With writing, there’s always something to learn…that’s one of my favorite parts of the job. Last year, I went to the Austin Film Festival with the goal of learning how to write a screenplay. This year, I went with the goal of figuring out what to do with the screenplays after I write them. I got to practice some pitching and realized my public speaking is a bit rusty…it was pretty apparent at times when I would tallk with some people and ramble on and on jumping from subject to subject every couple sentences (I need to take some theater classes or find a local Toastmasters group to get a little more comfortable with speaking again–use it or lose it). I did receive lots of great advice from too many people to list. It seemed like most of the people in attendance were more than happy to help out the newer writers, and that made things a lot of fun. Now, I need to take that advice and put it to good use.

Highlights from the AFF:

… Getting a chance one night to chat with Shane Black (writer of the Lethal Weapon series) and Sean Bridges (an Austin-area screenwriter)
… The Up-Close-And-Personal panel with Bryan Singer (Usual Suspects, X-Men, X2 director)
… Hanging out at the Driskill Bar with Kyle, Trace, Diana, Cathy and Victor
… Chatting briefly with Ted Elliot (writer for Shrek and Pirates of the Carribean)
… Meeting Renee O’Connor, Helena Beaven, and Dawn Higginbotham, who are working on their new movie, Diamonds and Guns
… Meeting lots of other second-rounders as well as semifinalists and finalists from the screenwriting competition
… Having a producer ask me to send them something

And the other side of the fence:

… Seeing Bryan Singer get mobbed by tons of people even when he was trying to leave to go somewhere else (and just walking away without getting a chance to talk to him…didn’t want to add to the mobbage)
… Sobering up for that long drive home after hanging out at the Driskill Bar
… Not having a non-comedy screenplay to send to that producer