Home. This morning I staggered out of bed at 8 and set up the studio. Hamhanded, I tried to take photographs that would serve as an office background for a major building contracting manager. I thought about shaving my beard but somehow I felt that my boy Brian would be proud of a bushy one. I kept it. I would probably have cut my nose off if I’d tried shaving, the state I am in the morning, especially considering I’ve got a whole ecosystem attached to my chin right now.
We had to have a fifteen minute Zoom conversation about the price of wallboards. I was buying in bulk by the millions for a major housing project, and playing hard ball with the seller to see how cheaply I could get them on a renewed contract. We were recording it to send to the client, who was teaching about bad selling and wanted to use the video we make around a teaching point.
Problem was the length of the conversation – and therefore the length of the shot. We got very good at the first five minutes. We were ok at the middle five. By the time we got to the last five it was frequently slipping, because it only takes one irretrievable fuck up or some ridiculous shouting outside your door to bin the whole take and then you have to go back to the start or likely take even longer in the edit than you would retaking.
There’s no saving it in post or starting halfway through if it’s a recorded zoom meeting and it’s just the two of you and you’re both shit at editing. We had to get fifteen minutes of involved sales talk down pat in one long long shot. It took us a couple of hours all said, with breaks. I recorded it as a screengrab, the same way I’ve been recording myself playing a computer game occasionally just for YouTube shits and giggles. I’m glad I even learnt that much as it served me well today.
My terrible design head didn’t serve me so well. After failing to take photographs for my background without wacky perspective, I panicked that I’d never be able to find something that would work for an office background for my character so I decided to try and build something. I pulled all the pictures off the wall in my living room and built a weird pile of tools and cushions and boxes behind me. Panting from exertion I proudly showed it to Sylvia when she logged on at eleven. “I couldn’t find a background that worked and wasn’t right-protected. I thought rather than risk someone trying to pull down the video because we’re using their image, I’d make this. What do you think?” TADAAAA. I proudly reveal it.
“It’s shit. It doesn’t work at all.”
“Oh. Um. Well I’ve got a greenscreen…”
2 minutes later: “What about this image as background?” Oh skill-sets. She had found a public domain image that was perfect. In no time. After I fucked around for TWO HOURS! While I was berating myself she sent three more.
This is why collaboration is the key, generally. She then supervised multiple costume changes (“too smart” “too casual” “too vintage”) until I looked right, whereas she had logged on (albeit half an hour late) looking the bees knees immediately. We rolled into the takes.
We work very well together, the pair of us. Guildhall in different years but contemporary. Always friends. Always allies. Now she trains rich people to unblock themselves and tries to make herself rich in the process. It’s good work, needed work, kind work and valuable work. I occasionally come on board as her second, or help her out with writing, and it’s because of the way we complement each other. She’s dyslexic, instinctive and sharp. I’m overlexic, instinctive and blunt. Here we are. With invisible costume and prop carnage.