CHAPTER 11 -- OVERWORKED AND UNDERPAID
Paul gets back to Maggie’s at 11 a.m. He finds a post-it note on the refrigerator: So, how was it? Paul writes in the space provided underneath -- Survived. One day down, forty-one to go.
He pours himself a huge bowl of cereal and steps in the shower with it. The scalding water pounds the muscles on his shoulders and neck as he munches away.
He is making a thousand dollars a week...six days a week, that’s around a hundred and seventy dollars a day...he worked fifteen hours a day...so that is what? Around eleven dollars an hour? Eleven dollars an hour for hard physical labor, most of it at night, working with two guys who didn’t like him, chasing after four pitiful losers, and at the end of six weeks he’ll have about five thousand dollars after taxes.
Was this even worth it? He could work at MacDonald’s for six dollars an hour, and he wouldn’t be crippling himself, or he could be a temp secretary for some talent agency and make twelve dollars an hour.
But he couldn’t do it, he couldn’t wear a name tag, or a tie...not yet. That would be admitting failure. He has to be able to tell himself that he is working in his chosen field, even if he’s being abused. Then again, this kind of TV work hardly counted as filmmaking. Maybe Maggie made the right choice. At least she has a life...
“Stop it,” he says out loud to himself, to stop his spinning mind. He shuts off the water. He is a filmmaker working on a production to earn money to get his film made. That’s his story, and he is sticking to it.
He steps out of the shower with lobster red skin. Any more poaching and his meat will fall off the bone. But the tension is gone, and he can sleep. He crawls into bed and sets the alarm for 4:30. He’d get five hours of sleep and still have just enough time to eat again and rush out the door.
It is only six weeks, Paul tells himself, and he’ll make five thousand dollars. He’ll split it three ways – a third will go to catching up on his car payments, a third for credit card debt on his film, and a third to Maggie for back rent and groceries. He will still owe money to all three, but maybe it’ll buy him some wiggle room and time.
If he can earn another two thousand he could then transfer the eight minutes of film he shot in the past year to videotape, edit one more scene and smooth out the transitions between two others. A third of his film would be done and enough of a story would be there. He could show it to investors, distributors, and agents. People never give money to start a project, but they love to give money to help finish one. It would all work out. He pulls the comforter up close to him and he could smell Maggie’s scent on it. He falls asleep.
The alarm seems to go off a moment later.