I’m Olivia Riordan, a Conference intern here at AFF, working to bring you, the beloved attendee, a weekend to remember. Let’s take a journey, guys. A journey to a magical place and time where I can simultaneously be in two places at once, and attending the Conference while working it is an actual possibility. I bring to you, Olivia’s Dream Panel Track, dreamt and fantasized by yours truly. The good news is that while I can’t be at these panels, you can! This definitely is a track for those interested in getting a little bit of everything, and the common theme is indecision. There are a few panels I truly could not choose between; you’ve got some tough choices to make. Attend these panels and live the dream, fam.
Thursday, October 13th
– 11:30 AM: Opening Remarks: Start the festival off right with AFF staff and board members to learn more about what this week has in store.
– 1:00 PM: An Indie Special: A Conversation with Jeff Nichols: Right off the bat this choice is a no-brainer for me. As a large fan of his work from Take Shelter to the festival’s opening film Loving, I can’t help but want to attend this panel as he discusses his indie ingenuity. (Although first-timers should seriously consider attending the How to Work the Conference panel to get some advice on how to maximize your weekend!)
– 2:45 PM: No One Understands My Work! How to Give and Take Constructive Feedback: Criticism one of the best tools to refine your story, and learning how to give constructive feedback is a must. This is a panel I would want to attend to hone those skills and figure out the best ways to get honest, beneficial critiques in order to take my writing to the next level.
Friday, October 14th
– 9:00 AM: To Speak or Not to Speak: Dialogue or Showrunners: The Big Picture for the Small Screen: This timeslot was a true tie for me. On one hand, there’s the opportunity to hear from some of the minds behind House of Cards, The Revenant, and Big Love. This is a great panel to catch to learn the ins and outs of crafting dialogue, and find out if less really is more (spoiler: it usually is). On the other hand, the chance to hear from the gentlemen who’ve worked on some of my favorites like How I Met Your Mother, Orange is the New Black, Everybody Loves Raymond, and The X-Files, is hard to pass up. Make your choice and take a seat, you can’t go wrong with either.
– 10:45 AM: Based on a True Story or Live from New York: It’s Saturday Night Live Writers: Another tie for me. The aspiring documentarian in me is battling with the die-hard SNL fan, and there’s no clear victor. Either a panel with creatives like Scott Alexander (The People vs. O.J. Simpson) on what storytelling looks like with an existing narrative or a chance to have your sides split by SNL veterans. It’s a tough choice, but luckily I don’t have to make it, you do, good luck! (Also seriously consider attending A Triple Threat: A Conversation with Jason Segel – another super favorite of mine)
– 1:30 PM: The One I Love: A Case Study on Relationships: In my dream world, where attending panels is a reality, I would jump at this chance to hear from the collaborators behind The One I Love about the nuances of character relationships, and the process of bringing this mind-bending indie to life.
– 3:15 PM: The Creative Career: Practical Tips for Starting Out: This one’s for me and all my aspiring writers out there who’re looking for tips on how to start making your way in this industry, common mistakes to avoid, and what it looks like to be involved with the Writers Guild.
Saturday, October 15th
– 9:00 AM: Morning Improv: Okay, you have a few days under your belt, you’re a little tired, feet dragging a bit. Time to shake things up with a little morning improv. This is a fun way to get the blood pumping, the mind racing, and loosen up for the full day ahead!
– 10:45 AM: Indie Film Track: Storytelling through Documentaries: A true gem of an opportunity to get some insight into the ins and outs of the storytelling skills needed to create a documentary. It’s a chance to hear from some real pros about what the doc process looks like from idea to script to screen, and the unique obstacles and opportunities that process presents.
– 12:30 PM: Sporting the Screenplay: A panel packed with sports screenplay superstars that’s sure to live up to the hype, this is a great opportunity to hear from the folks behind out of the park movies like Rudy, The Blind Side, and Creed.
– 2:45 PM: The Queens of Comedy: I’m so excited about this panel of literal comedy QUEENS, it’s not an exaggeration. These are the ladies who’ve helped bring to life some of my very favorites including 30 Rock, New Girl, and Saturday Night Live. Maybe after this panel even I can be funny.
– 4:30 PM: Indie Film Track: The Actor/Director Relationship: Have questions about on-set relationships? This is a great chance to talk with directors and actors who’ve successfully worked together to bring their stories to fruition and find out what makes for effective teamwork.
Sunday, October 16th
– 11:30 AM: Space Out of Time: Expanding the Page for VR: With the increasing use of VR, the art of storytelling is expanding. This is an exciting panel discussing the possibilities of where VR can take your story and how to adapt to this new medium.
– 1:15 PM: How to be an Ally: Audiences are calling for increasingly inclusive work, and this is a chance to hear panelists have an honest chat about what that looks like. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from storytellers who’ve successfully added diversity to the film and television scene on how to create stories with more characters that represent the audiences who watch them.
– 3:00 PM: Black to the Future: Closing Remarks with Shane Black: Finish out your weekend with a few last words from the one, the only, Shane Black. We’re going out with a bang, folks.
You made it to the end of the weekend, with connections, skills, and memories to last a lifetime, and you’re just getting started. Take these experiences and go forth to enjoy the rest of the festival. If I’ve learned one thing in the making of this schedule, it’s this: I’ve never wished more that I could be in 5 places at once.