I got my phonebill this morning. The one which covers my brief stint in Cannes. The one which covers the period I spent in France when a friend’s phone malfunctioned and wouldn’t stop ringing me.
I’ve only just stopped crying.
I’d arranged a French sim card to use while I was over there. It’s a great idea: local calls are free, it’s free to receive calls and texts are cheap. There was only one snag, the company were waiting for me at the airport on the wrong day – the day before I arrived. On the day I did arrive, they were nowhere to be seen.
Never mind, I thought, I’ll just do without. It’s not like I use my phone that much anyway.
Except, apparently, in France. In France, Cannes in particular, I’m a mobile demon; and not just me, suddenly everyone wanted to phone me. At home, my phone rings so infrequently I forget what it sounds like (which, to be fair, is more to do with the inability of a mobile signal to penetrate my house walls than lack of calls); but not when I’m abroad, no. When it costs me just to receive a call, people ring me every half hour. In the case of Mark Shields, whose phone was making it’s own calls, I got a phone call every ten seconds.
For an hour.
Even when I switched it to voice mail, the voice mail kept ringing me to tell me I had 107 messages from the same number.
I thought something had gone desperately wrong and he was trying to get in touch with me. When I realised it was a mistake, I compounded the situation by firing off a large number of abusive (and expensive) texts:
“Knock it off, fuck nuts.”
“Leave me the fuck alone”
“Seriously, man; you’re going to get such a fucking kicking when I see you.”
And to be fair to Mark, he did buy me a fairly expensive dinner that night as an apology. At least, I think he did. If he didn’t, I ran away without paying.
That’ll teach ’em to seat me so near a handy exit.
All these mistakes, and more, add up to a phone bill which is greater than the Gross National Product of many small countries. Put together.
On top of that I had to post another script today. Post. That means printing stuff. That means realising I’ve got no paper or ink, driving to Staples, driving back, finding out I’ve got no card stock, deciding to send it anyway because I can’t be arsed to go back to Staples, then driving to the Post Office and hoping they’re open.
They were. Miracle of miracles.
If I had any sense, I’d have a little stockpile of paper, ink cartridges, card stock, envelopes and other such useful items.
But I haven’t, because I can’t afford to splash out on a bulk buy.
And do you know why?
Because I’ve just had a fucking massive phone bill, that’s why.
All in all, Cannes has cost me somewhere in the region of fucking loads. Which has got me wondering: was it worth it?
I had fun, true; but then I would have had a similar amount of fun locking myself in my house with my wife.
I met some producers and directors who I’ve worked with before and want to work with again. Some of them I even think of as friends, despite only seeing them once a year.
I met some new producers and directors, all of whom have singularly failed to bring in any new work – so far. One did contact me with a view to working together in the future, but we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.
The two main leads I came back with: one asked for a proposal, then a re-write, then seems to be ignoring me. The other was optioning a book which I’ve tried to read so I can offer my services as a writer – only for me to find out I can’t bring myself to even finish the book, I just can’t stand it.
So the question remains: was it worth it?
And the answer is a resounding NO!
I could have bought a new TV, a big one, with the cash I dropped in Cannes. Using ‘The Evolved’ as a budgetary model, I could almost have funded a feature film.
Will I be going next year?
Why? Because it was fun, there’s nothing on TV worth watching and you never, ever put your own money into a feature film. And you just never know. I did get a couple of potential leads, some of which may yet convert into a paying job; and a lot of the people I was chatting to may be in a position to help me next year, or the year after or the year after that.
So where the question for me at the moment is: Cannes I afford to go next year?
The real question I have to ask is: Cannes I afford not to?