About 50 people came to the theater and watched “The Creation of Torrit Smoke” at The Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival today. It was a bigger screen and a slightly bigger crowd than the Columbia Gorge Film Festival two weeks ago. This time, thankfully, it was projected at the right aspect ratio. Blake and I did a Q/A afterward and folks seemed to really attach to the painting and to the story of it’s struggle. So, all in all, I’m pleased with how it all went down. The promo postcards and pins were a big hit (thanks to Vivi and Blake for designing the pins!). If anyone reads this and wants a pin, please shoot me an email (email@example.com) and I will send you one for free.
Its been a good trip, but I’m anxious to be back home with Katie. Yesterday, I went hiking at Rattlesnake Lake Ledge. I’ve forgotten how absolutely stunning this part of the country is. At the bottom of the photo you can see the lake where the hike started. Seeing my film play on the big screen at Bumbershoot was cool, but I’d say the highlight would have to be getting to sit on this mountain and see this magnificent place.
So the next festival that “The Creation of Torrit Smoke” will be playing at is in Philadelphia, on Saturday October 16th at The Philadelphia First Glance Film Festival. If you live nearby or know someone who does, please pass along the info.
I got into Seattle last night. The 5 hour flight from east to west doesn’t seem so long as it used to. Still, walking off the plane and through the airport, my senses felt dull and blurry. I’m staying in Bellevue (much cheaper hotels) and went to the grocery store this morning to buy food for the next few days: peanut butter + jelly = my meals. Traveling to festivals is not cheap, so I’m trying to cut corners where I can.
Tonight, Weezer is playing at Bumbershoot until 10:30. When the show ends and crowd pours out, I’ll be outside the gate handing out postcards for tomorrow’s screening of “The Creation of Torrit Smoke”.
I talked with Katie and she gave me the idea to spend the day hiking in the mountains and wait until tonight to pass out fliers. Brilliant!
So now I’m headed about an hour east on I-90 to rattlesnake lake.
I’ll write again soon.
It’s good to be in Portland. That crisp air coming down from the arctic is so refreshing. I’ve missed this place. Blake, his wife, and I went out for coffee and scones yesterday morning before we went to his studio to finish up some emails and calls to get people out to the screening. About 35 people came to see it, including the art critic for The Oregonian, D.K Row.
Blake and I stood up afterward and did a 10 minute Q/A session. It’s a little terrifying to think about speaking in front of a group of people, but it was a lot easier and rewarding than i thought it would be. And if I’m honest, the excitement of it probably played into my secret narcissism - or childish dream of being a rock star. I felt a lot of support from my friends in the room who came out, and I’m very thankful to everyone who came out. After all this, a large group went out to a pub in town to have a drink; I met a professor from George Fox University who mentioned I should guest lecture or adjunct there, and then gave me the department head’s name to contact. I’ve never really seen myself as a teacher, who knows, it could be a really awesome opportunity, and a lot of fun.
Before the screening yesterday, Blake introduced me to the bassist of Blitzen Trapper and his family over a sushi lunch. We also made a visit to his gallery, Chambers @ 916, where i met the owner and the gallery manager. They said they would be interested in screening the film at the gallery, so once these festivals are finished, I hope to screen the film there as well as other venues, but we’ll see how everything shakes out.
Today, (the producer of Crash, The Illusionist) gave an interview at the festival. He had a lot of sobering words - namely, about money… and how documentary filmmakers don’t make any of it. Companies that distribute documentaries make it, but not the actual filmmakers. Also, there are only 5 significant film festivals that buyers attend - Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, and Tribeca, the others, he said, “are a waste of time”.
This comment was a little shocking and disappointing (though i don’t believe it completely), so i raised my hand to ask “how can a filmmaker best leverage these types of festivals?” He told us to meet the festival organizers and network with other filmmakers to try to get support and funding for your next project. When you show up to festivals, you’ve got to have your next project ready to pitch. So I need to have my one sentence and one minute pitches for the 3 new films that are on my mind.
It’s been a real learning experience and I’ve been able to meet a lot of great people here, and i think i will come away with some really clear ideas for how to take advantage of the next few festivals. Still, I do miss my wife, and can’t wait to see her Monday morning. Tonight is the awards ceremony, so cross your fingers. An award here, though it’s not going to get me a million dollar grant to make a film, could be a small piece of the puzzle in the future.
It’s going to be a long journey - this idea of film making as a career. And it will probably not look like what i imagine it to be, but that’s a good thing.
I can’t complain. I’ve been sitting inside this plane for 2 hours. A baby is starting to cry, and there’s a smell of methane coming from the shirt and tie sitting next to me. The pilot has just announced that we will finally be making our way down the runaway and then up into the western sky for 4 hours.
Under normal circumstances, sitting on a plane for 6 hours is not my favorite way to spend an evening after making breakfast for 10 people, then a slightly less than full day of work, followed by a rainy, twice detoured 2 hour drive through what felt like a waterfall. Normally, I’d be pretty edgy. Normally, I might have a few complaints to make.
But not today. Today is not a normal day. Today, this plane is taking me to Portland, OR (one of my favorite cities) where I will be attending the first film festival screening of my short film “The Creation of Torrit Smoke.” Nothing could get me down today.
So when the pilot got on the intercom after I found my seat and stuffed my bag in the overhead compartment, the voice said, “Sorry for the delay folks. The flight crew saw the commode light indicating a full tank, but the maintenance crew are telling us it’s all cleaned out….” 2 hours later, here we are. But I’m not worried. All I know is that I’m going to Portland to see and promote my film, meet some cool people, and hopefully learn a lot. So I am content, even a bit joyful, i guess somewhat child-like.
It’s a good feeling, but I must admit, a trace of uncertainty is in my mind. Film festivals are all over the place these days - I don’t really know what to expect from this little known festival, and it’s hard to know what it means that my film was accepted to it. Even scarier, the question of whether anyone will actually show up to the screening is looming. You can make promos, print postcards, write emails and facebook messages to get the word out, but in the end, it all sort of depends on the things that are out of my control.
So I guess that’s the lesson I need to hear from myself now - I can try try try - but ultimately the success (or non success) of this little film depends on forces out of my control, so to a certain degree, as much as i “try try try”, I’m going to have to “relinquish relinquish relinquish”…. and just enjoy this weekend. All in all, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem :)