It has taken me a minute but I have recapped all that was seen during my first ever trip out to Sundance last month. Every experience is an opportunity to learn and this experience was no different. So permit me to indulge you with my overall impressions during m four day stay in Park City and a couple of things that I will be sure bear in mind for my next trip, for rest assured, with any luck I will be reporting from the ski resort in 2015!
ICE ICE BABY I used this trip to take advantage of the ‘walkability’ in getting from some of the more popular venues to Sundance Festival HQ. That said, it should be noted that there is a preponderance of ice. Granted, I did not see any slips and spills, but personally I have busted my bum enough times to be OVERLY cautious when traversing by foot. Luckily I had my North Face boots (other brands are available) on to keep me warm and safe. My Advice: Wear proper footwear and watch your step. Hand Warmers (sure other brands are available) can also be your friend when standing outdoors waiting to gain entry to a midnight screening at the Egyptian Theatre.
BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE Maybe it is the Northeaster in me or the fact that in going to Park City I was actually escaping the menacing “polar vortex” back home, but the cold really did not bother me too much. At times, all the walking I was doing meant that I shed some of my outer layers due to overheating. My Advice: If you are not used to it, still prepare to button yourself up. Remember, it is a ski resort, so dress accordingly.
DRINK WATER Nothing more need be said about that. Hydration (at all altitudes) is necessary of course, but especially in the mountains when you are thousands of feet above sea level, you really feel the effects. And have no fear, there are hydration stations at nearly all of the Sundance venues for you to (re)fill your water containers.
A ‘GET’ LOST DAY When I first arrived on Monday I took a couple of hours to hop on and off of many of the FREE shuttles that are available in Park City as well as walk around the center of all the action, Main Street. And yes I did manage to get disoriented at times that first day. But rest assured, it helped me navigate the remainder of my time at the festival as if I was a townie. My Advice: sure plan ahead and map out the area but allow yourself some time to really familiarize yourself with your surroundings.
TAKE YOUR VITAMIN C In any form possible. I had oranges, powdered supplements and drinks that I imbibed with aplomb during my stay for as warm as you make yourself, your exposure to the elements and incessant running around all day make you vulnerable to catch SOMETHING. I am proud to report that because of the precautions I took, I came home with the same vigor and energy as when I touched down. My Advice: just laid it out.
MEET & GREET There are a lot really cool people that attend this and many festivals. And I am not just talking about industry folks. Just the people from all walks of life that have a curiosity, passion and enthusiasm for film in general and the Sundance experience in particular. Repeat customers also tell you some of the insider’s tips about where to stay, eat and the like. Because I went alone I think this increased my willingness and desire to just step to people and chat.
That said, since I arrived in the middle of the festival (did not stay either weekend), I did end up missing a lot of the formal meet and greet networking events. Will make sure to work my calendar of Arrival/Departure better next year. My Advice: Go out and press the flesh!
ALWAYS BE OPEN AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE Prior to my journey out west, I dutifully plotted and planned screenings, meals and other events. A game plan is always good. But as a first timer you soon realize you cannot exactly be everywhere you want to be in the time necessary to guarantee a seat. Being flexible and constantly checking the schedule allows you to make on the fly decisions that may allow you to catch that one amazing film that everyone is talking about!