Posted On June 21, 2014 By In Miscellaneous

Born on the 5th of July: Part 6



Record 6: Silver Lake, California, Tuesday, July 5th, 2011. Day.

You start the day at Casbah with a shot of espresso, half a cigarette, and an Adderall. Today, you’re 26, you remember. You’re on the wrong side of 20, and your Facebook friends don’t care what you did last night. Not anymore.

The barista is your friend. Her name is Ashby. She knows it’s your birthday. Or maybe she doesn’t. Maybe she’s a bad friend.

“You want something else?” She asks you, and you realize you’re standing at the counter with your torso limbs swaying to and fro, grazing the frilly part of your sundress, and smashing into your pleather handbag.

You are intensely focused on the wall-menu.

This is the Adderall.

“…are you there? Lacey?” Ashby asks you.

And so you ‘snap out of it.’ Or so it goes. Right?

“Sorry.” Good apology. Sincere. Straight to the point.

“Can I just get some free water?” You ask.

She hands you the cup, a glass one, and says something you wish she hadn’t said.

“Happy birthday.” She smiles. She places a vegan muffin in front of you. It has no candles.

“Thanks.” You say like you’re sighing on the inside.

“You do anything fun last night?” She asks and you wonder if you’re Facebook friends with her.

“Not really. I just watched New Girl and cried.” You say.

Ashby laughs.

You thank her for the vegan cake and take your usual seat at the first wooden-circle table.

You slide your laptop out of the pleather. You log onto the Internet because you know the password.

15 minutes pass and you haven’t even checked your email. You think about the Adderall. You should be focusing on important things. Don’t waste the focus, whatever you do.

Don’t waste the focus.

You respond to a ‘Happy Birthday’ text from your mom. Done. Okay. Now, work.

You open an Excel spreadsheet. The lists and columns of numbers and words overwhelm you.

You respond to a ‘Happy Birthday’ text from your sister. It’s been 3 years since you’ve seen her. This makes you sad and reflective for a second.

You notice the 15k allotted for sound design. This is too much. You make a note. You suggest not spending more than 8k on sound design. You go on to explain, in your note, that because the budget is of the ‘micro’ nature, money must be prioritized in order of importance. Because the film has very minimal dialogue, production sound is not of the utmost significance. This is right. You feel this ‘rightness’ in your bones. In fact, you take this ‘rightness’ further. You make another note, or, a suggestion, perhaps, to eliminate all money set-aside for production assistants. Quite frankly, production assistants should be working to get credit, since it’s probably their first real experience on a production anyway. They shouldn’t be paid. Credit. That’s all they need. Is credit. On the film, so you make a note suggesting that PAs should get no money. You’re really on a roll. Nice. Also, now, 20k for traveling seems expensive. It is expensive. It’s possible to shoot everything in state, right? You note this. This could save thousands. And the director is taking a 30k fee? You have to read this twice before you decide that the director needs a pretty firm talking-to. One on one. Probably. You make a note. No. Fuck notes. You send an email to the director. You address this issue immediately. File. New Tab. Gmail. 95 words per minute. Email sent. You think that was too blunt? You don’t think that was blunt enough. You’ll have to meet with the director in person, you think. It’s up to you, you remember, to save the executive producers’ money. And you will, you know you will. And, wow! You’ve just reviewed the Excel sheet and added everything up and, if all of your adjustments are made, you will have saved the production 60k! Now you can’t stop thinking about the actual production shooting and how much fun that will actually be, and yeah it’s only about two months…


You look up to see Ashby behind the counter. She looks worried.

“Yeah?” Normal answers are good.

“Your phone.”

It’s next to your computer. Okay.

“It was vibrating.” She says.

“Oh.” You say.

Next, you thank her: “Thank you.”

You have missed 10 ‘Happy Birthday’ text messages, and you can’t let these people, these friends, these family members, think you’re some kind of flaky birthday person who doesn’t respond to birthday text messages.

You are a piece of shit.

You respond to each message. You write sentences. Paragraphs.

You take time.

You have another cigarette.

Ashby makes a joke about a guy wearing some H&M clothes.

You laugh.

She laughs too.

You ‘friend’ her on Facebook, so it’s official.

Okay. Time to work.

You write more notes on the Excel spreadsheet.

When you look up, it’s lunchtime.

You’re happy about lunch food and Ashby is happy to make your lunch food.

Ashby makes a joke about making your lunch food.

You both laugh. You are true friends.

You write some more awesome notes. Things like, ‘We cannot spend more than $350 on lunch every day,’ ‘Number of locations needs to be minimized,’ and ‘Actors could provide their own costumes.’

You lean back in your chair. You stretch. You smile.

You are ‘the shit.’ Or so it goes.

And then you hear everything. The world widens. No more narrow.

Taps of feet, boots on hardwood, the ‘click’ of laptop keys smash and crush your once-calm work bubble.

People suck on hot coffee. They talk loud. Caffeinated-perky. Excited about all the invisible achievements and the whole fifty/fifty future.

Ashby never whispers. She yells her bad jokes at people.

You hear the toilet flush in the backroom.

You hear glass break in the kitchen.

You hear a hipster breathing deep breaths.

Your heart beats into your arms.

You close your eyes.

You need to ‘snap out of it.’

Or so it goes.

You reach into your pocket. Oh yes.

This is the Adderall.

You are intensely focused on the wall-menu.

“…are you there? Lacey?”

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Will is the Co-Founder and CEO of Taken Films. He holds an MFA in Film Production from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. He wrote a book that you haven't read. It's called 'My Blood Feet.'