Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Austin Stories: By a guy named Brett Nicholson

Below Brett Nicholson shares one of his many experiences from last years Austin Film Festival. Check out A Bucket of Love for more blogs by Brett!

….we all wandered over to the Conference Welcome Party over at an open air bar on 4th Street. There we saw loads of familiar friends -- fellow writers from previous festivals, now-familiar faces from the festival (including Conference Director Maya Perez), whom I accosted in my usual way. She laughed and offered to buy me a beer. "But the beer's already free!" I said, tossing her the set-up she wanted and needed. "Exactly! Which is why I offered to buy!" (Oh, the fun we had.) I elbow Maya and ask her to confirm that the blazer-clad gentleman behind me is in fact Lawrence Kasdan. She peeks, nods, and dashes away to take a phone call (likely to order some more plagiarizing... the woman is nefarious, I tell you). I suck back my fourth Dos Equis, breathe deep, and stomp over to meet Mr. Kasdan.

I always feel very uncomfortable with these sorts of fan-boy intros, as on the one hand I absolutely wish to respect the man's privacy: he didn’t come to the party, after all, just to be slimed and drooled upon by my adoring ilks, but on the other hand he has enjoyed a great deal of financial success thanks to guys just like me, and if he doesn't want to meet fans, then by jumped up Harry he shoulda stowed his candy ass back at the hotel. (And, yes, this is in fact what my normal every day interior monologue sounds like, and yes, it concerns me as well...)."Mr. Kasdan, I'm sorry to annoy you at a party like this, but I can't let you stand within arm's reach and not ask to shake your hand, sir. You're maybe the reason I ever considered becoming a screenwriter, and I am a huge huge fan of everything you've ever written. Especially Continental Divide."He smiles and shakes my hand. "Wow-- that IS going back a ways!"He turns out to be, like a surprising and refreshing number of the Hollywood folks I've met, a surpassingly kind and decent guy. he accepts my little bit of ass-kissery, and then does something truly cool: he checks my ID badge, reads the name of my script from the festival contest, and insists on talking to me about my writing for a minute or two.Lawrence Kasdan! Lawrence FUCKING Kasdan! I give him the briefest possible description, and he smiles and nods and says "wow, that really sounds interesting. I wish you all the best with that, really." I thank him, tell him to enjoy the rest of his evening, and turn to leave, where I see something else remarkable: Kasdan's wife, Meg, standing back, smiling and watching her man make a 42 year old father of four blush and giggle like a smitten schoolgirl. I lean in and tell her thanks, and she smiles and asks for what? "For sharing him with folks like me. It means a lot." She smiled and patted my arm. I toyed with the idea of copping an ass-squeeze, but opted against it.

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