Flying out tomorrow at an ungodly time to Austin, Texas, to attend the 2011 Austin Film Festival and Screenwriting conference. I've got my Producer's Badge, which gets me into almost all the conferences and all the good parties.
I was there two years ago, under very different circumstances: John and I were finalists in the screenwriting competition. We eventually won our category, and to this day the Bronze Typewriter award sits on my mantlepiece (John said he had more than enough awards jamming up his office, and it's true).
After the win came a small avalanche of requests from producers and development shingles to read the winning manuscript, and a few days of pitch meetings in LA. But in the end all I can report has happened with The Sensitivity Program (the winning script) is several revisions and it's current option held by a Bay Area production company.
So as you can imagine, this time out it's not going to be the non-stop demi-celebrity experience we had in 2009 (Ron Howard congratulated us!). John's going to be there, but he's staying in a condo across from the Driskill Hotel (AFF's ground zero) with some buddies he met at The Film School in Seattle so he's sort of doing his own thing. I'm crashing at my bud David's place in South Austin, where I can admire the four Grammy awards on his piano and feel humble.
I was quite excited about the AFF when I got the badge-- last-minute thing that depended on some last-minute money coming in. But now I'm set to go, and I can't help think it's gonna be a big disappointment compared to 2009. When you think about it, how can it not be?
Still, some fun should be be had. I have access to a pick-up truck, which should open up the whole Austin experience considerably. Also, James Franco and Johnny Depp and Mike Judge and a bunch of famous screenwriters and inebriated not-so-famous screenwriters will be there, so how can it not be fun?