Metro’s movie, “My Paintbrush Bites” has been traveling the country, playing at film festivals and winning awards for the past year. But Wendy and I have yet to see it on the big screen. Sure I have watched it a hundred times on my computer, but it’s not the same as seeing it on the big screen in front of a live audience.
Don’t get me wrong, we have had plenty of opportunities. I am married to a flight attendant and can fly for free, we just weren’t ready.
Did I mention that I have seen it a hundred times on my computer? I have also cried a hundred times watching it and wasn’t sure if I wanted to take my sobbing and drool fest to a theatre full of people.
But when we heard it was coming to the “Dam Short Film Festival” (the Dam refers to it’s close proximity to Hoover Dam) in Boulder City Nevada, we figured it was time to go see it. It was only 10 miles from our house. I wouldn't even have to ask Wendy to kick in with gas money.
I bought the tickets online as soon as I could. It would have been a shame to miss our own movie because I waited too long to get tickets.
When the film's director, Joel Pincosy found out we were going to attend the screening, he said: “Let me contact the film festival and get you filmmaker passes.”
“That's ok. I already bought tickets. It’s no big deal, they were only $10.”
“But with Filmmaker Passes, you get to go to all the movies in the festival, you get to go to all the parties, plus you get a free Swag Bag.”
Sometimes people don’t understand how the mind of an introvert works. We have no interest in going to parties. None, zilch, nada. If an introvert does somehow end up at a party against his will, he has no desire to converse with anyone. He just counts the minutes until it is an acceptable time to exit, and hopes there is a dog there to play with.
So here was my plan for attending this screening.
I order tickets online, so there is no chance of having to make small talk with whatever high school girl is selling tickets.
We get there early and sit in the back. That way we don’t run into anyone we know. Since I know absolutely no one in Vegas, no chance there. But Wendy works at Southwest Airlines. She knows people.
As soon as the movie is over, we are the first ones out the door. This is very important since the film is about Metro and us, there is a real threat of people recognizing us.
I had it all planned out, and my plan was perfect…until Wendy heard the term “Swag Bag.”
Now we are getting there early, and signing in as Filmmakers. So my wife can have a bag full of body scrubs and a $10 off spa coupon.
The day comes, and we show up at the “Filmmaker’s lounge” to get our passes. The “Lounge" was not much more than a room in the basement with a basketful of Halloween candy. But it was full of short filmmakers swapping war stories and congratulating each other. By “short” I mean the films were short, not the makers. Wendy was wearing her tennis shoes she had custom made with Metro’s artwork. She was honoring the big guy.
I was asked to sign the Festival posters, which felt really strange since I am not a Director or Producer. I am just the guy that handed the paintbrush to the horse.
Just when I thought I was done signing posters, Wendy saw some more in the corner and pointed at them. She was on the other side of the room, talking to one of the festival organizers and barking directions to me from afar.
“What were you two talking about,” I asked as we were making our exit.
“Oh, nothing much.”
We flashed our passes and were soon admitted to the theatre. I eyed the back row, and it seemed an awfully long way from the screen. It was one of those big old-timey theatres, not one of those small Cineplexy things.
“Screw it. It’s Metro, let’s sit closer.”
We chose seats right in the middle of the theatre so we could see Metro in all his glory.
As everyone was seated, one of the festival organizers came to the podium.
“Welcome to The Dam Short Film Festival, Block C: Artists Making Art.”
“Before we start, we would like to recognize some of the Filmmakers in attendance today."
“Super 8 Daze” a guy on the left side of the theatre stands up, and everyone claps.
“The Kaleidoscope Guy at the Market” another guy stands up, and everyone claps again.
And “My Paintbrush Bites”
Dammit! I shoot Wendy my “I have to go through this for a Friggen’ Swag Bag” look.
“I’m not a Filmmaker” I whisper to Wendy.
“Just stand up.”
I stand up and quickly sit down. I don’t know if anyone clapped. I don’t care. I just know that this wasn’t part of my master plan.
Then the organizer said: “And after the movies have played, we would like all of the filmmakers to come up on stage for a short Question and Answer session.”
I turned to Wendy, and she smiled.
“She told me down in the lounge. I was going to tell you, but you probably would have headed straight for the car.”
I mumbled under my breath: “Friggen’ Swag Bag.”
There were a total of 5 short films in the block. As the movies started the rating appeared on the screen. Rated PG "For Adult Language."
Wendy elbows me. "That's because of you."
Metro’s movie was the second one played. About 90 seconds into the film, the camera pulls out to give the audience their first view of Metro painting.
There was a gasp from the audience as they catch their first glimpse of a painting horse.
Tears instantly welled up in my eyes as I saw Metro, 20 feet tall in front of me. He was just as I remembered him, bigger than life. The film was beautiful and emotional. Now that I have been singled out, I know everyone was watching me wipe my eyes, but I didn’t care. I always believed that Metro’s story was meant for the big screen, and there he was. On the big Friggen’ screen.
During the 5th and final film, I started to look around the theatre to plan my escape. Why didn’t I sit in the back? I could have slipped out unnoticed. But sitting in the middle, if I left now everyone would think: “Hey, the Horse Guy is sneaking out.”
Wendy sensed that I was planning an escape and said: “I will go up with you.”
“Damn right you will Princess Swag Bag.”
The lights went up, and all the “Filmmakers” were called to the stage. We had to introduce ourselves, and I made it very clear that I was not a director or producer. Just a guy with a horse. Once the Q&A was over, it was time to leave. Or so we thought.
We spent the next 20 minutes in the lobby, answering questions about Metro and taking selfies with people. I felt a little more comfortable since I only had to answer questions about Metro. No one cared about me, whether I wore boxers or briefs. They just wanted to know about Metro.
At the end of the film festival, we found out that “My Paintbrush Bites” won the “Leslie Paige Award for Excellence in Short Filmmaking.” Pretty big deal.
If we had attended the party, we could have accepted the award for the real Filmmakers.
But, you know…parties.
Ron Krajewski is a professional artist and lover of horses. And sometimes those two worlds combine. You can see Ron's artwork and follow along with his blog at RonPaintsPets.com