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Old 09-15-2018, 10:27 PM   #11
JoeBanks
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Default Re: Austin 2018

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Originally Posted by Friday View Post
Just curious. Is it worthwhile to attend? Do people really make contacts there? What's it like? Do the managers and professional writers on those panels really want to speak to the writer attendees or do they just go there to speak amongst themselves in their small clique?
having gone four of the past six years (sometimes placing in the contest other years not) i would say it's definitely worth it though the conference doesn't feel like a hotbed of deal-making in the same way Cannes, Toronto, or Sundance can be. the panels are always interesting and more often than not actually useful. and then everyone hangs out in the Driskill bar in the evenings and schmoozes -- or just drinking with close friends. but unless one is an actual winner in the competition i wouldn't expect managers or producers to necessarily be in signing mode then and there (although who ever knows for sure?)
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:26 AM   #12
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Default Re: Austin 2018

I was a finalist last year with a TV spec and went to the festival. It was fun and I met some good people, but nothing professional came out of it. Not like I was expecting it, because nobody wants to read specs of existing shows anymore. And I wasn't really looking for that anyway, because I already have reps. Maybe if you're a finalist with a feature or pilot, more people might be interesting in requesting a read. Who knows? You do get access to more things as a finalist, so there's that. Go for the experience and try not to expect too much.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:55 AM   #13
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Default Re: Austin 2018

I just noticed that wenonah has her Nicholl Fellowship Finalist script (Horsehead Girls) advancing to the semi-finals at Austin in both Drama and Enberby categories (I think I got that right).

Must be an incredible script to rise above the unpredictable nature of random readers and subjectivity... and advance to the late stages of arguably two of the most high-visibility and respected competitions. Best of luck. In the spirit of Austin and building relationships, would love to meet up and say "hey" at Austin... share war stories and general commiseration.

And to Friday:
If you've never attended Austin, I highly encourage you to attend at least once, especially if you're already on the fence and giving it consideration. Sure, it might not change your life, but I've had times where just a few simple panels have energized me in hard-to-describe ways, as well as being in an environment of "my kind"... just writers, filmmakers, industry people being so generous with their time can have its own form of inspiration. Contacts? Signings? To borrow an old baseball teaching phase that might sound hokey: "Don't worry about the outcome or the results and instead, just trust the process. Stay in the moment, be sociable, and don't be too overzealous (a fine line to be sure)."

ONE STORY (among many)
Hard to believe, but about six years ago, my Seattle-based filmmaker friend and I casually met an LA-based woman who went on to win one of the feature awards. The three of us became fast friends and just generally stayed in touch, read each other's stuff, visited if we were down in LA... etc. Today that same friend and writer from LA are wrapping up a web series that she wrote and he directed. Stay tuned.

Yes, just one small anecdotal item to pass along, but there are dozens of these things that take place. I know one of the recent winners a few years ago signed with Madhouse though not sure they still rep him. On and on and on..
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:02 AM   #14
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Default Re: Austin 2018

Absolutely worth it. I think I've gone every year for 11 years?
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:53 AM   #15
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Default Re: Austin 2018

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I just noticed that wenonah has her Nicholl Fellowship Finalist script (Horsehead Girls) advancing to the semi-finals at Austin in both Drama and Enberby categories (I think I got that right).

Must be an incredible script to rise above the unpredictable nature of random readers and subjectivity... and advance to the late stages of arguably two of the most high-visibility and respected competitions. Best of luck. In the spirit of Austin and building relationships, would love to meet up and say "hey" at Austin... share war stories and general commiseration.

Thank you so much!!! It's a crazy, surreal feeling to be working your butt off for 18 years and having such a big dream come true. I've come close several times but it's the first as a Nicholl finalist and semi at Austin (which seems hard to crack) I've written about 22 features and have submitted over half of them to competitions over the years. I write stuff for free locally just to get it made (shorts, web series, etc.) I've been on panels, been a guest speaker for MFA writer students and have won local fellowships but never had a feature made or had a big sale. I did have some success with a short film I wrote and got a lot of awards for during its festival run last year - waaboozmovie.com

I am a self-taught, Middle-aged, college dropout stay at home mom and a minority. I'm ready for a career. Horsehead Girls is my latest and I'm pretty proud of it. Here's the logline if anyone's interested:

A blackjack dealer living on a remote reservation recovers from a night of brutality trying to save a girl from a sex trafficking ring. When her teenage daughter is kidnapped by the same organization she fights to not let her become part of a horrific fate she knows too well.

I would LOVE to go to Austin and meet up (been once before a couple years ago) but I'm waiting to see what the Nicholl finalist week schedule is like before making travel arrangements.

I used to be pretty active here and it was my first home to connect with fellow screenwriters and I'm so humbled to have the continued support of my DD'ers!!!!

Good luck to everyone in the semi's!

W

Last edited by wenonah : 09-16-2018 at 10:11 PM. Reason: formatting
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:37 PM   #16
cvolante
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Default Re: Austin 2018

Just as a heads up, hotels really do fill up fast. If you want to be close to everything, you might see if you can get a refundable reservation just to hold something. One year I waited and ended up at La Quinta, which I have always said is Spanish for "waited too long to book the Driskill." (Some people love the La Quinta for its prices. I find it a little nerve-wracking walking alone that far at night.)
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Old 09-17-2018, 11:46 AM   #17
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Default Re: Austin 2018

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Originally Posted by wenonah View Post
Thank you so much!!! It's a crazy, surreal feeling to be working your butt off for 18 years and having such a big dream come true. I've come close several times but it's the first as a Nicholl finalist and semi at Austin (which seems hard to crack) I've written about 22 features and have submitted over half of them to competitions over the years. I write stuff for free locally just to get it made (shorts, web series, etc.) I've been on panels, been a guest speaker for MFA writer students and have won local fellowships but never had a feature made or had a big sale. I did have some success with a short film I wrote and got a lot of awards for during its festival run last year - waaboozmovie.com

I am a self-taught, Middle-aged, college dropout stay at home mom and a minority. I'm ready for a career. Horsehead Girls is my latest and I'm pretty proud of it.

I would LOVE to go to Austin and meet up (been once before a couple years ago) but I'm waiting to see what the Nicholl finalist week schedule is like before making travel arrangements.

W
Regarding Nicholl:
Not sure if they've changed the process since I was a Finalist so many years ago (~10), but if it's a matter of budget as opposed to logistics, they most likely will cover your air fare and lodging... and I also recall receiving a bit of spending money while staying there for the Nicholl week. Not sure if that has changes so perhaps a more recent Finalist can weigh in, but that's something to keep in mind.

Regarding other "stuff":
I feel like we're leading parallel lives to some extent (minus a few things like stay-at-home mom and your incredible drive to get work produced for the screen), but I think you're in a unique (and somewhat rare) position of being able to attend Austin while also getting additional spotlight for an especially strong script that has advanced to the latter rounds in multiple categories. I think you must have some great buzz right now so that's something to seize upon.

For my two cents, it just seems like a great opportunity that doesn't occur very often (as you've outlined in your post) so please give it strong consideration and by all means, book some lodging in advance.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:50 PM   #18
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Default Re: Austin 2018

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I am a self-taught, Middle-aged, college dropout stay at home mom and a minority. I'm ready for a career.
You are so inspiring. I'm ready to write a biopic about you, haha : )

Ecstatic that things are taking off for you right now. Can't wait to see your name on the big screen. All the best!
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:53 PM   #19
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Haha! I love you guys. Thanks so much for the info and cheerleading. I'm gonna need an Austin hug.


I will definitely TRY to get there. I want to. It's more just waiting until the dates for the Nicholl thing so that I can decide if I wanna hang in Texas for the festival and go straight to LA or come back home first. These are awesome problems to have, I know. I'm humbled - a lot.
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:47 PM   #20
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We're already writing the opening lines to your acceptance speech: "It's taken me eighteen years to be an overnight success..."
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