I’m aiming for an unbroken two-month stint on MORNING COMPUTER. I have a hand-drawn grid for it on the wall, above the whiteboard, that takes me up to October 2, and I intend to put crosses in every box on that grid. (The Seinfeld Chain.)
The key pull-quote from that is not “don’t break the chain.” but “skipping one day makes it easier to skip the next day.”
I know what works for me in terms of productivity. Like “don’t for fuck’s sake put Netflix on the big screen.” I will produce a lot less every day if I let a tv show run on Netflix. Sometimes it works as background noise, but often it draws my eye too much – video claims too much attention. What works better is throwing up a nature documentary or an art film, something slow, and mute the window, and then put music on. I’ve written awful bleak things to THE TURIN HORSE running under an ambient music podcast. Or, on one appalling night that I should probably never repeat, playing VARDE by Elegi over the top of it. (A bit of it.) (The review by RA that explains its life-extinguishing bleakness.)
Also, KNIGHT OF CUPS becomes a much better film if you mute it and play ambient music over the top of it. (Well, no it doesn’t, but you take my point)
I work better with music on than I do with narrative sound design, generally. I like to have something on the big screen, but it should be a live internet feed of some kind, like Twitter lists or Instagram through the Grids app or glittering.blue. Everybody has a different system that works for them. Find out what yours is. Just note down on a bit of paper what the ambience was during your last work session, and whether or not you feel like you worked well, and keep doing it – you’ll eventually see the patterns that you can combine into a system that works for you.