Festival Recap

When last we wrote, we were headed to the Women in Comedy Festival. Here’s a recap of the day.

We arrived in Boston shortly after 12pm, wearing our Female Bank Robber t-shirts. We took an Uber to Brattle Theater around 1:10pm.

The Uber driver shared with us that Boston is the third most popular city in the world to visit, right after Paris and another city he could not remember. I found this suspect, but he reassured us he heard it on the news.

David took a photo of me in front of the theater, but my smile looks desperate and nervous, so no one will ever see the photo. Also it was empty around the theater, so I was worried we were at the wrong theater or that we were going to be the only ones in attendance. So my smile also looks a little crazy.

We soon learned that it was empty around the theater because the theater wasn’t open yet. The person at the check-in booth was getting settled, and they told us we were the first ones there, and that we could check-in and then return when they opened doors.

I shared my name and somewhat proudly said, “I have a comp ticket under the film First Female Bank Robber.”

She couldn’t find my name, so she asked me to repeat the title several times. This was mortifying, because one of my fears was that the film had not been accepted and there had been some kind of email distribution mistake. Finally she wrote down my name and gave me a ticket.

At this point we decided it was a good idea to get a snack. We walked over to the pizza place Isaiah and Elizabeth had raved about: Otto Pizza. It was pizza by the slice, and it was excellent. The crust was thin, soft, and the toppings were generous. I also ate half a cookie. We walked back to the theater and they were allowing people in, so in we went! A volunteer handed us a ballot so we could vote for our favorites, and she informed us we had to vote for three. First Female Bank Robber was on there! Here’s a picture of the ballot.


We decided on some seats in the second row, and shortly after Jennie, Ian and Matt entered the theater and joined us. They were wearing their t-shirts too! The theater started filling up: I think it was completely full. The hosts welcomed people to the film screening and announced there were 360 entrants, and they had chosen 16. That felt really nice.

The lights dimmed and the first film started. It was about a commercial shoot that casually phased out the minority woman business owner. It was funny. The second film was a man-on-the-street film where men find out a movie they had seen was directed and written by a woman. It was also funny. Then came a film called The Hungry Games, which was such a brilliant title.

I had decided early on that I would rather all of the films be really good than all of the films be mediocre and Female Bank Robber be the standout best. But I was not prepared for how exceptional they would all be. Laughing at the different shorts made me momentarily forget my anxiousness. Momentarily.

As soon as Female Bank Robber started, my heart started beating very loudly. I froze in my seat.

And then something wonderful happened: Ellen’s line played: “As the first female bank robber, you are going to be representative of all female bank robbers, because that’s how it is for woman today Jane.” And people laughed OUT LOUD. Strangers laughed out loud at a joke I had written. And then they continued to laugh at other jokes. It was the most exhilarating three minutes of my life. I was over the moon. When the film finished, people cheered. People were cheering for all of the films; it was a supportive theater, but I was happy. After Female Bank Robber was Amaretta, a film from New Zealand about a little girl who draws vaginas everywhere. It was so good I was flattered to be a bookend on that one.
When the films were done, I was a little relieved because I knew First Female Bank Robber hadn’t won, there was no way.

The winning short was Woman of a Certain Age, and the director was a professional actor. She got up there to accept the award and shared that she felt honored to be up there with all of the other shorts. She was gracious and eloquent, and I was happy for her and her team.

I was also super touched by the whole experience. There were all of these talented women in the room, putting themselves out there. Jennie and Ian had come out to support the film; David had changed flights in order to make the screening. And people had laughed at my sketch. They laughed at jokes I wrote. That’s the best feeling in the world.

Festival Day

We are on the way to Boston for the Women in Comedy Festival!

Episode 1 was selected to be screened in the film competition. The winner of the competition gets a mentorship with Paul Feig, the director of Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy. He knows Melissa McCarthy. So, this is the closest I could come to her, aside from her Hollywood Star.

Equally importantly, this is the FIRST time Episode 1 will be shown in a theater, on a large screen. There will be some friendly faces in the audience, and there will be strangers. This will be the first time I watch people who do not personally know me watch the short. I’m so nervous.

I once read (or watched?) an interview with Jennifer Lawrence, who was dating a director – Darren Aronofsky. Jennifer Lawrence said the difference between being an actor and a director is that as an actor, you can walk away from a negative movie review. You just go on to your next project. As a director, if your life’s work is received poorly, you are beside yourself. Relationships crumble, dreams collapse, and you can’t look anyone in the eye because you have brought great shame to blood and non-blood relatives and friends.*

*She didn’t say this last sentence, but the subtext was there for sure.

Anyway, we made it into the festival, so someone liked it! Bless that person.

I’ll write tomorrow with an update.