Over the last ten years, each October means a trip to Austin for the Austin Film Festival, the no-bullshit best screenwriting conference in the world.
What makes it great? For one thing, it’s the style of the conference: laid back yet well organized. Topics are based on what participants actually care about and the list of screenwriters looks like someone stole Warner Brother’s secret rolodex. Best of all is an atmosphere that doesn’t allow for any of the typical Hollywood crap.
Over the years at AFF we’ve met: [Ted] Elliott & [Terry] Rossio, Shane Black, John August, John Lee Hancock, Randall Wallace, Robert Rodriguez, Craig Mazin, Rita Hsiao, [Jon] Lucas & [Scott] Moore, Matt Olmstead, Jessica Bendinger, Nancy Pimental, Jeff Lowell, [Phil] Hay & [Matt] Manfredi, the Weitz Brothers [Paul & Chris]… and the list goes on and on. And that’s just the screenwriters who attend… there are a host of huge executives and producers and agents who come in each year to talk about the craft as well.
There is a genuine love of the writing process in Austin, probably because Austin is such a great music town where the writer is still king! And here’s the kicker: everyone is excited to be there. We’ve always called it a spring break for writers… a week long party where all the participants and the speakers mingle all night long, talking movies.
We can’t recommend it enough. Look for us late at night at the Driskill… we’ll be the ones on the deck, smoking cigars, drinking whiskey, telling lies and maybe a few truths about screenwriting. Come pull up a chair…
Michael Brandt and Derek Haas
Screenwriters of THE DOUBLE ‘11 (Brandt’s directorial debut!), WANTED, 3:10 TO YUMA, 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS
Derek Haas is also the author of the bestselling novels The Silver Bear and Columbus