Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sweep O' The Pirates: Arrrrr!

Can you believe I'm still working on my 48 Hour Film Project 2012 set diary?  Don't answer that.  23 days later, last night was the premiere of our comedy, Rhymes of the Rich and Famous, coming soon to a Facebook and Vimeo near you.

This year, we were ousted from the Eden of Hazard Center, and screened in Poway.  It was a nice theater, and we enjoyed the team dinner at The Brigantine beforehand.  When I took that first sip of my Cosmo, I was like "Oh yes.  I needed that."  It's been a long while since I've had a drink, and driving to the theater felt like I must have crossed into Arizona, it took so long.  This year, it was hard for me to get excited about all the usual stuff I get excited about.  I didn't get my nails done, or buy a new dress.  My spirit is still a trifle crushed from the hardships of the weekend.  But in the end, the thrill of the thing infected me, and on top of my (recycled) black dress, hand-me-down shoes from a Birdie castmate and too much navy eyeshadow from my David and Lisa prop bag, I affixed a feathered fascinator.  That put me in the mood.

Some of our team was unaccounted for.  I have to stop beating myself up about this.  Who knows what happens to people, and why.  I do the best I can as Cane Toad social director; I can do no more than that.  We did have around 20 people at dinner, and one of the cheerier additions was my friend Rachel from Birdie, who wasn't even in town the weekend of the competition, but came out in full celebratory regalia, took photos, smiled a lot and held my hand during the scary parts.  Thank you, Rachel!

We ended up way too close to the front when we finally got into the theater--a first.  Generally, there are about five different factions waving me down with saved seats, but alas, not this year.  I'll try not to read into it.

I felt like the Group C films were uniformly strong.  Clearly, San Diego is both attracting some wonderful filmmaking talent, and grooming more experienced teams year upon year.  It was a lot of fun to watch them, everything from witches to murder mystery musicals to silent films with ink blots.  I almost forgot to be nervous for our film, which was in the second to last position--a very good place to be.

I really did get caught up in the enjoyment of watching our film on the big screen, with an appreciative audience.  They laughed a lot, and applauded heartily at the end.  It felt good.

And then...there were the pirates.  The pirates actually had some other title than just "the pirates," but had they just been called "the pirates" they still would have been the fist-pumping, hootin-and-hollerin champs of the night. Their film opened with a CGI shot of an actual pirate ship coming into land.  Um...what?  And then there were extremely good-looking people in pantaloons, wielding cutlasses and spouting campy dialogue.  Okay, promising, but not a slam dunk...but oh.  Great smash cut to a girl reading a romance novel.  The pirates are in her book.  Oh, no.  The main character is a girl, who's not objectified in any way, and she's READING.  Be still, my heart.  The film was suspiciously polished.  It looked and sounded like a million bucks.  It had people rearing on actual horses.  It had realistic looking fight scenes.  It was funny and exciting.  IT HAD A SCENE IN A BOOKSTORE.  When the lights went up, after the fun and punchy ending, I turned to David and said, "Well, then."  He laughed.

All the filmmakers went to the front of the room to be interviewed.  I was proud of myself for not messing up or babbling crazily.  I also remembered to thank my co-writer when asked about the writing.  When the pirate people talked, the guy was funny, charming, self-deprecating and smooth, just like the film.  Later I told David, "I have a theory.  The guy was as good as the film.  And the film was just too good.  I'm thinking he might have been animatronic."

We decamped to the Brig and a bunch of us snuggled at a couple tables, drinking and laughing.  Unlike in past years, I wasn't that nervous.  I knew we couldn't win against the Pirates, and no one disagreed with me, which isn't typical.  The disagreeing part, I mean.  It took a long time for Duane and Robyn to come in, and when they did, I almost didn't want to stand up.

But we did.  And we didn't come in second.  Or third.  Wow.  That smarts.  For the past three years, we've always been mentioned.  Robyn did come over, very sweetly, and let us know that we came in fourth, which buttered the burn a bit.

David and I stayed until everyone else was gone, and then he helped me, limping, to the car.  But I actually felt pretty good.  Once upon a time it was enough to get dressed up, have a cocktail and see our movie on the big screen with a gang of pals, and I think I was able to remember that. And even Grommets, who went all the way to freakin' Cannes with their movie a couple years ago, didn't win the audience choice the following year.  You can't win all the time.  That would be weird.  But more than weird:  statistically impossible.  We were soundly beaten by the Pirates, as was everyone else, and that's the way it should be.

We learn and grow, and there's always next year.

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