In the fall of 1964, as I have been told the story, a room full of 19-year-old American girls were in the south of France learning to improve their writing skills in French. The teacher, I’m picturing Alain Delon (brown hair, on the lam, and hoping to stay undercover in this out-of-the-way school) tells his students to write an essay on the question: Can a book be a friend?
Well, yes. Especially when the mystery in low-slung pants and a low-collared shirt is proposing the question with a soft piece of chalk twisting idly in his hands. He glances out at the girls, one at a time, and then at the group. They pick up their pens and get to work.
The first draft of their essays ramble. Some of the girls look up from their desks to wonder what the teacher sees out the window, as they work, what’s he watching out there? Later he’ll help them organize the structure of their essays, and he will correct their French. He’s an effective teacher even though he’s unnervingly calm for a criminal, or because of it.
Okay so now it’s 2019, I’m in New York, and this post asks: Can a movie be a friend?
The answer has to be yes, again. Speaking of the law in pursuit of Alain Delon, Le Samouraï is a crucial friend. It’s old and it kind of goes on and on at times, you can’t get together with it when you don’t have the patience for it, but you’ll always have each other. Like a book.
But now I’m on the other side of building this kind of relationship, if that’s the right word. Write When You Get Work is about to be released online. It’s about to walk out of the house in pursuit of one-on-one encounters.
I’m like this anxious oak tree just standing at the kitchen window and… what? hoping for the best? How do you help promote something, a movie in this case, that is such an intentional piece of yourself? Maybe the one-to-one nature of online delivery systems provides an angle after all:
A movie is not a book but, like a book, it stays put in time. And yet, miracle of invention, the movie comes to life when you stick in some headphones, look at your phone, and touch play.
Okay, a handheld device is not a movie theater.
Making a phone call to a friend from a flip phone at an airport can’t be the same as being together. But it is a whole lot better than not talking at all. Or never having met.
By way of introduction…
This post is meant to light a match and start a conversation about Write When You Get Work. More posts are to come with my thoughts on the story, the production, and post-production. Send questions, send comments. I’ve got big ears (that’s actually true) and a big mouth, and therefore a lot to discuss with you.
– SC. 1.21.2019