14 Aug How to Love Your Work
Even though we stayed in London for the whole summer, I suspected that this time at EP HQ, in the company of a whole slew of East European interns, wouldn’t be so bad after all when I got a text from one of them that read:
‘I have orgasm’
We definitely like our interns to enjoy their work, but I have to admit, I wondered if perhaps we were providing too much stimulus. I relayed the contents of this text to Hanan, not without casting a suspicious glance, but then another text came, and the gist of it was that the young lady in question had discovered we had some editing software that she would like to learn, and was beside herself as a result. She was always asking us to correct her English, but when we reached the office, I made an executive decision to let this particular one slide.
Our aim this summer was to overhaul all the systems and processes for our digital marketing company, Enlightenment Business Solutions, now known by the snappier name of EBS Digital. Systems and processes can be quite fascinating (especially after a glass of wine), but as I tried to make sense of piles of flow charts that Hanan had scrawled out in illegible handwriting, I noticed that while I drew arrows from one box to another, my wife was spending most of her time talking to co-producers, casting directors and sales companies about our next movie, Despite the Falling Snow.
With one ear listening to her exciting calls about big name cast, I mournfully kept my eyes on my process charts. Hanan finished her latest call and started packing up her computer.
‘Where are you going?’ I asked.
‘We,’ she corrected ‘are going to meet a young Russian opera singer who wants us to use her music in the film.’
This is the kind of odd sentence that punctuates daily conversation in the Sarif-Kattan household, so I got into the car obediently, and gave Hanan a short lecture about not offering roles and songs to Russians without checking with me, and off we went.
Well, the young lady was stunningly beautiful, had the voice of an angel, and was indeed Russian. The friend who introduced us, also Russian, showed us a clip of her singing Puccini at an Andrea Bocelli concert the night before in Italy. We were sold, but I still thought it best not to promise anything. But it was too late. Hanan had figuratively lit up her Harvey Wienstein cigar.
‘You have a whole scene at the opera in Moscow,’ she reminded me, as the Russians watched me, full of hope.
‘Yes, but it’s before the opera actually starts…’
‘Perfect! We can show her on stage!’ Hanan said.
I would have mentioned that I had to think about it, but our Russian friend was jumping out of his seat with joy, and the singer was rather talented. I rewrote the scene in my head and waited.
‘She will be singing at the Venice Film Festival,’ our friend said. ‘You will go?’
‘I don’t think we can,’ I replied, just as Hanan said:
‘Of course! We’d love to.’
And there you have it. The tortoise and the hare, in a filmmaking partnership. I sighed and tried not to think too much about logistics. If you keep wondering precisely how your dreams are going to come true, it sort of kills the possibility. As a lifetime worrier about the how of everything, I can recommend two courses of action. Either change. Or marry someone who only thinks about why, and let’s the how take care of itself. I tried both, and marriage is definitely easier…