I'd entered as many festivals in Park City during Sundance week that I could find. We were turned down by Sundance (no big shocker there) and Slamdance. Tromadance accepted us. And I still had yet to hear anything from Slamdunk. So this one morning, for the hell of it, I checked their website to see if they posted a schedule. They did. And we were on it. I was shocked because I thought I would've heard something from them. So I sent them an email to tell them "Hey, my film's in your fest. What's up?" They got back to me and claimed they'd been trying to get hold of me. Which I can't figure out, since they had my email and website address on the application and VHS screener. But anyway, now we were in TWO festivals during Sundance. That made the trip seem even more worth it. I talked with Kevin to see if he might be interested in coming to the fest to work the streets as H.R. He agreed and I'm glad he did. How do I sum up the whole experience of being in Park City during Sundance? Well, it was a lot of work. I never had the chance to really check out any films because I was too involved in trying to promote our screenings. First up was Slamdunk. We'd plastered the kiosks with our fliers and had Kevin & H.R. on the street since early in the morning. It was cool, people seemed to dig H.R. The whole trip would've been completely different if we didn't have Kevin there to "be" H.R. It just helped us stand out. Whenever I saw a camera crew I pointed it out to Kevin and he went over and they all loved interviewing H.R. It was funny. The screening at Slamdunk went Okay. They didn't seem to really have their act together though. They didn't tell people when the house lights came on after the first program of shorts that there'd be another program in a minute, so the audience just started getting up and leaving. I saw people who I know were there to see "H.R." start to leave. We had to grab them and bring them back. This one group of filmmakers who were screening that night decided in the middle of the room to hold a "meet and greet" with people coming to see their film. I couldn't believe they could be so disrespectful. It was really poorly organized. But the audience seemed to like "H.R." I was in the outer screening area and could hear the applause from the main screening room. We got an added screening at Atom Films. That went Okay. Then, we had our biggest and best audience for the screening at Tromadance. I was, to be honest, shocked how well-run Troma's event was. They let me come up and introduce the film, they were letting their audience know what was going, if things were running late, etc. It was cool. The crowd loved it, too. This was really the first time I'd seen it with a big audience. When it was done and people were clapping I just leaned over and smiled at Kevin and Steve Hicks. This is what we'd all worked so hard for. My sister Jen came along to help promote the film, too. She was our "publicist." She did a tremendous job meeting people. All in all it was a long, tiring week. By Thursday night after our last screening, I was spent. I was ready to go. But we still had a few days to go. We got "V.I.P." tickets into the VH1 party which was cool. Everclear was playing. I'm not a fan, but they were all right. It was a good party. My big mission had been to get photos of celebrities with H.R. We had a chance to get one with Janeane Garofalo one night but we didn't get it. Then the next morning we were heading into the Independent Film Channel's set-up and bumped right into her. She was cool, we got our photo. I was a happy dude. All in all, we went to some good parties, met some interesting people and did Okay with our screenings.
Back from Utah. The one thing I wasn't too nutty about our Utah trip was I really didn't make too many great contacts. There was some interest from one company about the rights to "H.R." but I'd just started to promote the film. I wasn't really ready to sell yet. I found out we got into the Boston Underground Festival which was cool. I'd met someone in Utah who was helping them and kinda tipped me off to us getting in. So it wasn't a big surprise. But I was psyched. One morning, Veronica Hunter had contacted me. She'd seen "H.R." in Utah and wanted to add it to the programming sked of the TV station in Portland that she worked for. I figured, why not? It's exposure. We signed a non-exclusive deal. Film Threat had given us some good press. Chris Gore, I think, enjoyed the film. Whenever we had a bit of news going on, he usually wrote about it on his site. It's really just about sending it out to more and more festivals now. But I also wanna start sending it to certain production companies in LA. People who've made similar types of films to what the scripts I had to offer were. I tried to get some publicity in the Boston Press for our screening up there. Although he didn't write anything in his paper, Peter Keough of the Boston Phoenix wrote to me that it was "crude, offensive and well done." He also seemed to love the GREEN fart. I sent a copy to Savage Steve Holland who directed, what I consider, one of the best film of the 80's "Better Off Dead" (go watch it if ya haven't seen it). He sent a nice note that watching the film made his day. And that he'd watched it with a bunch of people and they all loved it. He works on the TV show "V.I.P." and he said his cameraman even took the film home for the weekend.
Dave at the Boston fest told me our screening went great. I couldn't make it because I was sick for the millionth time. I need the summer to arrive already. These other guys who'd seen the film in Utah asked to screen the film at their small festival in Austin, Texas. It did, and again, I'm told it went over really well. I started sending it to some production companies in LA. Hoping I could get just one to allow me the chance to come in and pitch. This whole writers strike though spooked me. Imagine, I finally make a film and am getting some good notices but a strike keeps me from taking advantage of it. But it didn't seem to be that big of a deal. People were still willing to talk with me. The greatest TV show, in my opinion, that has ever been is the BBC sitcom "The Young Ones." I first saw it on MTV when it aired there in the 80's. My writing partner Kurt and I literally could watch all 12 episodes of that show over and over and never get tired of them. That show has really shaped our style of comedy. So I knew I would have a good shot at getting into some fests in England. I just knew they'd dig "H.R." The biggest short film festival there, sponsored by the BBC, decided to fold this year. Oh well. I heard from two others that loved the film. Both wanted it in their fests. I'm anxious to see how those screening go, but they're not until June and July. I also went on a New Jersey-based talk show on the big news channel here. It's called "Jersey's Talking." The host is Lee Leonard who was the original host of ESPN Sportscenter and comes from NBC Sports. I went on LIVE on a Friday night. All week I worried I'd say "fuck" on the show. Ask anyone I know and they'll tell you "fuck" is like every third word out of my mouth. But I did Okay. No "Fuck." I was a little nervous but more about what I'd say than about being on the show. Ol' Lee wouldn't pronounce the film's title as "PUKEnshette." He asked if it was okay if he said "PUCKenshette." I didn't give a shit to be honest. I thought it was weird he'd practically say "Shit" but was totally against saying "puke."
Since we'd finished editing in November 2000, we'd been lucky enough to screen at least once a month. I think that's a great feat. Now, maybe some of these screening were at small festivals but a screening's a screening in my book. But low and behold I hadn't gotten into anything in April. I had the England fests set up for June and July but I needed an April and May to keep the streak rolling. Well, Troma called the other day and they are going to screen the film on April 27th at the CBGB Gallery. So I got my April screening. The streak continues. It was kinda sad/cool too cause Joey Ramone had just passed and I got to see all these flowers, etc fans had left outside CB's in honor of Joey. There's also some talk of maybe Troma bringing it to Cannes in May. They want the rights to the film to distribute it on video and DVD. I really need to think about it and look over the contract with a lawyer. I know they're gonna want all the rights to my characters. I'm just not sure I'm ready to do that. We'll see. I'm gonna talk with some people who've made deals with Troma before and get their 2 cents. I've made some good contacts through some of the production companies I've send the film to. As a matter of fact, I'm going to be going to LA in May to pitch some stuff. I might as well take advantage of it now even though I don't really have the $ for the trip. If I wait, in a few months, they'll totally forget they ever spoke to me. Ya gotta go while the coals are hot. I think Einstein said that.