Friday, January 01, 2016


Sometimes you blink and a week has passed quick as a shadow.

Particularly when you are completing a film, or have a film about to screen in a festival.

The end is in sight. It's been a slow trudge until that point. Then you exhale, your screening is over, the celebration completed, and it's Monday again.

Back to normal. No more events. No more films.

Like The Antenna Documentary Film Festival, which just played it's last film for 2014. Our film 'Chip' screened on Saturday and was over.

But I will take something with me from the overall experience. A peculiar moment in time.

It was at the opening night party of the festival. There was a boisterous crowd in the hundreds. Drinks were flowing. I was searching through the crowd for a more comfortable spot to linger, with my two companions, when I came upon someone I had some professional dealings with. Nothing too in-depth, but enough to recognise the face and know the name.

For clarity, let's call the person, who's also a filmmaker, 'Snappy'.

I paused for a moment, on our pilgrimage through the teeming mass, and said a quick hello to Snappy.

Snappy smiled oddly. An awkward exchange ensued. It became clear that Snappy didn't remember me.

Fair enough, I am a fairly generic-looking white guy after all.

Our party was continuing on our trek for a better drinking space, so I quickly reminded Snappy how we knew each other, exchanged a pleasantry, then took my leave.

Seemed fairly innocuous.

But then, when I was supposedly just out of earshot, Snappy made a snarky comment about being 'bothered by people'.

I didn't hear it. Pity.

Unfortunately, Snappy obviously didn't realise I was with the two people who were trailing me. In a moment of synchronicity, Snappy's outburst perfectly coincided with the moment the last of our little troupe brushed past.

Now, you may be hoping that one of us stormed over there and explained to Snappy exactly how little class such an interaction displayed.

You will, in that case, be disappointed.

I could only really laugh, in truth. Bemused that people still thought this kind of pretentious nonsense was a new idea. Like no-one had ever thought to act like an entitled prick before.

Hilariously, this wouldn't be the only time we would be within arms length over the course of the festival. The festival experience can be like a fishbowl, in that sense. You may be hoping that Snappy discovered manners in the time between our interactions.

You will again, I'm afraid, be disappointed.

'How can that be?' you ask. 'Surely, in a medium as collaborative as filmmaking, a person like Snappy would have their pretense eroded?'

You would hope so. You would also be mistaken.

It happens in filmmaking circles, as it does in the wider world. People forget that we are always in a fishbowl.

Sure, the size changes. The glass walls of the bowl can be so distant they no longer seem to exist.

But they do.

Even a fish in the ocean will hit a wall eventually.

And what people like Snappy forget is that, since we truly are all in the same bowl eternally, we are all in this together.

Ever notice that the people at the Oscars are roughly the same group of people every year?

How long do you think those creative and business relationships would last if everyone behaved like Snappy?

So, never forget.

Whatever work you do, you are joining a community that will oscillate around you over time. You will see the same faces. You will hear the same names. The person you met in passing today, could end up being a professional who becomes your greatest creative partner tomorrow.

Or at least they might, if you can do something as simple as being polite.

There's few things sadder than a lone fish in a tiny bowl.

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