With Opal Dockery & Tiffany Shlain
Sundance Women in Film Youtube Party
Day 5 is in the books.
I'll tell you something. I try to look at this Sundance and Slamdance film festival stuff with a mentality of fun, reunions and networking. But I'll be honest. It's not fun. It's not a vacation. It's a job. If you're at Sundance in Park City in January, and you're just having fun, you're not doing your job. Yeah, you'll have fun. But this shit is a lot more than that. And I don't have the body I did 20 years ago. I'm closer to 50 than 40. So I gotta watch myself. Thank God I don't drink anymore.
It's a little before midnight. I'm back in the Motel 6 room in Salt Lake City, sitting on the bed, hashing through the day's work, making notes on business cards and sorting out what's been done and what needs to be done.
A lot happened today.
Where do I start?
Let's start from the beginning:
The early morning routine started about 6 this morning. Got up, showered, drank a pot of coffee while sitting on the bed, waking up and lining up the day for the Sundance and Slamdance stuff on Main Street. Woke up Opal around 7:15, got in the rental car and headed to Park City.
Once downtown, did the normal routine of parking the car by the Sundance Marriott headquarters, took a piss and dump on Sundance in the Marriott restrooms, got a few new trades upstairs, then we got on the shuttle to ride over to Main Street.
On Main Street walking up the hill to Slamdance
When we got to Main Street, Opal and I walked up to the Treasure Mountain Inn to start the day on Main street with the Slamdance breakfast. Had some coffee, carrot apple juice, a bagel and bananna. Chatted with a few people and had some good conversations. Met and got to know Francois and Thomas from MAMU. Those fellas are a couple of nice guys. Also chatted a little with Azita. And I did something I've been wanting to do for the last couple of days. I gave Peter one of my No Budget Filmmaking books. The main reason I wanted to give it to him was as a symbol of how important Slamdance has been to me over the years as a filmmaker. It was because of them I got my start with my first movie. It was because of them I've been able to be a member of the family, make great friendships, relationships and learn everything I've learned over the years to share my films with the world and build a global audience on the film festival circuit. It's because of them my films have screened over 300 film festivals around the world. It's because of them that I have a filmmaking family. Slamdance is my filmmaking family. I hate Sundance. Even with all the changes over the last 8 years with both Sundance and Slamdance, the Slamdance group is my family, and tries as hard as they can to keep it real. And I wanted to share with Peter the book as a token of our friendship.
With Allan and Abby at the Slamdance breakfast
After the Slamdance breakfast, Opal and I walked across the street to the Sundance Channel headquarters to chill and relax for a little while. Had some great coffee and potato chips. I'll tell you. Coffee and tater chips. They taste pretty awesome together. You should try it sometime.
Relaxing at the Sundance Channel Headquarters
Around 11:00, we walked across the street to the Sundance New York Lounge. There was a production panel with James, Jake, Mauro, Brian and Alex. From what I heard, there was some things I might want to catch in the panel. And it was a pretty good one. Some good tips on marketing, using communities where filming, and a few crowdfunding tips. It was good after the panel to chat a little and get to know James and Mauro. And also got to know Kyla a little bit. It was a pretty good time.
By the time I got out of that panel, the Anarchy shorts had been going on at Slamdance for about 15 minutes. So I went over there to get in a little late, to catch some shorts I really wanted to see. And it was packed. Standing room only. I couldn't even see the screen. That's great. So glad that those filmmakers had a packed audience. But no chance for me to see those films. So Opal and I decided to grab a Morningstar burger.
We went next door and wolfed down a quinoa burger. Then I had about an hour or so to kill. So I walked down Main street to the HP building to check emails on the computers. Nothing pressing. Nothing too important. After checking emails, I went by Dolly's and checked with Sue to see how the books were going for the week. Things were selling good. So there was an ego booster for me on Main street. By the time I left Dolly's, it was time for the Youtube panel event.
The Sundance Youtube panel was about how to build an audience on Youtube. I thought this would be good to check out to help us with our web series that we have online. Our series WOODY THE REDNECK is not generating any views, and I thought I could pick up a few tips to help build our audience online. And I'll tell you something. There were a few good tips. But most of what they said were things I've known about for years. Basically, Gwen and Matt showed and read a powerpoint presentation, and you had to write notes fast to jot down just a little of what was said. It was called a '10 Fundamentals' presentation, but basically, they had some outlines, charts, headings, a few tips, and showed Youtube videos of some of the most successful Youtube channels. I was really disappointed. Now, there were a few good tips. But overall, it felt to me like a waste of 90 minutes. I met with Matt after the panel, but he pretty much dodged around the questions I was asking.
I've pretty much figured out a few things over these events and panels. I've come to a conclusion that most of these companies that have these events aren't here to really help anybody. They're basically here to advertise, market and promote their business, and if you get on board with them, it's the 'you're on your own' mentality. You still have to do the DIY stuff. Nobody is going to help you unless there's something big in it for them. And until they see you're being a success with it, they're not going to help you. That's just my opinion.
The Sundance madness on Main Street
And another thing I've figured out. Now I don't know if this is true or not. But I've come to the conclusion that a lot of these panels, the people on the panel are paid to be on the panel. I can't tell you how many times after a panel is over, and I go to meet someone on a panel to chat, they don't want to have anything to do with me. They don't want to talk to anyone. They just want to get out of there. And the majority of the time the panels are like that, it's when during the panels the panelists are just sitting up there telling old stories, not taking about any questions from the audience. They sit around telling old stories for 90 minutes, take 2 or 3 questions, then are ready to get the hell out. Something seems fishy to me. Doesn't look to me like they're wanting to help the next generation of filmmakers. It's all about them, putting in their time and getting out of there. Sounds like an easy payday to me. But that's just my opinion.
After the disappointing Youtube panel, it was time to walk back up to the Treasure Mountain Inn for the daily Slamdance mixer. When I got there, I chatted with George a little bit about his company, our Childhood Obesity project, and us working together. Then at the mixer, I mingled a little bit, chatted with some friends, and made a few new ones. Met Ben, chatted and got to know him. Looking forward to helping him get his new Slamdance film out on the film festival circuit. Then Peter introduced Shane to the crowd with his new film book. When Shane was talking to the crowd, my creative juices started flowing in my brain. I started exercising my mind. And got some creative ideas to help with promoting the new No Budget Filmmaking book. I met with Shane, got to know him and offered to help him get his book out on the book circuit. I'm looking forward to helping him.
After about an hour or so, it was time to walk down Main street to Tiffany's event.
My friend Tiffany invited me to her Sundance Women in Film Youtube party. I had been looking forward to this. It had been some time since I'd seen Tiffany. And with our new old time burlesque documentary film, I thought this would be a great event to go to, so we could network with other women in film with our upcoming important women's burlesque documentary.
They started with a panel, then had the party. It was good seeing Tiffany again. I'm glad that she's being so successful, and busy. A lot is going on with that girl. She's making it happen. We had a good chat. Also met Rose McGowan, and am looking forward to working with her. It was nice to get to know Mamrie, Marci, Ann, Kamul, and a few other people. It was a constructive event. Didn't get as much done as I wanted, but I'm glad we went. I really need to get Opal in this community of women in film. She can be a pioneer in this hot new genre. Opal, Lynn, Tiffany.....this is just the start.
By the time Opal and I got out of Tiffany's event, both of us were feeling wiped out. Opal's pushing 70. I'm pushing 50. We're no spring chickens. All this work. It's a job. It's a drain. It was time to call it an early night.
We walked down Main street and had a quick quinoa burger at Morningstar farms for the road. It was Morningstar's last day here at Sundance, so we wanted to make one more final stop. And decided to have 2 burgers each instead of one. I think I overdid it. They were great. But the second one made me feel nauseous.
After Morningstar, we walked to the Main street terminal, took the shuttle to the Sundance Marriott headquarters, got in the car, and headed back to Salt Lake City. We got back to the Motel 6 room around 11 to 11:30. It felt good getting there early tonight.
On the shuttle, heading back to the rental car
Day 5's wrapped. One more day to go. I wouldn't mind driving back out west first thing in the morning. I am just done with all of this for the week. I'm ready to get the hell out of dodge. Feels like we've been here a long time. Both of us want to head back west and start getting back to the normal filmmaking life. But there's a few things left to get done. Mainly, tomorrow I want to see Mike.
Tomorrow comes the last day.
NO BUDGET FILMMAKING
By Jack Truman