“Howay!” played at the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard last week as a part of the Hollyshorts Film Festival, and Will flew in from England to experience the whole thing (I drove 20 minutes west from my apartment in Echo Park to Hollywood and somehow felt that sitting in traffic was an equal injustice to Will’s 12 hour journey). Before we could get into the event, claim our badges, and pass out our new water-color-paper business cards, we had to walk down Hollywood Blvd to make it to the building. Making it to the building meant dodging open roof “Star Hunter” tour busses, fending off solicitations from Spiderman, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and Indiana Jones, avoiding eye-contact with brochure holders beaming 1,000 watt smiles in front of the Scientology Center, and pushing through a sweaty swarm of entertainment hungry tourists. That was the hardest part— Hollywood Blvd on a Tuesday afternoon.
We spent the week meeting other young filmmakers, listening to TV show pitches, learning about film finance and insurance, and watching a slew of short films. We were inspired and impressed by the work on display at Hollyshorts, and we left invigorated, with a strong sense that film in America is NOT dying. There is young energy around film and it was right there to see.
The big day was Saturday, when we got to see “Howay!” on the big screen in a proper theater in front of family and friends. This was the first time either of us had seen our work in a theater, and there was some anticipation leading up to it. I can’t speak for Will, but when I say “anticipation” I mean full-on anxiety and panic— sweaty palms, speedy and jumbled thoughts, tense shoulders, darty eyes, the whole deal. When the movie played I felt an unexpected removal from it. All the preparation and work that went into every shot on screen was invisible to the crowd, and the film felt like something we did a long time ago when we were different and younger people. I thought mostly about what everyone around me was thinking as they watched. I communicated all of this to my wiser older sister who appropriately said to me, “get over yourself.” That was perfect. I immediately relaxed knowing I had no control and that I was not the center of this whole experience. From then on it was magic to see our film up there in front of an audience. We made a great movie, and it was a proud moment for both Will and me. I tell you what: we ain’t done!