(Howay! nestled amongst its sibling shorts)
Austin! A land of breakfast tacos. A city where you can walk into a bar and order an Adios MF*&£er, regardless of enrolment status. A desert for vegan food. But most of all, a hub for all of the smartest, story-lovin' writers in Hollywood to retreat to in the LA Fall. Wyatt and I had a blast at Austin, and we're still recovering from the marathon of networking, screenings, and planning that went down.
Howay! was received well in the Lone Star State, which speaks both to the universality of the relationship Alan and his father share, and also the pleasure we take in submerging into a world that seems to resemble a parallel universe of our own. There is nothing quite like screening your own film in a cinema, to an audience, and tasting the energy of the film, different each time, like the most tangible memory you've ever stored away for safekeeping.
We learned a lot from Austin. Being surrounded by so many filmmakers, and seeing the excitement of people going out for a night of cinema, is inspirational in itself. The furious conference of the first four days gave us our deepest glimpse yet into the politics and passions of Hollywood. There were stories of outrage - people being swindled and demeaned in the most callous fashion. But there were most often stories of struggle and triumph, of careers that had taken decades to blossom, and of collaborations that had weathered the storms of budgets and producer notes. But regardless of the anecdote, there was always one key thread that tied every story together:
Human relationships are the single most important aspect of filmmaking.
No matter who you are, no matter the power, or the privilege, or lack thereof - this is a business of friendships. Network is so, so important. No one is successful for longer than one project, until the next one comes along: so call up your film idols. Buy them coffee, learn how they made it. Keep your friends close, and share favours. It all comes back around in our world. Most of all, learn how to listen, how to take and give feedback. Film is ultimately collaborative, and if you can't take or give a note, even if it's offensive or completely off-base... you're going to be knocking on some new doors. Until the next festival, folks <3