Brittany Falk here, I am the Executive Assistant/Executive Admin here at Austin Film Festival. What does that entail exactly? Well, I handle all CC’s, process AP and AR, I help process our insurance for the staff and festival, I take the dogs out, you get it, right? I am a jack of all trades type. Typically, I stay behind the scenes here at AFF, but today I will be sharing with you one of my all-time favorite festival memories… back in 2018, when I was still working as the Development Events Coordinator I was tasked with putting together our annual Film Texas BBQ supper.
Now, the lead up to this event was a breeze. Lock the venue, lock the BBQ, rent the equipment, etc. But little did I know, the day of the event would be one of the most rewarding/stressful days of my life. Realizing this party typically hosts 1,000 people I arrived at the outdoor venue promptly at 11am to begin set up. When I arrived, I expected to see the rental company setting things up. Not the case. They had not yet arrived, and I was feeling extremely anxious… How in the world am I and a small team of volunteers and interns supposed to set up this big a** party for 1,000 people in less than 4 hours??? Finally, the rental folks arrive at 12pm. “Hey, so you guys are going to set the tables and chairs, right?” “No, we just set the tent and you guys do the rest” Gotcha. Brittany proceeds into full panic mode. At this point, I am running around like a mad woman “chairs go here, tables go here, bar over here” Mind you, this WAS my first rodeo. I had assisted with events at AFF the year prior as an intern, but nothing of this scale. So needless to stay, mama needed a drink, but I digress….
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed, and hot, so hot… it was a scorcher that day. The event was set and ready for attendees. Finally, as the party started folks began to file in and fill the space, to the point of enforcing the one in, one out rule. As I walked through the droves of people in my disheveled festival outfit picking up empty Stella Artois cans, I felt an overwhelming feeling of pride and joy. This dang party was the most majestic thing I had ever seen! Even though there was still quite a lot of work to do after the event, it felt like we had fully succeeded. The team of interns and volunteers that assisted me that day were actual beasts. The set up and breakdown process, although long and arduous, was 10x better because of them.
The joy of putting something together from nothing and watching it grow into this massive party was so incredible. Weirdly enough, it felt almost like my own personal wedding … I think most, if not all people working in the event industry continue working large scale events because of this feeling. That must be my all-time favorite festival memory.