Red Eye Flights and Geoffrey Gilmore [5 of 5]

Posted on August 2, 2008

This is the last adventure that involves driving Geoffrey Gilmore (the Director of the Sundance Film Festival) around Tallahassee, Diet Cokes, private jets, The Visitor, tea, a 4 AM flight, and of course, coffee. Part one Part two, Part three, and Part four.

Saturday I got a little taste of the “geography is not a factor” Hollywood life. With the Dean out of commission from the University President’s dinner, I had to drive Geoffrey and Paul to Flightline, a private jet terminal. I didn’t even know Tallahassee was big enough to justify private jets, but I guess the Senators like to arrive in style.

Geoffrey and Paul were going to a film festival near Tampa to see a film Geoffrey’s nephew was screening. Of course I  hoped they would ask if I wanted to fill the Dean’s seat, but it didn’t happen.

To burn some time before the flight, we went to the on-campus Starbucks. I know Starbucks is pricey, but I didn’t know it was possible to spend $70. Paul bought some of the CDs at the counter. “I don’t think anyone has ever bought those before,” remarked the Barista. I wouldn’t imagine $20 CDs were a hot sell with college students. They just needed a student to bring someone like Paul in.

I feel like I redeemed myself with conversation talk during this coffee-break (tea for Geoffrey). We talked about the design of the campus and Tallahassee, which isn’t very impressive. No career talk or “what do you want to do” questions.

After coffee, I drove them to the Flightline building. Inside there was no line, no security. Just a sliding door that goes straight to the tarmac. They told me they would call when leaving Tampa, so I was free for the day.

I found ways to keep myself busy, but as the estimated pick-up time approached (11 pm), I kept getting calls from Paul saying they were going to be a little late. One of the advantages of hiring a plane is they wait for you.

They didn’t leave until around 1 AM, so they arrived at 2 AM. But here’s the fun part. Geoffrey’s flight back west left at 6 AM. So after dropping him off, we arranged to meet at 4:30. Going home would just be too tempting for sleep, so I occupied myself at All Saints Cafe, our 24 hour beatnik coffee house.

I did doze off, and woke up at 4:25, just in time to rush over to the hotel. I honestly don’t remember what we talked about on the drive to the airport, but Geoffrey was thankful for all the driving.

Our goodbye was better than the introduction, with a proper handshake and a “I’ll probably see you around” from me. I drove home and crashed, fortunately in that order.

In retrospect, I wonder how I could have used this situation to a career advantage. I just didn’t want to be that guy that pushes a copy of his script or talks about himself every chance he gets. If anything, this experience brought me a lot closer to Paul Cohen.

So no, I didn’t get some mega deal or an ‘in’ into Sundance. But I think I was memorable. I’m the guy that picked Geoffrey Gilmore up from the airport at 2 AM and drove him back at 4.

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Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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3 Comments

  1. TR Wilkinson

    I think by not being the guy that talks about himself you DO stand out, and when he sees your name on a Sundance submission he might be inclined to remember it, who knows? At least he won’t remember you as that annoying pushy guy!

  2. C47

    I think my film would have to jump a few obstacles before he sees it, but yeah, I see your point.

    Do you think it’s better to not be remembered than remembered in a bad way? Probably. I’ll be getting a second chance soon because I’m driving him around again.

  3. lauren (lapetitefashionista)

    glad to see another FSU blogger! how did you stumble upon my site?
    A Gossip Girl inspired thesis film, sounds amazing..!

    Sounds like an interesting experience playing personal assistant to Geoffery Gilmore. Like the person above said at least he might recognize your name.

    P.S. What would Tallahassee-ians do without our 24 hr coffee stop @ All Saints?