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The Adventures of Jaysen and Carl – Part One

Up until early October, we had no idea when the film Revenge of the Green Dragons, would actually hit theaters. It had premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September, which my partner Carl had attended as he was a member of the cast, and we were pretty sure that it would premiere across the country in late October, but we didn’t have a very clear idea until just days before the first premiere, which was scheduled for Los Angeles. It was around this time that we also found out about several more screenings and showings, which the directors and several of the cast members were planning to attend. With anxiety in our chests and excitement in our hearts, we jumped in, ready for a world tour adventure and considering that the very week after the release of the film, my book, A Love Story for Witches was set to release, we were in store for fourteen days of pure and total chaos.

What follows is the honest, amazing, terrifying tale of our two week excursion.

Sunday, October 19

To say that we were well ready for our trip was a lie. We had planned to visit five different screenings of the film in five different states only days before departing for our first destination and we had gone out for dinner with friends the night before, meaning that, with a 7AM flight, I got a measly 4 hours of sleep, while Carl opted to simply stay up all night. We jumped in a car, I’d ordered the night before, at 5AM and paid far too much to get to Newark airport. I considered this a worthy expense as the thought of taking four different trains at 5AM made my stomach hurt.

We took off and 6 hours later, we landed in Los Angeles, California. I had attempted to sleep on the plane to no avail. My body just was not built to sleep in a nearly upright chair. This was my first time not only visiting LA but also the west coast and it became apparent very quickly that we would not have much time to site see.

As soon as we were off the plane, we met with Carl’s college friend Maggie who was kind enough to drive us to a place where we could have some lunch. Going that far West creates a bit of confusion as in my mind it should have been early afternoon, yet here we were, eating lunch at nearly 10AM. We ate a giant cookie for dessert, which put a smile on all of our faces and then Maggie took us to the neighborhood around the theater so that we could relax at a coffee shop and prepare for the night.

IMG_3053

The giant cookie.

Carl and I often act as each other’s liaison to the press, meaning that while we were out for his film, I would be his publicist, while the following week he would be my literary agent. We discussed the event we’d be going to and prepared for the evening ahead, both of us attempting to keep our eyes open.

We made our way to the Downtown Independent Theater in J-Town. For Carl, this would be his second time seeing the film, while it would be my first chance to see him stretch his acting muscles on the big screen. Within minutes of arriving, I was meeting a whole bevy of actors producers and casting agents and the director. It was all a bit overwhelming. We entered the theater and, for the first time, I got to see Carl on the big screen. To my relief and joy, he was awesome in the film. The only problem was that I was starting to get glimpses of a future that I wasn’t sure I was ready for. A future of meeting people who were just as ambitious as I was. A future where we went to film premieres and book signings and were constantly selling ourselves and on our game. The whole idea scared the hell out of me just as much as it excited me to a point of drooling. Coming on a trip like this was something that, five years ago, I never would have dreamed of. I would have said “No” at even the thought of it, yet here I was. It was a big step and one I didn’t want to mess up, so I pushed the feelings of fear and anxiety aside and kept on going. After all, this was Carl’s time and I was going to be damned if I were the one to mess it up.

Carl does Q&A for the LA premiere.

Carl does Q&A for the LA premiere.

Afterwards we swung from one after party to the next, meeting music video directors, big film actors and other writers. It was a whirlwind of creative people working on their newest project and just aching to talk about it and I was there with them, talking about my book and Carl’s movie. We stepped in and out of people like a dance. Carl would talk up my book and I would swing in as he stepped over to another person to talk about just how amazing he was in the movie and all the other projects we’ve been working on. Slowly but surely, business cards were exchanged and glasses were raised as we ate and drank the night away.

At one point, I spoke with the wife of one of the actors who was also big in the PR world. “Make sure you know who the important people are for Carl to talk to when you guys are at a screening,” she said. “Keep him talking in short, sound-bites so that he doesn’t over talk or explain. That won’t get his quotes used.” I was instructed that if Carl were talking to the press for too long or if time was running short, I was to tap the press on the arm twice to indicate to them that it was time to wrap up the interview. It was all such fascinating information. I locked it away, hoping I’d get to try out the technique one day.

Keeping up appearances

Keeping up appearances

Monday, October 17

At 1AM, we were given a ride back to the airport where we departed, in first class I might add, for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The trouble with first class at that hour was that we were both so exhausted that we barely got to actually enjoy the experience. We snoozed our way to Minneapolis, where we stopped for a connecting flight and also to learn just what state Minneapolis is in. After searching several gift shops we found large stuffed pink Moose toys which stated “Welcome to Minnesota.” If not for these antlered helpers, we might have been lost forever.

We hopped on our second flight and after some great conversation with one of the flight attendants and a nice, albeit lite, breakfast, we landed in our second destination, Philadelphia.

Our lite but very welcome breakfast.

Our lite but very welcome breakfast.

At this point, we were exhausted in every sense of the word. I was so tired that I decided that even though we would be leaving back for New York that night, that I was willing to spend the money to get us a cheap hotel for the day so that we could take a nap in an actual bed and not an airplane chair.

I booked us a motel room but when we got there it was too early and none of the rooms were available so we cancelled the reservation and headed for a nearby motel that was even cheaper where we were told we could get a ‘4-hour room’. Let’s be very real right here. Four hour rooms are for sex. That is all they are for. As we walked to the motel, we even passed the largest adult toy store that I have every seen in my life, and that is saying something given that we were coming from New York City. It was probably because of this that I explained to the woman several times at the front desk that we had been traveling for two days straight and just needed a nap. My guess is that I was not very convincing. We napped and showered and after four hours, departed the hotel, ready for to see Revenge of the Green Dragons for the second time.

We met up with the other director of the film and several of the East Coast Actors at a pub and snarfed down some food and a couple drinks before heading over to the theater and meeting up with the staff as well as our liaison with the distribution company of the film. I introduced myself as Carl’s publicist and pretty soon she was giving me information and telling me what to expect at the other screenings that week. Within minutes I was acting as a secondary PR person to her, which was really exciting but nerve racking at the same time.

We watched the film again to an audience that had less energy than in LA but was still excited about the film. There was a short Q&A afterwards and then we followed the cast, crew and some of the members of the festival to a large Karaoke joint where we sang the night away. Carl informed one of the directors that we would be going to Hong Kong in February to promote the release of A Love Story for Witches. I was shocked as he turned to me and said “When you get there, let me know if you need anything. Understand. Anything you need, I will help.” It was a truly humbling experience.

I sat there as others sang, my anxiety starting to creep up again. Karaoke has always had the power to stress me out. I am someone who expresses themselves through words and on paper, in quiet. Singing in public is the exact opposite and much like dancing, Carl was amazing at it, having no self consciousness to fight with. “Sing a song, Chicken Wing!” the directors yelled, referring to the name of his character in the film. As he sang, I felt so happy to be with this person who exuded such a confidence that I’ve always wanted to have in my life, but somewhere, deep down, I also felt a pang of jealousy. I once again pushed the negativity from my mind and continued on with the night.

Carl sings his heart out.

Carl sings his heart out.

Afterwards, we buckled into the car of one of Carl’s fellow cast members, Geoff, and headed back to New York, snoozing the whole way and preparing for the long day and weeks ahead. We were already exhausted and we were only two days into our journey. I was determined that Carl was going to have an amazing week and no one, especially myself, was going to screw that up for him.

Next week in part two – I screw up…

****

Check out Carl’s post this week:  HERE

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