The joy of doing media appearances to promote yourself — Muckfuppet, in this case — is getting up at the asscrack of dawn in order to make a three minute appearance on local morning shows. It sounds like nothing, but that’s a demographic — specifically, people that are awake before noon, and probably not hungover, maybe even employed — that I don’t have a lot of contact with, so those three minutes could really bring some good extra attention to the film.
So I stumble through my morning routine and heavier-than-accustomed traffic, and make my way up the hill to the local Fox affiliate’s studios. All the way through the check-in procedure (security gate guard, front desk guard, segment producer), people keep blinking at me when I tell them my name, then asking who I’m with; when I answer that I’m part of the Sidewalk Film Festival, they ask if I’m with Jennifer West (the director of Piece of Cake; we’re supposed to be splitting the segment). I figure at this point that, since she got Mo Rocca in her film, they’re just putting her as the marquee name instead of confusing the media people with two names, so I just nod appropriately.
I wait fifteen minutes, and then Jen and I are shuffled to another area of the studios, a break room. We get a little coffee, joke about meeting deadlines (Chance put the finishing touches on Muckfuppet Sunday night; Jen’s still working on the color correction today), and then are finally shown into the studio proper.
Where I am informed that they only have time for one of us, and it ain’t me.
This isn’t really a big deal to me. The whole point of these appearances is to draw more people to the Alabama Theater at 1:30 PM on Saturday, September 23, 2006, for the Alabama Shorts #2 block at the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival*. Jen and I are in the same block, so as long as one of us is on, people will come (and to be fair, Mo Rocca is a much better draw than “award-winning screenplay”). Still, I got up about two hours earlier than usual, paid extra for a BetaSP of a clip from the film, and Chance put some extra time into pulling that clip, so I’m a little offput by the situation.
Jen does fine — exactly as Wade, media relations guru, had coached, and the segment is done. Rick Journey, the Fox morning anchor (who has a lot of experience with Sidewalk, handling emcee duties at more than one of the closing night ceremonies in the past) comes over an explains the situation to me. Apparently, the Fox management was concerned about the title; it wasn’t time, but fear of my film that got me bumped.
It’s not a big deal to me, really. In fact, although I’ve already taped my segment for Tapestry, a local NPR arts shows, and have been featured in other local outlets (with the same film title, mind you), I can understand the concern. It’s a stretch, but then, keep in mind that this is the same town whose ABC affiliate ran a piece on the local production of The Vagina Monologues without ever once using the word “vagina.”
Besides, I now have a new tag for my film. “Muckfuppet: Too dangerous for Fox6.”
Really, just because no one can say the title without slipping and risking FCC fines, I don’t see what the big deal is.
Muckfuppet is showing at the Alabama Theater at 1:30 PM, Saturday, September 23. It’s part of the Alabama Shorts #2 Block of movies; admission is $7. More details can be found at www.sidewalkfest.com.
* See, self-promotion isn’t that hard, if you keep your eyes open for opportunity.