I’d like to start off this blog entry with a story, because I think it’s a fitting illustration of what it’s like to work at Austin Film Festival and how it’s never quite what you expect.
The first time I visited Austin Film Festival was for my interview as an intern. I was fairly nervous because I hadn’t been interviewed for a job in something like three years. I spent the night before researching everything I could and spent the morning making sure I was dressed very professionally. I made it to the address they provided and noticed that it was simply a small green house in a neighborhood of other houses. I would have assumed I wrote the address incorrectly if it weren’t for the Austin Film Festival poster displayed in the window.
I parked my car and approached the house, psyching myself up for the interview. I wasn’t really sure what to expect inside. I imagined the house would be totally transformed with cubicles and computers and offices everywhere. However when I opened the door I found that the house looked exactly like a house, including a couch-filled living room and a fully stocked kitchen. The next thing I noticed was about ten people lying on the floor of the living room doing Pilates. Considering that everyone was wearing their workout clothes, I suddenly felt extremely overdressed. “Uh…” I said, since what else do you say when taken by surprise like this? One of the exercisers stood up. “Are you Harrison?” she asked. I replied in the affirmative and she said “I’m Maya. Walk around the screenplay competition director and follow me into my office.”
And that’s how the Austin Film Festival office works. It’s fun, it’s weird, and it’s always a little unpredictable.
I’ve only been a conference intern here for a few weeks now, and I’m still getting acquainted with its inner-workings. I feel like I have a different job every day, and while not all of them are glamorous (turns out transcribing a 75 minute panel takes a lot longer than 75 minutes), I’m always excited to do what I can to contribute to the big event this October.
Truth be told, I wasn’t that familiar with the festival before landing the internship, but the more I learn about it and the more I’m seeing this year’s festival come together, the more I realize that this is a freaking sweet event. Seriously, have you guys seen the panelists coming this year so far? These people are no slouches. Some of them have helped define my childhood by putting their words into my favorite characters’ mouths (one of them is a writer of Shrek, for God’s sake!). Others are currently redefining the pop culture landscape as we know it. I haven’t met any of the panelists yet, but some have already made me laugh (e.g. Danny Rubin, who wrote Groundhog Day and Etan Cohen, who wrote Tropic Thunder). Others have made me cry (e.g. Jenny Lumet who wrote the crushing Rachel Getting Married). Some of them have helped write or direct some of my favorite things ever put on film. I’m a giant Lost fan, and guess what? Lost co-creator, head writer and showrunner Damon Lindelof is attending! He also wrote Prometheus, which I can’t wait to see. And all of these people are coming to Austin, the coolest city in the world, at the same time! What!? How have I not heard of this sooner?
Whatever the reason, I’m glad I know about it now, and I’m glad I can consider myself part of the team working to make this festival happen. I’m really not sure what my job’s going to look like when October hits, or even tomorrow, but I’m excited to keep on working in this weird little green house that offers Pilates on Fridays.