The leading assumption I had as a Senior preparing to graduate from Florida State University in 2015 was that I’d have a hell of a time finding a job I found both fulfilling and financially viable. This proved to be the understatement of the decade as May 2016 hit and I was 5 months into working odd jobs, and random gigs by way of my parents apartment. If fear and panic had a poster child at that point in time, it was yours truly. Such prospects pushed me into a position where I began considering internships more closely, and that’s how my relationship with Austin Film Festival began.
Fast forward a bit to the 2016 Austin Film Festival, and I think we’re only on Friday, Day 2 of 8 of the festival. I got assigned the enviable intern duty of lunch pickup from our good friends over at Chipotle. On this day I didn’t have a car to utilize, so one of my supervisors named Daniela gave me access to her late 90’s / early 00’s hatchback. Immediately upon entering the car parked in the middle of downtown Austin and reversing to begin the trek, smoke began to emit from the rear of the vehicle. Now, I’m no mechanic, but I don’t think that’s supposed to happen with cars. Internally from the driver’s seat, everything seemed fine and nothing out of place. “Welp, Daniela’s car is a bit strange. I should tell her to get it looked at once I get back,” I said.
Smoke emissions continued as I strolled down I35. I’m not kidding when I say strolling here, cars raced in front of me, drivers launched rude gestures and hand signs in my direction. The constant expression of “hey man, this isn’t my car” washed over me like a snug blanket. I hit Chipotle, collected the food, and made my way back to our downtown HQ. Upon rolling up in my vehicle I seemingly pulled straight from the clutches of hell itself, our festival IT guy Bill came out to help me move all the food inside. In utter shock and awe, “what the hell is with all this smoke,” he said. “It ain’t my car, man. I’m not sure,” I said. He proceeds to hop in the car, look around a bit, and begins to laugh hysterically, as I stood staring at him rather confused. Bill exits the car and puts a hand on my shoulder, “you still had the handbrake on,” he said. We enjoyed a deep long laugh at that point, tiredness and hysterics wrapped in madness. The laughter lasted for a moment, until Daniela walked out through the HQ doors. Shock and awe overcame her face as well, then a wry smile began to take over before she launched herself at me arms wide open for a hug. “You almost fucked up my car, but I’m glad you’re okay,” she said chuckling before squeezing just a little tighter. It was at that moment, I felt like I may have found a home, as a failure, intern, or otherwise, in the heart of Texas.