#WFH Diaries: The Perlorian Brothers, Directors at MJZ

As lockdowns linger in most parts of the world, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from the Perlorian Brothers, aka Michael Gelfand and Ian Letts, commercial directors repped by MJZ.

Give us a one-line bio of yourselves.

Ferociously attractive directors in waiting.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

One of us has been self-isolating since before it was cool, moving to a little place by the lake over a decade ago, so we've got our own private lazaretto to hunker down in and some time to get handy and do a little work on the place (new rooftop deck in progress—see below). The other of us is in the center of Toronto, or "epicenter," as it's now referred to. Our families, quadropeds and bipeds both, are keeping us company together.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

The work situation is actually quite similar to a normal "between assignments" situation, when we are tending to post-production on projects we've shot (which we've been doing some of, remotely but effectively) and working up treatments on new projects for agencies (which we have mostly not been doing). So the routine is pretty familiar to us, except for the complete absence of new projects part.

Describe your socializing strategy.

Sending a lot of handcrafted postcards to penpals in the mail and dropping off homemade puddings on doorsteps anonymously.

How are you dealing with childcare?

One of us has dealt with it by neglecting to have children. The other is dealing with it by neglecting. (No, the kids are at that self-sufficient age where they can walk, reach the kitchen counter, open the fridge and finish university exams without help.)

What are you reading?

Old issues of Apartmento magazine. New York magazine from the 1960s (free on Google Books). Michael Ondaatje's poetry. Piet Oudolff's beautiful book Planting the Natural Garden. Ian McEwan's novel Saturday. Gabrielle Hamilton's essay in the Times "My Restaurant Was My Life For 20 Years. Does the World Need it Anymore?" is as good as anything we've read these past weeks. We've also been studying the "Advertising Idea Book," published in 1951, which has over 600 advertising ideas! So we'll be more than ready when the we're back in business.

What are you watching?

Umm … everything. There's so much and there's something on all the time. Artist Tom Sachs' office hours every Monday on Instagram Live. And choreographer Ryan Heffington on Instagram live. And Mrs. America on FX. And a French pirated copy of 24-Hour Party People on Vimeo. And a good documentary about painter Phillip Guston and David Chang's Ugly Delicious. And the dopey but hilarious Seth Rogen movie Long Shot. Old episodes of Community…

But something really amazing and worth checking out on YouTube are episodes or clips of the show Night Music from 1988 and 1989. The great Hal Wilner, who died last month, was the musical director of this show. It's weird and wonderful. Read about the Mr. Wilner and the show here and then go find the clips on YouTube

What are you listening to?

The pirate radio alternate universe of Howie Pyro's long running Intoxica. "Like magic, an invisible chain of sound once more encircles the planet!" We can't be in mid-'60s Los Angeles right now, but a few hours of Intoxica helps fill that gap.

Also, our friend English Ben turned us onto The Adam Buxton Podcast. Buxton's a U.K. comedian who hosts rambly chats with a variety of familiar and unfamiliar characters (Paul Thomas Anderson, Steve Coogan, Johnny Marr, to name a few). He's a great conversationalist, a witty raconteur.

How are you staying fit?

Thought this said lit at first. We've rediscovered that amazing 1980s Canadian institution that we grew up with called The 20 Minute Workout. Watching that for 20 minutes a day leaves us feeling renewed and refreshed.

Have you taken up a hobby?

We've taken up "making art" as a fulfilling lockdown pastime. Being directors, our approach is to vaguely describe the art (or more often, what the art should not be) and then the art is actually made for us by a production designer. The photo below shows a recent original sculpture piece we "made" from macaroni, bread dough and food coloring. It's beautiful and also emergency food.

Any tips for getting necessities?

We saw this news item early on about a dog who would take his human's grocery list to the corner store in a little envelope with money and then come back carrying a bag full of food. This seems like a great workaround, and once we get our golden doodle Arthur to understand the human food/dog food boundary and not to shred the $20 bills like chewtoys, we expect to have an infection-risk-free system in place.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Most of our moments are awkward, so hard to tell. 

Best work email you got since all this started.

We had the opportunity to pitch on a campaign advertising Norwegian mayonnaise. We were happy to see all those pictures of shrimp salad sandwiches in our inbox.

An aha! moment since all this started.

One of the many podcasts we listen to now recently used the term "geeking" as a verb, without any explanation, as though listeners would be well aware of the practice. So we went to Wikipedia (of course) to find out more, and now we know. "Aha!" we said.

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

Should disappear by April.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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