Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 276: Premiere Night

My friend Kim is the busiest person that I know.

In the course of one week, I've heard Kim mention casually in conversation (she rarely complains about her busy schedule) about working 12-hour days for her regular job, interviewing musicians for her website Mixtape Atlanta, promoting two concerts at two different venues, directing a music video and auditioning for a movie on her lunch break.

Kim makes me completely unimpressed with other people who claim they have too much on their plate. She makes me especially unimpressed with myself for trying new things and writing about it while maintaining a full-time job. Her schedule exhausts me. She's the hardest working person I know.

So when Kim invited me to the Atlanta premiere of an independent movie that was filmed in Atlanta, The Fat Boy Chronicles, I knew it had to be because she had something to do with it.
When I asked her she confirmed what I already suspected.

"Please come," she said, "This is opening night for the movie I was the music supervisor for."

Part of me had to laugh that once again, Kim was involved in another project outside of her real job and her 16 other side jobs.

"Of course she's the music supervisor for an indie film. Why wouldn't she be?" I thought to myself.

Another part of me was absolutely floored. Completely impressed, but utterly shocked. I couldn't help but think about 27-year old Kim, and say, "What the hell, Kim? You were the music supervisor for a movie? Like a real deal movie? Are you even old enough to do that? How did you even know what to do?"

She played it off, claiming she was distant friends with the director of the film and that's how she got involved in the project. She said the job simply entailed listening to music and working with the director to insert tracks where it seemed like a good fit.

"That's all it is," she said, not nearly as impressed with herself as I was with her.

I wasn't buying her non-chalantless and bought my ticket to the premiere that day.

Day 276's thing I've never done before was go to a movie premiere.

When I arrived to the Plaza Theater on Day 276, a Wednesday, I was not surprised to find dozens of people lined up outside. I milled about the crowd wondering if I would see any local Atlanta celebrities in the crowd. Usher? Tyler Perry? Kim Zolciak from the Real Housewives of Atlanta? None, at least as far as I could see.

I was perplexed as to why the doors to the theater weren't open yet to let people in. It was the dead of summer and it was hot outside. So far, it was not quite the movie premiere I had envisioned in my head.

In fact, one of the things I'd hoped to do during my 29th year was to walk a red carpet at a movie premiere or at some such event. The way I'd pictured it, I'd be dressed to kill and there would be hundreds of paparazzi snapping pictures of me. It occurred to me when I entered the Plaza Theater, that the purple carpet in the lobby might be the closest that I would ever come. And Kim's business partner, Jessica, who was taking pictures as people arrived, would suffice as the paparazzo.

While everyone made there way inside to their seats, I hung out close to Jessica, who was busy at work and likely annoyed that I'd made myself her assistant. She was the only other person that I knew (besides Kim and she was nowhere to be found) and the purple carpet was clearly where all of the action was happening, so I had no desire to leave.

I watched as audience members, production staff members and a group of teenagers dressed for the prom made their way through the door. Clearly this was a big night for them, and they hugged and squealed at each other and at nearly everyone who approached them, saying, "Congratulations." I deducted that some of these kids, maybe all of them, must be the actors in the film. Jessica confirmed that they were.

Finally, I saw Kim who was dressed up and looking snazzy. She also looked busy. She was holding a clipboard and was surrounded by people asking her questions. Periodically she would yell instructions to the crowd about wristbands, and then she would get bum rushed by eager audience members.

I soon realized that I should've brought a date to this event. Will I ever learn? Kim can't hang out, because in addition to supervising the music selections in the film, she's also running the film's premiere.

I told you, Kim is the busiest woman in Atlanta show business.

Luckily, just as I had resolved to sitting by myself in the film, I ran into another work friend, Adrienne. She walked the purple carpet with me, we had our picture taken, and then we took a couple of the last seats in the theater, on the very front row.

Before the film got started, there were opening remarks made by the director of the film. He gave a thank you speech fit for an awards show. I checked out his remarks and retrieved my suitcase under my seat to ensure my cell phone was on silent. I was shuffling in my seat and looking down at my lap when I heard a familiar voice speaking.

The voice threw me because besides Kim, Jessica, and Adrienne, I was 100 percent confident that I didn't know anyone else that had anything to do with this film.

But I'd recognize this voice anywhere. It was my friend Trish's dad!

I was beyond confused as to what his connection to the film was, but after asking Trish and doing some further research, I discovered that the writer of the book, "The Fat Boy Chronicles," from which the film is based, was written by a coach at Trish's high school. The book, and the movie, are based on a true story.

Trish's dad Roger was presenting the author of the book, and the director of the film, with a letter from Governor Sonny Perdue, congratulating them on the film's completion and future success.

I looked up and smiled at him. He caught my eye and stopped talking when he realized it was me in the front row. He was just as surprised as I was to see me there.

"I'm sorry," he said, apologizing to the crowd, "I just saw my daughter's friend from college sitting in the front row. I'd recognize that smile anywhere."

My cheeks burned with embarrassment and Adrienne looked at me like I was a freak.

"That's my friend Trish's dad. So random," I said.

Roger finished his presentation, my face turned back to its regular color, and then they got started with showing the film.

The coolest thing about viewing a film with the people responsible for making it, is that everyone in the theater was rooting for the movie to do well. So even if it had sucked, and this one didn't suck, the film would never have a more forgiving audience.

With every name that appeared in the opening credits came thunderous applause from that person's friends and family. The director, the lead actors, the producers, writers, all receiving hoops and hollers inside the theater. Adrienne and I were at the ready for Kim's name, and when it finally appeared, we joined everyone's excitement, clapping and shouting for our friend. I loved it.

Each time a new song was presented, the theater would erupt in applause again for the band that Kim had chosen. I tried to imagine the film without music, and I couldn't. Then I tried to imagine any other film without music and the thought depressed me. The soundtrack is crucial, and Kim was responsible for it. And though I don't know much about making films or supervising a musical score, I'd say she nailed it. I was beyond impressed. And so proud of her.

In general, I am not a fan of any film having to do with teenage angst, so The Fat Boy Chronicles is not, on paper, really my cup of tea. But it is an important film that about a relevant topic dominating the news headlines. Teenage bullying is real. And it's painful. And unfortunately, as we've seen lately, can be deadly. The actors, and the story they tell, make me believe it.

Plus, rubbing elbows with some of Atlanta's filmmakers and actors whose names I'm sure I haven’t heard the last of didn't hurt either. I think I could get used to attending movie premieres and walking the red, purple or whatever carpet is there.

Oh, and Kim Burdges, the Musical Supervisor. I know her. She's my friend. And she rules.


  1. "She also looked busy. She was holding a clipboard..."

    I carry a clipboard all the time regardless, b/c it's the automatic sign of being busy... If you want someone to think you're busy, carry a clipboard!

  2. Ha! Maybe I should start carrying a clipboard all of the time too. Thanks for reading!