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Complications Ensue:
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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Banff was spectacular. The town is smack in the middle of the Rockies. Aspen is a wide valley in the Rockies, but in Banff, the mountains rise right on the outskirts of town. Those are some mighty big hunks of rock, with trees climbing barely halfway up their craggy slopes. Slopes is not always the word. Many of the mountains look like slabs of ocean bottom ripped up like so much broken asphalt, which means if one side is a slope, the other side is a rock face you wouldn't want to climb without rope. It is an untamed landscape that reminds you just how small you are.

So it is even more impressive that Banff is on the route of the Canada Pacific Railway, which joins the East and West Coasts. Banff is on the easiest route through the Rockies.

The Banff Springs Hotel overlooks a turn in the Bow River, a frigid alpine river that pours out of the mountains into Calgary. It's not there because the spot is picturesque. There are few spots in the area that are not picturesque. It's there because of the sulfur hot springs above it. It was built in the 20's as a Canadian spa in the old sense of the word: a place for really rich tourists to come and veg out while avoiding the heat of summer. It is as glorious a hotel as you could ask for. Try it some time, Ken.

The festival was a blast. It was productive in the vague sense that almost all showbiz meetings are. I brought my pig and my goat and my sheep to market, and I sang their praises, and various people in a position to buy livestock said that they were a very pretty sheep and a very clever goat and nice fat pig, and they would take home my pictures of them and see how they felt about them when they were back in their corral and they had a better sense of their immediate livestock needs.

Some meetings were even vaguer than that. In those meetings, people said they'd heard about my success raising livestock, and were happy to meet me and put a face to the name, and they'll keep me in mind when they have a pig that needed raising.

Or something like that.

I probably packed 3 months of meetings into three days, and they were better meetings in many ways than I could have had outside of a festival. You get to meet producers and network execs on equal ground. Instead of you coming to their office, and waiting, and being shown in by their assistant, you're both sitting at a crappy table in a big hall, or drinking in an even bigger hall. The wine does a lot for the process.

Now we'll see what actually comes of the trip. I've got my stuff out there. Now either it is what people want, or it is not...

Oh, right: Banff events. I went to a couple of master classes but I didn't find them all that compelling. In the master classes I attended, the questioners didn't ask the most illuminating question, so all we got were the usual you-are-with-them-at-the-pub war stories. Fun to hear, but not all that useful, unless you also have an agent who knows the right people at FX Channel. I hear Ali LeRoi was great, but I didn't get to catch his master class. You'll have to check out Denis's blog for a fuller report on the master classes, or W C Dixon's for an impression of what broadcasters are looking for now.

Now, for a weekend just the Pikapie and me, as Hunter spends a weekend with his papa, and Lisa goes off to do a panel at the Affordable Art Fair in NY.


Sorry way it came out, Alex - I guess the other half of the story would be...

...I'm having dinner with several people at the Maple Leaf restaurant...I look out the window and see what looks like might be you across the street outside the Rose and Crown...I turn to party I'm with and say: "I think that's Alex Epstein across the street, should I go say hello? Someone else says: "But your food, it's going to get cold." And I think a moment and then say: "Ah, what the hell..." and off I go.
Make sense now?

Nice summation of the Banff experience...or any of these festivals/gatherings for that matter.

By Blogger wcdixon, at 9:43 PM  

Ali Leroi is a cool guy. My wife worked on the Orlando Jones show on F/X and he was one of the writers. Got to know him a little bit.

By Blogger Lawrence, at 10:54 PM  

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