[After much waiting and confusion] the Screamfest people show up. Lots of hustling and mix ups and craziness and we finally get out tickets and head to the theater. Since we were one of the first 25 people there we get a free DVD of Land of the Dead: The Directors Cut which is pretty cool. Did I say first 25 people? I meant only 25 people. Anyway, we find seats and are excited when the first trailer is for a Land of the Dead
XBox game. Caryn and I decide we must own an XBox just to play this game. The trailers end and rather than the movie starting, the main menu of the DVD shows up on the screen. So I guess we're watching the DVD. Which doesn't fit on the projected screen. And no one is pressing play. So the menu loop is just looping. for about 5 minutes. Finally someone hits play and the movie starts, it's about 7:20 at this point.
As a bonus we don't just get the movie opening credits, we get subtitles too! The movie starts to play and there's no vocal track. Background sounds yes, no people talking. This goes on for 10 minutes or so before they finally stop it and bring back up the house lights. Someone apologizes and says they are working on it. Lights go down and the movie starts again, from the beginning, with subtitles. This time the subtitles are in spanish. And there's still no vocal track. There's obviously people in the projector room messing with something but nothing is working. Light come back up, then go dark and it starts from the beginning again, with the same problems. It's now almost 8PM and the next movie is supposed to start at 9:30 so we're wondering how they are going to deal with this. After the fourth false start they give up and say we will all get refunds and they are sorry but they don't know what the hell is wrong. I hear someone with a Screamfest badge say something about "they must have given us one of those boxes of messed up promo DVDs or something" - I look and yep, the free DVD we were handed on the way in is promo stamped. Fun! He then goes on to say that "with all these different formats and versions today there's no way to know what will work and what won't, so what can people expect?" What can people expect? I paid $75 I expect someone to spend 10 seconds and make sure the movie actually plays PRIOR to me sitting there waiting to see it!
According to one of the organizers, "They refused to give us a print and we'd already sold tickets so we were lucky the DVD came out on Tuesday..." so they used the DVD for a public exhibition, which I think is illegal. Sounds real professional, doesn't it? It gets better, when they try to get a refund:
Things start getting really cool here because no one bothered to tell the kids at the box office they were to refund anyone so they are refusing and telling people to step to the side so they can deal with the next customer, completely ignorant to the fact that the next customer was also there for Screamfest and wants their money back. We demand the manager. He shows up and starts apologizing and handing out refunds. I give him my receipts and he hands be a refund receipt... for $22 bucks. Hold your fucking horses. I point out that I paid $75 for 6 tickets so $22 doesn't quite cut it. He looks and says "Oh! You bought tickets from Screamfest directly not from us, I can't give you anything back" and rips up the $22 credit. He says I have to take it up with the Screamfest people directly because he and the theater have nothing to do with it.
It's logical to wonder if this blogger is just pissed for one
reason or another. He could be exaggerating or misrepresenting the
situation or whatver . . . but this blogger is Sean Bonner, who has a
spotless reputation (and is a close personal friend of mine, so I trust
him even more.) Therefore, Occam's Razor
says that these promoters really screwed the pooch. There could be a
good explanation, because shit happens with these things, but as of
2:17 PM on October 21st, there is nothing on their blog that even
mentions the problems last night. There are, however, announcements
about other events taking place this weekend. Hmmm. I hope that they'll
make good on their promise to provide full refunds to the people who
couldn't get them at the theatre . . . if they care at all about
their reputation, I'm sure that they will.
There are a ton of events scheduled for the rest of the weekend -- events that I'd really dig, like a screening of Friday the 13th -- but there is no way they're getting any of my money until those refunds go out.
So we have another example of the importance of the reputation economy. If I just read their website, I'd be totally into Screamfest. But now? Until they give me a good reason to change my mind, Not so much.