I keep seeing pictures of friends of mine on Facebook and on Alive Not Dead, either with their tits out and their legs long and bare – and that’s just the guys – hanging loose at various Hong Kong Film Market events. And I think to myself, why wasn’t I there? Why wasn’t I there leering down some cleavage, drink in hand, arm around a starlet, and Jackie Chan passing swiftly by in the back ground? I could have gone, if something inside me hadn’t kept telling me to finish editing the film I shot last year, polish the script I’m working on for later in the year, and get the power point presentation for the lecture course on Series writing I’m giving in Singapore. Frankly, I too love the glamour, love the sniff of hot babe, the flash of paparazzi, and the sense that despite being a decrepit grey haired old git, I can still score more women that those who make it their aim to be seen as actively rangy despite their lack of wit and charm. In short, I love all that shit.
However, after thirty years floating around the film and media world, I have to say that the only high flyers that go to these things are those who are paid to be there, and often have to be dragged there. And nearly everyone else is about as exciting and as useful as a used car salesman, if that isn’t demeaning such a noble profession. People who’s job it is to sit and decide which cheap zombie movie they can get away with in the one cinema in Uzbekistan, are as a rule not going to further one’s career or inspire one’s creative juices.
Back in the UK one was always told that only those who had nothing better to do, went to Cannes. The guys who had any status, went by helicopter to shake hands for ten minutes in front of the photographers and then either went back to their mansions and expensive “companions” or the location where they were shooting their latest movie. And the guys without money but heaps of street cred and creative juice were all too busy making films, writing them, starring in them, or rioting, or all of the above. Neither bothered mingling with the unwashed and uncool trying far too hard to be seen in their vicinity.
In short, for the most part Film Markets have all the allure of a day out in a supermarket. Even so, I still felt I should have been there. Despite knowing that unless I am being paid to grace it with my presence or have some high-powered sober and un-coked studio reps vetting my film project with a serious view to funding, it has no value whatsoever. And I know, through repeated experience, that all those guys and gals handing out business cards saying how they are the vice-president creative finance honcho of the Never In A Million Years Film Finance Fund Incorporated will never return a call, read a script, or be employed within a year, and most certainly have no say in any decision whatsoever. In fact they will be working for some half-baked web design company flogging T-Shirts by Christmas. Even though I know all this, I wish I had gone, if only to scream at some arrogant and deeply stupid person that one makes movies by writing scripts, finding actors, and sticking a camera up their nose, and everything else is corruption and decay.
Corruption and decay can be very sexy nonetheless. It does waste a lot of time and rots the decision making process, and it does attract the idle, useless, unimaginative, and sleazy, but for a moment one can suspend one’s disbelief and buy into the ersatz notion of glamour that enticed one into the business in the first place. All it takes is one conversation with an independent producer or financial representative to realize why they like cheap zombie and gangster movies, and the illusion is dispelled. But I shall try get there next year. Next year, they will pay me to be there and be thankful for it.
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