A thorny romantic comedy set in New York City at a private school for girls and in the world outside its exclusive walls.

 Jonny Collins is still in love with Ruth Duffy, and he has been since they were kids. But Ruth has slipped away from him, away from their corner of the Bronx under the Throgs Neck Bridge. She has landed on the lower rungs of the Upper East Side in a job and a small apartment. Then Jonny spots her, and locked doors and windows can’t prevent him from breaking back into her life. She can barely stand the sight of him and yet she can hardly breathe without him.

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Director’s Statement

I’ve been asked several times what the title means, Write When You Get Work. It’s a directive: to call if you get a job, to let us know if you make some money. It’s a farewell that comes with a challenge.

If you say it to someone as they walk away, it’s got promise of accomplishment but likelihood of failure in its delivery. It’s a poke in the ribs.

It was how my dad always said goodbye when I was a kid. Whether I was headed to college or off to the park, my dad would give a wave and say, “Write when you get work.”

For years I didn’t know what it meant but I could tell he thought it was funny. Especially when I was eight years old and just headed out with other kids. He never bothered to explain it but, as I got older, I figured it out.

And that gradual slide into understanding what is being said to you is like the pleasure of watching a movie -- not a proof or an essay but a story that brings problems and funny ideas and the threat of disappointment into your mind -- by way of performances and the controlling of light and rhythm. When it works, it’s an authentic and heartfelt sleight of hand.

Write When You Get Work, the movie, is a love story and portrait of New York, a city where people live and walk in unexpected combinations, in their own heads but together.

The characters in the movie, Ruth and Jonny, and also Nan and Steven (Rachel Keller & Finn Wittrock, Emily Mortimer & James Ransone), have loved each other and lost each other. They crowd each other, taunt each other, and evolve toward each other in wavy lines. And their story ends with a simple camera move and a track aptly, for this movie, called Money Makes Me Crazy (BLUR).

We built a cast of perfect strangers, some of them with enormous experience and several making their feature debut, and we built a fictional universe to rhyme with the real one. We shot the movie on Super16mm film in 20 days on the Upper East Side and in the Bronx, under the Throgs Neck Bridge in a waterfront neighborhood called Locust Point. We got through production and post-production, and post post-production, with the kind of improvised navigation that drives the plot of the movie itself. And filming itself was nothing less than extraordinary thanks to the wit and brilliance of Robert Elswit, our Oscar-winning Director of Photography.

Robert and I threw scenes from Out of the Past onto the screen of his iPad not long before we started shooting and we were off to the races together. He and I had worked together before, in vastly different contexts, but always with efficiency and intuition. This movie gave us a chance to work together again for which I’m deeply grateful.

We jumped on the subway, we hailed real cabs, we laid track and stole shots on sidewalks out in front of delis. We made last-ditch pleas for perfect locations. We pulled rabbits out of hats.

Stacy Cochran, September 2018


Stacy Cochran is a director, producer and screenwriter based in New York. She made her feature debut with Columbia TriStar title My New Gun starring Diane Lane and James LeGros. It was shot on 35mm film by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Ed Lachman, ASC. It premiered in Director's Fortnight at Cannes and earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Feature. Subsequent projects as writer-director include Touchstone/Interscope title Boys starring Winona Ryder, the half-hour doc Richard Lester! about the director, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival (https://www.criterionchannel.com/directed-by-richard-lester), and Drop Back Ten which premiered in Dramatic Competition at Sundance. As the Arthur Levitt Artist-in-Residence at Williams College, she taught screenwriting and directing in Williamstown, MA. She also served as head of the Program Advisory committee at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams. In 2018, she completed Write When You Get Work starring Emily Mortimer, Finn Wittrock, Rachel Keller, Scott Cohen, Jessica Hecht and Andrew Schulz. Shot on Super16mm film by Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Elswit, ASC, the movie premiered in Narrative Competition at SXSW in March 2018. It was distributed by Abramorama and launched on online platforms in March 2019. Currently, Stacy is working on projects including the screenplay for A Year on Ice, set during the NHL season of 1969 in New York, adapted from veteran New York Times sports-reporter Gerald Eskenazi’s book of the same name.

TALKHOUSE: Waking Back Up in the Movie Business - Stacy Cochran [November 20, 2018]