How Not to Behave at Sundance

Overheard at Sundance during the first weekend:

Festival volunteer: “So, do you see an increase in traffic during the festival?”
Bus driver: “That’s a stupid question.”

That driver’s my hero. If only I were a local, then I could treat festivalgoers with outright disgust too! Alas, I’m not a local—though I have been coming out here to ski since the ‘80s—and so I must hold my tongue. And I hold my tongue maybe, let’s see, every fifteen minutes or so?

The festival is almost over, but the weekend is upon us, and then there’s always next year and a whole new crop of irritating people. With that in mind, here’s my list of how not to behave at Sundance. (Asterisks indicate rules I’ve broken too.)

—Don’t stand in a group in the middle of the sidewalk on Main Street.
—Don’t begin your question for a filmmaker (at a post-film Q&A, for instance) with the words, “First of all, I’d like to thank you for…” or “What’s your favorite…”
—Don’t try taking a photo of a celebrity with your crappy iPhone camera.
—Don’t complain about all of the parties you have to go to.*
—Don’t drive. Take the bus instead. Or better yet, walk. There’s no reason, for instance, to wait for a bus to take you from Main Street to the library.
—And if you do take the bus, don’t push your way on while others are trying to get off. Maybe you live in L.A., and so you’ve never taken a bus before, or maybe you’re used to rush-hour NYC subways. No excuse—you’re in a small town now. Be nice.
—Don’t try to start a standing ovation unless you’re absolutely sure that everyone else feels the same way. (I’m specifically referring to those six people, out of 1,270, who stood after BROOKLYN’S FINEST.)
—Don’t refer to Robert Redford as “Bob” unless: he would recognize you on the street; and he would address you with your first name.
—Don’t say, “Where do I know him from?”*
—Don’t call them your friend if you don’t even know their last name, or if you’ve only met once or twice. That’s an acquaintance at best.
—Don’t chew gum, ever.
—Or eat popcorn with your mouth open.
—Or kick my seat more than once.
—Don’t use the words “digital,” “platform,” “content,” and “distribution” in the same sentence.*
—Don’t say, “It’s no LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE.” Come to think of it, don’t refer to that movie ever again. Please? Same goes for NAPOLEAN DYNAMITE.
—Don’t call your own film “really great” while pitching it to a blogger during the Sundance Channel party. That’s what publicists are for.
—Don’t wear miniskirts. You don’t look hot; you look really, really cold. And idiotic.
—Don’t look at me like that. I’m not famous.