Today I’m in Berkeley. Yesterday I was in LA, and earlier yesterday I was in Chicago. This is the first time I feel like I’ve been alone for a week, which for all intents and purposes it was, most of which being in Chicago with the people I work with and then jumping suddenly back into film land, on a five hour drive from LA to the Bay area with Ritvik, who knows NOTHING about the site, nor do I think he particularly gives a shit, so all my gossip fell on deaf ears. I don’t think it’s any secret that a chunk of the TGWTG gang was in Chicago filming our third anniversary video. I don’t think I’m supposed to disclose the content, but I can talk about what goes on and what it’s like, which seems to be the bulk of what people are interested in when they ask me about the Annual Gathering of the International Society of Manchildren.
This is the third year I’ve gone to this thing. Honestly? This year was my favorite by far (though that may come as a surprise to some!). I’m much less in on the loop of the TGWTG social circle than others, but there’s always a different air on each of these shoots. What I found this year is that the general atmosphere was much more relaxed, less tense and less a feeling of X was trying to impress X. In that way, this was the first year that it really felt like we were kind of a family, like everyone got along and we were all working towards something. Yeah, some were like broken records; Benzaie wouldn’t stop bitching about sales tax (and he got a lot of shit for that) while I wouldn’t stop bitching about production stuff like camera work and permits (and I got some shit for that), and Lewis would not stop telling me “THAT FILM SCHOOL RUINED YOU!” (he eventually apologized for that. Thank you, Lewis. Sorry if I cockblocked your review) but it felt cohesive, and everyone seemed to feel relaxed and at home. It was nice, and I can honestly say this was the first time I’ve gone to one of these things were that was the case, at least for me.
Last year the shoot took place about two days before my pitch for my doc. As such, I was VERY preoccupied, and didn’t interact with people as much as I could or should have. The year before that, however, well there were a LOT more people, and so was a lot more fragmented socially. In the interest of tact, I won’t drop names (though I’m sure people can deduce of whom I speak), but there was one (former) contributor to the site who liked to spread… talk. I won’t call it lies, just talk. We’ll call him Stan. Stan really didn’t like me; I’m not sure why, because I never talk to him much at all. But he hid the fact that he didn’t like me from me very well, so much that when he was asked to leave the site I had quite a few people approach me and apologize for having avoided me at the brawl, listening to the things he said about me (and other producers) and believing them. For instance, he approached Benzaie one day towards the end and announced “Dude, Lindsay’s totally fucking so-and-so” (we weren’t). Ben, of all people, the least scandalizable Frenchman on the planet! Like he was going to go, “Sacre bleu! I’m pretty sure they’re not married!” and march down to my hotel room and bang on the door to stop this fornication this instant!
My favorite, though, Phelous told me about half way through this year’s shoot- I try to stay off too much of the gossip stream, because really, who cares, but this one I hadn’t heard (and apparently everyone else had)- that one some stream or podcast or something, someone had asked him what the worst part about going to Chicago for the brawl was, and his response was something to the tune of “having to dodge a blow job from Lindsay.”
Who would dodge a blow job? Like, no sir, no beej on the menu here! Me body is a temple.
Now that I’m gone I’m really kinda regretting not having done a dramatic reenactment. Like this guy’s walking down the hallway, minding his own business. I’m around the corner, crouched, ready to spring into action, mouth open, hungry. Suddenly I jump from my hiding place, going for the gold, and he swerves his pelvis just in time, runs for cover while I pout, thwarted! Like “phew, dodged that bullet!” That was the source of great comedy for a good chunk of the week, though I admit it still kinda haunts me in the back of my mind that for so many people, when there’s a girl they don’t like for no discernable reason, the clear solution to get other people to share that dislike is just to call her a slut. Hey, whatever works, right? You go, boy, no better way to earn people’s respect.
The shoot was a learning experience for everyone. It was also hard for many reasons, not the least of which the weather not always cooperating, the temperature and the fact that some of us weren’t wearing much. I wasn’t that cold, but the dress I was wearing was REALLY restrictive and was totally fucked up by the end of it. Holly was very wonderful about making sure we were taken care of. I finally really got to know and spend time with people I’d met but never gotten to know, like Handsome Tom (and 8-bit Mickey!) and the wonderful Ed Glazer, who rose up to become a hero of sorts with the shoot, and both Lisa and Nella (who made their own way out to Chicago) were thrilled to get to go, and to feel so included in the group. The new additions that came out this year like Lupa, Todd and Luke Mochrie were all wonderful to meet and hang out with, and brought a really good and positive (yes, positive!) energy to the crew.
Was the shoot hard? Eh, not really, though people with less production experience seemed to think so. I think it’s all relative, some think it was some think it wasn’t. But the important thing was whether it was worth it. I’m sure some people will love it way more than Kickassia, some people will think it’s worse, and some will think it’s the same. The production value is about the same, at least on-set (for post production FX, that remains to be seen). It is most assuredly different writing-wise, so I’ll be curious to see how that flies. But the important thing, for my part anyway, was did we have fun, and I don’t think a single person on the trip didn’t feel that it was worth it. For my part this was my favorite shoot yet, and I look forward to even awesome-er next year. And for you, the viewer, I hope we don’t disappoint. We as producers don’t have a whole lot of say about what goes on screen and the writing, but we do all work really hard with what we’re given, and what we’re able to do. So keep an eye out for the next great adventure of the online reviewer dorks, coming to an Internet near you in a couple of months!
And watch out for those errant unwanted BJs. I hear they can be rather unpleasant.