Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sundance, Day 7 – Out with a Cough

I sleep as late as possible.  We have a noon check out, with our (Kat, Lauren, Jonny, Robin, Corey and mine) flights, taking off around 8 tonight.  Fortunately we can store our luggage in the condo office.  Lauren is, as usual, editing, but we get hungry and head into town. I think Taylor is with us. At least I remember her saying she was getting a sore throat and swigging off of my cough syrup.  Anway, we end up at the AP luncheon and there is food everywhere and really fresh. Wow Veggies!! Some salad is put out on the buffet and I grab some immediately. It’s perfect with the hot tea and I love it! 

I notice I’m seeing a lot of the same people throughout the festival, and I wave or nod to them. I’m really good now at meeting new people and have no problem chatting with strangers.  Someone who’s seems to have recently masters the “Meet-and-Greet Sundance Technique,” comes and talks about his projects.  Lauren takes our picture, I have no idea why, but it is still one of the funniest pic of the festival.  I’ll have to get it for you.

Wish I had more energy.  I think I’ll head back to the condo office and hang out there until our shuttle ride comes at 5:30.

I see Debbie, as I head out of the party and stop to say hi.  I met her at the Press Junket I did back in Austin and we’ve had several occasions to hang out here in Sundance.  I’m really glad to see her, but can’t chat, because I’m just too tired!

I’m now back at the condo lobby and asleep on their couch. Taylor is going to stay a few more days before driving (!!!) back to Austin, so I load her up with some of my magic cough syrup. My talking now sounds like a mechanical voice box and I try not to say much.  For one reason, it makes me cough and another is it either incredibly funny or creepy to everyone else. I totally don’t want to laugh. I think if I laugh I’ll die. 

Delta didn’t screw up our flights back to Austin. Kat and I sleep all the way back we get in at midnight.  I’m in a codeine cough syrup, exhausted state of mind and fortunately, I don’t get mugged as I find my car in the long term parking lot.

I’m home. I climb into my own bed. It’s bliss.

Aside from pushing fluids, going to doctor appointments, getting a secondary lung infection, or being awakened by my neighbor’s dog, I sleep for almost two weeks.  I’m just now processing the whole Sundance experience.  

I'll post a overview soon :) 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sundance Day 6 – Not good!

A visit to the Park City clinic for my cough! 

I’m here at Sundance and I’m sick!! I can’t believe it. Argh!!  I don’t have a sore throat, I just can’t seem to breathe very well and everything make me cough.  I walk over to the local clinic and get anitbioitcs and some cough syrup with codeine.  Tonight is the short program awards ceremony. Kat got me a ticket and it’s one of the most important functions I want to attend. I could cry that I may not be able to go.
“Please get well enough to attend the awards ceremony tonight,” I say to my immune system. It’s a little mantra I repeat over and over until I drift into a coma from the cough syrup.  I stay in bed all day.

It time to go to the awards ceremony and I know I can’t go. I’m just too sick and I’m totally wiped out.

Jonny and Robin come in and ask if I’m not going to go to the event, could she have my ticket.  I’m happy to give it to her. I couldn’t think of a nicer person I would rather give it to.  But when they leave I just can’t hold back and have a good cry in my pillow.  I don’t know when, or if, I’ll ever be able to come back to Sundance.

Later on Corey comes in. In the last week, he’s probably seen a zillion films, and done an equal amount of interviews. He’s a best selling author of true crime books and knows horror films, heavy metal bands and all things truly kick ass. (   I also think he a really awesome guy. It’s nice to just sit and chat, and it helps take the sting out of not going to the awards ceremony.

Some more folks trickle in. Aaron is sleeping again on the floor of our room, but he’s not too worried about catching what I have. Kat decides to crash on the floor of the living room. I can’t blame her. If I heard me coughing, I wouldn’t want to be near me either.

I accidently take triple the amount of cough syrup (that was 2 teaspoons, not 3 tablespoons!) and I’m thankfully out for the rest of the evening.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sundance - Day 5

Jason Isaacs at Sundance 2013

Sundance, Day 5 – Monday I think
Today is even busier than the day before. I’m starting to feel the exhaustion. I head over to Starbucks and plop down next to someone who looks familiar, but yet again, I can’t place the celebrity. Oh well, I ask him to watch my stuff while I get my coffee and he’s cool with it., but says it in a wonderful English accent.  After a bit, someone taps his table and asks his name and he nicely tells them “Jason Isaacs.” Then the person walks off.  I tell him that’s kind of rude and joke that it happens to me all the time.  I decide to Google the name on my phone, and find that he is the actor who played Lucios Malfoy, in the Harry Potter films.  I’m a huge Harry Potter film fan and while I’m happy to meet him, I (thankfully) don’t do the star struck thing. We chat for a bit more. He tells me about other fan encounters and which film of his is premiering and I tell him about Black Metal.  I think I’m mostly pleased that I met someone who was nice and pleasant.  

I head over to the premiere of Pit Stop. This is particularly bitter sweet for me, because I had a really nice part, but was cut out. A lot of people told me that my performance was one of their favorites in the film, but that my character’s story line didn’t further the story. As a director, I totally understand the necessity to cut out anything in a film that doesn’t work. As an actress, I was devastated.   In one of the cut scenes, I sing a love song.  I used to do a lot of singing, (I thought I would be a singer when I grew up) and if you know me, I’m not one to boast but I worked like a dog on that song and totally owned it. I put so much real love into that song, it felt  like an energy around me.  Like I said, I get why, but it still hurts.  Hopefully someone will give me another chance to be in their film.

As for the film itself - Pit Stop is exceptional, Yen did an incredible job and I can see why things were done the way that they were.  I was so moved by the story and the actors.  I highly recommend it.  Afterwards, I get a chance to say hi to Marcus and  Bill, and tell them how terrific they are. It’s super to see them so happy.

I hang around too long after the screening and realize I’m going to be late to the screening of Computer Chess. Ugh. I see Farah and meet her friend Bill, - jump forward a few hours and the three of us and now hanging out on Main Street and heading to dinner.  We end up at the Korean party, where I met a really nice festival programmer, and Taylor and Lauren stop by.

After the Korean party, we try to get in to a few more parties, but because we all can’t get into the same one, we go our separate ways. I end up over at the Kickstarter party and meet several really nice festival programmers. 
It’s now really late and (as usual) super cold outside.  I hope to meet up with someone to walk home, but no one is in sight, so I set out on foot. I don’t like the idea of walking through the dark ally way, so I take a little longer route, but I have to hoof it up hill and then around to the other side of the condo complex. With a certain amount of dread and foreboding, I notice my lungs feel tight and the cold air is making me cough.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 4 - Exhausted

These are of Kat, Heather, Corey, Taylor, Lauren and Me, 
heading over to the a Sundance Black Metal screening!! 
(Debbie is in there too, but somehow I missed her.) 

Day 4 Sunday Jan 20th – Sundance
 Must get tickets! Tay, Lauren and I are up at 6:30am and in the ticket line at 7:20am. Forty minutes before the doors opens, and there is still one frickin guy in front of us. By 7:30am, the line is a good 40 feet behind us, and growing.  I get 4 tickets to Pit Stop (Hutch begged/promised to be my new best friend if I got a ticket for his Dad), Computer Chess, and Toy’s House.

For some reason I’m late to the Outfest Filmmakers luncheon. Once again, I’m not on the list, but I tell them I’m with Pit Stop and they happily let me in. I even get a picture on the red carpet.  I think it’s the only Sundance Red carpet picture where I’m not throwing a heavy metal sign, sticking my tongue out or shooting a bird (or all three).  I haven’t seen it though, so if you come across it, please send it over. J

More about the Outfest party -  Yen, Director of Pit Stop went up on stage and everyone was really proud of him. James Franco was there too. He was working the scruffy look. What I really loved, was seeing Marcus. We had a scene together in Pit Stop.  He’s such a wonderful/lovely person. I naturally gravitate to him.  He was terribly sorry about my scene being cut from the film. I can’t tell him how much I appreciate his sincerity, or I’ll get all chocked up. So instead I just tell him how great it is to see him.
Farah is there too. But let’s be real, Farah is everywhere. I don’t know how she does it. She always looks put together, is beautiful, chats with everyone and makes it look effortless. We go to get a bloody Mary.  I know I’m going to like this girl!

Afterwards is the Austin Film Society Party, that’s co sponsored by my office group Arts and Labor. The place is packed and so many of my friends from Texas are here; filmmakers, actors, DPs,  Producers etc., . but the timing is bad and quite a few of us need to take off for the Black Metal Screening.

At the theater, I interview Kat and Jonny for Lauren and I did it a lot like entertainment tonight.  I laugh now, thinking about it.
The screening went really well and again, I’m terribly proud of Kat and her film Black Metal.  We had a little post screening party which was fun, but then I ended up stuck outside in freezing temperatures and no way home. But I was with quite a few from my condo and Arts & Labor, so at least I as in good company!

I’m so done for the night!

Sundance Photos

Kat and Kelly (and Lauren and myself) hanging out in the Detroit Airport.  
We are not feeling the love from Delta Airlines!!

We are in a strange funky underground airport teleportation hallway in the Detroit Airport. 
Lauren wears it well. 

It hits me that we are really at Sundance. OMG!!!

One of many Sundance parties.

Another Sundance party

Best Sundance Party Evah!! Vimeo was the best!!! 
(With Robin, Adam, Jonny and myself) 

Yes, Another Sundance Party
 (I think this is the North Carolina Filmmakers party)

The lovely Farah and me at the Outfest Luncheon.

Tay Tay seems kinda concerned. I don't blame her. 

Lauren, Taylor and me at the Korean Party. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Black Metal Poster Day!! (Or Day 3 - Sundance)

Day 3 – Sundance

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m writing this after the fact and unfortunately, the details are already getting fuzzy. The thing about Sundance, is there is so much going on, it all starts to blur together.  I think this is the day I try to put up Black Metal Posters on Main Street.
Let’s be clear, there’s not a lot of free space in town. There are a few triangular kiosks, but they are strong armed by HBO poster thugs and everything on them are for HBO films. But I am here to promote BLACK METAL damn it!! and I won’t be intimidated by HBO! So I tape a few to the kiosk, and start walking all over hell’s half acre, looking for friendly spots to hang Black Metal posters.  
It’s not going too well. The only place seems to be those HBO dominated Kiosks.  Over at the bus depot, someone walking with his kids asks me for a poster. He loves the design. I tell them about the film, the Sundance/Youtube screening room and I give them and everyone else in the family a button. (Kids LOVE buttons!). I decide to give everyone with little kids a Black Metal button.
I walk some more. Where the heck is a place to hang a poster in this town?!
I spy a trash can a little off the main street. I don’t think I’m allowed to post there, but this is for Black Metal., The Heavy Metal, kick you in your face - break the rules short film!! I go for it and it looks perfect. I can’t believe how silly I can be over something as insignificant as this, but for some reason, it seems funny and I it gives me a little pep to my step. I head up street. There’s another kiosk. I’m asked again for a black metal poster. I hand out some buttons and cards. There is a person posing for photos - they look familiar, but I can’t place the face. (Not recognizing the celebrity - type celebrity sightings, seems to happen a lot with me).
By now, I’m pretty tired and head down to the Fender Music Lodge. I figure I can at least find a place to sit down. Everywhere is super crowded!.  As usual they don’t have me on the list, but I don’t care anymore and talk myself in. At least it’s warm. I meet a nice AP reporter and talk up Black Metal, but she’s there for the music scene. Once again, there is the celebrity posing for photos. Someone points me in the direction of the food, which is nice, but with everyone sick these days, I’m not too keen on eating from a place where lots of people have their hands. I order something hot to drink, I find a place to sit down and once again, pretend that I have a reason for being there.

It turns out that one of my good friends from Austin, Anika, has a cousin Shuggie, that’s in town, who’s a writer/producer from LA. We had been texting back and forth to get together, and we finally meet up. She is so wonderful and nice, and we end up going to the North Carolina Filmmakers party.  Turns out she’s here with her daughter, who’s an actress and singer in LA.  We have a super time.  Shuggie takes off to get ready for a late party and I meet up with Tay Tay Thompson to grab some dinner. 

O.K. this post is getting too long. Lets just say Tay and I meet back up with Shuggi/ her daughter and their group, and go to a huge swanky, sparkly, beautiful people LA type actor party.   Tay and I walk back to the condo, it’s late, it’s cold and we walk really quickly! 

btw: The trash can poster spot lasts almost two days!!! The kiosks lasted half a day each. I don't think the HBO poster thugs got to them though. From the way the tape was left but the posters were gone, I'm thinking most of them were snagged as souvenirs! :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 2 Sundance

Here’s how it works. To get tickets to the films, you need to get in line at the Sundance headquarters, first thing in the morning, before they sell out.  Even with a badge, you can only purchase tickets for that day and the next. You can only buy 4 tickets for a screening, and no more than a total of 20 tickets at a time. Each ticket is $15.00, and you can’t get tickets for the film you represent.  I got a late start and by the time I got in line to get tickets, the line was out the door and everything was sold out. Yikes!
Note to self: Tomorrow - get up at 6:30am and get your ass to the ticket counter ASAP.

Then back on the bus. For anyone who’s going to Sundance, The buses are usually crowded and seem to go every which way, but it is also one of the best places to meet people.  Rarely did I get on a bus when I didn’t hand out a card for Black Metal or tell people about my own short film Static. A couple of times I even handed out my own card.

In the afternoon, I walked to main street, to check out a few places/parties. I hand out Black Metal cards. Lauren is shooting endless video. I mean she never stops shooting!  Because I’m writing this after I’ve gotten back to Austin, I think it’s Friday that Lauren shoots video of Jonny interviewing Kat and then Visa Versa. It’s super cute and people stop to watch what’s going on. I do my duty as Publicist and hand out post cards and tell people to check it out the film on Youtube, etc. etc. etc.

I do remember that nights’ Vimeo Party.  It was definitely the best party of the whole festival! The DJ was awesome and played a lot of old school remixed. Everyone was dancing.  Maybe it was the music, or because I had met some really nice filmmakers, or saw Alfred who is always so nice, or maybe I was just determined to have fun and didn’t give a damn anymore, but it felt like I had every right to be there, as much as anyone else.  I think I’ve figured this out. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Barbra Streisand! (No I didn't see her.)

It’s the evening of our first day and after settling in, we take off for dinner. We end up in a packed bar and manage to find a table upstairs, that’s outside.  It’s incredibly cold, but the waitress assures us that it will be warm enough. Truthfully, I’m not too convinced the patio heater is going to keep me from getting frostbite.
Farrah joins us and says she just saw Barbra Streisand downstairs!  This seems really close, like I almost saw her myself. Like, if I had just been downstairs, across the street, walking in the opposite direction, I might have almost seen Barbra Streisand too!   I suddenly have that stupid daydream where I meet someone famous, and they ask me to hang out with them. You could practically see it play out in a little thought bubble above my head. Barbra likes my coat and asks me where I got it. I comment that her nails are stunning and perfect.  I lament that my boots are not that good at keeping out of the cold. She thinks they’re cute, but I should go with them to the Ugg gifting suite and pick out a few new pair. “Come on, Leslie (she calls me by my name!) we’re heading over there now! ... “ You get the idea.
But then the waitress comes with my beer, and I’m brought back to the reality that I’m sitting in the cold, squished around a table, eating greasy bar food. I still have no idea what is going on. Folks are talking about which films they’re going to see, how to get tickets, where the opening party is held, etc.  There’s a lot of film talk, but I still feel too overwhelmed to take it all in.

Time to hit the opening party. It’s at the ski base lodge.  As I mentioned earlier, I was just in Park City for a family vacation and the little coffee shop where the boys and hubby and I would go for hot coco, has been turned into a coat check room.  I’m suddenly overwhelmed with missing my boys. Then insecurity settles on me like a mantle. Everyone seems to know everyone else, and I don’t know anyone.   So I do what I always do when my comfort zone has left the building.  I become determined. I put on a smile, march into the room, pretend I belong, and no one is the wiser.

P.S. I love you Barbra Streisand, and if you want to hang out, I’m totally down with that!


Amazingly, we got to Salt Lake City and then to our condo in Park City. I have to tell you that this is incredibly weird for me, because it was only two weeks earlier, that I was out here with my family for a holiday ski trip. We had wonderful family time, skied our brains out, big family dinners, hot coco, crazy jumps into the hot tub, pajama movie nights, and everything wonderful.  So now, as we come into town, I’m thinking to myself , “Look there’s the grocery store that we shopped in. There’s ski base where we got candy apples and chocolate dipped marshmallow. We parked there and there and…”  now really miss my family!!
I try not to look homesick, as we drag our suitcases down the stairs, through the complex to our little condo.  Jonny and Robin are already there, and so is Corey. We met on the set of Black Metal, but I don’t think he remembers me.  That’s cool though. When I’m on set, I’m super focused and not the most social person.  Anyway, Kat and I dump our stuff in our room and all of us get ready to hike over to Sundance Headquarters for our badges. 
As we make our way there, it starts to sink in that I’m here at Sundance. The real Sundance Film Festival. OMG! We walk into the Sundance Headquarters in the Marriot, and I’m trying to be all business, because if I walk around like a dork, I’m sure I’ll be pegged for an imposter and sent home. So I try to walk the walk. We get our badges.  I try to look busy with the festival schedule. Again, nobody points me out. I think I can do this. I’m here on official business after all. But I still feel conspicuous. Maybe everybody else does too. I look over at Kat. She seems to know the routine and sees lots of people she knows. Lauren, who is documenting all of this for Arts and Labor is preoccupied shooting video. Jonny’s been here before and it totally cool with everything too. I look at my new Sundance badge and can’t believe I’m actually here.
Back at the condo, I’m trying to make sense of the film schedule, the party schedule and how the hell do I get to different places.
It’s like I’ve been shot out of a cannon. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No love from Delta

Update: Our flight was cancelled. The plane that was to leave tomorrow morning with all of the filmmakers in Austin heading to Sundance, has been cancelled. We are scrambling. Thanks Delta for not being very helpful.

Update Update: Some of us are on an earlier flight and going to places like Detriot. Some of us drove down to San Antonio, some of us can’t even leave and have to fly our tomorrow or even the next day. Way to go Delta grrr….

Getting it together and Not Quitting

-      Got the interviews put together for Victor Diaz of YNN, and the filmmakers/actors, heading to Sundance and Slamdance.
-       Picked up materials to hand out at Sundance for Black Metal (posters, buttons, cards).
-       Have the condo information, the shuttle information, the party calendar and film listings.
-       Just need to do is go home pack up the bag and spend time with my kiddo and spouse.

-       Most folks don’t know it, but I really hate to be away from my family. I love the time in the car when I get my 14 yr old from school and he tells me about his day.  A lot of parents don’t get that and I certainly don’t take it for granted. I’ll be gone for a week and already know I’m going to really miss him. I’m also worried about more stupid insecure things, like ending up a wallflower, or looking and/or  sounding stupid. Oh and lets not forget, everyone there is going to be young and have the world at their feet, while I’m old as earth crust and laboring on one short film after another.

-      Thinking about all of this has given me a huge panic attack and it occurs to me that I’ve lost my marbles to be going to this thing.  I’m feeling really insignificant.  But like everything else in life, I won’t quit. I’ll go because that’s what I do. I don’t quit. Ever. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sundance busy!

Suddenly everything is really busy. I don’t think I’ll get my actors reel done in time before I leave for Sundance, but I’m o.k. with it, (which should really tell me something).  I’m behind in post on my short film Static, and all of those hundreds of emails I sent out to press people, are coming back to me. My inbox is bursting!
It’s also occurred to me that I don’t have any snow boots and I’m concerned my 20year old winter coat, may not last the trip.
But I’m going to Sundance which means I’m going to ignore the things I really should be getting for my trip (long underwear and warm socks) and doing stuff that is completely unnecessary, like dying my hair purple and getting a black manicure.
For work though, I’m completely on it.  The reporters that came to the press junket (and those that couldn’t) are asking me for information about Black Metal and even films that I’m not a publicist for, but that’s totally cool. I’m very happy to connect the actors/filmmakers with the news folks.  There’s also one interview I’ve been trying to set up between Victor Diaz from YNN and the filmmakers/actors from the press junket and at certain times I feel like I’m trying to herd cats.  It’s going to work out but it’s going to take a lot more emails.
Fortunately, my producer, DJ Becker, has been working overtime to get our publicity material together for our short film Static.  I wish with all my heart she was coming. This is going to be an experience to be sure, but sometimes a little part of me imagines, very quietly, what this would all be like if it was our film Static, that was going too.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


Jonny Mars in Black Metal

For me, a real homebody, to go to Sundance is a major step out of my comfort zone. I had worked on Black Metal, which is a Sundance competition short film, and the director Kat Candler (my friend and office mate) was telling me I totally had to go.  We’ll share a condo, see films, etc.  I had worked on her Sundance short film Hellion last year, and hadn’t gone. Kat said something about it being a lot of fun and I’ll meet lots of great people from all areas of film.  Plus, I’ll never find a greater concentration of film festival programmers anywhere!
She had me at the programmers.  I’m currently in post production on own short film Static,  that I shot last August, and I suddenly realized what Kat was telling me. Sundance could be an incredible opportunity to promote Static.  So I agreed to go. My official title would be Publicist for Black Metal . That’s what I did for Jumping Off Bridges years ago and since I seemed to be good at that sort of stuff, and I was happy to take on the role.
I started with doing a press junket at Austin Film Society for Black Metal and  several other local films that were making their way to Sundance and Slamdance (Hearts of Napalm, by Andrew Irvine,  Spark by Anne Silverstein and Pit Stop by Yen Tan). Then after the screenings,  I ushered (or bossed, depends on who you ask) filmmakers, actors, and journalists around, so that everyone could get time with each other for questions, photo’s etc., . I met some amazing journalists and from all accounts it went really well.
Then I started on the press releases. Lots of press releases, that went out to hundred of press outlets and people, about Black Metal.  I really love this film and its story. While working on set, I was riveted by Jonny Mars performance,  loved studying Heather Kafka’s work, the look of each shot, the direction, lighting, everything and more.  To talk up something I believe in is really fun, so I’ve loved championing it to the press and I’m excited to chat it up at Sundance. 

More Sundance coming soon.....