Archive for the ‘movie’ Tag

Cannes day 3: Welcome to the real world   Leave a comment

Cannes day three.



I’m sitting somewhere in between the first floor of the main Palais, and the Riviera. These are sections of the massive Palais des Festival, which is where all the magic happens. To say Cannes is chaotic would be a lie, its more like a storm of chimps on red bull in suits trying to buy and sell films. Not that any of these people look like chimps, but the place is pretty wild.

I just left the Debussy theatre, one of many areas to screen films at Cannes. I watched Hunger, a tale of the hunger strike enacted by prison-bound activist Bobby Sands, in 1981. It took me a few minutes to realize I was actually watching a film at the Cannes Film Festival. There I was, sitting amidst the peers of the industry, taking in a film.

The way industry people take these films seriously, there was a cacophony of coughing as the film started, as people with small colds coughed out the last of their irritable viruses. When the movie started, there was pin-drop silence. For the entire movie. At the end the coughing started at again.

Personally, I was very tired. In my last blog I mentioned going out the night before and celebrity watching. Then I came home, fiddled with the internet a bit and then got some sleep to wake up at 8 a.m so I could sort out some issues I was having. So in the movie at some point, I dozed off. But I saw 95% of the film. I can scratch off a life goal of mine today:

“Applauded at the end of a Cannes film screening with rest of audience.”

That sounds pretty simple, but the logistics of getting into this place were maddening. I might go into the details of the accreditation process in another blog, but trust me. I had to jump through hoops and drop some serious euros to get where I am right now, and I don’t even feel ready.

Early this morning, when I walked into the Palais for the first time, I grabbed a few copies of magazines that are available to everyone in the area. There are thousands of copies of the Hollywood Reporter, Moving pictures and various other magazines. When I slipped a few of them into my bag, I said, “Dammit. I’m really in it.”

Days ago I was a student on the verge of graduating. My worries involved ironing my graduation gown, packing for this trip to France and worrying about how much my feet hurt when I shop for new shoes. Here, I am officially a professional. I don’t have time to worry that much. All the people here are trying to do the exact same thing. Get ahead. I’m surrounded by thousands of talented, super driven people from dozens of countries with literally thousands of different agendas.


Cannes is a Market based festival. Essentially people come here to promote, buy or sell films. Or they come here to promote, buy or sell themselves (not necessarily in that order :p) . So it is a rat race of the most powerful kind. Workshops run abound in Cannes, companies are EVERYWHERE and its non-stop. So a person can juggle visiting companies, catching a screening here and there and maybe catching a party at night. I’ve been told a good strategy is to head to some of the more exclusive hotels and hang out in the lobby and chat to people. This is a business. A relentless one.


So therein lies the question? How do I market myself as a writer? Are writers truly in demand, or are hot scripts in demand? When I received my badge, I got a cool little gray bag with ‘Cannes 2008’ all over it. Inside was information on the festival and market participants. The market participant book is twice the size of the Bible. This book had the information of participants in the festival. (and I thought looking into the face of eternal hellfire was daunting). So, I have to organize. I have to go through the periodicals(magazines, etc) and figure out which companies would like my product. I have a comedic script that I want to pitch, but get this. In my Graduation week (as madness ensued and I had no time to sleep) I didn’t adequately prepare some things for my trip. As it stands, when you don’t carry certain things with you to a foreign country, you have to buy them in that country, and man are the prices different. I’m leaking Euros.


The plan has to get juggled. Not only do I feel like I have to dress sharp (in Jamaica we say “Bush”) to seem like a true professional, but I have to do it every day. I’m not sure I have that many dress shirts :p. Either way, the battle begins. Tiny Jamaican writer, versus huge, well established international festival. I may not have a movie, or be able to get into the exclusive parties, but I have my little script. May I pitch it well!

On a side note, I bought a SIM card today from a phone store. The guys were not helpful at all. They spoke no English, the phone card’s instructions were in English, and I’m sure I don’t even know how to recharge the bloody card… but I had to get it. Its already getting impossible to link up with members from my program, much less contact people I will be meeting throughout the festival. Investment is key in these things. Don’t scrimp on those comfy black shoes you wanted to wear because they were slightly out of your budget, and get more dress shirts! Self-promotion baby!

Plus tard, ladies and gentlemen, Bush every day!

Love, Actually.   Leave a comment

It’s Valentine’s day, and i’ve received three phone calls to commemorate this day of self-loathing or particularly kinky-sex, chocolate laced underwear and looking at the phone, wishing it were a little cat or some animal that would reciprocate your need for affection.

The first call was from my mother. Apparently, the father of my friend who was my roommate in my freshman year died from some strange complications after doing light surgery. The other two calls were both from one of my best friends. The first explaining to me his need to grab a drink after work, the second to mention being rejected by a girl who he wasn’t even trying to talk to.

I think each Valentine’s day leads us to think of the previous one. I’m no hopeless romantic, but I like these little days we give ourselves to be more loving, more considerate and more creative in the range of gifts we give. (I’ve never given any girl a rose…. EVER).

Last year this time, I got a text message from a girl I didn’t know liked me. “Do you have a valentine?” it said. I smirked as I read the message, and didn’t reply. In two days, she gave me a grisly account of having sex with the guy she chose to be her valentine in her shower. “Ah, ” I said to myself. “Maybe there is something to Valentine’s day after all.”

To celebrate this Valentine’s day, 2008, I got myself a copy of Love Actually and bought a footlong Tuna sandwich from subway. Yeah, its weird, but they don’t have gourmet cheese and a bottle of wine at Subway. I chose this film, because it makes me feel good. Honestly, I have no desire to feel extremely lonely on this day of days, and in actuality, today is meaningless. Its a day like any other, with a label of love. I remember watching Love Actually in a theatre in Jamaica by myself. In Jamaica we have intermission, and I tell you, when the lights came on, every couple in the house was arm in arm, longingly staring at one another. I had to cough and act like my seat was a buxom brunette, ready to hug me with her slim arms and laugh in a way that tickled my neck.

Either way, I chose this movie because its one of those broader, more expansive love stories. I can either pick the adorable antics of the English writer and his Portuguese love interest, the weird “best-friend-loves-your-wife” situation with Keira Knightley and Hubby, or the very odd love found between two softcore porn stars. I like the soundtrack of the movie and how they shot England. After I watched this movie in Christmas 2003, I was ready to travel to England and live there permanently.

Now, watching the film for the second time, I can say that it stilled moved me in some ways. I like the screen shots showing people meeting each other. I have very fond memories of either meeting people, or being met at the airport. The montage of fathers hugging sons, friends and lovers made me feel like there just might be something left in humanity after all.

So, another day ends and this blog isn’t really necessary, but I promised myself I had to write something for Valentine’s day, after I watched my movie. The long weekend looms ahead and I feel like I just might take it easy. Watch a movie, eat another sandwich, and try to sleep blissfully, imaging that future moment that someone comes running up to me in the airport and plants a big wet one on my lips, for the world to see.


Leonidas Ain’t Got Nothing on Me!   Leave a comment

In twenty-nine days i’m supposed to be a Spartan. A friend of mine suggested we all work out and get ripped over a 10 week period and then head out to a halloween party in briefs, red capes, with fake shields and masks as our protection against hordes of inebriated women. For me this is a 60% reality. I don’t work out much, but i’m lucky to have the body type that makes people think I “might” work out, which is pretty cool, until I start bashing myself worse than a body builder who forgot his steroid injections.

I realize I’ve never even been to a Halloween party. To my knowledge we don’t (and probably still do not ) celebrate Halloween where i’m from, which is Jamaica. I’ve always read about Jack-o-lanters and pumpkins and what not, but other than seeing that stuff in kids books and on television, there is no way in hell that random Jamaican parents are going to let their kids roam the streets asking for candy. Its just not done.

In 2002, I walked around a shady neighborhood wearing the mask from Scream, dressed in full black. I felt powerful and anonymous, watching people through the tinted veils of some mad writer’s genius. But, I’ve never been to a Halloween party, so this year might be my first. I’m thinking about the choice of outfit. I can already foresee several other spartans in attendance, with many of them having beer bellies, hairy chests and tighter briefs than I might wear. I can also imagine one of these guys leaving with a girl for the night, while I, with my semi-okay six-pack, will probaly be sipping fruit punch and munching on condiments from the table beside the DJ.

Some aspects of being a spartan seem rather exciting, such as hearing a dancehall song play ( most likely this will be a Sean Paul song) and then someone raises their sword, shield, or fist and belts out, “SPARTANS!”. Then we assemble on the dance floor and do awkward Jamaican dances in briefs and capes.
“Oh, there will be blood.”

As I’ve always heard from a good friend of mine, Halloween is a prime occassion for people to hook up. Maybe it has something to do with wearing costumes and being relativley anonymous that gives people more confidence. A guy dressed like Batman might actually believe he is a billionaire with psychological issues, able to get any woman he desires with a swipe of his credit card. Or maybe the guy who dresses like a large teddy bear, is fulfilling some strange childhood fantasy involving himself, Teddy Ruxpin and several sweaty strippers. Whatever the reason, the rumours about Halloween hookups seem to have some merit. I think it takes a certain level of confidence or inebriation to go to a party as a Spartan. I mean, 99% of guys who watched 300 left the theater punching walls and ripping hair of their chests. Then they proceeded to engage in thousands of “Ambiguously gay” battles in their underwear, shouting “Tonight we dine in hell!” to which his friend might reply, “No! Tonight you dine in my ass douchebag!”

Maybe being a spartan will be a cool thing. I could be the one spartan that isn’t filled with bloodlust, uber-manliness and a need to savagely take out his homoerotic tensions on waves of very ugly marauders. I might stand up in the middle of the party, with my cape wrapped comfortably around my torso, debating Science Fiction with the guy who came in dressed as Orson Welles. Then I may offer my condolences to Neo for dying at the end of the Matrix, give Batman a high five and then smile lustfully at any girls dressed as Nurses or Playboy bunnies.

I could have a shield, but i’m not sure how practical that would be on the dance floor. Blocking hundreds of arrows and the sharp blades of my enemies won’t be necessary in the company of college students, people who work in non-profits and on the Hill. (Well, in terms of people on the Hill, I might need the shield.)

It would be fun to ben an intelligent Spartan, or maybe even a bipolar one. I could savagely kiss a girl i’ve never met, then run into a corner weeping because I acted like “less of a man”. I could be the kind of Spartan that keeps the uber-cool “I can kick your ass with my little finger” vibe while expounding on the laudable attributes of Halo 3. I could be that spartan.

Nonethless, I have been doing nothing towards this goal. I’m too tired during the day to really go to the gym, and like I said before, I am luckly to somewhat look Spartan-esque without doing too much work. Exciting as the Spartan thing is, I think I might just go dress in a white collar shirt and a soft pair of plaid pants. Then, when I am asked what i’m dressed up as, I will give the reply Wednesday did in the Adamms Family movie.
“‘I’m a psychotic killer. They look just like everyone else.”

Posted October 3, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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