who the fuck would want to steal from him? It’s mediocre chicken at best.</i> You think to yourself.
You unlock the car, grab the bag, and walk [[back to the store]] <h1>THE END</h1>
Come on, he is being a prick but you need the money. Live a little. According to an old Chines proverb, "It's always better to chose to be active. To do something. If you're gonna leave, you better not complain." <h1>THE END</h1>
Come on, he is being a prick. Live a little. I mean there has to be a bit compromise in life. You take his bullshit, you get to call the guy an asshole. Come on, do something.You enter the warehouse space, still very nervous, and when an assistant hands you the rig you look like a child getting candy. You're ready to shoot, although still very cautious with the camera; you feel like a kid learning how to ride a bycicle. You try the fog machine, and tell yourself “Ah this looks so fucking sick”. You ask a PA to put a light BEHIND the subject because you know it looks better. Then you just toil through it, moving around, smiling at what you see in the screen.
After about 4 hours, looking around, you ask one of the P.A.s "Is that it? Did we get it all?"
"Yeah, that’s it." he lets you know. You smile to yourself subtly thinking <i>Holy shit we did it.</i> and you say:
"Alright, that’s a wrap everyone. Thank you so much."You hear happy yells from around the set, the band tells you they can’t wait to see it; in general just a flock of people walking around you. You're the eye of the hurricane. You're distant, in his head, taking this moment; appreciating it in total disbelief. Once again you smile: there seems to be hope after all.
[[The next day you show Robby the footage.]]<h1> The End </h1>
You go back home, get some rest and wake up later in regret. You missed the opportunity of a lifetime due to fear, and although there were a lot of obstacles to cross to make a successful video, you'll never know what could've been.
A very hungover Robby wearing glasses is sitting with you at an editing room taking a look at the footage. He looks at a few clips and says:
"Yeah this is proper shit. I mean, have you heard about exposing properly, kid?"
"Yeah I just, I just, like I told you I’m still learning. But I’ll watch tutorials on it—" But Robby doesn’t care to hear it. He sighs to himself and says:
"Fuck, I really gotta get it together… Hand me that seltzer, please."
You hand him 2 seltzer tablets he brought with him, and he opens them and drops them in the water. They fizz up he drinks it up. All of this is done while he multitasks looking at the footage.
"Alright, with some very earnest editing efforts I might turn this into something usable." he says.He can see these comments are getting to you, you probably look a bit depressed. <i>Does this mean I’m not shooting another video?</i> You think to yourself.
"I mean, you do have kind of an eye. Good angles, good movement. I can tell you’ve watched well-shot films. I will pay you for this one. But the next one has to be properly exposed. Watch tutorials on that. And start watching tutorials on editing. Just in case we need it. I’ll edit this one because it will take A LOT to make it look good. But if I’m ever… <i>sick</i> again, I’m gonna need to know I can count on you.
You look again at the seltzer on water and the gravity of Robby’s alcoholism dawns on you. You know that the only reason he is letting you do this is probably because he wouldn’t like having people in his work know he’s missing videos due to being drunk or hungover. You already know his ways and you're not connected to the label, he’s safe with you. Have it as it may, you're getting paid and this is the only opportunity you've gotten. You're appreciative and genuinely happy to help Robby. You care about him and can tell he’s a genuinely good person. You say, sure of yourself:
[[I’ll watch the tutorials. You can count on me. I’ll get the next one right.]]
[[You get worried of enabling his problem. The more he knows he can count on you, the less he is going to hold himself accountable and be responsible about his shoots.]]
"Alright, here’s 400. If ever need you again and you can show me you can edit, I’ll double that." and he hands you the money.
You look at the money in disbelief. This means you won’t have to worry about how to survive for a month and a half. You don’t even smile, you’re mouth is half open trying to process what just happened.
And that moment, without you knowing it, [[was the beginning of you as a filmmaker.]]
That was your first of many gigs. Robby kept fucking up and drinking before shoot days and handed you last-minute videos. And little by little, you started learning until bands themselves started reaching out to you and you built your roster of clients. Unfortunately, Robby fell down a slippery-slope of vice and drank himself out of his job, and you haven't heard from him in 2 yeatrs. 5 years later you could afford your own apartment in Milwaukee and you're thinking of fullfiling your life-long dream of moving to California. You would expand your now successful music video production company.
<h1> Congratulations, The End </h1>You thank him for the opportunity, say that you're happy to help in any way but that he should consider getting some help. He unfortunately takes it as harsh criticism since he's clearly got a problem. After that meeting he never reaches out again, and you are forced to go back to delivering chicken.