Saturday, June 11, 2011

Slightly Stinky Cologne: A Snapshot from Woman's Picture

Woman's Picture: Snapshot 3 - Slightly Stinky from brian pera on Vimeo.

Woman's Picture is a film series I started this year, the episodes of which for the most part focus on women characters and their relationships with each other, with men, and with perfume.  The first full length episode comes out in September, on,, and a few other sites online, coinciding with the release of the first fragrance in Andy Tauer's new line of perfumes, Tableau de Parfums.  The Tableau fragrances relate to the shorts in the Woman's Picture series.

The first three episodes we filmed for Woman's Picture are playing at festivals over the next year or so as a sort of movie triptych, starting on July 11 at Outfest in Los Angeles.  You can check the website for showtimes.  Woman's Picture is a ten year series and will broadcast online, at festivals, and in theaters, and each episode will be released on DVD.

Ingrid, featured in this "snapshot", a shorter short from the series, loves perfume, but Mackie, her male friend, loves it even more.  He's one of the only guys in the series so far to really represent my fascination with fragrance and he embodies certain fearless, even confrontational attitudes I wish I could pull off myself.

In this short, Mackie and Ingrid have stopped at a cafe before a visit to Ingrid's mother.  Ingrid hasn't seen her mother--or been back to her home town--in ten years, so she's nervous, and wants Mackie to behave, even though she probably secretly cherishes his need to shock and agitate social conventions.  I imagine he has enough perfume on to sink a small ocean liner.  I imagine he thinks of it as a special kind of armor to keep boring people and the restrictions they might try to impose on him at bay.

It was fun playing Mackie.  It gave me a chance to be a lot more bold than I tend to be in person, in my own life.  I'm always so quiet when I shop for perfume, for instance.  I play it safe with all the sales associates.  I sometimes pretend I'm buying perfume for a girlfriend, though I'm buying it for myself nine times out of seven.  Mackie is a great alter ego to slip into on film because he just doesn't care.  Like me he might say outlandish or highly opinionated things, but he doesn't worry too much about the consequences, or what people think.  I trouble over every little thing I say, wanting ultimately to be understood and liked.  I think Mackie knows who his friends are, knows who is worth worrying about - like Ingrid, for instance.  The rest he doesn't spend too much time considering.

I always want to be Mackie when I walk into a perfume store.  Instead I end up a very pale imitation.  I try to be nice and patient and I feign ignorance so as not to make anyone feel I think I know more.  I fumble through interactions with sales associates a little bit.  I'm still scared to spray perfume on, unless it's something in the men's section.  It seems bizarre to me that at my age and after all this time loving perfume I'm still so nervous and worried out among people.  Mackie is the friend I always wanted to have - the kind of guy who would go with you and give you the balls to douse yourself in Poison, right out for the world to see.  I pretend he's with me when I hit Sephora at the mall.


JAntoinette said...

Brian, what a treat to watch! I can't wait to see the full length episode in Sept.
I can't count how many times I have had to say I'm shopping for my man when browsing the "men's" section. I've tried being honest by saying I'm looking for myself, and every time I am directed to the women's section with a furrowed brow and a look of pity. What that poor SA must be thinking, "Stupid girl, can't even find the lady perfumes!" Grr!

Elisa said...

The lipstick all over her cup!

Also, I love a man in a ruffled shirt.

David & Juanita Anum said...

Simply divine, Love it. I hope you don't mind if i follow.

Cynthia said...

I enjoyed the Mackie character, Brian. I would love a friend like that.
I'm happy to finally get on the site. For at least three months, every time I try to get on this site, it knocks my computer offline. This only happens on this site. I don't know what was different today, that I finally got on. Do you know if anyone else has had this problem, and what I might do to correct it? I've missed my reads! Thanks.

waftbyCarol said...

Glorious Brian !
Pat is coming to visit tomorrow
( olfacta ) and I can't wait to hear all about it from her !!

Anonymous said...

Like Cynthia, I continue to have trouble accessing the site. It loads very very slowly, and often eats my comments. This is an issue that's come up over the last 6 months or so, in case that info is helpful.

But I know you're massively busy with film stuff, and rightfully so. I'm enjoying the clips you've posted - what I really dig is the personalities and the stories, and I must say you've chosen the clips well because I get just enough story to make me want the rest of it.

Hope you don't mind a few questions: Ingrid is dealing with mother issues on this trip, and I suppose she's bringing her buddy along for moral support, and to serve as a deflector of tension at home. But Mackie strikes me as a guy who has some issues of his own, and I can see that his presence might add a different sort of tension to the visit. Plot point?

Also, in your mind, what fragrance is he wearing here?

Brian said...

JAntoinette, I love that YOU use that ruse as a woman. I never thought about that. I'm always bemoaning the fate of the male shopping experience. I once smelled Bond No.9 Broadway Nites in front of a SA for ten minutes and even after I made it clear I was trying to decide whether I wanted to get it for myself and it was obvious I LIKE that kind of fragrance she persisted in trying to steer me toward one of the male Bonds, as if she were worried about my cluelessness. She kept telling me it wasn't really a male fragrance. Now my mind is reeling imagining the same conversation in reverse.

Brian said...

Oh Elisa, me too. Me too. Playing Mackie was great because it gave me the nerve to wear all the ruffled tuxedo shirts I've scrupulously collected and left hanging lonely-like in my closet.

Brian said...

JA, follow away. By all means.

Brian said...

Cynthia, I've tried to figure out why the page loads slowly for so many people lately. As Muse says, it's been a good six months. I'm at a loss. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps another browser should be used. But I'm determined to get to the bottom of it. I noticed that when our readers started to spike in numbers the problems started. So I wonder if that has something to do with it. But it would seem that gmail could handle the traffic.

Brian said...

Waftby, you're so lucky to get to see Pat! I adore her. And she speaks so highly of you. It was great having her here for the Woman's Picture shoot recently. I knew she was smart from reading her blog--but she's a hell of a lot of fun, too. And I was glad I got to bring her over to the house and let her smell some stuff. You know you've got too much perfume when you "overwhelm" a fellow blogger with a small selection of your stash!

Brian said...

Hey Muse, see above for loading issues. I'm going to get to the bottom of it. You're right, I've been busy, so it's been difficult to root out the problem, but I hate the thought of the blog crashing people.

In one part of the Woman's Picture series, Mackie and Ingrid talk a lot about Jicky. They seem to both wear it. Anyway, HE does, at dinner with Ingrid's mother, much to her dismay.

It's really sharp of you to suss out the contradictory nature of his presence. Calpernia (the actress who plays Ingrid) and I discussed it a lot beforehand and during the shoot. We thought that in some ways Ingrid might have brought Mackie along because he would sort of challenge her mother in a way Ingrid won't or can't. Mackie's one of those people who instantly polarizes people. And Ingrid knows him well, so it's clear she's aware of that. In some ways I think she brings him for support. In other ways, ways she probably doesn't examine, she brings him for protection and deflection.

During the story you find out other reasons she brings him. I won't give those away. She has complicated motivations for the trip itself, as well, which slowly materialize as the story progresses. And a little of Mackie's background comes out too, suggesting some of the reasons he's so confrontational, in general and with the idea of "family".

Next week we film a snapshot for the series revisiting Mackie a few years after this segment and its visit to Ingrid's mother. He visits his own family and you see a little of what his own backstory is. I like the character a lot - mostly because he is contradictory and complex.

It's strange because I imagined wen I was playing him, and certainly while we edited the story, that he would divide audiences, so I've been a little shocked that the people who've seen that part of the story have identified so strongly with him and see him as a likable character. I didn't intend to make him unlikable, but I certainly saw him as someone who makes it hard for people to like him without reservations.

Elisa said...

"someone who makes it hard for people to like him without reservations" -- those are my favorite kinds of people. I never understand when people complain about unlikeable characters because I like "unlikeable" characters.

Cynthia said...

Hi Brian, It's many days later and I was never able to get on your site again. but now I'm on my daughter's computer and it loaded quickly with no problems. I used Mozilla. So maybe it is a browser issue. I'll try my computer with the Internet Explorer instead of AOL which I usually use. (my computer is new with lots of memory by the way). I'll let you know if that solves the problem.

Brian said...

Brian - interesting video; i have to say your blog has given me more courage to be more bold about shopping on the women's side of the perfume aisle at Nordstrom's/Macy's/etc. I have almost gotten to the point where I really don't care anymore. Here in Seattle most SAs are reasonably non-pushy and don't instantly assume i'm shopping for my "girlfriend" (ha! yeah - HE'S not so into this stuff but does like Tauer Lonestar Memories ;)

I have been a few places where SAs are almost laughably stereotypical - a small perfume shop in a giant mall in Orlando; I asked for Guerlains and they "didn't have any." I moved five feet to my right and spotted vintage bottles of MItsouko, Jicky, etc. I pointed to the 80s-era Jicky edp (for $90!) and said "HERE'S MY CREDIT CARD. I WANT." She said, "But that says parfum - it's for girls - you can't wear it unless it says "cologne.") Honest to god.

so anyways, I don't really give a crap anymore. ;) If they want my money they'll shut up and let me browse.