Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Movie Lovers

So, I started a movie club at a men's club I belong to. I wanted to show Passion of Joan of Arc, Counsellor at Law, and other lesser-known movies I'm fond of. I thought 10 people would be interested, and I thought I could bring my portable tv over to the church, where we hold our meetings. Actually, the church has a TV; maybe we could use that one. But over 30 people emailed me that they were interested!

I asked for volunteers for a committee. Six or seven guys stepped forward.

One volunteer started giving me suggestions. One of them: we have a breakfast meeting. Before the meeting, I decided that there should be guidelines. One of them: I make the final decisions about everything. So there are no battles for power, as there were at an investment club I started recently. One committee member--very bossy, challenging, at our breakfast--resigns when he sees my guidelines. He said he didn't know this would be a one-man show. In other words, he thought it might be HIS show.

Another member--I'll call him xxx --tells me he's arranged to use a room and video equipment at the local library. We would be charged only $110 to use it. With 30 members, only $4 a person. No way, I tell him. Then he calls--he may have persuaded the library to charge us nothing! Wow!

But...the library, it turns out, wants to put a different name on the club. The library wants to have the general public attend screenings. The library wants only ME to talk and lead discussions--no other members of the club. (A gross disappointment. I wanted club members to choose films and lead talks about them.) The library gave us a time slot that wasn't ideal--conflicted with other meetings. But...OK.

At a brief meeting with library officials, xxx acts as if he's the boss. I ask for the name of someone who might let us show films; xxx takes the paper. xxx tells the librarians that he wants a certain meeting date--different from mine.

Then the library balks at my movies. It wants Citizen Kane as first movie. And wants me to choose films recommended by the big official groups. In other words, the Usual Suspects.

I argue for Counsellor at Law, if not the silent Passion. They'll get back to me tomorrow. If it's ok, I decide, we'll go through with it. If not, to hell with it. The library wants a film club--and our club members are invited. But it's not under the control of our club members. The library is totally in charge.

That evening, I email xxx. I'm beginning to think the library is not our best bet.

xxx gets furious!!! He threatens to send a note to the library excoriating me! He says the library has met me halfway! That I'm making impossible demands! If I don't return his phone call immediately, he'll never speak to me again! I'm at the office; I can't call him. I email him; don't talk to the library. The long note he sent me is positively insane.

I get home. there's an abusive message from him on my phone. I call him...and lose my temper. You're off the committee! YOU'RE FIRED!!!

xxx is obviously someone who distorts the truth. Someone very unstable. He may have scotched any chance of my getting a compromise with the library. He was DETERMINED that we work with the library--under the library's conditions.

Anyway, what's the lesson? When you ask for volunteers, you get unhappy, dissatisfied people--people out for power and control. Some of whom may be unstable.

Back to square one. Can we get by with just the church's equipment?

Stay tuned. I am determined to start a movie club!

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