For the second year in a row, I’m at South by Southwest, or as it’s commonly referred to by those who head to Austin every year, “South By.” I like to think I’m prepared for the onslaught of music, film and interactive knowledge that will be spread during these next few days, but I know better. Last year was fantastic, but it was tiring and exhausting too – all that mental stimulation can be overwhelming.
But then I remember that I heard Bruce Springsteen talk about his childhood steeped in music, saw Jay-Z perform Empire State of Mind at Austin City Limit and listened to Al Gore converse with Sean Parker about the future of social media’s impact on society. There were so many other magical moments of interaction that have me hooked on this annual shindig. So, here I am, back for all that and more.
Day One was spent familiarizing myself with all the important details that help make a festival run smoother – ie where one can find the nearest source of decent coffee and, for a more acceptable time of day, the best dispenser of sweet tea vodka.
Highlight from Day One was heading to the Paramount Theatre for the premiere of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, starring Steve Carrell, Jim Carrey and Olivia Wilde. It was a fun way to start the film part of the fest at one of my favourite venues here in Austin.
And then today, listening to the infectiously-enthusiastic Danny Boyle was inspiring, even for those non-filmmakers of us who were in the audience. The Oscar-winning director, who originally set out to be a priest, didn’t make his first feature Shallow Graveuntil he was 38. It was so interesting to hear how he goes about directing actors and working with music collaborators, particularly Rick Smith, one half of Underworld (who can resist getting lost in Born Trippy?). Rick has worked with Danny again now on his new movie, Trance, and we got to see a sneak preview of it. And it looks like another Boyle-inspired thrill ride!