Friday, September 9, 2011
That One Time, When I Met Cameron Crowe
So, I was watching Jimmy Fallon last night and Cameron Crowe was on. And Fallon was his typical full of praise self when he announced Cameron Crowe was coming on. Fallon talked about how Crowe really had a huge impact on his life and was a genuine cool dude.
And I completely concur about Cameron Crowe being a cool dude. And I say that as someone who actually met him.
Now, this happened when I lived in Las Vegas. Y'know...I used to be a restaurant employee. And that's basically what you do if you move to Vegas; you work a restaurant, you work in a casino (employed or as a gambler) or you work as an "entertainer." I opted for restaurant employee.
Nancy Wilson, Cameron Crowe's wife at the time, was playing the Red Rock Casino and the restaurant I was working at was doing brisk business. On that night, the job I was assigned was polishing silverware. Basically I was responsible for making sure the silverware that went to the tables looked nice. It was an easy gig and it allowed me to buy sushi and Baja Fresh, so I was cool with it.
I'm polishing silverware and I see someone walk past me. Now usually I only noticed if the person walking past me was an attractive female, but I noticed this dude because he looked just like Cameron Crowe.
I'd been a fan of Cameron Crowe's films. Say Anything was a touchstone for me, Jerry Maguire was good before the backlash began and Vanilla Sky was dope. So basically, I knew who the guy was. Plus he'd recently had a feature in Blender. I want to say it was about what album covers he loved.
Unfortunately for me, I was only pretty sure it was Cameron Crowe. I went up to the front desk to get the name for the reservation, only to find out it was the other guy who made the reservation.
To make matters worse, because I was in Las Vegas all of my coworkers were pretty vapid and I doubted I could get any of them to back up my belief that Cameron Crowe was indeed dining in the restaurant, because I doubted any of them knew who Cameron Crowe was.
But there was one dude I worked with that I was pretty sure would know who Cameron Crowe was. Not only did we talk about movies and music, but he was also taking film classes at UNLV. And he was working that night. His name was, um, Guillermo.
I grabbed Guillermo and we agreed that it was indeed Cameron Crowe. We geeked out over it.
It was late enough that I realized, if I timed it just right I could leave work around the same time as Cameron Crowe and "bump" into him and strike up a conversation.
I did just that. I timed it out perfectly. I literally held the door for him as he left the restaurant. And then I made my move.
I began by announcing that I was a big fan, which he graciously accepted. I then told him that I was a writer who wanted to make films and asked if he could offer up any advice.
He gave the standard answer of "write" which is what every writer says. But then he went further. He said that I should write something, a scene or a short film and then shoot it. He said that shooting it would attract attention. And while it may be poorly acted or poorly directed, if it was well written studio people would notice it and give a chance to the writer.
It was such a dope moment. Here I was, a complete stranger, basically accosting a renowned filmmaker and badgering him, yet Cameron Crowe was generous enough to give me a real answer and some genuine advice. It was really, really cool.
And then the dude Cameron Crowe was dining with came out and we went our separate ways.
But I was on a cloud for the rest of the night.
And that's the time I met Cameron Crowe.