Oscar Swag Bag Valued At $85,000
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And the Academy Awards are this Sunday. Hollywood stars who do not leave with a gold trophy will still get a pretty nice consolation prize: the Oscars swag bag. This year, it's more expensive than ever, stuffed with an estimated $85,000 worth of freebies and gift certificates. This includes $5,000 towards laser hair removal, a weeklong stay at a Hawaiian resort, a $9,000 trip to Vegas. And tucked next to all those high-roller gifts, an unassuming DVD.
CHARLES VAN LOUKS: Hi. My name is Charles Van Louks. I'm 24. I'm from Colorado. I'm trilingual.
GREENE: There will be a DVD containing this commercial advertising the services of an aspiring filmmaker named Charles Van Louks.
LOUKS: I've been shooting pool for a long time. I was the three-time state champion of Colorado.
GREENE: He's offering a coupon for $50 off his filmmaking services.
LOUKS: Oh, that's a fantastic deal, yeah.
GREENE: We called up Van Louks to ask how a pool shark from the Rockies got his video resume into a gift bag at the swankiest event in Hollywood.
LOUKS: I took out a big loan to shoot a commercial where I'm stating who I am and what I'm trying to do in this film industry.
GREENE: From there, it was just a matter of convincing the swag bag coordinator to include his DVD.
LOUKS: No fee, no application, none of that. It was just an idea that he thought was really unique and interesting that he wanted to help me out with.
GREENE: With only one internship, a Bachelor's degree and a few independent projects to his name, Van Louks is not expecting this to lead to offers from the likes of Martin Scorsese, but any connections in the biz couldn't hurt.
LOUKS: You know, showrunners, production companies, studios. For example, being a director's assistant, that would be ideal, for sure, but I'm open to anything, really.
GREENE: The real competition, though, isn't other job-seekers. How will Van Louks stand out from the other swag in the bag: the boxes of cupcakes, the NBA tickets, even the bottles of Mane and Tail?
LOUKS: I'm definitely feeling the pressure from the horse shampoo, definitely.
GREENE: As you should, Charles Van Louks. Hollywood does love silky hair.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.