May 17, 2007

Being a "fan," U2, Hollywood, Top 10 lists, & Kevin Smith

Being a fan is a strange thing, especially when you work within the industry.

I have A LOT of experience being a fan.

(Bono & Me, Boston, MA 1992)

In 1985, I discovered a band called U2 on MTV. In 1992, I found myself introduced to Bono in Boston, MA by a mutual friend. I had just turned 18 years old. Prior to meeting Bono, celebrities, rock stars, actors, they were all just images on TV, posters, magazine covers, and the big screen; not real people. Bono changed all that for me. However, he also inadvertently created a shiny new hardcore fan. I have seen U2 live and met the entire band, especially Bono, so many times now I have lost count. I know what it means to be a fan, and through Bono's eyes, I have seen what it is to be a celebrity.

Being a fan is a hell of a lot easier!

However, I do not take the easier road.

One major thing I learned from Bono is that while it is ok to follow, there will come a time you must lead. Dreams are only dreams until realized.

Years later, upon moving to Los Angeles to realize my own dreams, I met with a wall of resistance. This town will eat you up and spit you out faster than you can blink, if you let it.

Along the way I have met many folks who either have wanted to or did work in film but got out before (and sometimes after) success because they could not handle the lifestyle. From the outside in, this life looks so glamorous, but it is not. It is hard work and takes years of knocking on doors and more rejection than anyone should ever endure in one lifetime. So why do people like me stay in it? Why do I keep on keeping despite it all? Yeah, so, I like the pretty dresses, big award shows, and fancy parties, but what I really like is meeting and working with like-minded souls who want to enlighten, inspire, and entertain via film. I want to make a difference, create worlds, Move Mountains and dream so loud the whole world hears me!

(Me & Dave --wearing a shirt I designed, Glendale, AZ 2005)

Not everyone who works in movies is a fan of movies.  Many folk on set do not want to talk about being on set when they are at home or at a shindig. Most folks want to talk about their lives outside of work. See, my husband and me, our work is our life! We eat, breathe, and sleep movies. He creates light, I tell stories. We speak movie. "What's your 20?" "10-100." "Copy that." "Surf Nicaragua." "The dude abides." "May the Force be with you." "Death by Stereo." "Aloha, Mr. Hand." "Wyatt, your kitchen is blue."

I seem to have drifted slightly off point… When it comes to music, I am a full-blown fan. I need a constant musical score. My iPod is my soundtrack (and when I am on my computer, LastFM is). When it comes to movies, I am a fan, but I am also a screenwriter. See, therein lies the rub… In order to work within the industry, you need to maintain a certain level of distance from that whole media-celebrity-fame thing because it is not real.  Most times the concept of "fan" is directly linked to existing on the "other side" of some imaginary line between an "us" and "them," as if one group is somehow better or something. Perhaps the distance creates protection from the crazies… I do not know… Nevertheless, it can be awful awkward when you find yourself in the backseat of a car chatting with A.C. Lyles drooling over the Iambic Pentameter in Deadwood and asking when there will be more. (I tried so hard to be cool, but in the end I "geeked" out. Is that ok? Some seem to say no, but others tend to think that I should just be myself – my crazy over excited eager puppy self. Hmmm… I just do not know. I am not a Jedi Master…Yet.)

(Me in nouveau 3D glasses -- the ultimate geek girl accessory!)

Wax on, wax off. Waxing philosophical… One journey has ended, another just begun, and all I can think is, girls just wanna have fun! (They just wanna, they just wanna!)

Speaking of fun… I was thinking about my Top Ten all time favorite films (because my Mum and I are List Maniacs) and she sent me hers, but I have yet to send mine… I am having a terrible time narrowing it down!

See, what I do is I compartmentalize movies in my head. For some inane reason I cannot just list out 10 flicks and say that is that. It is like, ok, one of my all time favorite movies is Star Wars, but another one is The Lost Boys – two vastly different films! I love La Dolce Vita and Casablanca, but I cannot watch them as often as The Princess Bride or Serenity. There are just so many movies out there that I love on so many different levels. Space Balls. Ice Pirates. Labyrinth. Time Bandits. Twelve Monkeys. Brazil. The Matrix. Blade Runner. Total Recall. Taxi Driver. Fanny & Alexander. Jaws. Close Encounters. ET. Stand By Me. Pulp Fiction. SLiTHER, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Pump Up the Volume. River's Edge. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. This is Spinal Tap. LOTR. Vampires – ANYTHING with vampires. The Breakfast Club. Heathers. Dogma.

Oh! Here is a perfect example of The Adventures of Fan Girl in Hollywood: Kevin Smith, writer, director, actor, god. He made Dogma, one of my ALL TIME favorite movies EVER. Jeremy, my husband, first worked on Chasing Amy. Later he gaffed Clerks 2. As a result, I was invited to the Clerks 2 kick-off party at Kevin's house (no, I will not tell you where it is, so don't bother asking).

Begin Flashback:

So, ok, picture this, you are in your 20's working at a video store whilst majoring in Film, dreaming being a big Hollywood something-or-other, and feeling a million miles away from it when a big cardboard box of Clerks videos lands on your desk for inventory. You open it up and there is a gift: a Clerks Hockey Jersey. Sweet! (Yes, I still have it, in case you are wondering… Along with all my other swag… I love movie paraphernalia… Clerks 2 hoodie, 24 coat, fleece, cap, hat, etc., Baseball Diaries tank, Undressed hat & scarf, and so on...) So, the gift catches your eye, as does the cover, black and white, video store clerk… Clerks… I could relate BIG TIME. I was Randal. Then I thought, "But wait… Who is this Kevin Smith guy anyway? If he can do it…" I think you see where I am going with this little flashback...

So, fast-forward to the party and little ole me climbing out of my Geo to go inside the awesome big house of one of my film heroes… I geeked out hardcore, but kept my cool (until I got drunk on Margarita's – Mr. Johnson, sir, I still need that footage!)… That night I met Gail, Kevin's Mother-in-Law and spent most of the evening just chatting with her… Before we left, she showed me her office, asked if I had any of Kevin's films on DVD, and when I told her, "No, VHS," she proceeded to hand me a stack of signed DVDs! I kept saying, "Oh, no, no, that's ok," and she kept handing me another... It  was too funny! A fan would go bonkers in Gail's closet alone! (Gail rocks!)

Fast forward some more and you'll find me in the front row of the Hollywood premiere of Clerks 2. As I sat there listening to Kevin give an opening speech, watching the cast & crew (friends of mine, no less!) support him, all I could think was, "Holy shit. Exactly 10 years ago I was unpacking tapes of Clerks to rent to customers in Massachusetts and now look where I am! Huh? How'd I get here!?!"

It was a truly awesome moment. I love this town...

Well, I've been up all night (again)... Think I'll go read Choke and then maybe get coffee in Larchmont later or something...

Next on The Adventures of fan Girl in Hollywood: meeting Joel Schumacher and how The Lost Boys is the penultimate movie.

No comments: