06.24.13 | Barbara Morgan
Lawrence Kasdan and Gary David Goldberg at the 2001 Austin Film Festival Awards Luncheon
In 2001 we were graced with honoring Gary David Goldberg as our Distinguished Television Writer honoree. Spin City and Family Ties were iconic shows and having Gary at the Festival was something our registrants and staff couldn’t wait to experience. Gary ended up being so much more than a panelist and honoree that year. His awards luncheon speech was beyond inspirational and our expectations – when your honorees are all writers, great storytelling and wit are par for the course. Gary came to the event with heart and soul in addition to his pithy banter. When he got up to the podium at the Austin Club to accept the honor we were bestowing, he offered the audience an incredible gift. Gary spoke about his first years as a writer trying to work in New York and Los Angeles. He relayed his feelings of doubts and insecurities and thoughts of giving up while trying to break into the merciless world of film and television. His turning point, he shared, was finding someone who championed him and became a touchstone of encouragement on his journey. And finally, he offered the – audience chock full of hungry writers desperate for an opportunity to be recognized – his personal telephone number. He instructed everyone to write it down so that they would have someone to encourage them not to quit in those hours of solitude and doubt so common to our constituency. In 20 years of being inspired and impressed by those we are celebrating at the Austin Film Festival, Gary David Goldberg tops the list. He told us later that a few people did call him and he took those calls. He was a man who recognized good fortune was entwined with his talent and hard work and he was truly a mensch; the loss to the entertainment world is a dear one.