Yesterday I had some errands to run downtown. I was in no particular rush, but since I woke up early, I was able to finish what needed to be done by noon, leaving basically the entire day to do something. I decided to pull out my phone and look up the schedule for the Tribeca Film Festival since my plans to spend all day Saturday at screenings had fallen through (I knew that was going to happen). As it turned out, there was a free Tribeca Talk about to begin at the Union Square Barnes and Noble, which happened to be just a few blocks from where I was. What luck!
The panel featured three directors of films that are being shown at the festival and discussed the topic of adapting a film from a book. It wasn’t really something that interested me, but I figured that I’d go anyway just to experience it. I mean, it was free after all. I hadn’t heard of any of the directors, nor was I familiar with their films that they talked about, but all-in-all the discussion was pretty interesting. (My favorite moment was when somebody asked director Pan-ek Ratanaruang about finding the right book to turn into a movie. He responded by saying “I don’t read much so the book kind of found me. Reading is for lonely people. I have friends. I party.” Only about half of the crowd in the Barnes and Noble found this comment to be funny.)
By the end of the discussion, director Charles Matthau (son of the late Walter Matthau) had mentioned that his movie, Freaky Deaky, was premiering later that afternoon at the SVA Theatre. Still not knowing much about Matthau or his film, I decided to walk over to see if I could get rush tickets. My plans were open so again I figured, why not?
When I got to the theatre, I was a bit surprised by all of the attention. Despite all of the rain, there was a legit red carpet surrounded by a hoard of media. Realizing that this was the world premiere of the film with many of the cast and crew in attendance, I began to have doubts that there would be any rush tickets at all for this screening. Nonetheless, I got in the rush line (about 15 people in front of me) and began to wait. Note: if you plan on waiting for rush tickets to a film this week, look at the weather report. Most, if not all, of the rush ticket lines are outside of the theatres. With my day of randomness taking me from here to there, I did not have an umbrella with me and if there were going to be any rush tickets for this screening, I was still 50 minutes away from finding out. After about five minutes in line, the rain really began to come down. My coat didn’t even have a hood.
I started thinking about leaving. Maybe I should just cut my losses and head home. I probably wouldn’t even enjoy the film if I’m soaking wet from standing in the rain for an hour, right?
With that thought, my day took another twist. An older gentleman with a special Tribeca Film Festival pass hanging from a lanyard around his neck walked up to me with an umbrella. My first thought was that he worked for the festival, but it’s also possible that he may have been involved in the film. I wasn’t sure. He held the umbrella out allowing me to stand under it with him. (I still have yet to find any credence to the saying that New York can be a “cruel city.”)
The man and I quickly struck up a conversation about why I didn’t have any rain gear and how my day had led me here. I asked him about the chances of me actually getting a ticket and he returned a look that said “don’t get your hopes up.” Still, he generously offered to go into the theatre to find out for me. When he came back, he pulled me out of the line to share with me his findings. “Yeah, just head right in there and make a left in the lobby,” he said as if answering a question that I had never asked. With that, the man sneakily slipped a ticket into my hand. Before I even knew what had happened, the man began walking away with a smile. I called out’ “Thank you!” and turned into the theatre, still 40 minutes before the screening started.
As I made my through the lobby, I almost bumped in Andy Dick who was standing in a circle telling a joke. That’s when I realized that Freaky Deaky was, in fact, a comedy. When I went to find a seat, the theatre was still fairly empty, leaving me with a wide choice. Naturally I took the best seat I could find: dead center of the room, not too close, but not too far back either. Just to the right of me sat the family of lead actress, Sabina Gadecki. To my left was associate producer Timothy Leonard, grandson of author Elmore Leonard. Within a few rows of me sat some of the film’s stars including Crispin Glover, Michael Jai White and, of course, Andy Dick. At this point let me remind you, I had never even paid for a ticket. Hell, I hadn’t even heard of the movie three hours ago. I planned on spending my day running errands.
I share this story with you because it really shows how crazy New York can be sometimes. If you’re coming into town on vacation, or even for a long weekend, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometimes, you have to let this city take control and just follow its lead. There will always be something going on in New York. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make plans and stick to them, but when you’re in town, make sure you leave some time to just go where this city takes you. You never know where you’ll end up.
Yesterday, I ended up rubbing elbows with Hollywood’s elite at the world premiere of their new film, without spending a penny. The film itself was fantastic (very funny) and the Q&A afterward was even better. If you are going to a screening at Tribeca this year, make sure you stay for the Q&A after the credits. You really get to know the actors and what it was like to put the movie together. Three days prior to shooting, the cast of Freaky Deaky was still only half full. I never would have known that if I had left when the credits rolled.
When all was said and done, I spent the better part of my day at the Tribeca Film Festival. I got to see the world premiere of a movie and didn’t even spend any money. Chances are, if you try for rush tickets this week, you will not have an experience similar to mine, so don’t plan on it. But if you are in Tribeca and are willing to leave your schedule open, you never know what will happen.
This post was written by the Gray Line New York social media strategist, Kevin Lawless. If you have a story about something crazy happening to you in New York City, drop him a line at KLawless@twinamerica.com and we may share it on our blog!