Sunday, March 04, 2012
I am writing this on a plane on the way to the Byron Bay International Film festival. So far my phone hasn't caused a major failure in the plane's navigational system, but if you are now reading this newsletter posthumously, the jokes on me.
It's a cliche I know, but I actually worried about what I would wear to the red carpet opening night tonight. There is no getting past it though. In the film industry, where the entire product is based on pretend characters, played on false sets or locations, appearances matter.
But how much?
Last year I made an exploratory trip to Los Angeles, to see how the ideological centre of the industry operates. It was certainly eye opening, but not for the reason you think.
What struck me was how many disappointed tourists there were. They had grown up watching the glorious facades of Hollywood, only to get there and find out it was a working town. Hollywood is a lot like Detroit, extremely functional with only a few real tourist fun spots. The only difference is Detroit exports the blue collar car industry and Hollywood the glitz of entertainment. But that's not what they tell you on TV and the movies.
The same thing has happened at filmmaker "meet and greets" I've been too. There are always people at these events who put a lot of effort into looking 'successful' or appearing to be 'developing projects', when their film slate or CV shows they have barely finished a script or a short film. They try their best to look the part, can actually be quite rude (because they are trying to avoid being caught out) and have little experience to talk about and add to the knowledge of the other filmmakers in the room.
They certainly have 'cool' clothes though.
There is something to be said for good grooming, but even more to be said for authenticity. Lady gaga hasn't learned this lesson yet, but she's working on it.
The realisation for me, as I critiqued my way mercilessly through my own wardrobe, was that its easy to be distracted by appearing to be successful. It's much harder to actually be a success.
In the end, rather than trying to construct a veneer of impressive glamour, or pretending to be a major success, I decided to just dress like myself.
Jeans, a white tshirt and a suit jacket.
I'll impress them with my jokes.
Assuming the plane lands safely.
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