Celebrity Encounters

August 8, 2006

The last couple of days have been pretty jam packed, but I want to focus on some happenings outside of the office. Two days ago we decided to go out for lunch and who did we see? None other than Spike Lee and his family. Now, being on Martha’s Vineyard, this is not the first time that I’ve seen a celebrity, but it was the first time that I saw one of my inspirations up close.

Filmmaking Day 1 usually includes a talk about the difficulties associated with breaking into the ‘business’ and Spike Lee is often offered up as the model to follow. From what I know of Spike’s time at NYU, he stood out among his peers by creating films that were far from the norm. He knew the existing ‘rules’ of filmmaking, and he made a conscious effort to break them. He also happens to be an extremely gifted storyteller, and I’m sure you all know the rest of the story.

Back to lunch — as we waited for a table and I realized he was standing next to me, I didn’t know what to do. I turned to Spike and tried to start talking. As I stood looking into his big sunglasses, racking my brain for the right thing to say, I managed to blurt out “WHAT time is it?” He took of his glasses, took out his blackberry, and just shuffled away.

Well, that’s not exactly true. None of that happened — I mean we did see Spike and his family, in fact we sat next to them at lunch. But for some foreign reason, I didn’t have any motivation to say anything. My account above is probably what would have happened during my film education, before I was exposed to the torment that goes along with actually working in the film industry. I did consider giving him my business card, but I figured I would have to do something wacky and embarrassing to get his attention and spark his interest. So I grabbed Spike’s lobster roll and threw it into the ocean (over his head) while proclaiming “Go back to where you came from you damn crustacean!” Then I handed him my business card. Sorry, I got excited and fibbed again. Spike did seem like a nice guy though.

And yesterday, I saw Doug Liman, another one of my idols. For those that don’t know, Doug is the director of Swingers, The Bourne Identity, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. He’s also the creator of The OC. We were sitting as he galloped past us garbed in a hilarious sailor’s shirt with his crazy hair bouncing wildly. I tried to talk to him but didn’t get the chance. Then I realized I could search through the Brown Alumni database and find his email. But I decided that it might be too creepy to say “I saw your sailor’s shirt, it seems nice. I also thought you should know that the humidity is affecting your hair, you should probably find a hat. And will you give me some money or a job?”

All kidding aside, I’d be honored to have the opportunity to talk to Doug Liman or Spike Lee. I don’t feel that it would be right to impose on their vacations and I wish that filmmaking was not an industry where it is almost a necessity to be a nuisance. I had a taste this past year of just how difficult it is to break into the film business. I was fortunate enough to work on some pretty amazing projects, but sadly timing, luck, and connections play more of a role than I wish they did. I really hope that with Tropist we’ll be able to make an impact on the way the people perceive talent in the film business. It’s about time that great artists get rewarded for their time, effort and creativity.
Chris

p.s. If you feel like paying to upload my IMDB photo, I’d appreciate it.

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