Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Visiting Valhalla, or "I went to Austin and all I got was this kickass t-shirt"

Let the gushing begin! I doubt you'll find a negative review of the Austin Film Festival anywhere on the 'net. What you will find are a lot of bloggers who make the annual pilgrimage seeking wisdom, friendship, free alcohol and a few Hollywood contacts.

This year, things felt a little strange. And I wasn't the only one feeling it.

Gone was the desperate need to talk to everyone "important" in the room. Vanished was my anxiety over cramming as much as possible into my trip.

This year, I relaxed. And I had very dry skin. But, you don't care about the dry skin, I know what you're wondering.

"Why, oh great aspiring TV scribe, were you so relaxed?"

For starters, this was my second trip to Austin. It really does feel like coming home when you walk into the Driskill Hotel bar and plop down on one of the supple leather sofas. More than once I did said plopping and sighed audibly. There's something incredibly relaxing about sighing and plopping.

While in the Driskill bar post-sigh/plop I experienced the following (not in order, one thing about Austin, events of the few days get jumbled around).

  • I sat on the arm of one of those awesome couches, reading my Blackberry. In a sort of weird half plop onto the sofa, sliding down the leather to a mostly horizontal position, Kyle Chandler walked past and said "I saw that." I giggled like a giggling thing who has just seen an incredibly HOT man walk past her in a smokin motorcycle jacket. Really, I have a whole new appreciation of leather after this trip.
  • While lounging on a couch, again, mostly horizontal, tap tapping away on my lappytop, Oliver Stone cruised by. No one else noticed him. He was wearing this white suit that seriously looked like he'd raided the costume trailer on the MIAMI VICE TV show.
  • I was hanging in the lounge when Scott Richter, incredible writer, fabulous guy, came breezing through after the awards banquet. I jumped up off the couch (which, I think we've established by now, is no small feat considering how awesome these couches are) and asked him the BIG QUESTION: Well??? (Okay, that may not seem big to you, but it's all about context. Had I given you the rest of the conversation it would have been something like 'Dude, you totally are a finalist for the teleplay competition! You rock beyond all belief! You'd better tell me the minute you find out that you won this thing with your pinky finger and your Grey's Anatomy spec." Well, it was far less surfer dude when I said it, but you get the idea) So, I asked, "Well???" He smiled wide, and that's all I needed. It was epic, man.
  • I watched Terry Rossio twirl his girlfriend around as they danced. That was beautiful.
  • I ran into Will Bingham, winner of the FOX show ON THE LOT over the summer and a friend of my sister's boyfriend (side note: said boyfriend was also in the top 50 for ON THE LOT, but got cut in the top 32. He and Will went to FSU together and Will was in his short/trailer which BF submitted to OTL to get on the show. Yes, there were a lot of acronyms in there. Deal.) It was a bit weird as I was rushing through the lounge, and I turn to look at a guy standing there, and my verbal diahrea took hold and I shouted "Will!" He looked up, and I realized how stupid I was -- he's never met me. He's met my sister though, so I introduced myself and he relaxed, possibly realizing that I was not some weird reality show stalker.
  • I ate a lot of Clif Bars. I highly recommend the new Nectar Cherry Pomegranate.


I'm sure there was more, but like I said, total jumbled blur. I did revel in Brett's success with that Nicholl thingy, basked in the glow of the super successful Julie O'Hora there as a panalist and professional screenwriter, and celebrated the new release of
Deborah Chesher's
book Everybody I Shot is Dead. It's a fantastic book. Buy it at the link above.

There's more to say, but not right now. It was a fabulous trip made more fabulous by my friends, these great people (and I'm not forgetting you, Ryan, Thomas, Tina, Theresa, Ann, and those I met for the first time).

Let's do this again next year. When, hopefully, I'll be a panalist.

6 comments:

Ben said...

Wish I could have gone again this year. Sounds like it was a good time.

Josh said...

You make it seem like so much fun. Maybe Jul and I shouldn't have blown it off when our spec didn't make it.

Ah, well, always next year.

Julie O. said...

My Austin mammaries are still a foggy blur. I need to put 'em into some kinda word form before they float away.

I miss you! xoxo

Brett said...

Lordy-- it's hard to believe that it was already a full week ago that we gathered the tribes and again did that weird naked dance round the Austin bonfire.

I love that festival, and exactly for the reasons you describe-- it's not so much about the panels (which are usually great, even when Dan Petrie is NOT serving shots of bourbon to the entire room...) as it is about the people, and I don't mean just schmoozing and asskissing (though surely there is no small amount of that) as I mean the friends you make and keep in that weird little world in and around the Driskill.

[diagram THAT sentence and you win a cigar...]

My fest was beyond weird. I'll blog about that as soon as I come up with words to describe it. Oy.
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.
.
B

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Only an Oliver Stone could get away with a suit like that! Amazing trip and post-trip blues have set in. Time to plan for next year!

Scott M. Richter said...

Shawna,

I'm so behind on my blog reading and just read your wonderful comments/plug on my Austin drama teleplay competition win. Thanks so much! You're an incredible writer and pretty fabulous youself! =-)

See you soon!

Scott Richter