Courtesy photo / Jojo Whilden
We hear he s also one helluva ping-pong player.

Unless you’ve been cooped up in your smoky room gazing at Mars through your telescope for the last few weeks, you know that it’s coming. In fact, it’s already here. That’s right: It’s the 7th Annual Boulder International Film Festival, and this year, the BIFF folks are going all out.

So, what can you do to make it to BIFF next year as more than just a volunteer driver or as Oliver Stone’s “special delivery boy?” Here are a few tips that will send you off to Tinseltown in style… and get you right back in Boulder as a hometown hero at the 2012 festival.

1 Actually go to BIFF

They say that there are enough film festivals the world over to screen films 365 days a year. But, as anyone who has actually been to one could tell you, each has its own singular flavor; after all, you’re sure to see something at OutFest that you wouldn’t necessarily see at the Scottish Film Festival.

Seriously, folks, if you want to get into BIFF for 2012, pop into some of the many workshops, seminars, and — heck — even screenings they’re having this year. Although full VIP ticket prices can be more expensive than the budget of a DIY short film, individual ticket prices ain’t that bad, and there’s always someone involved with one of the special events who can probably use a hand if you don’t mind standing in the corner, keeping your mouth shut.

Info: Boulder International Film Festival

2 Audition for an upcoming local performance

For those of you who are interested in getting involved in local theater performances but aren’t a student or don’t like the other students who are in the CU theater/dance programs, no worries. There are plenty of local organizations and theater groups that need you and won’t mind if you’re not a beautiful, buxom blonde bombshell.

And remember, if you ever get up there on stage in front of all of your friends and loved ones… and suddenly realize that you can’t remember your lines, just go through the experience anyway. After all, you can always act like it never happened.

Info: Theater Companies, Theater Productions & Show in Boulder County, Colorado

3 Tell it to James Franco

He’s possibly the world’s most versatile living actor. Whether he’s playing James Dean in a made-for-cable movie, guest starring in a soap opera, acting the goofy stoner in an Judd Apatow film, posing as the brawny lover in a Harvey Milk biopic, or putting together his own indelible reinvention of “Three’s Company” by way of a dramatic Off-Broadway show (seriously), there’s nothing too nutty for the co-host of the upcoming Oscars.

And guess what? He’s one of that bevy who will be in town making sultry glances at your girlfriend at Catacombs with a ping-pong paddle in one hand and another girl in the other.

So, go for it. Go back into your box of ideas too off-the-wall to tell even your closest friends, and come up with a pitch (remember Jack Warner: “25 words or less”).

Info: James Franco

4 Spalding Gray at IFS

Anyone who’s interested in filmmaking, writing, acting, or the inner demons that plague the very insides of any Knut Hamsun-esque struggling artist should already know about the late/great Spalding Gray. For those not in the know, Gray was a consummate actor and one-man-show machine who made the art what it is today… before it became a haven for children of dysfunctional families and out-of-work actors who valiantly overcame cancer.

For fans and newbies alike, the International Film Series will be showing the final, posthumous monologue of Gray as edited together Frankenstein-style by longtime collaborator Steven Soderbergh. The film, “And Everything Is Going Fine,” will be playing tomorrow night at Muenzinger Auditorium. Yeah, you’ll have to skip out on BIFF for two hours, but that’s OK. Franco will be saving that Martini just for you.

Info: International Film Series

5 Break into Brakhage

Aside from Harry Smith, there’s probably no more unknown yet influential filmmaker in the history of American cinema than Boulder’s own Stan Brakhage. There’s a reason you can’t walk for two minutes down any sidewalk in town without hearing about or seeing something about the filmmaker, just as there’s a reason that current golden boy David Fincher thanked Brakhage in the end credits of “Seven.”

Brakhage was the man, plain and simple. He more or less wandered around the woods and snow for most of his “career,” making over 500 “home movies” before anybody ever knew you could put those two words together in such a beautiful portmanteau. For goodness sakes, this is the guy who felt it absolutely essential that any filmmaker be able to operate his camera under any condition… particularly while in a “dead drunk.”

Info: Stan Brakhage

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