Friday, April 05, 2013
When a beloved person dies, I find that at memorial services and in posts in social media, people tend to talk about themselves. This makes sense, because if you knew somebody then other people who never did might learn something or be touched by your reminiscences. But I think there is a point where it becomes more about you than the person you’re remembering. Sometimes I think people are trying to elevate themselves by showing that they knew the great man. I worry about that so yesterday I just posted on Facebook that Roger Ebert had helped a lot of people rather than get into how he helped me. But today Eugene Hernandez posted the quote above on Facebook and I made this graphic. I wish his face came out better but it is a long and beautiful quote.
While doing that it made me think that I did have a little something I wanted to share because it wasn't just about me but also showing the way he helped all kinds of people, not just filmmakers.
Roger and I got to know each other when I was a film publicist. Over the years I was lucky enough to talk to him on the phone regularly and even shared a meal with him once at Sundance (with one of my clients). Everybody knows that he championed countless filmmakers, but here’s what he did for me. I used to write a blog and Roger read it every single week. He often tweeted or posted links. I’d get these two word emails from him, like “Tweeted it!” I don’t know if I can express how much this meant to me. His support made me think that I wasn’t just some dumb movie publicist trying to write a blog, but that he thought I could actually write. And this made me believe that I was maybe a real writer. I am sure this is how all the thousands of filmmakers and critics and other people that he so generously championed felt. We all hunger for this kind of approval and we so rarely get it. It keeps us going. I am crying as I write this, not out of sadness although I really am sad, but because of my appreciation of the wonder of life--as it gives us people like Roger Ebert.