My happy place is Emily Blunt’s face. I can’t meditate, but I can think for hours about Mark Duplass and his look of joy when his on-screen wife wins a competition, Togetherness, end of season two. My mother called me a dreamer, a telly-addict, said you could have a party around me and I wouldn’t noticed, so entranced was I by the glowing screen. It’s been my greatest passion for the whole of my life.
The way you feel about having a baby some day, scoring the winning point for your favourite team, collapsing into love with the pinnacle of your romantic fantasies; that’s how I feel about making movies. I’ve been writing scripts and drawing storyboards and jotting ideas and guzzling down movies with my eyeballs all my life. Guzzling and dreaming. And dreaming. And dreaming.
Some girls do. I dream. Why I haven’t made a film by now, is something of a mystery to me too. It’s what I want to do most. But instead of doing, I’m dreaming. How wonderful it would be to make my very own Frances Ha, or Appropriate Behaviour or Obvious Child. But in that dream I’m cool and thin and live in New York. The whole thing is an impossible fantasy.
Every time I’ve written a script that is somehow attainable, I’ve reminded myself of the financial and physical obstacles to achieving my passion. What’s the point of making this film on a shoestring? I should wait, save, get a budget from somewhere, apply to a scheme… my waking nightmare is the world of feasibility. I’m drowning in reality.
I should just grab a camera and a couple of mates and go shoot a thing, like those cool guys do, like a Duplass would or a Baumbach or Mercedes Grower when she made Brakes for what she says was literally no money. It’s probably easier to make a feature for literally no money if you’re already friends with Noel Fielding.
And this is the thing. I alone don’t feel capable. In my fantasy, in my wish, I am collaborating. I am working with someone, someone who’s like me, but not me. Someone who matches me in experience and enthusiasm, but when I’m failing I have them to remind me we can do this. I can recruit passengers once I have a co-pilot. I know how to work with stewards and how to balance for altitude and wind-speed, and I look nifty in a hat. But I need equal and opposite. I need someone else who is also the driver – not someone who’s swept up in my enthusiasm and coming along for the ride.
In the stories of how they started, all of my favourites describe their origins in terms of how they found their team, at UCB or Second City or Footlights. How Poehler and Fey and Samburg and Mooney all started doing things when they got in with the right crowd.
I know so many crowds, so many people working and writing and making things. But somehow the strange alchemy hasn’t resulted in a compound for me, no one with whom I can swipe right for life. Willing parties, sure, but creative soulmates and collabowriters never.
And sure, sure I can rely on my friends for encouragement and support, I can keep applying for shit and plugging away and hoping. And dreaming.
But I don’t think I’m going to make it in this world, till there is you.