In just over a week, the four of us will rise before dawn to schlep down to LAX for our annual flight to Salt Lake City, a low-slung, nondescript town which spends the winter hunkered down in a brown haze of chimney smoke which would make the Inland Empire proud.

Salt lake City is not our destination, of course – Sundance is. Actually, Park City is. Sundance the festival is not held at Sundance the resort, which is too bad, because they give you nice terrycloth bathrobes when you stay at the Sundance resort. And these little paper slippers, which are no good in the snow.

Ah, I’m drifting off-topic.

The Sundance Film Festival! Winter gathering place of the great and glittering! The place where the dream of independent filmmakers – and the mini-majors, specialty divisions of the majors, and the just plain majors – can come true: a 100% return on your investment, plus points on the back end!

Of course, when I tell people I’m headed to Sundance for the fourth time, they always say “Ooo, that sounds fun!” And since there is some element of truth to that, I always nod and say “Oh, yeah.” Because people want to believe that Sundance is fun, like they want to believe that the Oscars are relevant, and that anyone cares that the Golden Globes were canceled.

But I always feel like “Oh, yeah” is cheating them out of a fuller picture of what Sundance the festival is really like. So, in the interest of full disclosure, here are 10 Sundance experiences that I have had, and fully expect to have again:

1) Eating meat for every meal.

2) Being stuck on a packed shuttle bus next to a “producer” who’s shouting into his Bluetooth Borg earpiece at his “assistant”.

3) Jeff Dowd.

4) Watching drunk chicks in mini-skirts and Uggs scream “Wooooooo!”

5) Long opening night speeches. That’s right – speeches. No film festival is complete without lots of ’em.

6) Grub Steak (see number 1)

7) The Sundance Flu.

8) Going to the Airborne Lounge to get free medicine for your Sundance Flu.

9) Being so sick with the Sundance Flu that you have to stay in your room and order pepperoni pizza (again, see number 1).

10) Seeing that one good movie you can’t wait to tell everybody you saw first at Sundance.

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