Friday, June 14, 2002

I was going to write something everyday about the Florida Film Festival, but I'm just too damn tired. Besides, Steve over at the Orlando Weekly offers an excellent online column called The Rushes. Click there to find out all the adventures we're having in our little film fest - particular all the noise and threats from Artisan Pictures.

For me, it's mostly the normal weirdness. One of my "jobs" at the fest is to moderate an audience Q&A with celebrity guests onstage after a screening of their films. Last night, it was actor Graham Greene and the film Skins. Every word I heard about Greene was that he was very shy. While credits rolled, I chatted with him backstage and he was awash in one-word answers. That didn't bode well for a fun interview.

Amazingly, the moment the lights came on and we sat down in front of 250 people, Greene turned on - hamming it up with silly jokes, making fun of people's bad questions and generally having a grand old time. He was like a wacky uncle at a picnic Don't like that joke? Well stick around, I got more coming. He completely lacked the pretense of I am a serious Native American actor here to explain the problems of my people and seemed more concerned with his golf game and roles that pay him a lot of money. It was a strange but fun interview. This is not unusual with taciturn actors - they come alive in front of an audience. That's why they're actors.

The odd things about this festival is how it turns ordinary people into film junkies and stalkers. Give people a week of unusual movies and lots of filmmakers milling around at the bar and everyone's hidden ambitions bubble over and they imagine they're part of the industry. No matter what celebrity we have onstage over the years, there's somebody in the audience who wants to pitch their script. They choose the Q&A segment to do it and their idea inevitably sucks. Last night, after Graham explained over and over that's he's not just an Indian actor (whenever I'd say Indian actor he'd start jabbering like Akbar the convinience store owner). Even so, a lady in the audience pitched her script in which Graham would play a spirtual Indian Shaman. The script wall called White Feather. Graham snorted a laugh and said, Ohh, that's original!

After the event, an older woman cornered me to announce she'd been accepted into the producers program at Sundance and wanted to know how to pitch Graham on a film she's working on. I'm thinking, "You got accepted into a Sundance producer's program and you're asking me how to pitch an actor? Maybe this should be somemthing you cover in the program?

The fun continued this morning. I just got a call from some woman I barely know who tells me she has a story that would be great for Goldie Hawn. She asked How do I get a story to her? Firstly, why the fuck are you calling me at 9:00 am to ask how to pitch Goldie Hawn. Second, she hadn't even tried to find Hawn's reps on the Net? (she said Well, I typed in and tried AOL keyword Goldie Hawn) I suggest she get a book and learn how to write a screenplay but she's not a writer and the idea is something she read in the paper. It's a bout a woman who joins the Army and then becomes a doctor Didn't Goldie make this movie already? Why am I dealing with this idiot? Finally, in the middle of her pitching the idea to me, I just look up Goldie's rep in (or as I like to think of it, Whore Presents) and give the info to her.

How can people get to be adults and still be so damn clueless?

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