Suzy Bernstein Key to happiness as a freelancer

Key to happiness as a freelancer.

Key to Happiness as a freelancer.

Now, let’s just take this one day at a time.

Wake up. Remember not to keep your state in mind. You have to get to that movie set. They are shooting in the beautiful morning light that might allow for beautiful shots. Rush, Suzy, Rush. Ha, good possible name.

Let it be said that on this particular day I am currently on the fourth set of medication that the doctor has tried on me in the last four days. My face has broken out in red mean ugly spots that have blistered. And that’s just on the face of it. Let’s not go there, but just saying….

Before I can get to this film set (have I mentioned that I’m a photographer?) I have to go through this mountain of pills and sort through what must and must not be taken. Ah right, I remember, that at the emergency chemist that I rushed past last night on my way home from the David Goldblatt talk, because freelancers are happy networkers and always out there, the pharmacist asks me if I must take that particular pill once a week or once a day. I say “ I am the patient.” “He is the doctor”. “Ask him.” He didn’t. So…

Jump out bath to answer ringing phone. Mom’s ex-husband/my dad wanting to talk medical scheme logistics about Mom who has broken hip, who knows from nothing much other than me, due to the senile dementia, confusion, Parkinsons. DadI’m busy rushing to get to work. Could I call you a bit later? Want a bit of advice – remember freelancers work. She has a nurse there. She loved the chicken soup. She seemed well when I was there yesterday. Ok, will call later.

Right, back to the kitchen….

Cut the fruit. Ouch. Ulcers in the mouth. Have to get some food down so that I can take those pills. One of them might help? Ah, let me now try the doctor’s rooms. She’ll call back with information she tells me.

Fine! I am walking out front door without said pill. Cell rings.

Run back in. Take that pill.

Grab the camera bag. Drive to the set. Melville Koppies. Close Enough. Rush there. Arrive and there is no film crew. I’ve missed them. Great!

I quickly Skype my sister in Aus, who I have not chatted to since Mummy nearly fell down the plughole. It’s true, but I can’t go into it here – that she nearly fell down the plughole. Ok, I’ve got to run. I say. Always remember that you’re the boss. If that doesn’t make you happy, get a boss.

Next film-shoot. I drive past Yeoville, Hillbrow, Ponte that is living more lives than I can imagine. I enter the old space of the Alhambra theatre Life slows down. I look down. “Who said socks with sandals isn’t cool?”. I console myself. Deep breaths, Suzy. These are theatre people – they will not see you, your spots on your face or your socks with sandals. How did I do that?

An anticipatory cast waiting in all manner of gnomes, witches and weirdo outfits await my steady gaze in this rundown space. It is sheer surrealism. There is nowhere for me to stand. I do my best. We do group shots, individuals, two shots. A nubile man has his top off and I must capture all. I take the director upstairs and we open a baby boy blue room. We are transported as though in a Peter Pan dream and I click away grabbing a portrait shot or two. Pics needed today for the paper article. Tick.

Next shoot. A lodge in Stanley Ave. What a space to shoot in, I think. I am …. Ah lunch. Ah no, my pills. I shoot them shooting one another. I make friends, always. People pose. The dialog is about a search for semen. Nice! ‘ Film crew. Actors. Artists. Spaces. Lit sets. Crossing! I say for the umpteenth time honouring film jargon.

I rush home. Rush Suzy Rush. Drop off my camera bag. Pick up my laptop. Fetch my younger son. I am smiling. Hi Daniel. How are you? He moo’s in a nice teenager way. How was the exam?

Good. Drop him at his music lesson. Shop for ingredients for more chicken soup for Mum.

Then I’m here. It’s round the corner. In my time out here a text from my eldest son…. I won the competition. Off to California in October!!!! Yee haa… I’m a happy freelancer.

My crazy off beat sometimes slow, (believe or not), do it all yourself sometimes fast life, creates happiness. As they say ‘It’s all in the map, not in the territory’. Make sure you enter with the correct key.





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