Sponsored Smut: The Essence of TIFF
We are just days away - the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It'll be my third time covering the event for eTalk and the blog and since eTalk is literally festival headquarters with the most exclusive interviews and unprecedented access, needless to say, for 10 days, it's balls to the wall, full on exhilaration and exhaustion.
On top of all this - we're kicking things off on Friday Sept 5th with live coverage from our eTalk Festival Party with a blockbuster guest list. I'm scheduled to work that night ...
So what does it all mean? Thought I'd give you some insight if on the off chance you're interested. What it’s like for the producers, the camera crew, and the reporters in the trenches.
In 2006 and 2007 I was assigned to party duty. Sometimes two a night. Party duty is not me getting cranked at some lounge grinding up on George Clooney. Party duty is getting to the carpet outside the club and waiting. If party publicists say that arrivals will happen at 10pm, we have to get there at 9 the latest. Just in case. In case celebrities grow a new brain and decide to come on time. Needless to say, this never happens.
What happens is that they show up on average 45 minutes late. With the exception, actually, of George Clooney. George is never late unless he can’t help it. Professionalism, see? But it's not like we’re waiting in a lounge chair the whole time either. It's cocktail attire and heels and we are standing. The purpose? A 20 second sound bite that the show is counting on the next day. We don’t go home until we get that soundbite. For the camera guys it’s 30 pounds on their backs. On a good night we're out of there in an hour and a half. On a sh-tty night, say for that Filthy Scab Pam Anderson, it could be 3 hours. Even if it’s raining. And where Pam is concerned, you should always expect that it could be a bust. Pam is famous for the bail.
Depending on the tip sheet though (a tip sheet is a list of expected celebrity guests passed out by the publicist on a carpet, like the annual Holt Renfrew bash, 3 hrs doesn't always have to be a time suck. That carpet is usually stacked. And once it wraps, going inside - Holt Renfrew does the best food and cocktails.
On some nights we might have to dash to another assignment. If it's a 2 hour deal, it could mean I'm not released til 2am. Then it's after hours smut - hooking up with my girls, unwinding with a vodka soda, and stumbling home at dawn. The producers head back to studio to edit the stories. I sleep for 3 hrs, deliver last night's gossip to you from 6am to around 10am, take a brief break for voice-overs at the studio, blog some more, shower, hair and makeup from 1030am - noon while posting on blackberry, shoot eTalk on location til 130pm, then maybe a junket interview in the eTalk Lounge at the Intercontinental, then back to blogging til late afternoon, hit the gym or a nap, depending if that night's dress is a tight fit, hit a screening, then party carpets, rinse and repeat.
Again, I’m not a producer. On top of what I do they are in the technical suites, making sure the stories go to air just a few hours later, vetting scripts, deciding on shot selection, and coming up with the program for what’s ahead.
And then there's what to wear and how to wear it. At least 2 wardrobe changes a day, sometimes 3 - not like it matters interviewing the thinnest people in the world who've broken world records in appetite control, to say nothing of being in the same city as my mother. The Squawking Chicken is never easy on the self esteem.
Last time she saw me she poked my arm and not so subtly pointed out the thickness. Just the other night she asked me - don't you feel badly that "Korea Girl" (eTalk host and my friend Tanya Kim) is thinner than you are?
How do you answer??? How do you make her leave your room when she forces her way in and demands to iron your clothes?
The sh-tty parts are hardly memorable. What happens after work more than makes up for the stress and fatigue. When our team reconvenes after a flawless live show, when we're up on a rooftop reliving the drama, giggling with relief, as Sasha and I relay in slow motion to everyone else how Colin Farrell did bad bad but good good things to her with his eyes and she did the unthinkable and walked away, when everyone is in stitches after she describes how I practically necked a hearing-challenged Woody Allen during an interview inside the Chanel boutique as his wife looked on in horror, as Dylan and I describe the insane Brange scrum that almost had us trampled, as Laura and I tuck up in bed at the very end preparing for the next day and a potentially toxic Joaquin Phoenix interview… those are the battle moments you live for.
TIFF coverage begins on September 4th. I hope you enjoy it.