I think I am the only person in the history of Hollywood to return directing samples to the agencies. Directing samples are sometimes a highlight reel of a film maker's work, but more often, directing samples are bootleg DVDs of feature films and tv shows. That's right, bootlegs. Agencies don't bother to buy copies of their clients' work to send out to studios and producers who could actually employ their clients, because most people in Hollywood are so cheesey that they'd turn around and resell the DVDs for money. Or give them to their underpaid assistants. Or their nannies. So every agency is set up with their own dub room where they churn out bad pirated copies of their clients' movies and TV shows. Ironic, I know. When I was an executive, back before the earth cooled, I used to wait until I had a huge collection of reels from an agency, and then messenger them back in a big box. (Other than getting free xeroxing, the only thing I really miss about being an executive is not having to pay for Go-Between service). In those dark days before Tivo, reels were on VHS tape and even though every agency stamped reels all over with "PLEASE RETURN AFTER 3 DAYS," executives generally saw reels as a free source of VHS tape on which to record their favorite TV shows. See. I told you Hollywood people are cheesey. Now that everything's on DVD, people probably just throw the reels away or use them as party coasters. Naturally, since I still live the fantasy that I should respect the work of film makers, I feel tremendous guilt about throwing reels away. As a result, they pile up in my office, my house, and my car.
So, I was just thrilled that I had the opportunity to give away all these DVDs that were cluttering my life when I answered a posting on freecycle from Kate, a nice lady who was collecting DVDs for Operation DVD, a charity group that sends movies overseas to troops in Afganistan and Iraq. Apparently, war is boring. So boring in fact that troops will actually wander out of the Green Zone in search of entertainment and end up getting killed. Movies are an incentive for the troops to stay in the safe area. By donating my directing samples I could possibly prevent a soldier or two from being literally bored to death. Kate was fine with bootlegs. I spent the afternoon putting together a huge box of movies, feeling pleased that people whose lives depended on such things would be able to use what was clutter to me.
Today a friend of Kate's emailed me with bad news. Kate just died from cancer.
Upon hearing the bad news I immediately thought of two things:
1. Kate was a much nicer person than I. She was dying from cancer, but still took time out of her day to help keep total strangers alive. Suddenly my pleasure in decluttering seems petty and self-centered.
2. It's January 5th, and this is the second post that ends with death. Obviously, Kate's death is more tragic than the disappearance of Plic and Ploc even though she's a total stranger, but geez, it's like Cabot Cove here. All I need is Angela Lansbury skulking about asking nosey questions. Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Jessica Fletcher, Angela's detective character on that show, was the angel of devastation? Everywhere she went, someone would drop dead. You'd think that after 12 seasons, someone would notice that Jessica was bad news and stop inviting her over for bridge. If the bodycount of this blog continues, I'm going to have to quit writing. And not because death by blogging sounds like a stupid movie idea that gets pitched to me every month, but because it's the nice thing to do.