Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The party in long beach

One of the great things about playing a festival is that it gives you the ability to completely ignore all the things that are going horribly wrong in your life and just be a filmmaker (and if things aren’t going horribly wrong – then you really ain’t makin’ film).

This was the attitude I took on my way to this festival in Long Beach. Now I should point out that we were invited to play this one. So I guess that is a bit of a change in the modus operandi since I didn’t take a beating on the submission fee’s and sweat the acceptance letter – oh yeah and since I am on the topic of acceptance letters I’d like to send a special FUCK YOU to the Rhode Island International Film Festival for sending me an email (after they had rejected me) telling all submitters that they had lost their database list and that they are still struggling with finding enough screens, because they had 500 films arrive after the deadline….and they were sooo good, that they were compelled to screen a lot of them. I’m sorry I thought it was called a deadline because if you missed it you were, for all intents and purposes, dead. Do festivals even follow their own rules? I mean what the fuck?

And for the record I wasn’t that thrilled about your shitty new England festival anyway. I am from Philly and I have about as much love for the New England states as I do for personal income taxes.

So this is a festival in Cali and that means that we are once again defending home court (LA), real filmmakers, weed smokers and women of low moral stature (I mean that in a good way). Plus Det. Budd is from Long Beach so I know I can get the jump on a few people.

This festival that we attended had a really cool concept. The idea is that martial artists really don’t have a career outside of competition and “how much shit can I break with my bare hands” shows….unless they get into action films. So these cats had the idea to bring the filmmakers and the karate motherfuckers together in one big event. Problem is filmmakers like to get drunk, do drugs, heckle any image they see and have lots of meaningless sex. Not exactly a great mix with the body is a temple, in bed by 9pm crowd that is really serious about martial arts.

So you can imagine the looks I got after I smoked about 6 bowls in the parking structure and stumbled (and I do mean stumbled) my way to registration. I am dressed in typical Cooprdog gear (baggies, pro-marijuana T-shirt and a funny lookin’ hat). I have a mouth full of licorice (chewy shit is a directors best friend) and I am wondering if I am going to see anybody famous.

Now you have to remember that like all these cats have like black belts and shit, so I am really trying not to be a smartass and get my ass kicked in some impromptu lobby-ass kicking demonstration. But inside I am clownin’ like everyone I see. I am getting’ strange looks like I am a homeless man that just wandered in from the street. But hey… this is Cali asshole, you betta recognize – smoke some weed and eat a burrito.

Ok so I get to registration which is a table of minors and women over 50. Though there is absolutely nothing going on, I can’t get anyone’s attention. I was considering whipping out my cock and knocking down a few displays…but I have learned that that is not the best way to meet people. After a few flirty looks I get the 14 yr olds attention (if that is possible).

14 yr old
Yes.

COOPRDOG
I am a filmmaker

14yr old
Ok..so..

COOPRDOG
So I’d like to register

14 yr old
Ohh, ok what is the name of your film

COOPRDOG
Sex, Love & Z-Parts

At this point the table comes to an almost complete stop. One of the older matriarch’s is now taking over. This is a typical reaction to the title of my film. Everyone thinks it’s a porno…like I would waste my time applying to festival if I had a distributal property (and hot blondes dying to fuck me on camera).. but whatever.

So they find my film.. only they have Yoda down as the director. That was the first bad sign. When I attempted to make a correction they asked me if I was sure that she wasn’t the director. That’s akin to asking me if I am sure that I pee standing up. I mean do they send these people to bad customer service school or what?

I decide to not fight this fight. When you see the film (which I am fuckin’ in) and the three credits I have it should be clear. So as I get my credential I am really disappointed. What is with the fuckin’ wristbands? You cheap fuckin’ bastards. You check cashing, bad photocopied festival program havin’, DVD format screening off of, to busy to promote your own festival, pay to park, bullshit venue havin’, sound problem waiting to happen in your screening – amateur motherfuckers….get some lanyards and create a festival badge. The badge is the only cool thing about festivals and now that is going away. This is such fuckin’ bullshit!

So I put my name tag/festival pass on and grab my wrist bands and I am off to see the screening venue. Only I can’t find the fuckin’ screening venue. So I go over to the information desk where I meet the most confused man to ever inhale and a woman who hasn’t taken off her makeup since the early 50’s. These aren’t jokes. It’s like some fuckin’ vaudeville act in the Long Beach Convention center. I asked the old lady first and I swear to God her eye brow fell off while she was talking to me. Well she didn’t really talk.. she kind of uttered a few guttural sounds and deferred to her partner in crime Mr. Wizard standing next to her. He tossed the phrase “screening rooms” in his mind like I had asked him about a handjob in freefall or something.

Then he pulled out a map. But it wasn’t a real map. It was like a map to Disney world being that it had tons of saturated colors and really large fonts. And still it took him 3 min’s to find the building he was looking for. I should have just found a terrorist and got faster service.

So then I need to get directions, now keep in mind that I am in the convention center…on the second floor. So when he says go out and make a right… I wonder if he understands that we are 40 feet in the air. But I opt not to shatter the snow globe he lives in and I bounce.

I walk half way around this thing before I find it. And I am starting to break a sweat… and I am losing my high. This is not good. So after what feels like a triathlon I find the entrance to the ugliest structure I have seen since I lost my virginity to my school bus driver. I climb these stone stairs and ascend to the second floor.

And there is nothing but a craft show being set up. And some guy in a blue Blazer guarding the door (from what…yard sale people who might invade?) and he looks none to happy to see me. I am sure that I am about to be harassed by security so I go on the offensive and approach him and ask him about the screening rooms.

Talk about a confused look. Apparently the latest issue of “Choke a Minority” did not include the part where the minority might approach you and ask a question. He says he has no idea and that he can’t leave his post. “his post” – are you kidding me dude, you couldn’t guard my grandmother in three point land and she has one leg. So I turn around and begin the last leg of the long beach triathlon.

I am back in the convention center now. There are more karate dudes and a few karate chicks… (how about a little wax-on, wax-offnbaby!… and I will provide the wax). So I make my way back to the table of Matriarchy and ask where the screening rooms are…and I am told that they are upstairs. Well thanks for the fuckin’ workout!

Ok so they are screening 160 films over 4 days… so it should be really crowded right? Well the first screening begins in 25 min’s and I am one of 4 people walking around. And I am really fuckin’ hungry cause you never eat at a festival…unless it’s popcorn or gummy bears.

So what they have done is reserved six meeting rooms and brought in digital projectors.. and viola, it’s a film festival. Minus the filmmakers, money people, audience and sexy people. I mean you could really hold a film festival in a bathroom and it wouldn’t seem strange to anyone.

They open up the festival with a documentary about the Challenger mission. Not my idea of how to throw an opening ceremony…but hey I am from the east so maybe I don’t know how they get down out here. It’s a sweet documentary but we all know how it ends and I am thinking to myself that we need to have more respect for the image. Is it really necessary to replay it in its entirety…man it’s fuckin’ graphic.

So it’s me… the dude running the screening and two guys who look like the should be at a dungeons & dragons festival. Where is the gala event with happy people telling me how good it is to see me. These cats can even afford the sunshine to blow up your ass. This is fuckin’ wac…and I just got here.

We screen in two days…and I better see some changes or someone is going to get hurt.

COOPRDOG

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