Survival Guide

Machine Gun Woman

It’s September again, kiddies, and by this point we shouldn’t even have to remind you what that means. Don’t recall? We’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with “Fantastic Fest.” Over the years, it’s been my great honor to be a part of the Film School Rejects Fantastic Fest Death Squad. Years ago, seems nearer to a century, I was charged with whipping a ragtag group of noobs into shape for their very first fest; giving them a series of tips and tricks as to how to handle the grueling eight-day geek gauntlet. To my delight, and frankly my utter shock, we lost not one man that year. The Death Squad’s sophomore outing presented new challenges for the now novice crew. Yet with a little help from a second batch of advice, we were once again victorious. It’s been two years since that second assault, and the squadron has settled into comfortable ease with Fantastic Fest’s demanding grind. They now navigate the week as seasoned veterans. However, there are advisements that even a veteran would do well to heed. Even if you similarly count yourself in this old salt category, you too may find merit in these prescriptions.

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Despite how it might sound via Twitter feed and Facebook post, film festival-going for film journalists is not easy. It is fun, but it’s not easy. Each festival has its own unique addition to the crush of films, interviews, events, sleeping, writing, eating, sleeping, writing, eating all over again, more films, more interviews, more events, and attempting to spend some time with fellow journalist pals you might see but once a year that add up to a festival experience. SXSW and Fantastic Fest have all the temptations of Austin – why write when you can eat BBQ? The Los Angeles Film Festival has the caveat of taking place in the downtown Los Angeles hellmouth. AFI FEST? Passes only. Tribeca? City living. Cannes? Parlez-vous Français? The Sundance Film Festival‘s unique challenge is an obvious one – it takes place in a ski town in Utah in the middle of January. It’s cold. It can be really cold. More than that, Sundance is a lot of work. A lot of films, a lot of interview opportunities, a lot of events to attend. It’s a pretty daunting combination, but it’s one I’ve overcome (happily, and with apparent success) before, and it’s one you can, too. I am a self-confessed cold intolerant (the medical term! Living in Los Angeles for a decade has made me soft!) workaholic (quite clearly) who loves Sundance more than any other festival, and I am about to tell you what I pack to make sure that I can survive […]

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Well here we are again. Die-hard movie geeks can put their socks and shoes back on and cease the anticipatory countdown because Fantastic Fest is back! This year, as last, I am proud to be a part of the Fantastic Fest Death Squad here at FSR and if you were lucky enough to follow our festival write-ups last year, you are aware of just how serious we take this stuff and you can count on more of the same gluttonously comprehensive coverage this year. As I was the only Reject on last year’s team who had any previous Fantastic Fest experience, I was tasked with putting our rookies through a brutal, two week boot camp to ensure they would survive their first year. I got them up at the crack of noon each day, injected them with Scotch, and made them memorize the playbook while rupturing their eardrums by blasting show tunes. But despite my best efforts, they survived and enter year two as seasoned veterans. So I decided to put together a second set of commandments aimed at not only our Death Squad in their second year, but any sophomore Fantastic Fest attendees.

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Wait, this little fuck?

If there is one roving menace that still haunts the world in which we live, it is the threat of possible attack from Michael Myers. And now that it seems he can attack at any time of year, it’s even more important for us to stay vigilant.

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msg-slasher

Do you have what it takes to survive a weekend at Camp Crystal Lake? Check out these tips and you just might make it. Ignore them and you’re already dead.

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Fantastic Fest 2014
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