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Solve this word problem.

If you’re someone who has…

  • a love of movies
  • a fascination with celebrities
  • a hobby of photography

where might you be found???

a. at an airport working as body scanner technician

b. at Disneyland documenting your trip with snapshots of you and Mickey

c. on the sidelines of a Patriots game working as the video assistant taping the opposing team’s cute sign language

d. at the Sundance Film Festival playing paparazzi

e. all of the above

If you picked “e” you’d probably be right. But for purposes of today’s story, let focus on “d”, shall we?

Playing paparazzi at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s one of the highlights of my year, getting the chance to mingle with the “big boys” (and girls – no sexism here) in the paparazzi world, snagging  snapshots of celebrities at The Sundance Film Festival as they scurry around the snowy, cold streets of Park City, Utah.

I was lucky enough to go to the festival for one day last year, and I had so much fun that I knew for certain that I wanted to go back for more this year. I even naively applied for “Press Credentials” for this year’s festival. Hahahahaha, fat chance for that, but it was worth a shot, right?


“Thank you for your interest in covering the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.  Unfortunately…blah, blah, blah,… are only able to accredit a fraction of the journalists who apply. Respectfully Yours, The Sundance Film Festival Press Office”

Yes, these really are my boots. Don't make fun. My feet stayed toasty all day.

Well fine, paparazzi time for me once again. Anyway, I learned some good paparazzi tricks last year that I wanted to try out: like the head down, elbows out technique for getting to the front of the shooting pack, like wearing appropriate footwear for trudging through the snowbanks, like being quiet and sneaky when making a celebrity sighting and not squealing like a little girl.

I was all set this past Friday and Saturday to go to the big opening weekend of the festival, when the celebrities are out in full force. But as is often the case with real life, real life sometimes gets in the way. Like when a pipe under the concrete floor of your basement breaks and floods your house. And then your car breaks down and you have to get a tow home at midnight. Fun real life stuff like that. Stuff that makes you wonder if it’s even worth going out and actually doing something for yourself that doesn’t involve laundry, picking up dog poop, and wiping snotty noses. You know, stuff like that.

Finally, by Monday morning I felt like things were under control enough that the world would not end if I took off for the day. Only three days late. Not too bad in mommy timing. Am I right? You know I am.

I got there bright (and I do mean bright..have you seen the blinding way sunlight reflects off the snow?) and early, ready to paparazzi it up.

First off, I caught a bus to Eccles Theater and the premier of “Cedar Rapids”, with Anne Heche, Ed Harris, John C. Reilly, and Sigourney Weaver. Odds were at least one of them would be there. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the timing of the bus route and arrived about 15 minutes too late to find out for myself.

No big deal though, plenty of time left for stalking celebrities. Onto a second bus headed down to Main Street, where all the real action takes place anyway, with all my “straps”: a camera with a strap, a backpack with a strap, and a camera bag with a strap. I was off the bus for only about five minutes when I realized I was missing a strap…the camera bag strap. Now, if I were to predict something that I would NEVER EVER leave behind, it would be my camera bag. To me, that would be like leaving behind a child. (On second thought, strike that example. I actually did leave a child behind at a gas station on vacation years ago. Oops.)

Immediate panic. Inside that camera bag were my lenses, my phone, my money, my driver’s license, and one other  item which shall remain undisclosed, because of the risk of being disowned by my brother who may, or may not, have loaned me a flash for the day. I’m a little fuzzy on that point. Heehee.

By the time I got back to the station, my bus had already left. Long story short, I spent the next two hours looking for the missing camera bag on every bus that entered the station.  Nothing. I left my information with the transit Lost and Found department, gave them my husband’s cell number as a contact, and went off to lick my wounds and contemplate the end of the world.

I stubbornly refused to click even one picture as my own little form of protest to how much life stinks sometimes. First, I get there 3 days late, then I miss the celebs by minutes, then I lose my camera bag.

Fate was trying to tell me,

“Get back home, woman. Bwaaaaahahahaha! Don’t you know you have a kid that needs some Ramen cooked?”

It was at this point that my husband came riding up on his white horse, camera bag in hand, with not even one thing missing. Someone had returned it, Lost and Found called him, and up he came to save the day. He even bought me lunch at Burger King. Ha! Take that Fate! And thank you nice stranger who returned my camera bag and kept me from sinking into a deep abyss.

With only a few hours in my day left to shoot…bam, jackpot.

Greg Kinnear at the premier of “Salvation Boulevard”

And comedian Jim Gaffigan also in “Salvation Boulevard”

So take that Fate! Double whammy to you. And let this serve as notice for next year’s Sundance Festival. I’ve got my eyes on you.

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