Things work out the way they're supposed to. About a month ago, maybe just over, my work life kind of blew up when the booth manager, who had been booth manager almost since the place opened (that'd be about 13 years), had to suddenly transfer to another theatre. We're a bit understaffed as it is so this sudden and completely unexpected move knocked all of us projectionists for a loop. And by all of us, I really just mean the two of us who are, for all intents and purposes, full time upstairs.
Wanting to keep the booth in the family, I applied for the booth manager position as was "strongly recommended" to me by the former booth manager and several higher up employees. I was told, though, that they'd probably go with someone who had some experience with the digital projector that was installed a week or two after the booth manager's transfer and, though I'd practically been running the booth for the past few years, I'm inexperienced according to the corporation's standards. Everyone at the theatre thought I'd get it and I wouldn't be lying to you if I were to say that I was disappointed when I didn't, but I was also relieved. I'm a filmmaker, not a career projectionist, and to be the booth manager, I would have to sacrifice the relative freedom of being able to shoot pretty much whenever I want. Just the month or so I spend as the interim booth manager was mentally upsetting.
During that time, I found out that one of my really good friends, whom I don't see very often as it is, is moving away (she actually pushed the date of her moving to today and we still haven't been able to get together), and I got several rejections for Anathema, and if you've read the last blogpost I made, you know about the particular sting that accompanies a hometown rejection.
In that same post, I mentioned that I was sending the film to the Sarasota Fringe Film Festival which occurs around the same time as the Sarasota Film Festival (to differentiate between the two, I'll just call the other one "the Fringe") and that I also donated money to help get the festival off the ground this year (via Kickstarter: click here if you have a desire to donate a little green to the scene and if not, that's okay, too. :D )
I received an email from the director of the Fringe requesting a meeting based on the cover letter I sent with my film. Yes, it did mention that I'm a projectionist for the mainstream festival, but really...I don't know any trade secrets or anything that isn't already in the papers. It's not like I can tell them anything and I'm certainly not about to start off my career as a saboteur by making other filmmakers miserable when the selection process is political and subjective all at the same time. Like the director of the Fringe, I'm a local filmmaker who was rejected (twice now) by the hometown festival and yet both films have played other festivals and won awards.
So, I went to the meeting, not entirely sure of what it was that we were meeting about. After some small talk, he offered me a job as an editor on a short documentary that had been shot locally - so Sarasota Film Festival people, if you're reading this and starting to get worried or something, don't. I'm not working for the Fringe as staff, I'm working for a film sponsored by the Fringe to be played at the Fringe and this freelance editing job will not interfere with my duties as the film projectionist for the Sarasota Film Festival. I just won't be getting a whole lot of sleep over the next couple of months!
This news came down the pike on Wednesday before I had to go to work at the theatre and I thought, "Hey, this is pretty cool! I'm building my professional CV, I'm going to be making more contacts, and I'm going to be making a little dough in the process!" It felt good to be happy while working, which I really haven't been in a while, even with the mixed feelings of not getting the booth manager position and all those rejections. And, yes, I am prepared for it to go tits up because that's the nature of the business I'm in, but we did shake on it and that still holds water with some people like myself.
Last night at work, which is the busiest night for a projectionist because new films open on Friday, I received two emails. One, I can't really go into right now, but I may have some exciting news here toward the end of the year, but the other one was a notification that the music video I made for my brother's band was accepted to the World Music and Independent Film Festival in Washington, D.C.! Once I know more, I'll post more - like usual. Woohoo!
I'm expecting an email from their director closer to when the festival is supposed to take place (which is in August). If I can go, it would be my first trip to the nation's capital and while it's a terribly dangerous place (morally, ethically, and physically), I'd really like to check it out.
In the minus column, I appear to have sprained my middle finger which would be funny had I been giving this last month The Bird; however, I was only threading.