Why is Everyone Doing Karaoke at Film Festivals?

Administrator —  March 22, 2017

Okay, so I borrowed the title from a session I saw at SXSW 2017. 

I hope the panelists –  Aaron Hillis, Indiegogo; Jen Yamato, LA Times; Roxanne Benjamin, We Summon the Darkness; and Tom Hall, Montclair Film Festival – don’t mind my plagiarism. That’s not my intention. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s to promote what I found to be a fascinating little gem of a panel, tucked away in the corner of one of the biggest and best conferences in the world. 

When I say tucked away, I mean tucked away. At go time there were only nine of us in the room for the panel, with one attendee being the husband of a panelist. I felt bad for the quartet on the podium, who summoned their mojo and committed to making an amazing experience for their few supporters, including me. 

I’m pretty sure I was the least musically inclined or talented person in the room. I stood out like a broken guitar string. The others were all clearly into music, into karaoke, and into each other. 

The premise of the panel was that for some reason karaoke is the golf of the film/festival business. Who knew? The panelists claimed that movie deals get done, pitches get made (no pun intended), and relations get built at karaoke parties.

 

The more I sat and listened, the more it made sense. Karaoke is social, fun, interactive, unpretentious, and celebratory. It involves a lot more people than a golf foursome. It’s fueled by emotion. It’s turbocharged by cocktailing.  

The best part of the panel? Each panelist ended up performing a song. Think Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball done by an LA Times film critic. A few audience members joined in as well, including a guest appearance by Brett Galman, who channeled his inner Notorious B.I.G. and wowed us with a Springsteen cover. 

They were awesome and I was jealous and wowed. It was the best hour of my day. 

Every song made me smile, made me laugh. I had some writing to do that I was stuck on, and one performance sung a breakthrough idea into my head. I left the hour with an energy level that a venti cappuccino couldn’t have provided. 

I have a question for you. Why don’t you have music in your meetings? Why don’t people sing, not just talk in meetings? Could you imagine how collaborative your meeting would be if every participant was asked to belt out a favourite before you got down to business?  

Given I have laid down the challenge, I’m sure I’m going to get called on. I plan on practicing in private to prevent total humiliation. 

Purple Rain baby, Purple Rain.