This weekend I attended my first Hollywood awards show. It was the 26th Annual Producers Guild Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. I imagined it would be an unforgettable night of hanging with celebrities, and dressed impress. It was an unforgettable night, but I would throw it more in the learning experience category.
I have a lot to learn before I can consider myself a veteran awards show attendee, but overall I was still glad that I went. Let me share with you some of my experiences, and what I have learned.
I think it all started from the moment I got the invitation. It said that it was a “creative” black tie event. I knew what a black tie event was, but it was that word creative that stumped me. So I did what anyone of our generation would do… I asked the mighty Google. I found as I expected that it is a black tie event with a sense a whimsy. Think of the red carpet on oscar night, and all the variety of outfits you see there.
I headed to the mall to find a tux for the event, but one that would not break the bank. Luckily I was not worried about anyone asking me “who are you wearing”, since I’m not a big time movie star. After looking around I finally found myself in JCPenny’s looking around. With someone of my limited expertise on fashion I found it very difficult to be creative. I have a new appreciation for stylists, since everything I tried looked horrible. I decided to play it safe and go with the standard black tie.
After finding a jacket and pants in my size I was halfway done. Then I found this cool box that had a white shirt, black clip-on bowtie, and black cummerbund. All this was a great price, and it made everything a lot easier. I think this is where things took a fashion downturn.
Everything was in a sealed box, but I thought what could go wrong? When I got home I tried everything on expecting to feel debonair, and sexy. Instead it reminded me of when I worked at Glenmoor Country Club as a food runner. The collar was the wingtip style, and one side was bent down, and the other was bent up. The french cuffs were to large and did not fit nicely through the sleeve of the tux jacket without some squeezing. The shirt was a little big, and the clip-on bowtie looked like it was deflated, and would only face the ground. I convinced myself that after washing the shirt it would shrink a little, and I could iron the wingtips into shape. And that was my second major fashion mistake.
I washed everything and ironed it, and although it was a little better it still was not perfect. I was limited on time, and I decided it was good enough. On the night of the event I got all dressed, and I was not feeling very confident. I decided that my biggest issue was this clip-on bowtie. With this style of collar there was no hiding the clip, and it looked embarrassingly bad to me. I left a little early so that I would have the time to run to a store on the way to buy a real bowtie. Luckily across the street from the event was a mall, so dressed in my tux I setoff on a mission to find a bowtie. This proved to be more difficult then I expected, but was only the start of my difficulties. Finding a store that sold bowties in the appropriate style for the event was challenging, but was easy in comparison to what came next. I found myself sitting in my car in the mall’s parking garage watching YouTube videos on how to tie a bowtie. They made it look so simple, but it was IMPOSSIBLE!!! I tried for over a 1/2 hour trying to fold the elephant ears and take the fish through the hole before I finally gave up in a fit of rage. I was now late to the event, and I thought to myself “maybe some there can help me”.
I pulled up to valet and it was a mad house of people arriving to the event. Of course everyone was perfectly dressed, and here I was looking like a monkey in a cheap tux. I jump out of my car and headed straight to the bathroom to continue my battle against my archenemy… the bowtie. Many guys come in and after seeing me wished me luck. None of them actually tied the bowtie themselves, and could offer me no assistance.
I was finally about to give up when a guy walked in, and said he might be able to help. He gave his best effort, but was not able to tie it on someone else. At this point my self-esteem was exhausted, and I completely gave up on the bowtie. I left the clip-on in the car that valet took, so I did not even have a backup. I decided to go without any bowtie, so into my pocket it went. Luckily this was an acceptable option, since it was a “creative” black tie event. I undid the top button on my shirt, and walked out into the lobby.
I took a quick look at the red carpet before continuing to the ballroom where I found my seat at the table. After we finished eating the awards show started with the category I was most interested in… Best Animated Feature. The Lego Movie won, and the producer Dan Lin came up to accept the award. I never met Dan, but as he got up on stage I recognized him. He was the guy that tried to help me with my bowtie in the bathroom. I think I sank a little in my seat in embarrassment.
The rest of the night was better after I accepted my defeat against the bowtie. I went to this event by myself, since my wife had prior engagements that she committed too. Which worked out since I wanted to check it out first to see if it was worth going to again. Besides my fashion folly I think it would be worth coming again.
It was interesting to see all the big celebrities, and the excitement that they bring. I think this was the most movie stars that I have seen in-person at one place. I saw Brad Pit, Reese Witherspoon, Bryan Cranston, Adrien Brody, Matt Bomer, Kit Harington, Eddie Redmayne, and Felicity Jones to name a few. My favorite of course was Jennifer Lawrence. She stole the show when she got up on stage. She was very entertaining, captivating, genuine and of course looked amazing. She has a great personality and a presence that people gravitate towards. I’m now a bigger fan.
Normally I thrive in these kind of social events, but with my confidence shaken I was much more reserved. It reminded me of the first cast and crew party I went to at DreamWorks Animation. It was before I knew many people, and I walked around feeling more like a spectator then a participant. In a odd way I found comfort in this. There has been many times in my life where I have had to start at the bottom, and work my way up. Where you have to meet new people, and build relationships. Life is full of these moments from your first day at school to the first day at a new job. I may have had more of these moments then the average person, since I constantly pushing myself beyond my comfort zone. When I first got to Los Angeles I felt like an outsider, but I have come a long way since then. The last DreamWorks party I attended was a completely different experience then the first. Instead of feeling like a spectator I felt at home surrounded by all my friends. I feel like this is my next new beginning, and as in the past I will find my place. It is not a bad circle to be at the ground floor of, and I look forward to making it my home. I think my first step is learning how to master the bowtie.
I know this post has already gone longer then I planned, but I still have one thing I wanted to touch on. Last week was a sad time for both DreamWorks Animation, and the animation community. The closing of the DreamWorks/PDI studio was shocking, and I feel for all my friends that have considered it home. Many of them have been there for years, and are now being asked to leave. It is a reminder of the challenges of our industry. I hope after all the dust settles that all my DWA friends will find themselves in better places. Maybe one day that place will be Eric Miller Animation Studios.
If you have not already, please join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog. Also, if you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.