The Internets Celebrities – as nom de plume – is really first put into effect when we storm down on Park City, Utah. Faced with the daunting task of producing 7 videos in 7 days about the Sundance Film Festival, we decide to form like Voltron and phrase our movies under a name that characterizes what we are: internet dorks with a vision.
Specifically, Sundance comes about through the largesse of one TheDailyReel.com. An internet content aggregator – which is to say a website that links to their favorite viral videos – The Daily Reel names Ghetto Big Mac one of their ten favorite videos of 2006 and soon after, licenses the one-week exclusive premiere of our second movie, Bodega. Pleased with the attention it gets on sites like Huffington Post and Salon.com, they vow to do business with us again soon.
And by soon they mean the following week when they propose sending us to Sundance as would be correspondents. Going to a cultural flashpoint like Sundance with a movie-making purpose sounds right and good – the next step in the Internets Celebrity evolution and a great chance to stretch our video reporting muscles.
We tell the Daily Reel that we have a plan for the shooting and blueprint a scenario that sees us making two videos – one to be posted during the festival and one immediately following. They take two weeks to get back to us while they search for a sponsor. During that time, radio silence convinces us the deal is dead. Then the Wednesday before the festival, we get a call: TDR has found a bed-partner in GoDaddy.com and we are all set to ride their dime to the festival. Somehow the short notice does not create major waves in our day-jobs and we holler back that Saturday to Saturday sounds like a fine ole time to uncover the Hollywood/Redford/Mormon connection clearly at play in Park City, Utah.
Oh, also GoDaddy wants us to make 7 videos in 7 days. Not 2. No problem. We slept enough last year. This winter its all about the work: In retrospect, its funny to think that we almost head down there with just one camera-man/editor. Said camera-man/editor would have died. In fact, we add Mr. Ian Savage to the mix who brings a fancy camera, extra computers, bright ideas and limitless enthusiasm to the project. Having produced Rocketboom for a couple months he knows what its like to churn out the videos. Okay we’re good to go. Lets catch a plane.
Two of us skid over to JFK at 5AM and just barely make the plane. Two of us miss the heck out of the plane and get stuck at the gate inexplicably unable to board despite the plane continuing to sit at the gate de-icing. Plane takes off with only two of us aboard. This does not bode well. No matter, the two of us on the plane are waylaid anyway in Phoenix when we miss our connection. We manage to find a much later connection and all parties wind up at the Park City Hotel on Main St. in Park City, Utah a comfortable 12 hours after we leave New York City. Time to hit the hay? Hell no. Its time to hit the streets. We’ve got videos to make. Moments after we all rendezvous, were out on Main St. investigating the proceedings: Dallas supplies the theme for the week: Sundance is actually Grown Ass Spring Break.
People at Sundance are dying to be on camera and interviews are easy to come by. We are certainly never for lack of material. The challenge starts to take the shape of managing post-production. Between taking/fighting notes from the website in LA and continuing to accumulate new footage from varied locations (as in not always in front of out hotel – a veritable font of celebrity sightings) theres not much margin for error if were to stay on schedule. We draw out themes for each episode and then quickly eschew those themes when new ones present themselves in the shooting. We tackle opening weekend, swag, the parties, the filmmakers, survival tips (laminate your own press badge) the networking scene, the local celebrities, Robert Redford’s unicorn problem and other “real facts” of Sundance . We stay up very late every night drinking beer and throwing together five little movies while at the festival with two more to follow the Monday and Tuesday after our return.
A candid interview with MC Hammer
The Hot Tub Party
Spicy Sausage, egg and cheeses at the Clockwork Cafe
Turning local residents into instant Internet Celebrities
Interviewing Four-Eyed Monster
Interviewing the FBI agent from Sopranos
Teaching Hollywood how to fill their hearts with love again
Getting on the bus and asking people in loud voices where all the filmmakers were at