THELONIOUS MONK ON HOW TO PLAY A GIG, PART 5

The final installment…  Monk’s observations should be printed out in large font and taped to the wall of every camera truck in the world!

            Stay in shape!  Sometimes a musician waits for a gig, & when it comes, he’s out of shape & can’t make it.

            The obvious reference here would be to health and physical conditioning.  But it’s equally important that you stay engaged with your profession.  Keep up with the latest developments and trends.  Don’t just lay around between jobs!  You never know what might come along next – and it could be quick! – so prepare for every eventuality.

            When you’re swinging, swing some more!

            Creating images on set – creating anything, for that matter – is an invigorating, energizing, life-affirming experience.  Once you’re in the flow, you have a chance to really step off and do something memorable.  When that opportunity strikes, take advantage and wring every last drop out of it!

            (What should we wear tonight?  Sharp as possible!)

            These aren’t the old days during which the studio cameramen showed up to the lot in a jacket and tie.  Now, you’re more likely to see the cinematographer sporting a T-shirt and cargo shorts!  But this isn’t about what you wear to work.  It’s about your dignity as a person.  It’s about presenting yourself in a competent, positive manner.  Simply projecting a helpful attitude can go a long way toward fulfilling this edict – and you can do that even while wearing a potato sack!

            Don’t sound anybody for a gig, just be on the scene.  These pieces were written so as to have something to play, & to get cats interested enough to come to rehearsal.

            Don’t demean yourself in the search for work.  Stay involved with the relevant people and if you can deliver the goods, good things will happen.  Scripts were written to be produced and there’s a world of them out there just waiting to be photographed.  Don’t behave like a hermit when you should be out on the prowl, but don’t be a toady, either.  Grow your network of contacts, expand your web.  Stay engaged with the people who can hire you…and always be awake for the opportunity that can move you to the next level.

            They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along & spoil it.

Hate, never!  Love, ever!  Man, could the world use a dose of Monk’s warmth and open-mindedness today…

9.14.2021

8 thoughts on “THELONIOUS MONK ON HOW TO PLAY A GIG, PART 5”

  1. What a lovely ending! Definitely the best pearls of wisdom about art and craft! Now I need to print them… and find a potato sack to wear tomorrow on set.

  2. Right on! DPs, please don’t wear cargo shorts. They haven’t been hip since Nam……you are the leader of the crew (and sometimes the whole show) so dress accordingly.

  3. A copy of Monk’s handwritten rules is posted above my desk. Words to live by! Thanks for your thoughtful elaborations, Richard! Hard-earned wisdom.

  4. Truth and brilliance, Russ! I recently returned from a shoot in Palm Springs…106˚ – and long pants on my legs!

  5. Richard – You’re welcome for a visit to Phoenix where it seems to
    be 106 degrees everyday, or at least until November.
    Make sure you bring some shorts.

  6. Thank you, Ken…I just might do that sometime. I was scouting locations in Palm Springs yesterday and it was 106˚ there, too!

  7. I really dug these. So true. Just watched you over on Filmmaker U, dug that quote about the Negative. More true today than ever. Looks like I have something on Netflix to check out.

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