Monday, August 13, 2007

Man, do I have a story to tell you…

So something like 29 days ago I received this email from the Urban Vestige film festival stating that they had seen my film, or heard about my film and wanted to program it. It’s one of the only direct benefits to applying to a lot of festivals – after a while festivals start to come to you. Of course this could just mean that I’m a sucker and they want their $25, but either way I felt wanted and that felt good (“I want you to want me”…sing bitches!). So I got on my number one site right after …withoutabox and started the “pick me…pick me” –dance.

It’s the first time I’ve been on this site in about four months (I’ve found much better ways to get my film played) and not a goddamn thing has changed. But, whatever… I’m here to do the duty. They gave me a reduced entry free and promised a quick decision.

Three weeks later (June 22) I get a letter in the mail (snail mail mind you).. that says that “we have received your film and will notify you of screening times. Ok,.. whateverthefuck that means. So a few days later I’m rapping to Madame Ceremony and I begin to wonder what the deal is with this festival… their date is fast approaching and I haven’ t heard shit. So I call Marilou on the cell piece and she says “yes that means you’ve been accepted”… and I’m like.. “so, you’re telling me that I’m playing in 20 days…in Manhattan?”

Yes, that’s what I am saying.

Well to be completely honest with you I wasn’t exactly thrilled to play this festival. Now, don’t get me wrong…I love that I am being recruited and that “word” of my film is getting around. But we have requirements to screen; we don’t just throw up the image and hope for the best.

As I continued to discuss this screening I had lots of reservations about it. With the playdate so soon it really doesn’t leave me a lot of room to promote or to bring media to the festival. You really need 30-60 days to get something happening on the publicity front. Magazines and newspapers have lead times, reports need to be harassed and have their loved ones kidnapped, you’ve got to print posters and stickers and postcards….shit takes time.

But, I do have a new manager and my IP attorney is in Manhattan and it is NYC…so I thought I could make it worth the trip. I then made up my mind that I wanted this. I’ve yet to have a NYC premiere, I’ve yet to officially screen on the east coast so I was looking to make this something special.

I began by telling Madame Ceremony to pull out all the stops and called up all my east coast contacts and my attorneys to see if we could get people to attend the screening.

Now I should have read the writing on the wall because the first time I spoke to Marilou on the phone she was utterly clueless about what was going on. Couldn’t give me a venue, didn’t know how many it could seat, didn’t know my screening day or time, was un aware of how many films it was planning to play…let’s just say she wasn’t instilling me with confidence. But this is the first annual, so maybe they are just a little behind (yeah, right!)

So I book the flight and the hotel through Priceline (who I fucking hate) and I’m days away from my Manhattan screening. I would call Marilou another 3 times before I would fly to NYC; and at no time was she able to give me any real details of this festival.

I flew into Newark which was not a good idea since I’ve been in concert halls that are larger than this airport, but I’m trying to keep a positive attitude about the whole fucking thing.

I catch a taxi driven by this African guy who can’t find my hotel…no worries though…we get their eventually. It’s 7:30AM (yes, I took the redeye) and I’m wide awake. The nice people at the Day’s Inn let me check into my room 4 hours early and then I drop my shit and I’m off roam around Brooklyn.

I have two conversation as soon as I get to NYC; one if with my manager and one is with my attorney. My attorney (we’ll call her Skills) is a person I’ve never met in the flesh – though she’s been my attorney for like 10 years. Yeah I know it seems weird, but or professional relationship is no less professional than any of my other relationships.

The manager says he’ll call me back in a few hours.. and that we’ve got 3 days of meetings planned…. Skills says she’ll make a phone call and see what she can do, but she’s not making any promises.

So I get myself a cheeseburger and make my way to the first venue, the Brooklyn Academy of Music also known as BAM. There is supposed to be a fashion show from 12-7. Now. I’m not the most fashionable motherfucker you’ve ever met, but I do sport a look (it’s called Westside-Brokemotherfucker). I was curious about this fashion show and even though the thought of screening my short for a bunch of jaded, wine drinking fashion types wasn’t exactly the filmmakers dream…I still wanted to participate.

The initial problem…

So as I approach the B.A.M. I am struck by the strange feeling that there are too many open parking spaces…this is fucking New York bro! Even if this bitch has a low turn out it would still be tough to find a park…but I let that go and try to keep an open mind. As I enter the building it’s completely silent. I hear no giggling, or laughing, or gossip or music…I don’t even hear music…and the place is spotless…oh yeah, and the main lights in the lobby aren’t even on..

I approach a security guard who stares at me very suspiciously.

Can you tell me where the fashion show is being held?

Fashion Show?

Yes, the fashion show for the Urban Vestige Film Festival.

I don’t have a fashion show on my list. As a matter of fact I have no events on my list.

This is what we in the business call “not good”. I remove the schedule from my satchel and show it to the dude.

Yeah, ok… well.. no body told the Academy of Music. Hold on,… let me make a call..

So as the security guard checks on the event I’m really dismayed about this festival. You can judge with nearly 90% accuracy how a festival is going to run by how well their first event runs. This is a true fuck-up. An inexcusable situation where an event has been moved after it has been initially advertised and the festival does a poor job at communicating this to all the people it has invited.

The security guard says he’s sees nothing before later tonight…. So I call the festival director Marilou

Film festival

Marilou, this is Cooprdog...the writer/director of Sex, Love & Z-Parts

Hi, how are you?

Ok, but where is your fashion show?

It’s at the B.A.M.

Well I’m at the B.A.M. and there’s no one here

Well that’s because it doesn’t start till seven

That’s not what your schedule says

Well there was a typo on the schedule and you must have one of the old ones from several weeks ago.

Actually, you emailed this to my publicist two days ago…but ok…

Did you have any other questions?

Yes,…uh, I still haven’t received a definite confirmation on my screening time

Should be around 4:30…but closer to four

So we are beginning the section?

No, but you play towards the front.


….that was a bad conversation that left me with a really bad feeling. Festivals obsess over there screenings running on time, because if they don’t…it upsets the schedule for the entire festival. She seemed to relaxed, too unconcerned. As a filmmaker I might not really care that you’ve printed the wrong time for an event…most likely because I’m high and looking to meet my next ex-girlfriend. But the fashion world…. They don’t play that shit…. She really can’t be serious with this approach.

Ok so the thing starts at 7pm… I show up really late.. like 8:45pm and the things hasn’t even started yet. We’re in some adjacent building in this room that is getting’ hotter by the minute from all the people that have been sitting in here (100-120ppl) for nearly two hours with no air conditioning (but there were some nice ghetto fans just taunting us). I’m there for a good 40 min’s before they start the fucking thing…

The host is this light-skinned chick who apparently has her own entertainment show on the local networks here in Manhattan. Anyway she’s just so fucking, happy, and chipper and nice that I want to mount the stage and strangle the life out of her. No, that’s not a nice thing to say….and it’s borderline misogynistic….but that’s what I felt. She was like a minor league version of the Model/actress/whatever’s out here in LA….only she’s not as hot….but she is smart. She about the only person on stage with enough sense to try and fake their way through what is obviously amateurish and poorly managed.

We start off with a music artist… this big brother who going to sing some R & B. Turns out that there is a local label and all their artists are about to perform. So since I’m sitting about 30 feet from the DJ I decide to look over and peep the acts. Well let me tell you…these are not the most attractive motherfuckers I’ve ever seen in the music industry. Now I’m not saying that the artist has to be “pretty” or the incarnation of what is popularly deemed desirable…but c’mon. Can I get a little excited to look at this person?

This dude can actually sing… I mean I hate his R & B, crooning, playing to the women shit.. but hey… at least he has an act. But I would like to point out that as a musician you can’t just start touching the audience. You have to be popular on at least two continents before you can start reaching out into the crowd to touch people….but I digress…

What followed this guy what 6 performances of singing along with the pre-recorded track. I mean not even lip synching…. I could actually hear the vocals on the track better than I could the artist using the microphone. Now as if that wasn’t bad enough.. none of them knew the words to the songs they were singing. Couldn’t even go 8 measures before they had to stop singing and listen so they knew what the next line was. That happened with every single act.

And then there were the 3-6 minute delays of silence and ad-libbing by little miss thing as we sweated to death. I will say that the reggae artist cat.. he knew his shit and danced his ass off and generally didn’t give a fuck. He had a crew of like ten motherfuckers and they were rowdy…. I’d pay to see him again. The rest of them…awful. Especially this big brother that was supposed to be an MC; well this dude is like 6 foot…250lbs… he’s a big dude. He’s wearin’ a Yankees hat and a long sleeve polo shirt..

I was excited, I knew he was an MC. He gets on the mic and he’s like “yes…yes…1,2…1,2…doin’ it from Brooklyn

So I’m thinking he’s about to bus’ ..I wanna see how they flowin’ in the east.. I wanna hear some hard shit..

Yeah well, he announces that he’s doin a track for the ladies….what a bitch! If one more MC fronts like he’s all hard and shit and then does some fucking crooning, R & B – gimme your pussy-song… I’m gonna kill someone! Is it that much to ask for you to bring ya skills and rock the fucking mic!

So Doughboy is up here…singing and kinda rhyming his LL Cool J-rhymin’-bullshit….when he completely forgets the words. He struggles as the weak beat continues…it was fucking sad….it’s akin to watching Billy the Kid piss his pants…but then it gets worse. How you ask? Well he snaps at the DJ to switch the track.. and then there is silence as the DJ scrambles to cue up the next track. The brother is pacing on the stage with a mean look in his face (now I know why cops just shoot brothers…cause this motherfucker was about to do some shit). So he starts sayin’…. “I fucked up, that’s right I fucked up. But fuck that I didn’t even want to do that song… you feel me….. yo, I’m repping for Brooklyn you feel me. Where’s Brooklyn at?” ..he bellows this into the mic into the nearly silent crowd. The lack or a response irritates him even more.

“I said where the fuck is Brooklyn at? I can’t get no fucking love!!”

The veins are bulging in his neck, his eyes have opened really wide He then tells us that he’s gonna do this one track for all the real sista’s in the room.

He struggles with the second track too, but his gyrating hips and flirting with the crowd covers it well… but it’s an ugly performance regardless, if this guy has a manger he just got fired.

But guess what…the fashion show is staring. The crowd snaps to attention, camera’s are powered up and people begin shooting with their camcorders.

It’s a T-shirt fashion show. No, that’s not a joke. They are modeling nothing but T-shirts.. but here’s the kicker. The dude only has like 3 designs.. .they just keep changing the colors. And the models all look like they just got ass-raped so it’s and ugly situation. When that ended I bounced.. I had to get some food and I know I wasn’t going to miss shit.

I broke the fuck out and went to get a cheeseburger. While seated in the diner I broke out my copy of “The Studio Development Report” …it’s a chronicle of all the scripts that were sold, optioned or developed in 2006. I like to thumb through it and see what kind of shit is coming out of Hollywood. But it depress me, I feel as if I am wasting time eating when I could be making films. I think this is the reason why we don’t really eat as filmmakers. You feel guilty when eating…like you are being unproductive and primadonna-ish by stopping for basic needs.

So I scarfed down the burger and fries in a little less than 12 minutes and decided to pay the bill and return to the fashion show…

It was over when I arrived. It’s maybe 11:15pm. I don’t think the entire thing, with music acts, lasted 90 minutes….now, that’s what I call a fiasco. But still I force myself to enter and look around, you never know who you might meet.

Well the place is really dead, but there is a ton of people milling around outside. As I am exiting I bump into this guy.. we start talking about the film festival… turns our he’s a producer. We have a quick and dirty conversation and exchange business cards… and then I give him a screener of Sex-Love. He then volunteers the information that he’s running the screenings… and then I should check out the festival.

I don’t think anything will come of it…but I glad I made the effort… now to get a pint.



Anonymous Panty Messiah said...

"Anyway she’s just so fucking, happy, and chipper and nice that I want to mount the stage and strangle the life out of her. No, that’s not a nice thing to say….and it’s borderline misogynistic…"

Just because the object of your immediate ire has a vagina attached to it, does not make one misogynistic to want to push it into a hydraulic press and see the chipper squirt out.

Also, this is rife with errors. Perhaps you were distracted during its writing. You should learn to focus more on the task at hand.

7:59 PM  

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