On the Eve of Sundance
For the first time in almost 20 years, I am missing the Sundance Film Festival — I thought a few weeks back that I was cool with it, but on the eve of tomorrow’s opening night my heart aches to be there. So for every one of my friends who are on mountain time already, or on their way, here are 10 little tidbits from me to you.
1) You are so lucky you are there. Nothing else matters, not the coolness of your condo, or the tickets you did or didn’t get, or the parties you may or may not get into. You are there: ground zero for creativity. Let is wash over you and reset all the great beliefs in your life, that’s what it does and that’s what it’s there for. You are about to be filled with hope for the world.
2) E-waitlist the hell outta that thing and be richly rewarded. The best films you might see are the ones you never expected, trade tickets, go to anything, and see it all. There will almost never be anything but surprise and delight.
3) Thank every staffer, every volunteer, every kind and generous soul standing in the cold parking lots, the wings of the theatre, or manning the shuttles. There is a machine of love behind every wonderful experience you are about to have, powered by passionate people from all over the world who give so much to make it happen. No one wishes you anything but the time of your life, never ever under any circumstances be an a-hole.
4) Somewhere, right now, right this second — across town or in the line you’ll be standing in or the bar you’ll be idling up to, there is a colleague or future collaborator that could change your life forever. Seek them out, or they will find you, but no one leaves Sundance without a new lifelong friend.
5) You can sleep when you’re dead. If you’re like me you’ll spend the next 11 months of the year waiting to do it all over, FOMO is a good thing up there IMO. It fuels you out of bed for the early screening or the midnight discovery. You will get to say later, “I was there when …”
6) If you are EVER in proximity to a cheese plate, hors d’oeuvres, appetizers or any small token of sustenance you must eat it. You just must. And take another one, it could be hours before nourishment finds you again.
7) Behind every great film, every great performance, every mind-blowing MR experience, every concert, and every panel is a community of people who fought and clawed it from an idea to reality. Tell them how much you loved it, go up to them and say “great job” or shake their hands or yell at them from across the street — they’ve been waiting months if not years to share it with you. YOU are why they did this, they will be forever thankful for your encouragement.
8) Take selfies, Facebook live vids and tweet the hell out of it. Humblebrag and text your Mom about it all, share and celebrate and do the digital thing — but every once in a while, look up at those mountains, that snow, the clean cold air and sky and realize how magical an idea it was to host it in Utah. The locals put up with a lot, so remind yourself that you’re surrounded by such beauty — IRL.
9) Seriously practical and important — look down and ahead of you often, otherwise you are definitely walking into a slushy puddle or a pole or a wall or a celebrity.
10) NONE OF WHAT YOU’VE JUST EXPERIENCED WOULD BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE TIRELESS, AUTHENTIC AND INCREDIBLE WORK OF THE NON-PROFIT SUNDANCE INSTITUTE. Please, please support them — give generously to their mission, become a member and a patron. Our world is so much bigger because of what they do, how they do it, and why. The highest honor you can extend is to join the posse and make sure they thrive. It’s so damn important and you’ll never regret it.