We were told to get on line as early as possible, in order to secure wait-list spots for people from our group who might be behind us. The filmmakers had several friends/family to accommodate, and Stella, Amy, Byron and Dean also needed tickets.
We took a shuttle to the Prospector Theatre, overhearing people talk about our movie. We introduced ourselves to what turned out to be a group of Stanford Business School students in for the festival. They were not able to get "Wordplay" tickets, but we gave them pencils. Without fail, people on the free buses were nice, and happy to talk about what they saw or were planning to see. The buses lent a lot of flavor to the festival, besides making it easy to get around.
At the theatre, we saw several attendees from the previous night's party already on line. I got #134 which turned out to be useless. They distributed less than 50 tickets from the wait-list, among which luckily were all our people. Dean was one of the last to get in, and over 200 were turned away. Talk about buzz! After the wait-list tickets were distributed, the participants (and significant others) waited in a conference room. Since the film was done and I didn't have to really do anything, there was no reason to be nervous, but I was edgy and excited.
Finally it was time to start, and we were led in to a roped-off area. First we had to sit through a short which immediately bothered me because the sound was so loud I had to keep my fingers in my ears. Loud movies are a real peeve of mine; I used to carry around earplugs, but stopped after one got stuck in my ear and had to be removed by an ENT. The short itself was not my cup of tea.
Then it was time for the main event. Our sound was a little loud, but not ridiculously so. How weird to see myself onscreen. I caught a few errors. Unless there has been a recent marriage, Katherine's last name is not Barkan. The scoring explanation was not quite right, though I'm not sure how to convey the importance of being accurate without confusing the audience.
I couldn't fully immerse myself in the movie, as I was anticipating my own appearances, but it was still excellent. Particularly affecting were a montage highlighting the camaraderie of the tournament, and of course last year's finals. Patrick admitted that while he felt awful about the turn of events, at the same time it made for a great story. The finals sequence was done really well. People tittered at the final shot of me, and I wasn't sure why.
Afterward, we had a Q&A onstage. I couldn't see the audience at all with all the lights. I think it went well. Wordy's son-in-law and Lisa's mother introduced themselves.
We post-mortemed a bit in the conference room. I wanted to see a movie "Thin" about anorexics, in the same location, but the volunteer told me they had already given out 100 wait-list tickets, and my chances were slim. So we decided to go eat. Utah not being anything like New York, a nearby restaurant was no longer serving lunch (after 2), so we headed for the Marriott, thinking it fitting after a movie about Stamford. Lunch was incredibly cheap, especially for a hotel.
We went back to the transit hub and Dolly's bookstore, where Will was signing books. Anne stood by keeping things moving, and there seemed to be a steady stream of customers. One man introduced himself as the head of Columbia's School for the Arts and said he had won an NPR puzzle contest for a sentence telling a story, with each word beginning with the next successive letter of the alphabet.
Soon I was back on a shuttle to the 1000+ seat Eccles Center to try to see "The Night Listener" based on a Maupin work. I was going to look for Trip and Brian, who planned to go there after another event. On the bus a woman recognized me from "Wordplay." She was with a guy who said he was on his way to see it. Huh? It wasn't showing again until Sunday. It turned out to be the press screening at 5:30; my busmates worked for Entertainment Weekly and Premiere. We exchanged a few "do you knows" (a few people at Millionaire had come from EW).
At Eccles there was a huge line with no sign of Trip. I spoke to some nice people in front of me, who were willing to go to a 9:30 movie in the same place if this didn't pan out. Finally Trip and Brian came out; they had been waiting inside for over 2 hours and did not get in, so I had no chance at all. We headed home.
Amy and her friend Lisa (who had not gotten in to "Wordplay" and worked on her blog while waiting) came over for dinner. Stella has been cooking up a storm. Byron and his friend Mary visited later, and we played more Encore. The others had blondies and milk. Will was invited to an EW party; he met the woman I had talked to on the bus, who mentioned the encounter. At EW, he also met Al Gore, not realizing that ALANDTIPPER had been in that day's puzzle. While Will told us of his glamorous encounters, we reminded him we'd been sitting home playing Encore and drinking milk all night.
Patrick and Christine had taken Will back to the Puzzle Palace. They heard the press screening had an unheard-of number of attendees (over 150, many more than the 15 that usually show up for docs) who applauded at the end. Since they were headed to Albertson's, the 24-hour supermarket, Stella asked if they could pick up a few groceries, and Christine was nice enough to come back with them later. We would have been happy to wait until the next day. Such nice people!