Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sundance Stories, part 1

For the past three years—Thursday starts year four—I have spent the latter portion of each January at the Sundance Film Festival. More specifically, I have spent the latter portion of each January driving filmmakers and celebrities to venues around the Sundance Film Festival. Is it a fun experience? Yup. Is it hard work? Surprisingly yes. Is it one step away from wearing a suit and being referred to as "James" or "Jeeves"? Pretty much.

Yeah, it's kindof like that.
Due to the nature of shuttling people around (i.e. meeting a variety of people and it usually taking a fairly long car ride to wherever we are going), I often get to meet some cool people and have some really neat conversations. Like the time when I met Nathan Fillion at the airport. I was holding a sign that read "N. Fillion", and when I saw him approach, I went to meet him. "Hi," he said. "I'm N. Fillion." (For those who know who Nathan Fillion is, you know that a joke like that is exactly his kind of thing.) We then talked about a variety of things, and the whole time it took everything I had not to completely geek out on him. Sadly, I didn't have my camera with me (nor have I ever had one there), so any evidence you see of me with famous people is completely (and probably poorly) Photoshopped by me.

Men of Greatness
If I am lucky enough, something during our time together will escalate and I'll have a story to tell afterward. Like the time I was driving Matthew Lillard, for example. When I first met Matt, I thought he was pretty cool, as the first question he had for me was if we could go to the Red Iguana on our way up to Park City. The more we talked, however, the more I realized that he was kind of a... well, let's say jerk. He asked me about my (at the time) fiance, and when I told him our story, he instantly berated me, telling me I was "too young" and that I was being "pressured by [my] family and [my] religion" to get married. He also told me that I should wait years before marrying my wife, because that's how long it takes to get to know someone. Thinking on my feet, I then attempted to turn the conversation around. It went something like this:
  Adam – "Wait, how long did you know your wife until you got engaged."
  Matt – "Six weeks."
  A – "Six weeks!? And you're saying I'm getting married too quickly?"
  M – "No, see, the difference is, I was in my thirties when I got married. You're in your early twenties. When I was your age, I didn't know my [bum] from a hole in the ground."
Now, I don’t get offended easily, and I'm not going to go so far as to say that this comment did it. I did, however, realize how big of a logical fallacy he was touting—just because he didn't know his [bum] from a hole in the ground at my age certainly doesn't mean that I didn't.

Not pictured: my [bum]
When mine and Matt's time drew to a close, I picked him and his wife up from their hotel in Park City. They told me that their plane was flying out of "the smaller airport". Naturally, I assumed this to be the Salt Lake Municipal Airport. So, after helping them and their stuff into my car, I headed down I-80 towards Salt Lake. A half hour later, as I was merging from I-80 W to I-15 N, Mrs. Lillard suddenly piped up. "Wait. You're going to the Heber Airport, right?" A look of shock fell over my face as I explained to her that we were nowhere near Heber nor its airport. After a quick phone call to his agent, Matt informed me of the dilemma: the Heber Airport was over an hour's drive away, and the plane had to leave in 40 minutes, or they wouldn't be able to take off until the next day.

Men of Greatness
Realizing the severity of the situation (and not wanting to have to deal with a handful of pissed-off-Hollywood-types), I spun the car around and headed back up the canyon. With it being right at the peak of rush hour, navigation was not easy. Matt kept asking me if we were going to make it, as the plane couldn't take off after a certain hour, because there was no tower at the airport. Each time he would ask me, I would look at the speedometer, then the clock, then the GPS, and then reply, "I certainly hope so."

I was making fairly good time when I merged onto Highway 40 towards Heber. Those who know the road know that there is a decent stretch that is relatively straight and flat. It was during this stretch that I pushed my little Passat as fast as it could go. As we crested a hill, I saw the absolute worst thing I could see in the situation: a police officer, sitting in his car, with his radar gun pointed in my direction. I instantly looked at the speedometer, which read "135 MPH".

Star Wars jokes, anyone?
At that moment, the world slowed. A million thoughts rushed through my head, not the least of which was how incredibly busted I was. As I passed the cop, he and I made eye contact for a solid three or four seconds. After passing him, I came a conclusion that, in retrospect, I realize took a look of chutzpah: "If he wants to pull me over, he'll have to catch up with me first." The world sped up again and I continued my race towards Heber. I kept a constant eye on my rear-view mirror, expecting the dreaded red and blue lights to show up at any moment.

But they didn't. I kept speeding towards Heber and was not interrupted by any sort of law enforcement official. That being the case, I made it to Heber with about seven minutes to spare, and the Lillards made their flight.

I don't think I'll ever know why that cop chose not to pull me over. Perhaps he was too lazy to catch up with me. Perhaps he saw Shaggy in my back seat and was a fan. Perhaps he saw the Sundance sticker on the side of my car and assumed I had a connection with Robert Redford himself, and he didn't want to inconvenience the man. Whatever the case is, due to my driving and that cop not pulling me over, I made it from the 13th South I-15 exit to the Heber Airport in 33 minutes. Flat.

Men of Greatness
And so, as was mentioned before, Thursday marks the beginning of my fourth year at Sundance. What stories will I walk away with this year? Only time—and my next few entries—shall tell.


Tiff said...

You never told me you met N. Fillion...is that why you finally took Ry's and my advice to watch "Firefly"? Yeah, that's right, we told you to watch it like 3 years ago buddy:) Probably the first, and perhaps the last, time I've ever given you movie/TV advice that you took advantage of and enjoyed.

The Former 786 said...

Yay for Nathan!

Boo for Matt!

I don't care if he's 30, he still acts like he's 12.