Monday, July 09, 2007

So, I was saying...

I got less than three hours of sleep because I am screening today, and even though this is not a large screening and there is virtually no marketing presence for Big Hit Productions – I still had hella shit to do. For starters, the date on the stickers that I affix to the back of the postcards is incorrect (note to self: no more blunt smoking while creating the sticker templates) – not to mention I still have to prepare some posters. I know it seems odd that I’m still fixated on hanging posters, even at a small screening that is in another country, but it is necessary. The one-sheet of your film is not just a passing fancy. It’s not a “nice” thing that only well funded films have. It is by head and shoulders the most important part of your marketing and publicity because it is the initial representation of your film, the most often included portion when your film is referred, reviewed or listed…the design and typography of it go to great lengths to communicate what kind of film it is…and how it might make you feel. But these are all academic arguments and miss what I believe is the primary aspect of hanging tons of your films one-sheet. It is physical. It is part of the environment that your audience lives and works in. It may take them a while to find it, and your poster may be up for a lot longer than you imagine. What I am hinting at is that online promoting and driving of traffic has become the focus of all contemporary entrepreneurs, especially filmmakers. But no amount of web hits, or referrals or Google pages can have the effect that 200 posters spread over 3 blocks can have.

For starters, more is more. Fly posting is a staple for us as a production company. It allows us to have a large presence in any community in a very “in your face” and illegal way. The frequency with which you see a poster indicates to many how large the effort is to advertise the film (or other product). But what’s money about it is that it really distinguishes you from other filmmakers. When we go to festivals other filmmakers tend to only have postcards and those who do have posters…have a limited number (less than 30). So they aren’t really able to get into a tuff war with us over repeated days to establish dominance….but that’s still not my point. My point is that the posters tend to stay up for weeks after you screen. And what they do is drive web traffic – that is assuming that you really did the due diligence on your poster format and it includes your URL.

I have gone on record several times that festivals are basically a waste of time…but that is not meant to insinuate that you shouldn’t go (you have to apply because even though they suck ass…it’s still the most cost effective way to screen your film in the long run), it is meant to insinuate that when you festival…your main emphasis should be to advertise your film, hand out screeners and drive traffic to your website. It really comes down to personal interaction, that’s what separates SLZ from a lot of the other films that are on the circuit.

Anyway…I’m out of the room at like 9AM and on the hunt for office supplies. As a filmmaker the only place I frequent more than the post office is the office supply store. I really am a media terrorist. My head is full of all the materials I need to quickly and securely affix posters and postcards to a variety of surfaces. The key is to travel light. Spray adhesive is nice, but it will often be confused with spray painting (even though it’s a clear substance)…I really think that everyone assumes that you are a tagger. Which is definitely safer than being a filmmaker….unless the cops show up. You can use it, but spray your posters when they are on the ground, and then affix them, this greatly reduces the chance of being noticed (the fucking hissing sound is like a flashing light).

So I grab all the shit I need and I’m back to the hotel… I decided to skip the stickers all together. I’m low on postcards as it is… and postcards have a low turnout rate… so I thought it was best to save them. I did sticker about 50 posters for a last minute blitz.

Det. Budd awakes and we get a little food and then it’s go time. He and I really have it down to a science. Now, Toronto is poster city. I mean there is so much fly posting going on that you are lucky to get more than a day before someone tags your shit. So that meant that we had to throw all our stuff up within’ 12 hrs of our screening.. and we had to concentrate on just a few blocks….and we had to move quickly because we are screening today and we really need to be in the venue talking up the film.

So we are basically going to hit utility boxes, utility poles and the sides of trash cash. The utility poles are encrusted with old staples and the boxes have been treated with a non-stick agent. So we knew this was going to be a tape job.

Packing tape is the shit. Super sticky, stretchable and waterproof…you can’t ask for more. Det. Budd holds a poster on both sides of a pole. I start the tape and stretch it around the first poster and then hand the roll to him as he does the other side. Then we do three passes over the bottom of the poster and we’re done.. It takes all of 15 seconds and we’re off to the next pole. The traffic passengers are amazed as they watch us quickly bomb an intersection. Since this is such a unique screening we limit our marketing to 2 blocks about and below the venue on the venue’s street.

We covered the main avenues of approach and the nearest bus stops…that should be good….and then it was time to drink. And did we ever. I must have pounded four beer in an hour and roasted a few bowls. I was a little toasted and ready to screen…and then I promptly passed the fuck out during the first screening. I woke up before the credits began to roll, but I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. I think I know why they don’t let you drink in the theater.

By the time we screened we had a nice crowd of 12-15 and they were pretty loaded. Seeing SLZ in this cat’s house…totally faded, was outta hand. I mean I was sure that I was going to go face down at any moment. As soon as the credits rolled I got up and staggered out to the back deck… if I was going down… I was going to go down fighting.

Det. Budd joined me momentarily and we both began to munch on all the junk food that was available which meant all these mini bags of potato chips….that’s when things started to get weird.

DET. BUDD
Hey, taste this…

Det. Budd hands me a bag of potato chips. I munch a few and sense a very strange taste.

COOPRDOG
What flavor is that?

DET. BUDD
It’s called all spice.

COOPRDOG
What the fuck is all spice? It taste like Italian dressing.

DET. BUDD
What do you got?

COOPRDOG
Ketchup.

DET. BUDD
Ketchup flavored chips?

COOPRDOG
Dude...they are kind of tasty.

Det Budd tastes a Ketchup chip.

DET. BUDD
I can’t argue with these…they’re money.

Then one of the Butler brother’s comes out to the back.

BUTLER BRO. #1
(Nodding to me and Det. Budd): Boys.

He reaches into the cooler and cracks a fresh beer.

BUTLER BRO. #1
Beer?

COOPRDOG
Sure

DET. BUDD
Why not…

BUTLER BRO. #1
So, are you enjoying are fine selection of snacks?

DET. BUDD
What’s up with the all chip flavors?

BUTLER BRO. #1
What are you talking about. It’s like one of the best things about being Canadian.

COOPRDOG
Ketchup chips?

BUTLER BRO. #1
I know, sound weird, looks horrible with the red dust on it.

DET. BUDD
Looks like my high school science experiment.

BUTLER BRO. #1
Yes, I agree. But they are fuckin’ tasty…you can’t hate on them.

DET. BUDD
I’ve never heard of half of these flavors

BUTLER BRO. #1
I mean that was one of the things that struck me as odd when I was in the states. You guys got all this shit to buy. Fuckin’ Jack-in-the-Box antennae balls and G. W. Bush action figures and like 10 types of fried chicken

DET. BUDD
Fried chicken is tasty

BUTLER BRO. #1
Very tasty. I didn’t agree with American slavery, but I’m sure some of it had to do with the fried chicken.

It was only funny cause he said it with a straight face. He then sips his beer and looks dead at me.

BUTLER BRO. #1
No offense brother.

COOPRDOG
No taken, baby….continue

The second Butler brother has now joined us.

BUTLER BRO. #1
So like, when I’m in the states. No real chips flavors. All you got is like Barbecue and Sour cream and onion and if you’re in the west you might get a Jalapeño.

BUTLER BRO. #2
What about the ruffles?

BUTLER BRO. #1
Great innovation, but not a chip flavor. It’s more of a modification to the existing design. Which I like. I mean I see how it was you guys came up with shit like the big block engine. But you have no real chip selection as big as America is…It’s a fucking conundrum I tell you.

DET. BUDD
But all spice?

COOPRDOG
Yeah, what’s this all spice shit?

BUTLER BRO. #2
It’s all the flavors

BUTLER BRO. #1

What’s not to like about All Spice. Whatever flavor you want, is already on the chip. That practical, economic and thoughtful

BUTLER BRO. #2
Hey, time to start the next screening.

They begin to make their exit.

BUTLER BRO. #1
Boys (raising his beer in a toast). It’s been might fine discussing the ins and outs of potato snack flavorings, but duty calls.

And they bounce.

COOPRDOG
Toronto is totally fucking out of hand

DET. BUDD
They are clowin’ us over potato chip flavors, unbelievable.

COOPRDOG
It’s the 21st century Budd. We’re losing our edge.

DET. BUDD
Apparently

Then this chick comes out to the back deck. She fashionably dressed, sexy, opinionated…definitely ex-girlfriend material so I’m not sure why I hesitated (I was like an alcoholic trying to walk past a bar a happy hour).

She’s nice and polite as Budd and myself talk about the one my favorite topics, Z-Cars. Other than shooting a film about Z-Cars, Budd isn’t as enthralled with them as I am (don’t get me started) but he can keep up with a general conversation.

And then this woman chimes in.

HOT CHICK
I lost my virginity in a Z-Car.

Now...there are a number of things you can’t say to me; like “The Xbox is the best game system ever”… that will send me into a tizzy, or “texting is for little girls”…I’ll smash you on that one too – but to volunteer that you’ve not only been in a Z before, but were deflowered in one….I mean do you really expect me to resist knocking you down and climbing on top of you (this is why it’s called a first-date-knock-down).

COOPRDOG
Is that so? Must have been a ZX.

HOT CHICK
I’m more flexible than I look, partner. So, are you a filmmaker?

DET. BUDD
No, we’re librarians. We’re here as per the terms of our probation

HOT CHICK
…and you’re American’s

COOPRDOG
Was it our witty charm that tipped you off?

HOT CHICK
Actually it was your propensity for lying…but I guess you could call that wit – with that substandard education system of yours. I mean look at your president.

DET. BUDD
Well ever since hockey fell out of popularity we’ve had trouble picking a good candidate.


HOT CHICK
Hockey jokes. It really is true that American’s have no material. So do you have a film playing this festival or are you here just to get some pussy?

I don’t think I’ve ever been that offended in my life. I mean she was almost dead-spot-on but that’s not the point, you can’t be talkin’ to me like that…motherfucker I’ve got a reputation.

COOPRDOG
Listen Sister…

HOT CHICK
Really now, I’m way too cute to be your sister. Mom and Dad would have had to adopt someone as hot as me…and then how would we have gotten anything accomplished when they weren’t around?

Terms like sideswiped, snakebit, bum-rushed are appropriate at describing how I felt in this conversation. I mean she can’t be for real. She’s hot, Canadian and bitchy…I’ll be begging to lick her pussy by dinner if she keeps this up.

HOT CHICK
Ok, so let’s try this again….do you make films?

COOPRDOG
Yes.

HOT CHICK
Are they any good?

COOPRDOG
No, they are awful. Two people had to be rushed to the hospital after our last screening.

She bursts out laughing before regaining her composure.

HOT CHICK
So you must be a writer.

COOPRDOG
Writer/director/producer actually.

HOT CHICK
Is that because you have a unique vision…or are you just a pretentious control freak.

DET. BUDD
Can you keep the gloves on for the first round?

COOPRDOG
For real!

HOT CHICK
Oh, are the meat-eating, sovereign nation invading Americans feeling a little bullied?

DET. BUDD
Don’t you have some ice skates to sharpen or some sled dogs to feed?

HOT CHICK
What is that a snow joke? Did your mommie write that when she was picking out your clothes? …I’ll be sure to put in a good word for you with immigration.

Not the wisest thing to say to Det. Budd.

DET. BUDD
Listen hooker….

I had to extend my arms to physically separate them since Det. Budd had a look in his eye like he was going to re-educate her.

COOPRDOG
Hey…why don’t you peep the beer situation and I’ll handle little miss thing.

DET. BUDD
Whatever…

As Det. Budd left us alone on the back deck she stared right in my eyes

HOT CHICK
So now what do we do? Or are you going to run and hide too? I mean if you guys wanna get around to that skin flute concert I won’t stop you.

COOPRDOG
You really want to get smacked in the face with a dick, don’t you.

HOT CHICK
Laughing: You sure you’ve got the equipment?

COOPRDOG
Well there’s one way to find out.

HOT CHICK
Look if it’s not big enough to leave a permanent mark on my face then what’s the point, I mean really…. I’m just going to be disappointed and you’ll be self-conscious and what fun will that be?

COOPRDOG
…does this approach work with work with Canadian men?

HOT CHICK
Oh, of course not. They can’t put the beer down long enough for me to get into my routine, and they are kind of easily intimidated (she extends her hand) I’m Pamela.

COOPRDOG
Pamela?

PAMELA
Oh is that not exotic enough for you? How about Cimarron, Natasha….Penelope. Better yet why don’t you tell me what you want name you want to moan repeatedly.

COOPRDOG
Oh is the ecstasy that good?

PAMELA
Ecstasy? I’m talking about torture. I’m a serial killer baby!

She really got me with that one. I haven’t been that caught off guard by someone else’s joke (‘cause my jokes are hella funny) in a minute. Since I have this propensity to dive headlong into situations that are extremely bad for me I figured a momentary pause might give me a chance to avert the emotional and financial ruin that is sure to follow.

PAMELA
You wanna catch this next screening? … she said with a slight smile on her face. I wasn’t quite sure if she wanted to be in the dark with me, or wanted to dangle the prospect of a film screening in front of me to see how attached to film I really am.

We ushered ourselves into the Cineforum and I cracked a beer to prepare for the festivities. I am unsure if this qualifies as a partial date, or a trial run or what….so I decided to continue drinking and not to ask too many questions (see, I’m learning).

The next thing I know Reg Hartt is up in front of the entire audience. It starts off as in impromptu discussion of indie film and modern projection technologies and then he’s on a rant. Now, I didn’t’ really mind the rant – I mean it’s rare to be so close to a unique individual and as long as they aren’t wielding a weapon of some sort…I don’t see the urgency in ending their interjection. Reg is going on about Metropolis and how it cannot be understood in the contemporary sense, since the advent of sound has ruined us. It’s the type of sentiment that I’ve heard Det. Budd opine on several occasions. It’s a tough point for me to accept or even deliberate because I am a dialogue writer primarily. In one fell swoop I’ve been reduced to a neo-classical hack with a limited understanding of my medium of choice. This kind of offends me – but I don’t trip on it, well not too much. I have to respect people opinions…even when the conflict with feelings deep inside myself.

I wake up from my own self-induced contemplative state and Reg is still talking. He’s much more animated now – for he has a large audience and plans to utilize it. And then one of the Butler brothers decided to tell Reg that it’s time to start the screening. It was akin to trying to take a chew toy from a pit bull. I watched this outburst in fascination. I didn’t think Reg was crazy ..(he is crazy)…but that was not my reaction. I was in the presence of someone so passionate, so romantic about film and the cinema that it made me forever a child. Listening to him bark at them for interrupting him, in his house…when all he asks is to be heard on the topic of film…was amazing. I lack this much passion. I am not anywhere near as revolutionary as I have believed. This man has embraced the idea and would die for a film print without hesitation.

After some additionally awkward silence the screening begins and ends in total and complete silence. I felt bad that few had the courage to incite another discussion. I understood Reg Hartt, or more specifically what I am to become if I continue along this path of unyielding, unwavering support of and belief in independent film.

COOPRDOG
Kind of trippy, huh?


PAMELA
He’s a wee bit intense, if I do say myself.


COOPRDOG
Do you want to get outta here?

PAMELA
Do you think you can keep from disappointing me? Or should we just call it quits now.

That was the most sincere thing a woman has ever said to me. Behind the legs, and sarcasm and foul mouth (which I like).. as a sweet and serious woman…

COOPRDOG
I’m quite sure I can avoid that miss.

I grabbed her hand and we made our way to the door. From the looks I was receiving from the other filmmakers it would appear that many dudes up in here stepped up to the plate and went down swinging – piñata style!

I followed her through the Cineforum, watching her walk, memorizing the salient aspects of her body. How her skirt hung off her hips and delicately cupped her ass. I wondered if she was a fan of white cotton. Would it be possible to just get her to walk around in her panties before we get to the main event? That’s the real way to get a director caught up.

Det. Budd shot me a look as I shot him the peace sign. Yeah, he’s probably pissed, but fuck him…he’s in a stable relationship and I still have $80 of Canadian currency to get rid of …(no, I’m not bitter at all)…and I need this (“C’mon man…I need this)

I moved closer to her as we walked…or maybe she started walking slower; but my hands found her waist and pulled her close to me as we moved to the curb and waited for a taxi. Like high school kids who are afraid to touch each other there was casual flirting and hesitation. I like this part of it. When we haven’t slept together and don’t know each other well enough to know what to hide. When I haven’t fucked it up by lying or misrepresentation or all the other shit that always gets in the way (lying is always better, just ask your married friends).…The taxi suddenly appeared like Richard Dean Anderson coming through the Stargate (yeah, I love SG-1…so fuck you!)..and we we’re out.

It was in the cab that I noticed how sexy her skirt really was. It was a black pencil skirt with a beige blouse and a choker necklace of some kind. She’s complimented this with black heels and hose of some sort (it had a texture pattern that I didn’t trust myself to just “touch”…so I opted to just observe.) She must be a secret agent, cause she surely knows how to get my attention. Miramax must be on to me…the want to steal my script…and this may be their proxy.

I extended my arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer to me. It was kind of forward but this is not the time to second guess myself (you’re like a big bear man…!) . I nuzzled her neck and caught a deep inhale of the scent she was wearing, I heard her giggle slightly as she moved her head to give me more room to nuzzle.. My big brown lips gently kissed the side of her neck as my hand moved ever closer to those hose-encased legs…I just wanted a little touch – I promise I won’t go too far. As I got closer she broke the embrace with a nice stiff arm (I reiterate, the glove side is better than the waffle side).

We laughed and flirted and I nibbled on her ear lobes before she told me to stop. I do really love this “no, stop…please touch me…no, stop” – game that women love to play. And I am happy to report that it is an international league and I’m still ranked you motherfuckers!

I used a bullshit reason to kiss her (“hold on, there’s something in your hair”)…she knew it was a line.. but let me kiss her anyway. It was a good kiss; tasted like wine, lots of moisture, made my head spin and produced a stiffy that made the bald man drool a little…then she broke the kiss and said “we’re here”.

As much as I wished I was standing in front of her apartment, it was a bar (yes, all Canadians drink like fish). There was more jockeying for position before I whispered in her ear that she was in for a long night. She laughed and asked me to make that offer in writing.

Then she abruptly got up and went to the bar to get another round. I sensed this as my only real opportunity to elevate the severity of this date. I slowly walked up behind her placing both my hands around her waist as I leaned in to kiss her neck. She had kind of been shaking her ass to the music when I approached. She mumbled “you’re bad” under her breath as I pulled her against me. I planted my cock right in the crack of her ass and pinned her to the bar. Not a word of protest did I hear. It was just me, her and a lot of gyrating hips. We stood there, among a crowd of drunk people…grinding against each other.

She was drinking white wine…I was on my 5th pint (shut up, I can finish this mission).

Then I got a text …

DET. BUDD
You know we have to catch a plan to LA in 16 hrs

COOPRDOG
Copy that! Call the car, I’ll meet you back in the room in 12 hrs..

PAMELA
Do you have to go?


COOPRDOG
No. I just had to check in.

PAMELA
Guys are funny. Now drink up!

She tapped her wine glass to my pint and chugged it.

PAMELA
Now, let’s get the fuck out of here so I can see what you are really made of.

15 minutes later we were entering her building. The door man shot me a look like I was a defender in the back field (don’t hate me cause I’m beautiful). Pamela waved to him as we headed to the elevator.

Once the doors closed I grabbed her from behind. I kissed her neck as I stepped her legs apart. I nuzzled her neck as I began to run my hand up her inner thigh. I wondered if she would stop me. I felt her lean forward to try and disengage. I grabbed her hair and pulled her head back as I pinned her against the elevator wall. She let out a sexy yelp as I leaned in close to her ear..

COOPRDOG
I have to know…

And with that phrase I softly kissed her neck while holding her hair taught with one hand...and used the other to feel her panties through her textured hose. I need to feel her moistness, her wetness… I needed to know. I bit her neck as I pushed my left hand inside her pantyhose and slid my ring finger past her panties and into her pussy.

The elevator suddenly stopped and she did some Judo shit to free herself. She looked me dead in my eye and kissed me hard and then grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the elevator.

I began to undress her in the hallway as she fumbled to find her keys. She was telling me to stop and to be patient…(yeah whatever, now get those pants off and dance for me!) I had her blouse open, her skirt unzipped and her panties pulled partially down when she finally opened the door and we fell onto the floor of her apartment.

I rolled over on my back and pulled her onto of me as I sunk two fingers deep into her pussy and began to suck the life out of her nipples as I watched her close her eyes and bite her lips.

The moonlight peered in through the window and made the whole thing feel like a harlequin romance. Only that meant that I was the cheesy motherfucker on the cover with the pretty hair. I wasn’t cool with that thought; so I rolled her over on her knees. And got busy doggie style (that’s how we get down in West LA).

Smack, smack went the sounds of my hand on her ass as I questioned her… “Who’s your favorite Director?....Who?....Don’t you fuckin’ lie to me!” (ok.. maybe I’m a little aggressive in bed.)

I spent the next several hours extracting information and testing her flexibility “C’mon baby…just try it one more time…you can do it”..

I broke out of her apt about 35 min’s before the car was to pick us up. Then the cabbie hit traffic. Det. Budd starts texting me, and my MP3 player is about to die. 22 minutes later I got out of the cab and right back into another car.

DET. BUDD
I hope you taught her how we do it in the west.

COOPRDOG
No doubt!

…and with that we drove to the airport and fled the scene before Toronto really knew what hit them.

COOPRDOG

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep going Marcus...J

1:16 AM  

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