Around 2008 the demands of running vertically integrated (self-financed, self-produced, self-distributed) independent film studio had gotten large enough I decided to take on an intern as an editorial assistant for Bill and Desire: Love is Timeless. The editorial assistant’s task would be to log and organize the footage so that I could spend my time on the actual editing.
I put an ad on Mandy’s, a film and television job board and was immediately deluged with dozens of hopelessly unsuitable applications. “No wonder people think it’s hard to get a job in this business,” I thought.
Somewhere around the 50th or 60th inquiry I came Michael. His previous job experience was suitable to the task, his cover letter indicated he had done some due-diligence on the company he was applying to. I called him while I was sitting on the can and after establishing I was talking to the right person, I said, “God bless you for not being an idiot. If you want it the job’s yours.”
Michael set to to the task immediately, working mostly unsupervised. I’d check in every couple of days, offer a suggestion about how to shape the way he was organizing the footage to suit my (admittedly idiosyncratic) editing method.
Then something awful happened.
Michael’s brother was involved in terrible car accident and was badly injured. Then about a week later, after looking like he would recover he died unexpectedly. Michael was devastated, quit working, and disappeared.
A few months later Michael resurfaced. He apologized and I said “Don’t worry about it. If you still have your key and want to get back to work on the film I’d be happy to have you,” and Michael set back to work.
Michael’s efforts were fruitful. With the tedious work out of the way I was able to complete the editing, finishing, and mastering of Bill and Desiree in only a few weeks, and the film went on to be one of our best reviewed and best selling titles.
I told Michael I wanted to give him the editor’s credit on the film and he stammered that he didn’t edit it.
“But you could do it now, couldn’t you? And besides, that’s the way this bizz works, right?”
You’ll also see that Bill and Desiree is Michael’s only editor credit and that there’s not much work after that. 2008 was the beginning of the end for me as a filmmaker, and pretty much the end of professional independent filmmaking.
Below is the clip from the film. It’s Bill reading “May Touch Redeem Us”, a love poem he wrote for Desiree.