Tuesday, May 22, 2007

That sinking feeling


Like a man possessed I sat straight up in the hotel bed at 7AM. I had a cold sweat and a rapid heartbeat. Why you ask? Because when I left to go to the bar I had a car….and I don’t know where the fuck it is. This is not good!


I’m scrambling around the room like ATF is about to bust in and I have to remove all the evidence. My dreads look crazy and I’m sure my breath is woofin’...but I don’t fuckin’ care; I have to find this goddamn Saturn.

As I exit the Bed & Breakfast I’m mentally replaying the previous nights activities and all it’s assorted lying, cheating and out right stealing. There was cursing, gambling, I groped some chick in an alley and even though she called for security I’m sure she liked it (she’s just playing hard to get). Let’s see the room evidence indicates that I stopped at “Subway” (the sandwich shop)…that’ll be my first stop. Problem is, I don’t know where the fucking Subway is. Did I walk home, did I drive someone else’s shit here….aw man this could be bad, just how fucked up was I.

I know I look like a crazy man as I walk up the street with the Medusa dreads talking to myself. I’m sure at any moment the cops are going to show up; Goddamit I was trying to keep my nose clean!

To pass the time as I try to figure out where the fuck there could be a Subway sandwich shop I am looking for anything that looks out-of-the-ordinary…like a car parked upside on someone’s lawn with MF DOOM blaring out of the stereo. Luckily I don’t see anything even close to that, but I do see a shit load of SLZ posters, man I do good work.

I come to what is like a main intersection and I should know where the fuck I am because I’ve apparently hung posters all over the place (or did my evil twin do it? Maybe I woke up in the parallel universe?) I have a haunting feeling that I have been here before (ok, well yeah, I have – but like a feeling like I had been here last night). The cross walk light turns white and all the people begin to cross. I am about to step off the curb when I glance diagonally across the street. There’s a subway sandwich shop which is basically underground due to it’s location which is underneath the business that is prominent on the corner (I can’t remember what it was… I was fucked up!).

I decide to go in there and do a little investigative work.

CUSTOMER SERVICE DUDE
Next!

COOPRDOG
Hey, have you ever seen me before?

CUSTOMER SERVICE DUDE
(turning to the other sandwich maker): Oh, listen to this motherfucker.

COOPRDOG
No, for real. Was I in here last night?

CUSTOMER SERVICE DUDE
How the fuck would I know? I was inches deep in some Chinese Take out.

All of the dudes working in the Subway bust out laughin. The dude turns to his friends to demonstrate.

CUSTOMER SERVICE DUDE
Eh, I grabbed her hair hard when I was givin’ it too her and I started spanking that ass and I was like “what I say!...what I say?”

The dudes are laughing uncontrollably point at this other dude as he begins the impromptu “this is how I gave it to her dance” by thrusting his hips and making faces. He even went up on one leg to show us that he’s got hella style when he’s tearing up the skins….Man, I used to be that guy!

COOPRDOG
Hey dude, I was talkin' to you

The party stops abruptly.
CUSTOMER SERVICE DUDE

Are you for fucking real? Are you honestly up in this motherfucker asking me if I’ve ever seen you before….like your Harrison Ford in some fuckin’ bullshit movie

CUSTOMER SERVICE DUDE#2
Wesley Snipes, yo!

CUSTOMER SERVICE DUDE#3
Fuck Dat, he look like Busta.

..and here I am, getting’ clowned like I used to clown when I worked at the ‘Buckey. Life, is, a, m-o-t-h-e-r-f-u-c-k-e-r! So I broke the fuck outta there in an attempt to save what ever portion of my cool black guy points I could.

Ok, that was a total disaster I have to do a little better. I trace my steps back three blocks and I see the bar I was in, now we are on to something. And low and behold, five parking spaces past the bar is the ugly ass Saturn VUE.

I’m walking like a little kid when he knows that the letter from his teacher is going to arrive today and he has to intercept it before his mom goes and gets the mail (is that nice story? Yeah well my mom worked full time, so don’t believe everything you read.). I get to the car and hop in and start it up. I feel like I’ve just dodged a bullet. This could have been catastrophically worse...so here’s my note to self… alcohol = bad, weed=good. I’ve never gotten so faded that I have forgotten that I had a car. I’ve got to give up alcohol (yeah, that’s going to happen)

Anyway I drive back to the hotel and I’m negotiating my way into the subterranean lot. I have to put a code into the keypad to open the gate. Problem is the code box is on the left of the drive way, so I pull over there with my hella hung-over ass and attempt to put the code in…only, I don’t know the code.

As I gather my wits and let this guy pass and park my car I am reflecting on it all.

I am screening today. I’ve just scratched the rental car, I haven’t heard from my festival coordinator…..yeah, I’m a natural at this.

It was at this moment that I decided that no matter what happened from this moment on, that I was going to have good screening…no matter what.

I returned to the room and attempted to get a little sleep. Pah, like that is going to happen. It’s the typical pre-screening drill of sticker this and count that but I’ve got some surprises up my sleeve.

In what has to be a stroke of genius I realized that the overly strict campus rules on postering and such made no mention of lawn signs; actually I’ve seen quite a few. So what did I do? I found the nearest florist and bought 100 of those pitch-fork looking things that you put in the base of a plant so you can attach a card.

I am going to utilize the repetition rule, that being that I want everyone to see the title “Sex, Love & Z-Parts” a minimum of three times before they get off the campus. I spaced the pitch forks about 25 yards apart and instead of attaching the one-sheet postcards, I opted for the white glossy ones that have the title typography on it. You can read it from a relatively far distance.. and this was a postcard order that go fucked up, so I don’t care if they get thrown out since I got the entire 2000 pieces for free.

My earlier posting job has taken some damage, but whatever…that’s why you bring a lot of shit… they will always take your shit down.

I should point out that I haven’t heard from the photographer yet and my festival coordinator (who’s name is Candice Williams and she’s the worst employee in the contiguous US – is it any wonder that you have a toddler, no real job, a controlling boyfriend?). This is typical for a festival. This is where Murphy’s law was patented so I shouldn’t be really surprised. Then my Blackcherry vibrates… it’s an email from one of the Z-girls…saying she has an issue… and she wants me to call her.

Here we fucking go…..

Z-GIRL
Hey…uh, I forgot that I had to help my father so I wanted to know if I could leave a little early?

COOPRDOG
It’s a 2 hour gig.

Z-GIRL
I know… could I leave after 90 min’s.

COOPRDOG
(beat)…we’ll talk about it when you get here.

Z-GIRL
Ok, well… I’ll see you then.

See, that is the art of directing. Being able to not freak the fuck out when someone says something to you that is utterly and completely absurd. Furthermore, it’s 12:30… I’m missing 5 Z-girls and a photographer and a festival coordinator. This is not what we call “a good sign”; but I am undeterred. I have learned that in situations like this that you have to just keep promoting your screening. If it goes under, it goes under.. but you have to try to get the largest draw possible.

The photographer shows up and then my Babies’ Momma Festival Director (and I’d like to point out that I wasn’t going to hire her, but I thought I was hatin’ on a single mom…yeah well… I’ll trust my instincts next time). The Z-Girl that called shows up and so does one more who brought her boyfriend. She’s the funky one with the blue hair that I booked. I always try to get one funky/biker chick/ bad girl in the mix. The pretty-pretty girls are often really tough to deal with and leave as soon as they get paid. They funky chicks always hang out and smoke bowls.

So.. my screening is in 2.5 hours…and I’ve already been kneecapped. The baby Momma festival Coordinator doesn’t have a cell phone and didn’t drive as I had instructed and she is 90 min’s late. I am not happy.

But here’s the thing; you can only look bad in situations like this. If you start yelling and screaming and talking about how so and so has a smelly pussy then you’re just making everyone look bad (but that shit is stank.. I can tell from here). I completely ignore the current events. The fest. coordinator borrows my Blackcherry to call the models… three of which are her friends. I don’t even look at her, I have bigger fish to fry.

I instruct the photographer to go and shoot his heart with the two of six models that I have. It’s bad enough that there is little foot traffic other than this impromptu carnival going on on the south lawn…but now I’m missing spokes people. I cannot let this tarnish my screening. I tell the photographer to make sure he shoots a ton of pics of the models and to make sure that they have fun….because I’m paying for all of this so…might as well get a good vibe going.

I have a cold feeling running through my veins as I add up all the miscellaneous expenses that I am enduring. It’s not all that bad, because I was going to cancel the entire promotion because I feared this might happen. The poor performance of the festival coordinator allows me to cut her rate in half and the absence of 4 Z-girls saves me $200…so I guess I shouldn’t complain….but goddamnit! This is why I hate festivals, no one does what they say they will.

Like a man in denial I’m fussing with my posters, hanging even more. Being brazen and doing it right in front of campus security. After another hour of this I have again littered the place with my shit.

The screening prior to mine is about to begin and low and behold, there are some filmmakers in attendance. This one guy is from NY…and he’s on his celli screaming at his producer or his publicist…man, I thought I was an asshole – get a load of this guy. I poke into the first screening and it’s really upsetting. The first three short are abstract…I’m talking about white noise and visual patterns. No narrative, no dialogue…but really impressive opening credits. It’s official, this is a shitty festival…and it’s full of shitty films….so what the fuck am I doing here?

I am pacing now, trying to not to have a stroke as I think of how many tens of thousands of dollars of my investors money I’ve spent up to this point….I should have become a race car driver.

I then meet a nice filmmaker from the east coast. He’s more suspicious of the festival staff than me. He and I have a loud conversation about film and festivals and such. I’m a little bit over the top but hey, I have reason to be.. I screen in less than an hour. He says he’s impressed with my posters and such and we begin to talk shop. He’s got one poster and no promotional DVD’s let alone stickers or t-shirts. We have a loud, animated conversations about the festival circuit and how festival programmers are clueless. All of this is with in earshot of this festivals director who leers at me several times.

First of all, I didn’t make the harsh comment he did…I just agreed with it. And look at your festival dude. It’s on a college campus with free admission for students and faculty…and your turnout is lousy… so I can talk shit on you.

My section is screening next. I go outside and call my new publicist because Yoda has apparently been incarcerated in Aussieland…. I don’t know, there’s been no real contact and I’m running out of time to fund this bitch. My new publicist – who I’ll call “The 2nd” is nice and polite to me as I list all the things that are going horribly wrong. In situations like this your publicist is like the doctor of a terminally ill patient. They’ll listen to you all day…cause you are about to die. I sense this and decide to take it like a man.

I’ve hung more than 75 posters and nearly 300 postcards over two days…not to mention the bars I hit up…how bad can it really be?

I enter the auditorium and there’s 20 people in there. I pick up another 14 by the time SLZ screens. That’s 34 people and I spent maybe $600 bucks (not including hotel and airfare)….not bad, not bad at all.

They are mostly silent during the screening. That sometimes happens with my film because it is a lot to absorb in 28 minutes. There is some laughing but mostly they are silent.

The lights come on and there is no moderator. I really fucking hate that shit. Is it that much to ask to have someone to facilitate the Q & A? I’ve come this far and I’m not about to let it die…and since I used to do stand-up, this is easy for me.

I jump up out of my seat in a loud and boisterous manner and ask if anyone has a question about anything other than the 16 yr old that was seen leaving my room this morning. They chuckle but don’t bite. I then proceed to ask my own questions and answer them

COOPRDOG
How long did it take to shoot?

COOPRDOG
That’s an excellent question Cooprdog, 8 days and one for pick-ups

COOPRDOG
Why do you think it’s taken you this long to get financed?

COOPRDOG
Because the man is stifling my rights and my creative freedom so that he can make another great blockbuster like “Nancy Drew” – don’t laugh.. I saw the onesheet yesterday.

The crowd eats it up and begins to participate. I wind up giving a 40 minute Q & A and most of the crowd stays. That was a great feeling.

As I’m leaving the screening the east coast filmmaker approaches me. He can’t believe that I moderated my own Q & A… he says I have the balls to go the distance. I told him that if this film doesn’t get made… I have to go back to the real world. And the only thing worse than that would be surprise birthday party thrown by all my exes (you don’t’ want to eat any cake, trust me on this!) … or maybe licking Margaret Thatcher’s pussy after a 6 hour car ride…I don’t know…it’s a toss up.

COOPRDOG

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