11
Nov

Hollywood gets a bad rap. Truth is, it’s not completely unfounded. It’s hard to defend an industry that often caters to the lowest common denominator. Films about torture and mutilation? Check. Television shows with twenty-somethings getting wasted and laid? Check. Celebrities that make sex tapes or do prison time and still somehow have millions of dollars and fans? Check, check.

It’s a strange business to say the least. You don’t only create a product or provide a service; your name is attached to the end result for all the world to see. This can be good and bad. On the one hand, you worked hard and want your recognition. Anyone who’s been part of even a student production can testify to the many sleepless days and nights put in for those precious few minutes of film. Sometimes even showers are forgotten. But never coffee. No one forgets the coffee. On the other hand, you may not want to be known for the end result. At times it’s just a means to an end. Perhaps you made a few contacts during the shoot. Gained a technical skill or two. There’s always something to justify the experience. If not, hopefully there’s at least a paycheck at the end of the tunnel, but even this isn’t always the case.

No other industry can really compare. I know many who work in other professions, but can’t say I’ve ever asked my CPA pal to show me the tax returns he’s prepared or watched as my OB/GYN friend delivers a baby. That probably would be frown upon in both scenarios. So you never see the fruit of their labor so to speak. Yet if you work in the entertainment industry, you must have something to show for yourself. And sometimes – just sometimes – what is shown can be beautiful.

Sunday night. The evening began at the storied Roosevelt Hotel, the setting of the very first Academy Awards. Walking in, I could feel a special energy in the air. The charm of old Hollywood. Or maybe it was one of the many ghosts that supposedly haunt the hotel. Either way, the place is gorgeous. I was meeting up with friends for an AFI Fest film premiere, and may I say, we cleaned up real nice.

We also did our part to make sure the free food and drinks were not neglected and then headed across the street to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, yet another monument to motion picture history. It would be the setting for that night’s world premiere of Hamill. The film is based on the true-life story of Matt “The Hammer” Hamill – a three-time NCAA Wrestling Division III National Champion and UFC competitor – who also happens to be deaf. As we entered the theatre, the exuberance of the crowd grew to a fevered pitch. I watched as the full house excitedly chatted and signed with each other. To many in attendance, this movie was much more than just a few hours of entertainment.

Also in attendance? Hamill himself. When the film ended, he was asked to come to the front of the theatre for a brief Q&A. “How does it feel to have your life portrayed on the big screen when you’re still in the middle of living it?” Matt could have used the opportunity to talk about himself, his accolades or even his next fight. He didn’t. Instead, he tearfully gave thanks to his late grandfather for believing in and making him who he is today. This movie was not only a platform to showcase Hamill’s rise to the top, but also a testament to the love, generosity and support shown to him along the way… I was bawling. Obviously. And I wasn’t the only one either.

Walking out of the theatre that night, I felt proud. Proud of the film. Proud of Jacquelyn, the film’s editor. And proud to be a part of this industry. Because that’s what it’s all about. We got into this crazy business to do something that yields more than just a paycheck. The people I know – the actors, directors, producers, editors, writers and many more – came here with dreams of creating something thrilling or hilarious or touching for you to enjoy. Being able to see that dream actually achieved the other night was both reassuring and awing. The beauty of Hollywood is still very much alive.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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8 Responses to “Roll Out The Red Carpet – Part I”

LOVE IT!!!

Jacquelyn
November 11th, 2010

LOVE YOU!!!

Me
November 11th, 2010

I love this Miss Anna! You made me tear up again when you wrote about Matt Hamill at the Q&A. That was such a wonderful night!

kristin
November 12th, 2010

Beautiful

Bethany
November 12th, 2010

Thank you, sweetheart! It was a beautiful evening, all the more so because we shared it together. 🙂

Me
November 12th, 2010

Thank you, darling!!

Me
November 12th, 2010

Anna, you said it all my darlin’ girl. We did get into this crazy business, and it is indeed crazy no matter what part one decides to go into, but the beauty is always there. It may be laying in wait for someone to see it underneath the scary, trashy, nasty Hollywood parts, but it has always been there. I saw an amazing film called WINTER’S BONE at the St. Louis Film Fest. this week and was blown away by the harsh reality of life in the Missouri Ozarks, but there were also some beautiful moments to hang on to…. I just love film, and I want to thank both you and the fest. for reminding me of that fact. Great Post!!!

Josie
November 17th, 2010

Thank you, Josie!… And how I miss the St. Louis Film Fest! Saw some amazing films there, so glad you’re enjoying it. 🙂

Me
November 17th, 2010