Boy this post was a long way in coming. I wanted to have it written a few days ago, but that’s what happens when drama finds me first. Sometimes I find the material to write about and other times the material finds me.
So here’s the post about finally getting to see I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney story. For those who don’t know, Caroll Spinney is the man behind the yellow feathers. If you read that and said, “What yellow feathers”, then leave this blog and close your browser, because my tax payer dollars are paying for the reading comprehension class that you are clearly blowing off so you can surf online.
This is not a review or a synopsis of the film itself, which was amazing, so I refer you to the blog that I have linked in the hopes that you will be enlightened. This was the second to last film of the week being shown at the Salem Film Festival and it was held in the Morse Auditorium of the Peabody Essex Museum. As much as I enjoyed the film, I have some thoughts to share.
I had never been in the auditorium before, but as soon as I entered the room I was happy to hear Corey Heart blaring from the speakers. In that moment, I was happy and content to sit there and wait until it switched to instrumental elevator music. This wouldn’t have been so annoying, except that I’m one of the few people on Earth who does not have an Internet phone and therefore no special way to pass the time while I wait for the theater to fill in and the movie to start.
This wouldn’t bother me in an ordinary movie theater, where there’s usually some Power Point trivia thing playing out on the screen, but there is nothing playing on this screen, so nothing to direct my attention to. Add to that the people who work at the festival still doing their job, mainly, trying to shove a ballot in my face.
The ballot works like this. It’s a piece of paper with the name of the film and the numbers 1 through 5 on it. You make a tear over the number that indicates how much you liked the film. Who would have thought that a documentary that can be viewed by purchasing tickets online would have the same voting system that was in place during the election of John Quincy Adams? With the amount of money that gets funneled into the Film Fest every year, you’d think there would be an “app for that”. Also, how confusing would that be if I were actually tearing up the ballot to express my frustration and one of the counters found it? “Wow, someone really loved this movie.”
I didn’t accept one of the ballots, because I personally don’t think it’s a very efficient way of telling the filmmakers, “Good job, we hope to see more of your work here.” Not when we have things like blogs and Twitter and Facebook. But no, one of the film fest employees would not accept my polite refusal for a ballot and he insisted that it would help filmmakers know what my opinion was.
“Yes,” I said. “On the other hand, if I don’t vote then I have no grounds to complain.”
At that point my bucket of pizza flavored popcasm was too much for him to handle and no one else bothered me that evening. Until the announcer stepped up to the podium.
This was annoyance was probably “my problem” but I think you’ll agree with me that people who work the film festival should be able to display a certain level of creativity. If you can’t be quick on your feet then at least come up with something hours before you get up to announce the second to last film of Salem’s second biggest tourist draw.
Her announcement was boring and lacking invention. She was supposed to introduce the film before it started, but she didn’t seize on what I thought was the naturally built in introduction that was only begging for someone with the right amount of flair to deliver.
“This documentary was brought to you by the letters…”