I know how it is. You're new to the film festival world and you want to let everyone know right off the bat that you're a thoughtless jerk. What's the best way to convey this information? Opinions vary, but one of the most widely accepted methods is to take out your cell phone a lot during a movie!
Yes, it's that easy to show the world that your thought process goes no further than concern for your own interests! Just a few distracting bursts of laser-bright cell phone illumination will send a clear message: "I believe the normal rules of social etiquette do not apply to me!"
But as simple as it may sound to let people know you're a douchenozzle by fiddling with your phone during a movie, there's more to it than that. As the most experienced a-holes will tell you, there's a certain art to achieving the maximum effect with the least effort.
- Sit close to the front. Using your phone during a movie only bothers the people who are behind you, so make sure that's as many people as possible.
- Make sure your phone's screen is at its brightest setting. Someone who felt he needed to use his phone during a movie but didn't want to disturb others might at least dim the phone. This does not apply to you, obviously. You don't care about others.
- Let your level of interest in the movie determine your phone usage. The more bored you are, the more you whip the phone out. Why? Because now you're sending two messages at once: that you're the kind of person who uses a phone in a dark movie theater, and that you're the kind of person who wants to make sure everyone around him knows what he thinks of the movie. That's twice the jerkwad at half the effort!
- When people glare at you or sigh loudly or in any other way express contempt for your behavior, pretend not to notice. As far as they know, you had NO IDEA that a luminous glowing rectangle could possibly be an annoyance in a dark room!
- If someone directly confronts you about your behavior, remember this justification: "I'm working." You're at a film festival, after all, and you work in the film industry, buying and selling and negotiating and producing and hobnobbing and schmoozing. You're not just watching a movie -- you're making deals! Granted, the bulk of your phone activity is just checking your email and sending text messages about where the parties are tonight, but the people around you don't have to know that. "I'm working" covers it all. If we lived in a truly enlightened society, you'd be allowed to talk on your phone and send faxes from the theater, too.
Follow these guidelines and soon everyone will know that you -- YOU, Mr. Film Industry Person Who Apparently Doesn't Actually Enjoy Watching Films -- are a thoughtless cretin with no regard for anyone but himself. Congratulations! See you at Cannes!