There were a lot of panels and roundtables. Some were with screenwriters, some with producers, managers, development executives, etc. So there was a nice cross-section of the industry in attendance. I took a ton of notes, and will be typing them up sometime in the next few days. I'm glad I did take notes, because already trying to remember what was said in Thursday and Friday's panels is tough. I did get the chance to meet a lot of the other semifinalists, and hit it off with a few; relationships are a big deal, and this was a great opportunity to start cultivating a few. It's not just about meeting people who can do something for you (i.e., give you money); making connections with your peers is a big part of making it.
I think I made some good contacts, heard a lot of useful advice, heard a little bit of really useful advice, and maybe made a potential connection or two. It's certainly more than I had last week at this time; I kind of think my parents thought I might actually get an agent or something this weekend, which just wasn't ever going to happen, but I'm on the right track.
As for Austin itself, it was just so hot and humid, and I remembered why I sometimes got depressed living there in the first place. I just hate being hot all the time, and since panels and such were being held in a handful of buildings downtown, I was constantly having to walk quickly from one place to the next; every time I'd cool down and get comfortable it was out on the street again. It was so nice to step off a plane this morning and into 55 degrees. Oh, fall. ILU.
Fun stuff: Thursday night my sister and I went to the Shaun of the Dead Quote-Along at the Drafthouse, which was a-ma-zing. (Although we both would have chosen more and different quotes to highlight up on the screen.) We got little inflatable cricket bats to whap our neighbors with anytime there was a killing zombies scene, and the movie itself is obviously so much fun; it's always great to watch things like that with a bunch of other fans. There's just such a fun energy that goes along with it, that you don't usually get at the movies. Friday night the festival put on a pitch competition. I didn't sign up myself, but watching it was entertaining and also useful. Three executives/producers were the judges, and after each pitch would offer up their critique. Knowing what kinds of things they wanted to hear in a pitch will hopefully come in handy one day. And it was very exciting when my favorite pitch ended up winning; that never happens!
Last night my sister and I went back to the Drafthouse, but for a regular screening this time. We'd thought about seeing Night of the Living Dead in Hecklevision (you text your MST3K-esque comments and they appear on screen), but we had to wake up at 4am this morning and that show wouldn't have let out till 11pm, and we're too old. So we went to a matinee of Paranormal Activity 2. I'm an enormous wuss as it is, and I'm particularly afraid of demon possession movies, but I managed to watch the worst parts through my fingers to such an extent that I didn't get as freaked this time as I did watching the first one. Good movie, but there was definitely a Hollywood, bigger-budget gloss (including a few ill-advised CGI moments) that just made it less scary. Still, the Drafthouse is always a superb film-watching experience, and I was glad to finally share it with my sister, after years and years of going on and on about it.
Really tired, and looking forward to chilling and writing tomorrow. Speaking of writing, the whole weekend has just made me really jazzed about it. I know it won't last forever, but now I'm like, "I'm going to start that new spec, and start a revision of the first draft I wrote earlier this year, and my notes on Flesh and Blood were great and I'm ready to go back to the drawing table, and I want to write two TV specs, and maybe a pilot...I can get that all done in November!" So I'm hoping to sustain that energy as long as I can - it really would behoove me to try and do at least half of those things in the next three months, and I think if I really make a point of writing every single day, even if it's just for an hour, I can do it.
(Heh, I also totally wrote some fic this weekend. What else was I going to do on the plane?!)