Posted by amybou on:
Did I not get the memo that the nine-years-running SBIFF Women’s Panel has turned into an "American Idol"-style pitch your work to producers contest? Where the Q&A was intended not for audience members to ask panelists about the development of their careers, but for aspiring filmmakers in attendance to take advantage of having a theatre full of a few hundred people and a panel of Hollywood A-listers to hear all about their progression from an “internationally acclaimed visual artist” to someone with an “Oscar-worthy” script? Who knew that the Women's Panel would be the perfect venue for a plucky young woman to debut her spoken word performance (or was it more of a rap?) in which she compared herself to “Michael Jackson and Oprah all wrapped into one."
Did I miss out on the contest's top prizes, which includes spending a day in hair and make-up with Julia Louis-Dryefus on the set of HBO's upcoming “Veep” (perhaps even learning which vice presidents she met with for research—which, rumor has it, will be revealed to the audience member who Julia would most like to become best friends with, not unlike the auction in which Carly Simon revealed the identity of the former lover who was the inspiration for “You're So Vain”)? Perhaps there was a “Take a Self-Promoting Audience Member to Work Day” at Pixar for the second place winner. And a gift bag with samples of Julia’s hair product, a free trial of Final Draft, a copy of The Artist’s Way, and a gift certificate for a weekend retreat with Robert McKee, for the runners-up. Only because I didn’t stumble across the press release announcing that the Women’s Panel has become a Pitch Fest, or make my way up to the microphone to give my elevator speech, I will now, basically, have to learn how to use the internet to discover how one breaks into the business, like a normal person.
On a more serious note, I have enjoyed attending the Women's Panel for the last several years, which is why I was excited to get free tickets from Girls Inc. for several of my friends yesterday (my apologies to you all). I'm not sure how exactly the panel devolved into a self-promoting fest, but luckily Julia Louis-Dryefus saved the day with her graciousness, generosity, and humor. I'm looking forward to seeing her short film "Picture Paris," which she said was making with husband Brad Hall was "an exhilerating experience...It's nice to have your vision in tact from an artistic point of view."
For tips on asking questions at panels, Tracey has a post with helpful Dos and Don'ts, which should be mandatory reading before the Directors and Producers panels next weekend.