On The Fact That I Will Never Learn
Allow me to rant about Hollywood for a while, friends.
I’ve written elsewhere about how attending PR events are often a waste of time (for me) due to traffic and time constraints. I end up driving for like eighty five bazillion hours just to get across town, and then get there and I don’t know why I’m there anyway. This has led me to adopting a general policy of not bothering with the (very) few local events to which I’m invited, except when there is a very clear incentive for me to go.
But for some reason, I will never learn.
On Friday, I agreed to go to an event for an upcoming animated film (the title of which I am stubbornly refusing to mention by name, purely out of spite, even though you can easily guess it, and even though I am totally going to go see it because Mini is already begging to do so). I’m frustrated with the studio who put on this event (also not named, also out of spite) that I am loathe to do anything to inadvertently promote them, even if the promotion they receive here is totally insignificant in light of the amount of money they are throwing at the promotion of this film.
I agreed to make the trek because I was offered a chance to interview two bonafide movie stars (one with an Oscar, and another with an Oscar nomination), plus another celebrity about whom I know nothing, at a small blogger roundtable after the event. It would only have been me and four other bloggers there with each star, so I was planning to ask things like:
- Did you and Tom Cruise really have a falling out over religion? (for Jett)
- What is your response to critics who say that you have been miscast as Catwoman in the new Batman movie? Can you say “Oooh, Popeye?”
- Your castmate, will.i.am, was recently hired as director of creative innovation for Intel. Can you see yourself serving in a similar capacity for a brand, as opposed to doing a straight endorsement deal? If you had your choice of brands to represent, what would you choose?
- One of my readers informs me that you “melt her butter.” Do you have any tidbits to share on dating, or how you keep up your sex appeal?
- And the like.
Problem is, I had overlooked the fact that Hollywood people tend to be douchebags, and that, regardless of how well planned an event is, you cannot count on anybody in that industry doing what they say they are going to do unless there are millions of dollars involved (and sometimes not even then). (And in that sense, it is not unlike blogging, except with less money and decidedly homelier luminaries.) So I shouldn’t have been surprised that the event ran late and the roundtable interviews (my only motive for attending) were cancelled in favor of a 40-person press conference where asking obnoxious questions was impossible. I should have realized they would figure out a way to maneuver things so that the blogger roundtable would get cancelled, but for some reason I took everything at face value.
And even as I write this, I feel like a douchebag, because 1) who cares?; and 2) it is not the fault of the PR company who invited me to attend the event that I’m frustrated, and I hate to blame them for something that I’m pretty certain was not their fault. Because in between me and the PR company who offered me a spot at a roundtable with movie stars are about eighty layers of pass-the-buck people who will figure out a means of baiting and switching me. Because if a movie star doesn’t want to sit down with six parenting bloggers, all they have to do is figure out a way to make the event take too long to allow for it. And that’s exactly what happened here.
It is definitely not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it does piss me off, because I think that the studio involved assumes that the bumpkin bloggers will be so charmed by having been invited to a press event, served gratis Brazillian rum drinks and empenadas, and been within spitting distance of Jamie Foxx (oops) that they will just go ahead and write about it anyway. Tell them they are getting a roundtable, but figure out way of not giving it to them, because they aren’t going to care in the end. And perhaps this is petty of me (ding ding!), but even if I’m not getting $12 million per picture, my time is worth something, too — and last I checked, a glass of cantaloupe punch was way below my quoted rate for an afternoon of work.