When you last heard from me, I was knee deep in the experience that is Fantastic Fest, the craziest, most amazing film festival in the history of film festivals. I had seen a lot of movies, met a lot of people and had essentially not slept for 72 hours.
Another day, another early morning arrival at the Alamo Drafthouse to brave the lines. It's during these waits that you truly begin to realize the true power of your film festival badge: in addition to granting your admittance to all of the screenings, it serves as an instant conversation starter. One quick glance and you already know a person's name, where they're from, who they're writing for if they're press and, most importantly, their Twitter name. Yeah...
Rule #12: Be on Twitter. Seriously.
Your Twitter name being put on the badge itself (and in font larger than your actual name) is a new addition this year and a truly inspired decision. You'll be standing around, usually waiting in line, and someone will amble right on up to you and ask "Are you Jacob Hall? As in @jacobshall?" and you'll say "Yes" and glance at their badge and realize that you've been following him for months and would never have recognized his face but voila, you know exactly who this guy is and just like that, you've got a new festival buddy.
Twitter has also become the go-to way to track your friends around the festival, see how others are reacting to movies, organize trips to local eateries for artery-killing BBQ and publicly beg for someone, anyone, to save you a seat at the next screening. I asked a seasoned film critic what film festivals were like before Twitter. He couldn't even remember.
After the morning lines, I sit down for the disturbing and polarizing 'Red, White and Blue,' followed by Takeshi Kitano's giddily violent Yakuza crime thriller 'Outrage' and the martial arts flick 'Ip Man 2,' which finds Chinese ass-kicker-supreme Donnie Yen laying the brilliantly choreographed hurt on countless lesser men. It is in this screening that the already obvious becomes re-emphasized for me: