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Getting Sick at a Film Festival: A Survival Guide

Getting Sick at a Film Festival: A Survival Guide

I’d assume most of you who frequent film festivals have felt my current pain. Half-way through this year’s SXSW, I woke up with a cold/flu type thing that has basically fucked over the past 3 days. It makes sense. You’re malnourished and sleep-deprived so you’re immune system is iffy to begin with… then add that to being exposed to 1,000s of people in contained spaces and you’re basically asking for it. I usually am a bit more on the defence. Vital Greens, oregano oil, hand sanitizer and Cold FX are all staples of Sundance, Toronto and the like, and have very rarely failed me. But I had my guard down in Austin, and sure enough – I woke up in the middle of Tuesday night feeling like death. Now, I have wagered on to some degree… and thus feel since I have been blog AWOL for the past few days, I’ll share what I’ve learned as a result.

Basically, there are four options one is faced with when this situation:

1. Go home. Switch your flight and get the fuck out of there.

-Your own bed (!)
-Loved ones to take care of you.
-No stressing about all the festival shit happening around you that you either are too sick to attend or attend high on DayQuil.

-It’s probably gonna be expensive.
-You’re probably fucking over your job.
-If you get better quicker than you though you would, you’re gonna be pissed off you’re not still at the festival.

2. Medicate with DayQuil/NyQuil or other preferred cold and flu medications.

-You’ll feel relatively better.
-You’ll probably be able to fulfill at least some of whatever professional duties you have at the festival.
-Your sleeps will be amazing.

-You’ll be loopy and out-of-it for days and potentially make strange social impressions.
-The duties you fulfill at work might be done so haphazardly as a result of strange thought processes.
-It’s simply suppressing the sickness and you might not get better as quickly.

3. Medicate with alcohol and illegal substances

-You’ll definitely feel better (when under the influence).
-You’ll still have fun.
-Mixing with #2 can provide a particularly escapist couple of hours.

-You’ll definitely feel worse (when you regain sobriety… though I guess you don’t have to do that).
-You might not make a good impression professionally.
-You’re probably prolonging the illness considerably.

4. Curl up in a ball, take in lots of liquids and herbal supplements, and let it pass as quickly as possible.

-The cheapest option.
-The healthiest option.

-The boringest option.
-You’ll feel a horrible sense of missing out on social events and feel like a loser.
-You’ll probably feel stressed out and behind professionally.
-You’ll be doing this outside of the comforts of your home/a familiar environment which some people (me) get anxiety about.

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