Checked the mail a couple of weeks ago and there it was – a glorious padded envelope just the right size and thickness.
Screener Season had arrived.
If you’re lucky enough to get into an industry guild, or academy, or several other specialized collectives – and you’re eligible to vote for awards – the holidays come early.
Beginning late fall (and apparently sometimes sooner) the DVDs start rolling in. Well, they don’t actually roll, of course. That would be a seriously negligent way of distributing them. But they come nevertheless. Often.
Several times a week there’s another delivery of a recent / current / sometimes not-yet-released movie vying for award consideration. Sure, the studios have modernized the process and made some films available to stream online. But frankly, it doesn’t have the same magic as getting package after package in the mail.
As it happens, I’m in an alphabet soup of organizations – WGAw, SAG-AFTRA, MPEG – that are part of most studios’ distribution lists. You need to have been doing covered work within a recent window of time to get screeners from some of those groups. Others will keep coming in perpetuity, provided the member just stays current with their dues.
Since it’s hard to know what the future holds, it’s best to enjoy what you’ve got for as long as you’ve got it!
Now, there are some downsides.
For one, it won’t be too long before there’s a teetering stack of award hopefuls just waiting to be popped into that player drawer. That’s a lot of pressure. Not to mention a serious injury risk.
The truth is, it’s almost impossible to watch every film that comes in the mail. But by the time the nominations are set, at least, the list of relevant titles will have been whittled down to a more digestible amount.
Then it’s just time to bring on the popcorn. And a critical eye, natch.
Once the frenzy of award season is over, and all the hardware has been distributed to the lucky few, the job of screener destruction begins. These things are all watermarked, and if one of them finds its way to some online torrent site, this party could end right quick.
Turns out snapping a DVD in half is not easy, and feels more than a little dangerous without a full face helmet. Instead, I’ve taken to scratching the crap out of the back of them with a pair of scissors.
There’s no real wrong way, of course, as long as they can’t be played again. And you live to tell the tale. Have fun with it!
I guess the real point here is that you don’t have to become massively rich and famous to still get some industry perks. I would prefer to be massively rich and famous, but – in the meantime – I’ll take the screeners.
Before you ask, though… you can’t borrow any, sorry. Frankly, you can’t be trusted.