"Carolyn's stories are like a cozy blanket, a pair of stretchy pants, a lifetime movie, and a pint of ice cream to come home to after a DUMB! dating experience. It makes you breathe a sigh of relief and think "Phew! Its NOT just me!!!!!!". -- Ozlem (my hairdresser)

Love the blog Carolyn!! Just read every entry - it's all great! really interesting and a lot I could relate to-- it's hard for me to imagine you having any trouble meeting guys, but I love the honesty and openness of your voice.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Red Carpet Was Actually Blue

I have never been nominated for anything before, so walking the red carpet (which was actually blue) at the 25th Annual Independent Spirit Awards was a whole new experience. We arrived at 5:15, were tense and anxious like everyone else, and had little idea what to really expect. We were instructed to walk to the far end of the tent where nominees were standing in line to enter. Thankfully, we spotted our publicist, Mickey, waiting to help maneuver us through the carpet experience. Whether you are attending or working the event, adrenaline is running high. Even with Mickey, we were anxious about making the long walk in front of press.

When you are a celebrity, the press shouts your name, hoping for an interview and the celebrity or their press agent decides whether or not you speak to them. However, when you are unknowns like we are, our publicists pitches our story to the press and they decide whether or not we are worth interviewing. Seeing the woman from AP shake her head 'no' could have been humiliating if there were not hundreds of other press people squeezed shoulder to shoulder for another 50 yards. Plus, we arrived way before all the celebrities did, so there were plenty more press pitches to be made, as journalists stood idly by, waiting for the famous to arrive.

A waiter walked by with a tray of Jameson cocktails. I grabbed a glass, swallowed a big gulp, and imagined my entire body taking a deep breath. We were very excited to be nominated and extremely grateful to be in the company of so many talented filmmakers, so I wanted try to relax, focus and remember the entire experience, rather than let my nerves get the best of me. One of my friends said, "Keep your head up and just look into people's eyes and into the camera and you will be fine." That was the best advice he could have given me.

We did interviews with Reuters, Canal Plus, George Penacchio, IFC and a few others before Vera Farmiga raced past us down the carpet. Hundreds of press and paparazzi were shouting her name, wanting her attention . She stopped and posed as they screamed at her, "Turn this way!" "Vera over here!!!" "Give us an over-the-shoulder!" "Turn around!" "VERA! VERA! VERA!!" I was frightened for her as she continued to pose and smile. If this is the kind of treatment actors face on the red carpet, I can only imagine how scary it must be when paparazzi approach them on the street, stick a camera in their face and shout questions, without the benefit of a rope and security holding them back.

We rode the elevator up to the roof (with Vera Farmiga) where the tent was set up for the main event. There were thousands of people mingling about, but my eyes were immediately drawn to two twin, bald security guys guarding a table where Sir Elton John was eating his dinner. Alan Cumming, Mia Wasikowska, the actor a.k.a. Jason Stackhouse, John Waters, Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer and Olivia Wilde were all there. Seated at the table next to us was Anvil. If you haven't seen Anvil: The Story of Anvil, add it to your Netflix list. Lips Ludlow and Robb Reiner were the "demigods of Canadian metal" and had a hit album in 1982 with "Metal on Metal". They inspired a whole generation of heavy metal bands, but their career never took off. They've been chasing their dream ever since. Their friendship and passion for music is a sweet and inspiring story that will rock your socks off. They won best documentary.

As the ceremony was beginning to start, two cameramen approached and told us to stay put."Best First Feature" was the second award and they wanted to make sure we were on camera when they announced it. Every molecule in my body was vibrating. Three years of hard work and passion climaxing in this moment. We knew we were the underdog and had no chance of winning and that Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart" was considered the favorite. We watched as the trailers played for each movie, "Crazy Heart," "Paranormal Activity," "A Single Man," "The Messenger" and then... "Easier With Practice." Our names were on the screen. The camera flashed on me and Kyle for two seconds before they opened the envelope and announced "Crazy Heart" had won. I received 17 texts from friends saying, "We saw you on TV!" Jeff Bridges gave an amazingly heartfelt speech as I thought to myself, "He's perfect for one of the roles in our next movie. We have to make that happen."

We are the only movie in our category without a studio behind us. So, we had no domestic distributor, no team of executives, no marketing machine, and no money for prints and advertising. What that means is that Kyle, his partner Gary who created all our artwork, myself, a few others and Mickey were our 'studio'. Only a month ago, we were picking up the film trailers from Deluxe and driving them to the Sunset Laemmle and FedEx-ing them to the Quad in New York. Our mini 'studio' accomplished a phenomenal amount of work in a short amount of time-- so now we were all thinking... "We can finally move on to our next project."

We completed Easier With Practice over a year ago and were disappointed to learn that we did not get into any of the top film festivals including, Sundance, Berlin, South by Southwest, Tribeca or Venice in 2009. However, shortly after the Sundance announcements, Trevor Goth and Mike Plante, who produce Cinevegas, invited us to premiere at the Palms in June. We were really excited but we had six months to sit on our hands and wait. When you finish an independent film, the most important item on your list of things to do is have people see the film. So we kept ourselves busy by looking for a sales agent, investigating alternative ways of indie film distribution and anything else to make the time go by faster. Once Cinevegas came, we were excited to have a live, unbiased audience see the movie. Cinevegas was the beginning of an amazing year for "Easier With Practice" all culminating as it was released in L.A. and NYC last week and here we are at the Spirit Awards.

Halfway through the event, our sales agent arrived at our table and said, "Oh I finally found you." He introduced his handsome friend, "Carolyn this is Tom. Tom, Carolyn," as he pointed back and forth to the both of us, "Single. Single. 46. 44." Oh, if meeting available men could always be so easy.

A stage manager wearing a headset requested Kyle follow him backstage. Kyle was up for the "Someone to Watch" Award that comes with a $25,000 prize. Gary and I were hoping, praying that this meant he won the award, but for all we know, all three nominees had been taken back stage. Many of you know that I met Kyle when he was 23 and we were both working for Warren Beatty. It was only Kyle's second job since graduating from film school. Anyone who talks with Kyle for five minutes knows how smart he is, and how passionate he is about making movies. He knew more about film than many directors I had worked with over the years. So when he told me he wanted to make a movie by the time he was 25, I knew he would accomplish his dream. It was a happy day when the crew sang "Happy Birthday" to Kyle during principal photography on the set of "Easier With Practice" for his 25th birthday.

So, as John Waters and Olivia Wilde walked out on stage and announced Kyle as the winner of the "Someone to Watch" award, I felt so proud to see him accomplish so much in a few short years and now, finally everyone knew what we had all known for years... and that is that Kyle has a big career ahead of him. When he arrived back at the table, the other filmmakers sitting with us raised their glasses and said, "We've got a winner at our table! Cheers!" We all clinked our glasses and drank to the win. We were elated. What an amazing night...

"Enjoy it now because everyone will forget about the Spirit Awards once Sunday arrives for the Oscars," a film agent whispered in my ear. Such is Hollywood...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

"The Emotional Rollercoaster of Dating" or... "Dating Sucks"

Having embarked on my journey of 'positive attitude dating', I have to admit that it really sucks when you finally connect with someone and, for one reason or another, no relationship develops. Dating has become a numbers game for me. How many dates do I go on before I meet someone I like? And, when I finally connect with someone, how can I know if this is the beginning of a healthy, long-term relationship, or just a couple of dates that will suddenly turn south?

I met Mike three weeks ago. He was sweet, caring, funny, handsome and energetic. He reminded me of the boys I grew up with in St. Louis. He was the cool guy in high school with long blonde hair, who every girl wanted to date. He drove the black Trans Am with the gold eagle emblazoned on the hood, as "Rock and Roll All Nite" blared from the speakers. He was cozy with a hometown aesthetic. I laughed a lot with Mike, and when he wrapped his muscular arms around me, I relaxed into him, content to stay there forever.

I liked Mike. Thinking about him made my stressful life feel a little less stressful. My heart beat faster each time his name appeared on my cell phone. I was happy, and for the first time in a couple of years, I was willing to open my heart again. I started to feel a little less alone in the world.

My friends and business associates are accustomed to seeing me arrive solo for parties and events. So, the rare times when I actually bring a date, the poor guy is typically, mercilessly scrutinized. I have often fantasized about dating the 'perfect man' and not always being the third, fifth, seventh or ninth wheel at a dinner party. I imagine guests making comments like, "Oh, good thing Carolyn waited so long. Look at the wonderful man she met at this time in her life. They seem really happy. What a great couple." I imagined what they would say about Mike, if we dated long enough for me to introduce him into my circle of friends. I was hoping, praying that no red flags would rear their ugly heads in the meantime.

I have only known Mike for a few weeks, but, in between lengthy and intimate phone conversations, Mike has flaked on me a number of times. Some days I receive numerous texts and phone calls and other days he completely disappears, forgetting plans we made. He always apologizes and chalks it up to one particular drama he has in his life and has disclosed to me. I was unsure what to do, so I asked Ivo for a male perspective (realizing the fact that actually asking Ivo what all this meant was a big red flag in itself). "He's got you on the hook," Ivo said, "and he's leaving you dangle in the air." He was right. I exposed myself. Mike knew I was interested in him but he wasn't taking me off the hook, or throwing me back in the water. The 'skip in my step' was now a pit in my stomach. I was somewhere between heaven and hell. Was he blowing me off or was he just indecisive?

You would think by now that I would have some kind of radar for love. But everyone has their own language and some native tongues are harder to learn than others. I reflected on Mike's behavior over the past three weeks, what he told me about himself, about his past relationships and what I had surmised about him. He's introspective. I think Mike processes everything inside and has a hard time letting people into his life. His gregarious, charismatic personality is a cover for the tender, fragile heart that lies beneath. His sweet, but protected soul is hard to reach and get to know. I suspect he lives his life by going with the flow and letting things happen, rather than taking initiative. We are all works in progress, but I suspect Mike is more of a project. Whether my thoughts are right or wrong, when a man wants to see you, he will go to great lengths to make it happen, and I certainly wasn't hearing from Mike. Regardless, thinking of him still brings a smile to my face.

Writing this blog has really forced me to dig deep inside myself and discover what kind of relationship I really want. I dream of finding a partner with whom I can build a strong friendship and have the trust and love to jump into the abyss together and explore each other openly and honestly-- and discover all the deep, complex layers that make us unique human beings. A healthy emotional and intimate life is what I seek in a partner... and to finally know what it's like to have a loving partner and that we will always be there for each other.

So I have flung myself back into the dating pool and I will keep swimming upstream until another man casts a line in my direction and I take the bait. And, as daunting as dating can be, I will continue swimming until I will have no reason to continue writing this blog. I live for the day that I can write the words, "I met someone. Signing off..."