February 4, 2010

Crazy Sundance Day, Possibly the Best Ever

Ever have a day where everything goes terribly right? I did during the Sundance Film Festival 2010, it was the perfect day to have it.
From Sundance 2010
Here's Sarah in front of the "step and repeat" that's what it's called I guess.

A gentleman named Walter Harris who was my group leader last August while I was in Los Angeles with American Pavilion said he had a volunteer job for me. The job in question was at a party for the Jefferson Parish Louisiana Film Office. Anyone who is shooting, has shot or is looking to shoot a film in Jefferson Parish (New Orleans area), comes to this party.

Some past participants of the American Pavilion program were volunteering as well but Sarah's job and mine was to hand out flashing LED Mardi Gras beads to the guests. Two open bars and a buffet full of Cajun food and a huge dessert table made the volunteer effort a major win.

Sarah and I talked to a lot of industry professionals from Louisiana but one in particular was a gentleman named Alan Donnes, whose name tag said he was from National Lampoon. Apparently he was the writer/producer of the new National Lampoon film premiering at the Slamdance film festival just up the street. Because they had shot the film in New Orleans he was invited to the party, which was incredibly lucky for Sarah and I.

After chatting a bit about the film and what he does, Sarah and I were invited to continue our job of handing out beads at Alan's film premiere. Alan said they were understaffed and could use some extra help.

As the Mardi Gras party came to a close Sarah and I packed up the remaining beads and began to trek up Main Street to the Treasure Mountain Inn, the site of Slamdance. Upon entering the Inn we were immediately intimidated by the large group of people present but eventually they all entered their respective screening rooms and Sarah and I sat down and waited for Alan's premiere to start.

As we were waiting Alan walked by and said,
"You don't have to sit around like idiots. Not that you are idiots but come with me."

Alan took us to the Slamdance main office and gave us both all access passes to the festival. This opened up the possibility to enter the filmmaker's lounge which we promptly did. The lounge in question was sponsored by Pravda Vodka and Monster Energy drink so there was an unlimited supply of both. Copies of IndieSlate magazine and bags of popcorn were present on the few tables available. We sat down and talked to Alan about trying to be actors, trying to make it in the entertainment world and all the things we were up to. We also had a surprise visit from a Japanese journalist who hung out with us for a long time and was very nice, probably because he though we were important.

From Sundance 2010
We got free sunglasses and "House Jam" CD's upon entering the exclusive Filmmaker's lounge.

Alan asked if Sarah and I wouldn't mind taking tickets at the door of the theatre because he had gotten a message on his phone that the venue was quite small and the tickets were overbooked, it was our responsibility to make sure the right people got in.

It was at this point that I found out the stars of this film, entitled "Snatched," were some semi-famous actors. People like Johnathan Silverman, Andrew McCarthy, Ernest Borgnine, and Jay Thomas who you may recognize from "Cheers."

Suddenly I felt much more important than I did when pretending to be important around the Japanese journalist. As I was going over the list of people I was supposed to let in Sarah taps me on the shoulder and says,

"Look, it's Bob Saget" and it actually was.

Bob Saget had come to see the film as well and now I would be taking his ticket at the door, what an honor. Eventually everyone sat down and Sarah ventured into the screening room to deliver a message to Alan and, according to her, Bob Saget smiled at her. She came back very excited.

Eventually everyone had filed into the screening room and Sarah and I took our seats on the front row with Alan. Imagine the two of us sitting with the producer of a National Lampoon film. So yeah, he wasn't James Cameron but it was still cool.

The film itself was about a man who goes to donate a kidney to his brother and accidentally gets a sex change instead. It was very National Lampoon. After the screening ended there was a Q and A session with the audience and nobody asked any questions to the actors or director. After a long silence Sarah finally asks,

"What kind of research did you do for your role?"

Everyone laughed and Johnathan Silverman whose character was wrongfully given a vagina in the film said,

"I don't know...I saw one once."

From Sundance 2010
The cast and director.

From Sundance 2010
Alan Donnes the producer.

After the screening we had cleaned up the theatre and Sarah and I began the journey out the door when we were confronted in the hall by Bob Saget.

"I'm Bob, by the way" he says.

Stunned the two of us went to talk to him and it turns out he's just a great guy. I told him how I saw him perform stand-up at the Olympics and he said how great a show it was. He also asked what it is we did and seemed genuinely interested in us. That Bob Saget is dirty but very personable. Sarah got a picture.

We hit the road soon after being invited to stay in Andrew McCarthy's condo, because he wasn't going to be using it I guess. We decided to drive home in the worst snow storm ever rather than risk rape by Hollywood types.

At the end of it all, Sarah and I ate Taco Bell and laughed together for a long time. It was a ridiculous day but also a great one.

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