Austin -- Considering Going This Year

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  • Austin -- Considering Going This Year

    Hello everyone:

    I'm considering heading out to Austin this year, but wanted to get some idea of whether it's worth it from a networking POV. I know that the panels will be posted on the "on story" podcasts, and I missed the deadline for the contest, so I guess it's getting connected with other filmmakers is the primary reason I'd be going.

    Is the Producer's Badge worth the expense?

    I'd like to stay in a nice, clean, comfortable and safe hotel, but not necessarily the Driskill, unless someone wants to split the cost of the room. Which would be great, if not extremely convenient.

    Is the Driskill the location of most of the panels? And other events?

    I've never been, so I'd love some feedback.
    Thanks,
    FA4
    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

  • #2
    Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

    Yes, the Producer's badge is worth it, and yes the Driskill is the most convenient (but also most expensive) option.

    However, I didn't go last year, and probably won't this year unless I advance in the competition. It's just too crowded. I had to miss half the panels I wanted to attend in order to stand in line for the other panels I wanted to attend.

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    • #3
      Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

      Have fun I stayed at The Driskill last year. Totally worth it, though the Austin across the street is very nice and has reasonable rates (and many panels are held there as well). I'm probably not going this year, but that could change...

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      • #4
        Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

        Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
        Hello everyone:

        I'm considering heading out to Austin this year, but wanted to get some idea of whether it's worth it from a networking POV. I know that the panels will be posted on the "on story" podcasts, and I missed the deadline for the contest, so I guess it's getting connected with other filmmakers is the primary reason I'd be going.

        Is the Producer's Badge worth the expense?

        I'd like to stay in a nice, clean, comfortable and safe hotel, but not necessarily the Driskill, unless someone wants to split the cost of the room. Which would be great, if not extremely convenient.

        Is the Driskill the location of most of the panels? And other events?

        I've never been, so I'd love some feedback.
        Thanks,
        FA4
        "networking" in the sense of finding someone who wants to buy your script? probably not. networking in the sense of getting to hang out with a lot of cool, produced writers in the lounge, absolutely. but i'm terrible at networking so i'm sure someone who is more social could probably make a lot more contacts if they were so inclined

        the only thing that the Producer's Badge gets you is into a couple more social functions (the opening night happy hour, the Saturday night BBQ, and a couple others). They're having a $300 Conference Badge sale this weekend, which is 95% as good as the Producer's if the panels and movies are what you're interested in.

        The Driskill as lodgings would feel like a splurge to me. Reserve early enough through AFF and you should be able to get reasonably priced rooms at the nearby Marriott, Hampton Inn, etc. Almost all of their affiliated hotels are easily within walking distance from the Driskill (I think there's one that's across the bridge, south, that might be a hike).

        all of the panels are held either at: (1) the Driskill; (2) the Stephen F. Austin next to the Driskill; or (3) the church that is just up the hill from the Driskill. the films screen largely at the Paramount around the corner from the Driskill

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        • #5
          Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

          My article about last year's Austin:

          http://creativescreenwriting.com/com...film-festival/

          If you think of it as "I'm going there to sell my script" you'll probably be disappointed. But it's definitely worth going, IMHO.
          "People who work in Hollywood are the ones who didn't quit." -- Lawrence Kasdan

          Please visit my website and blog: www.lauridonahue.com.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

            No, I'm not thinking of it as going there to try to sell my specs, I'm considering going for the reasons I said-- networking. In the truest sense of the word.

            I want to get to know other writers and filmmakers on a more personal level that goes beyond the internet. Making connections with people I might have similar sensibilities with and begin to build relationships with.

            If it's not conducive to that, maybe it's too big a venue and therefore the wrong time to go? I would very much enjoy the panels, I know that. I'm trying to assess the value of going.

            If/when I am able to make the move to LA, I'd like to have a group of people that I've built relationships with.

            I believe in creating opportunities and sometimes in order to do that, you have to make some smart investments.

            You never know, one day I may be in a position to help another writer, too.

            I live in Connecticut, so it's difficult to make personal connections from here. I'm not a wall flower, I'm can be an extrovert as necessary and am comfortable in doing so.

            There's nothing wrong with making online friends and acquaintances, but I really believe nothing can compare to direct contact-- am I totally off my rocker here?

            Thank you, so mich everyone for your comments.
            FA4
            Last edited by finalact4; 06-12-2015, 05:17 AM.
            "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

              Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
              No, I'm not thinking of it as going there to try to sell my specs, I'm considering going for the reasons I said-- networking. In the truest sense of the word.
              If this is the case, you should definitely go. Most of the networking that takes place is lateral - you will meet a bunch of other writers who are at or near your rung on the ladder, many of whom visit this board from time to time.

              Having said that, it does seem to be a venue where pros have their guard down and most are very approachable.

              In the Driscoll bar, you may be surprised by who is sitting next to you. After we were talking for a while last year, this guy bought me a beer, then got up and said he had to do a roundtable. I thought he was a Second Rounder. Nope, he was the creator of HEMLOCK GROVE and a panelist. I had a nice conversation at the bar with the lead actor of one of the independent films whose screening I attended the day prior. I got to say hello to Michael Weber, Susannah Grant, Scott Rosenberg (he was on my flight home), Dan Petrie, and many others. The roundtables are great to hear about their experiences in the trenches and you can ask them any question you want. At one of the parties, I must have talked to Hershel Weingrod for nearly a half hour, but it had nothing to do with writing - we talked about healthcare, I think.

              I enjoyed meeting online personalities - Matt Dy is a good guy. Stage 32 threw a nice party and RB was super friendly. One of the top admins of the PAGE awards was there and was very cool. She told me she recognized my name and I told her she was lying.

              The point is I enjoy the atmosphere of AFF. I listed the above because I thought examples of typical interactions may help you make a decision. I'm sure others have much better stories than I do. The panels are great. I've never tried to sell anything and not once have I asked anyone to read my script. Who knows? Maybe I've missed some opportunities, but if you're expecting a litany of read requests, you'll likely be very disappointed. I've attended a couple times and my goals were to meet interesting people, soak it in, learn, and have fun. I was able to do all that easily.

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              • #8
                Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

                Originally posted by Bruce Rose View Post
                If this is the case, you should definitely go. Most of the networking that takes place is lateral - you will meet a bunch of other writers who are at or near your rung on the ladder, many of whom visit this board from time to time.

                Having said that, it does seem to be a venue where pros have their guard down and most are very approachable.

                In the Driscoll bar, you may be surprised by who is sitting next to you. After we were talking for a while last year, this guy bought me a beer, then got up and said he had to do a roundtable. The roundtables are great to hear about their experiences in the trenches and you can ask them any question you want. At one of the parties, I must have talked to Hershel Weingrod for nearly a half hour, but it had nothing to do with writing - we talked about healthcare, I think.

                I enjoyed meeting online personalities - Matt Dy is a good guy. Stage 32 threw a nice party and RB was super friendly. One of the top admins of the PAGE awards was there and was very cool. She told me she recognized my name and I told her she was lying.

                The point is I enjoy the atmosphere of AFF. I listed the above because I thought examples of typical interactions may help you make a decision. I'm sure others have much better stories than I do. The panels are great. I've never tried to sell anything and not once have I asked anyone to read my script. Who knows? Maybe I've missed some opportunities, but if you're expecting a litany of read requests, you'll likely be very disappointed. I've attended a couple times and my goals were to meet interesting people, soak it in, learn, and have fun. I was able to do all that easily.
                DITTO. Great atmosphere. Didn't submit to the contest this year but may go again, just for the fun. Only been two times and the first time went with a friend who knew a guy who had a film premiering there. Had a blast in the bar...Shane Black was there, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, a bunch of others that I can't remember right now, but it was a total hoot. And the AFF people are all very friendly and helpful.

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                • #9
                  Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

                  I went the last three years, and if you want to meet other writers and filmmakers of all levels, then definitely go. It's great for that purpose.

                  I say it's worth splurging for a producer badge, most people I met had one. You want to be able to go the parties where your new friends/connections will be.

                  I wouldn't stay at the Driskill unless money is no object. It's very nice, but the SFA and the Marriott are also nice and close by (the SFA is right next to the Driskill).
                  A lot of panels are held at the Driskill, some at the SFA and the roundtables are at a church a couple of blocks away. The parties are all around downtown with the BBQ a bit outside, but there's a bus (though I'd recommend either walking or taking a cab).
                  I had a great time at Austin and would definitely recommend going. Though I think it's easier if you placed in the competition.

                  Feel free to PM me for more details.

                  Edited to add since you mention making connections for a potential move to LA, that I've made a few LA based friends at AFF, there are a lot of people from LA, NY and all over.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

                    Thank you, BruceRose, boudiccarules, and asj for the comments; they are very helpful. I'll check out some of the other hotels nearby. I know it's a good opportunity to meet new people and make connections.

                    As an aside, years ago when I first started writing I went to the Creative Screenwriting Expo and met a lot of people, but I didn't know any better to stay in touch with all of them.

                    Someone, and I'll never know who, paid Pilar Alessandra to consult on my first script anonymously. I thought it was a prank, but I looked her up and she was legit. She told me that when I finished my script I could send it to her, she'd read it and give me a 90 minute (60 or 90) consult over the phone.

                    She said that it was someone I met at the expo and they wanted to help me out-- it was something that went a long way in building my skills. One day, I'd like to pay that kindness forward.

                    Nice story, huh? There are really good people, and you never know who you're going to meet or make a connection with.

                    Anyway, thank you, everyone for the advice. It is greatly appreciated.
                    Best,
                    FA4
                    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

                      FA4 - let's coordinate. I'm hoping to go just Thursday/Friday night, and not do the badge at all - just hang out at the Driskill bar and grab coffees and lunches with people.

                      It's probably worth paying for the badge, at least once (I did producers once and conference once) - but it's so much fun just connecting with people, that's my plan this year And I have a 2.5 year old and 7 month old, so don't want to miss Halloween with them (which is Saturday).

                      Anyway, let's get coffee or lunch or a beer if you're there when I am.


                      [email protected]
                      www.JustinSloanAuthor.com

                      http://www.CreativeWritingCareer.com
                      http://www.MilitaryVeteransinCreativeCareers.com

                      Twitter: @JustinMSloan

                      Want a free book?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

                        jealous -- had the best time here the few years I have gone... enjoy!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Austin -- Considering Going This Year

                          Originally posted by stainjm View Post
                          FA4 - let's coordinate. I'm hoping to go just Thursday/Friday night, and not do the badge at all - just hang out at the Driskill bar and grab coffees and lunches with people.

                          It's probably worth paying for the badge, at least once (I did producers once and conference once) - but it's so much fun just connecting with people, that's my plan this year And I have a 2.5 year old and 7 month old, so don't want to miss Halloween with them (which is Saturday).

                          Anyway, let's get coffee or lunch or a beer if you're there when I am.


                          [email protected]
                          Sorry really meant to respond sooner.

                          Absolutely, if I can make it happen, I would love to connect.

                          Congrats on your expanding family-- so happy for you.
                          "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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