Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated…

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know I haven’t posted in a minute and my enemies have been spreading rumors of my incarceration and my ousting from the film industry - yeah…well that’s a load of bullshit! I have been on the road spreading the good will of overindulgence and cannabis usage and I just didn’t really didn’t give a fuck about you and your stinking friends (“…and believe me they do stink”) when I’m chain smokin’ blunts and learning that “I’m a director” is a great way to get free drinks when you are in other cities and esp. in the south (unlike SoCal... where it can get you fucked or shot at depending on the bar)

But I have the rest of the year to stall you out on those blog entries…but I feel really, really bad that I have left all of you hangin’ (actually I don’t but it sounds good doesn’t it?)... about how that other festival ended..

Ok so here goes…and try to keep up cause I type really fuckin’ fast; and I should point out that my memory has faded a little bit and I am probably only going to report things in a fashion that’s really favorable to me and less favorable to anyone that I had a problem with (either real or imagined)…but since nobody every believes me anyway, about anything... I feel justified in the thrashing I am about to let loose.

Back To Hollywood... Ok so, last episode; Cooprdog had to tell a bunch of TV Exec types how I felt about their condescending attitude to my art form. And I probably should apologize to the very nice casting agent who I lambasted in a quite public and sexist manner when I obviously was upset about my career as a director. Well I am here to publicly state…that no…I do fuckin’ hate you and I meant everything I said. And you deserve it for trying to distract me with sex when the topic was filmmaking (and not giving me your phone number when I asked for it ) – (Is Cooprdog gonna have to choke a bitch?)…so if you are reading this…yes I still hate you and that planet of hot chicks you are from…you know the one that runs more game than Indian Casinos…yes I am getting you back for what you did to my bro’s in college and my peeps in Philly, and all my roommates for like, ever… ‘cause I know you did somethin’ to somebody.

Now where the fuck was I????...oh yeah the festival.

Ok so it’s finally screening day. This would be 5 days into the festival. Five days into my love affair with Arrogant Bastard Ale (and the name is not as much of a description as it is prediction of what you’ll be like if you drink five of these things)…five days of fly posting in the middle of the night after a full day of drinking and hating on the films of directors I didn’t like (aw stop your bitchin’ if you drank with me I liked your film - fuck the rest of y’all no talent motherfuckers)…and why I think I should be the king of like fucking everything. For as much money as I have spent on this particular marketing ploy…I could have fixed an election (oh, c’mon…that’s my first political joke). I had to suck on the theater managers balls to get the meeting so I could give him money (yeah I thought you were given money when you performed the sexual favor – welcome to LA) and I’m terribly worried about this screening cause I need to go big and shut a few people the fuck up.

Well… things didn’t really go as planned (read: total disaster)…and let’s just say that this is a perfect example of why you should be as high as humanly fuckin’ possible when at a festival…you are much less like to commit 2nd degree murder. So as per the Draconian contract that I signed with the Arclight I have to have my Z in place by 9AM. So I bust out of my house, get the motherfucker washed and burn rubber all the way to Hollywood (“Burn, Baby, Burn” – sing you bitches!). Three blocks away from the Arclight I hit traffic, not just any traffic….but lots and lots of non-moving-staring-at-you-staring-at-me-traffic and street closures. It appears that the date of my biggest screening ever is also the date of the Los Angeles Triathlon which (oh wait, it gets better...) runs right past the Arclight and all the streets immediately surrounding the Arclight are closed. I was so happy I could just shit. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Exactly what part of “biggest screening of my fucking life” does the city of Hollywood not understand? And how many fucking triathletes live in LA? What is your fucking problem? Get a car and a drug problem and an emotionally unavailable significant other and pull your fucking weight!

So it is at this point that I should have just went home and turned off the cell and started downloading porn. But Noooo, I had to try to actually screen with this major bad omen. But of course I went into 00filmmaker mode (means I am licensed to tell blatant lies) and told myself that this screening was happening.

I get to the theater like an hour late and there isn’t shit going on. The only festival staff that I can find tell me that yesterday (Saturday) was nuts…hundreds of people milling around and watching films. I feel good - kinda. I roll the Z into position and begin to set up the signs that explain the history of the Z. Four hour pass and there is no major increase in foot traffic. I have my models walking around and posing and I have posters and stickers and I have no crowd. I am in a complete state of denial. I must keep up appearances even though I’ll be eating ramen noodles for the rest of the year due to this PR.

I am flanked by Det. Budd., Yoda, The Vic, 5 Z-girl models and one photographer. It’s a Motley Crew that is lookin’ to provoke…too bad there are no people present. This is not fuckin’ happening…I have to be caught in some gummy cola induced delusion…man I got to get back into the gym. Det. Budd suggests that we go to the bar…and I decide to bring the models…cause I am not paying them that much…so at least I can get them fucked up.

We get two Arrogant Bastards and a bunch of fruity drinks ( I guess.. all I know is I paid for them…) and I try to be cool. Yoda knows the look in my eye…it’s similar to the look you have when you watch yourself slam your finger in a door. You know that feeling that the finger that is about to be massacred looks really familiar (“I got a finger just like that)…which is only heightened in excitement by the state of denial you are in as the pain creeps into your hand and you think of how amazingly rare it is to actually crush your own finger when you consider how often you close and open doors. There are filmmakers who feel pity for me, they shake their heads and point at me as I finish off my first Arrogant Bastard Ale. I am approached by a fellow filmmaker that is screening in my section. She seems a little perturbed that I have made such a deal about my screening..she even says to me “I see you like to promote your film”…and I was about to say to her “..and I see you like to remain a completely unknown artist as you disappear into obscurity)…but I decide to ignore her……that hooka’s just hatin’ (hooka=hooker) I adjourn outside to wait for the crowd to come rushing in…seeing as my screening starts in less than an hour.

There are maybe 20 people outside the theater, 2 of them are sweeping up trash…this is not a good sign. And here comes the festival director, this guy has been my best friend throughout this whole thing (or am I being played?) …and I hoping he’ll have something good to say…but in the back of my mind I know that I should stay away from him. He compliments me on the models and the car and all the other blatantly illegal shit (that is stamped with my personal email I might add) I have done to get people to see my film. He is questioning me about ticket sales and what my predictions are for my screening (as the tumbleweeds blow past us). Det. Budd. and Yoda and the rest of the entourage adjourn from the bar to see what I am up to. Now I am on the spot.

I look the director right in the eye and tell him that the number of tickets sold is irrelevant since we historically sell most of out tickets right before the screening and that none of the shows in this festival have really pre-sold well. It’s such a great dodge of the issue (and the dig) and attempt to maintaining focus on the task at hand that I amaze even myself. I am here to lead them…and I’ll ride this motherfucker to the ground to the ground if I have to! (this is where you start humming America the Beautiful). So what if I go down in flames and my Mom loses her house? Who cares if Citibank takes ownership of my Z and my testicles? (here comes the best part) I would do it again, you hear me? I’d spend more fuckin’ money and I’d shoot more fuckin’ set-up’s and I’d do it on 35MM and let the mag spin while I give direction! I’d apply to more festivals and hire even hotter models (uh….not that I don’t think you Z-girls are hot…did I mention we are having a party Friday?....and that we got the new T-shirts….the tight ones?) The only regret I have is that I didn’t write my name in urine on the side of the Sundance Institute. I am a filmmaker you hear me…I am a filmmaker and I really don’t give a fuck!

I mentally check all the things I have done, how many members of the festival staff I have bribed or smoked out…how much professional flirting I have done to get some notice…this really can’t be happening.

As our section begins the ticket sales are brisk...and we have pulled a lot of filmmakers. I venture into the theater and the place is packed…no fuckin’ way. Yoda tells me we have pulled more than 100 for the screening…not fuckin’ bad for a Sunday afternoon with no foot traffic. I am excited now… I smoke more weed (I mean can you ever be too high?) and find a good seat to watch my film in….

…when my film comes on…it is accompanied by the worst sound ever. They only way I could explain it to you if were to imagine driving in a car, watching your movie on a handheld DVD player and then suddenly attaching a tether line…tossing it out of the fucking window at 90 MPH…dragging it for 6 miles… then reeling it in and then...pressing play. That sound that you hear…that hollow, crackling, voice in an oil drum sound that you hear…is about what the sound was like at this screening.

I am sure that I am about to kill someone, about to strangle the entire projection staff. There is an issue with the gain on the deck and the gain on the house master… it sound awful. I am sure that that is my heart I feel seeping out of my ass. I make my way outside and consult one of the walkie-talkie theater staff (“Hey Skippy, can I talk to you for a sec?”). After four conversations we get it to a level where it’s not completely offensive. It’s a tough process to do over a headset and underscores the importance of a tech. screening. I am beyond angry…beyond embarrassed…yet I do not yell. You can only look bad in those situations…and I wasn’t about to make it worse.

When the Q&A happens there is a large outpouring of affection from the audience, they truly feel sorry for me because it’s obvious I have something good to show them. There are asking lots and lots of questions…and that felt weird – ‘cause it was a horrible screening. We make a few jokes and finish what is a good Q & A.

Next is the party… and I don’t want to go. I am ultra-pissy and Det. Budd is not. He’s on some new age…”let it go” shit. And I think to myself that’s easy to do when you are not the one who’s paying the fees – but then I realize that he’s probably right. We go and eat some amazingly bad food somewhere that I can’t remember because I have blocked the whole thing out of my mind……and then we go to the party. I have resigned myself to the fact that I had a bad screening and that I was due…no biggie.

When I enter the party…we are mobbed by people (ok maybe not mobbed). Everyone wants a screener…to see what we had intended. We are the talk of the party….we are now infamous…because we got fucked in a technical manner. I had left the mother load of screeners in Det. Budd’s truck so I only had about 20…and I handed all of them out in about 30 min’s. That felt good, really good. It meant something to them….hell I would even recommend sabotaging your own screening at a high-profile venue just to capitalize on the emotion it creates. About a 100 people by me drinks and ask me when I am screening again…..that’s crazy.

It turned out to be one of my most successful screenings (if you ignore the triathlon, daily parking fees, losing my body builder, no foot traffic, reality-TV bullshit, hitting on three lesbians, paying for every screening, sound problems in more than 50% of the screenings, no place to advertise, the fuckin’ clown cell phone ad…and my utterly horrible sound)….really a great screening.

But I am not finished. I’d like to send this open letter to the all the individuals involved. I have a few questions for you:

1) Why are you fuckin’ us on parking on an eleven-day festival… I mean c’mon dude you are making a killing on the popcorn…how about helpin’ a brotha out?

2) The sound was awful and often times so was the picture. Why do you not give a fuck? I know I’m not Akira Kurosawa...but one day one of us might be….how about taking the job of projecting films seriously….even when they are no-name indies…you motherfuckers.

3) Why are celebs more important than filmmakers when the festival is here for us? I mean shouldn’t we get a little respect for having been selected to the festival?

4) Advertising = Attendance…’nuff said!

5) Programming good films at night and shitty film during the day……is wac! If they all got in then, they should all get a chance to shine for a reasonably crowded theater….IE..nobody wants to always be the opening band!

6) It is a film festival…why do I need to pick my seat… I am only going to leave and sneak into another theater. If we don’t follow the rules of society…why would we follow yours?

7) A hint for next years festival parties….MORE CHICKS!.. I mean fuck, if I wanted to learn how to pack sausage...I’d watch a doc...

8) Does the LA Filmmakers showcase really have to be the bastard stepchild of film collections… I mean Christ…how about a musical chairs competition or something to make us feel included (free hand job with every 5th screening of this section) That was a majorly lost opportunity.

9) Why throw a party with no alcohol? What is the point… I’d rather do my taxes in the rain on the back of a flatbed….you must do better.

10) How about a few industry people…I mean…is it asking too much? Jesus..

But to be completely fair...this was a good festival for us. But more importantly it proved that big festivals can suck too (all festivals's just a matter of how much they suck). It’s all about making the best of your opportunities (and seeing if she’ll tell you what kind of panties she’s wearing). This was a successful festival… even though lots of shit when wrong…..There are some real lovers of the cinema on the staff and I’d have to say that I really understand why running a festival is so hard. But here is the thing. It’s time for us to leave the festival circuit. I mean I can blame the incompetent projectionist staff for making assumptions about 600 films and not trying to at least correct the frequency if not egregiousness of the technical problems during a majority of it’s screenings. I could bitch about the turn out. But in actuality, it’s a free for all at this festival… and there is a certain amount of freedom in that. I met lots of international filmmakers and saw plenty of good work. It was all that a good fest should be. But when you are in the position that my company is in, where everything banks on the screening itself; then we have to have tech screenings and sit down with the staff and make sure it’s right. You can’t really do that at a festival. I was pissed about screening out of competition because I didn’t realize that this festival is really about premieres, that’s why so many of the filmmakers I met are timid. In a way the screening history of my short put me in a class all my own. We know how to open this film very well, and don’t need to rely on the participation of a festival or other filmmakers in a section to fill a theater (since we often screen by ourselves). It became obvious that it was time to end the festival run…and for the record we had 94 submissions, 7 acceptances, 1 best film award, 1 runner-up best actor, 1 honorable mention best short, screened in Canada, screened on the Santa Monica Promenade, at the ArcLight, at the Fine Arts and we got high with a lot of motherfuckers…

Now…where is my fuckin’ weed bag?



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