Monday, October 24, 2011

Day Four: AFF

This day was all sorts of crazy because I was tired, and my dad was in town to visit. However, I did manage to catch some of "On the Level" with Donald Todd and Pamela Ribon, and now I have been watching Samantha Who? on Netflix when I was "supposed" to be watching Arrested Development again.

This panel was great for explaining what all the people running around at the Private Practice office actually do... I could just ask them when I'm at my internship, but instead I interned at AFF forever and read a million scripts to get a badge to fly in from Los Angeles just to hear about it in a panel.

Then, the rest of my day was soccer, friends, dad, soccer, soccer, dad, airport to pick someone up, dad, Whataburger, airport to go back to Los Angeles. Although, let me say that flying back to LAX is so glamorous and my new favorite thing...

At the airport and on the plane I saw, whom most I saw at the Festival, but it is still more glamorous at an airport - Terry Rossio, Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Pamela Ribon, I'm pretty sure Nicholas Kazan, and I'm definitely sure of PAULA DEAN. Who was in town for the book festival, and who was wearing glasses and a baseball cap. But that wasn't fooling anyone because she was talking... y'all.

And then the cops boarded our plane at the end for something to do with a guy in green flannel. And I've been trying to Google it all day, but because TSA let a loaded handgun go through baggage check at LAX, it seems like our little run-in isn't glamorous enough. Also, I got on the wrong bus and ended up at the metro station, where I'm writing from right now. Someone come get me please...

J to the K, to the one person who actually reads this stuff, don't come get me at the metro station.

Also, to the one person who actually reads this, thanks. I hope you also had a fantastic AFF 2011. Can't wait for next year!!!!!

Day Three: AFF "My Day with Hart Hanson"

Calling Day Three "My Day with Hart Hanson" sounds so creepy, especially considering I never actually spoke to the guy. No, wait, I blurted out one question that made very little sense and then spent the whole answer not making eye contact.

Again, full disclosure, I'm a huge Bones fan, and a lot of the information I learned won't matter unless you, too, are a huge fan. BUT IT MATTERS TO ME, OKAY?

First panel: "A Conversation with 2011 Outstanding Television Writer Awardee Hart Hanson"

I really don't even know what to say about this, other than I loved it. Rob Thomas (not from MatchboxTwenty) was moderating, and he had hired Hart back in the day, so they were total bff's. And David Boreanaz was just sitting there in the front row like a normal person. And all these fans were there just loving it.

I did learn that it is awesome to be a showrunner because you get to rewrite everyone else, and no one gets to rewrite your stuff. Life's hard, you know. Also, Hart Hanson has anxiety dreams about being an actor at a network casting session for a series. Who doesn't?

Second panel: "Hart Hanson and Kathy Reichs: The Collaboration Process"

To those who don't know, Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist, writes these novels about Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist. And then Bones took the character and Kathy's real life to create Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist, who writes novels about Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist. I'm glad we're all up to speed.

This panel was pretty great in explaining the adaptation and development process for a television show based on outside material. In this case, Kathy was and still is involved heavily with the show - she even ended up writing an episode in the fifth season. Hart says that is why their show was voted the most scientifically accurate of the forensics procedurals, only at 70%, mind you. So, basically, we all learned that you cannot trust what you see on TV.


I was in the very back of the room, eating between a vegetarian and former cop who I didn't know, and my view of the screen was blocked my a giant column. Overall, it was amazing. I got to see the screenplay winners receive their awards, which is a nice little payoff from logging their scripts + 5000 others for months and months. I saw Hart, again, and Emily Deschanel's face on screen, plus David Boreanaz's face, again. Then, it went something like this... Johnny Depp gave an award to Caroline Thompson. Terry Tossio gave an award to Johnny Depp. Michael Arndt gave an award to John Lasseter. And on my walk back to the Driskill I met Martin Starr.

Panel Three: "In the TV Writers' Room" with Noah Hawley, Sterling Anderson, and Nancy Pimental

This panel was fantastic, and they gave plenty of advice - Write fast, and be good at delivering great first drafts. Write in your boss's voice. Keep your writing tight, and cut the fat. Don't be fucking insane. According to these folks, do all of this, and you'll keep your job!

TV break: BONES

They showed the episode were the Gravedigger gets her head blown off, and then David Boreanaz and Hart Hanson were there. And then they were mobbed at the end of the panel, so I went and talked to David Boreanaz, Sr. instead. He's a famous weather man, you know.

Then I went to the Day of the Dead mini-festival on sixth, and stayed out too late, again. Hence, no writing.

Day Two: AFF

Yes, it is now Monday, but I am going to backlog my experiences for all of you anyway. It's not my fault I didn't have internet for two days... although that's not really what happened. Honestly, I was just out super late at night, "networking," and was too tired to write properly upon returning home in the early morning hours.

Anyway, my Day Two was pretty solid. It started with "Comedy - The Hardest Genre?"with Alec Berg, Craig Mazin, and David Garrett. In terms of answering the question posited by the title of the panel, all the guys agreed, that, yes comedy is the hardest genre. It's the same thing as drama, but with the added element of making people laugh, which apparently is a hard thing to do. Ummm, hello, I do it every day, here's my card gentlemen. But to all you people who aren't as talented and as special as me, here is some advice from the panelists -

1. Comedy is at its best when it takes people's expectations and plays with it, flips, reverses it, whatever.
2. In a scene, both characters should not be funny, one can be funny, but what is really funny is what is happening between these two characters. For all you Seinfeld fans out there, Berg said that Seinfeld was okay with being the unfunny one. He knew that it would make the show funnier... BOOM mindstatusblown.
3. They all agreed that you can and should joke about anything and everything because everything has the potential to be funny, no matter how serious.
4. Finally, the life of a comedy writer can be described as this - "Even the bacon of success is wrapped in failure," at least according to Craig.

We also learned from Mr. Mazin that Charlie Sheen had kooky theories about 9/11, big surprise.

Instead of going to another panel, I went to the Script Library (the equivalent of some hip, underground, indie music club here at AFF), which is located in the Cloak Room at the Stephen F. (a great name for a hip, underground, indie music club). ANYWAY, I read all of the sitcom spec finalist scripts. Let me say, there is some good writing coming through this Festival. There are also free pens, water, and mints in there, so take advantage.

Then, I went to a panel called "Breaking into the Business: Julie Howe and Joyce San Pedro." I mostly went because Matt was moderating, and he's blind and it's funny to watch him pretend like he can actually see what's going on in front of him... but also because Julie's script, Jasper Milliken, is crazy good. Julie and Joyce were both great and very candid -

"Orphans are really funny." - Julie

Then, I just camped out in that room for "Agents and Managers" with Rebecca Ewing, Justin Manask, and Gayla Nethercott. Ugh, this one was depressing because it sounds almost completely impossible to get an agent or a manager, but they all had the same advice - don't be creepy. If that's what it takes, then I am ruined.

After this I went to the BBQ, saw A Swingin' Trio and Freakdance, went to dirrrrrrrty sixth, and fell asleep at 4:30 in the morning. THIS was the day that began setting me back on posts. Clearly.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day One: AFF

Hey y'all,

Yea, I'm back in Texas and my accent is already through the roof! I'm also back at the Austin Film Festival and super happy to be here.

The day started with opening remarks. There were definitely all kinds of remarks. On top of that, Shane Black and Lawrence "Larry" Kasdan were there with some bits of advice.

"The writing life is sad and lonely." - Mr. Black

"Enjoy the ecstasy!" - Mr. Kasdan

Those weren't taken out of context at all. I swear.

The first panel I went to was "A Conversation with Alec Berg," and let me say, it was one of the best conversations I have ever had. The guy is incredibly funny, well-spoken, and honest. Also, he name drops Jerry (Seinfeld) and Larry (David) like it ain't no thing. Let me tell you, Mr. Berg, it is a very big thing, and knowing "Jerry & Larry" is a tremendous accomplishment.

Some of his best advice was this - the funniest things are the things that happen in real life that make us feel weird and uncomfortable. A ton of Seinfeld and Curb episodes were based off of things that happened to the writers. So, all you comedy writers out there, pay attention to your own life. Okay, thanks. It was also very interesting to learn exactly what goes into make an episode of Curb: 1. they only outline episodes, never writing dialogue because Larry knows best and 2. Larry knows best. There you have it, folks. You want to write a super successful television show, just hire Larry David.

The second and final panel of my day was "Breaking into the Business with Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson." They are writing partners, and totally dating, like omg, for real? It was great to hear about their writing process as collaborators, but then they reminded everyone that, when you write with someone else, you have to share the money. Psssh. Their advice was target agents' assistants (as they will be the big wigs in charge some day), have a lot of original material to show for yourself, and write for Netflix because they have a ton of money and no programming. Go out and do that and break in to the business, and then call me up and give me a job.

Looking forward to Day Two,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Austin Film Festival 2011

Who's excited for the Austin Film Festival this year?

I can't hear you... through the internet... obviously, but I know you're out there screaming at your computer and dancing around like Bill Cosby. Just me? Moving on.

First and foremost, know that I am a television person. I know it is called the Austin Film Festival, but there is plenty of amazing TV stuff going down in 2011. Even if you're more of a film buff, there's an easy way to get the best of both worlds this year.

Here's the trick: SATURDAY is TV day!

So, wake up bright and early. Catch some morning cartoons and finish your bowl of Fruit Loops. Change out of your onesie pajamas into more age-appropriate attire (or don't, I'm not your mom), and get yourself down to the Driskill to start your "Day of Television Amazing-ness!"

9am @ The Driskill - A Conversation with Hart Hanson... Full disclosure: Bones is my favorite television show - so, I might die during or immediately following this panel, but that doesn't mean your day has to end.

1045am @ St. David's - Roundtable: Television... I don't think AFF could possibly namedrop any more than they do in this panel (cough Alec Berg, Kyle Killen, Donald Todd, Pamela Ribon cough). So, be sure to sign up for this at registration.


1045am @ The Driskill - Hart Hanson and Kathy Reichs: The Collaboration Process... Running these two panels simultaneously is the cruelest trick AFF played on me this year. I'll forgive them because I know both will be great.

1215pm @ The Austin Club - Awards Luncheon... You need a ticket for this shindig, but Hart Hanson and David Boreanaz will be there. So, yes, I have mine. If you didn't get one, never fear, there's more to come!

215pm @ The Driskill - In The TV Writers' Room*... I've emptied trash cans in a writers' room before, and, let me say, it's pretty magical. Oh, this is a panel where Noah Hawley, Sterling Anderson, and Nancy Pimental talk about television writing staffs? Yea, I guess that's cool too.

315pm @ Austin Convention Center - Bob's Burgers*... You get to watch a very funny show and then listen to a panel with the show's very funny creators. It's like having two birthdays in one, minus the creepy clown.

345pm @ The Driskill - Showrunners*... Wait, another panel with showrunners? Are you kidding me right now, AFF?

* Please note that these three panels overlap a bit. So, you get to pick between ridiculously amazing, hilariously amazing, and incredibly amazing. No pressure.

515pm @ Austin Convention Center - Bones... I'll be the girl in the front row having a private quote-along with myself. Unless they screen the Season 7 premiere, in which case, I'll be the girl in the front row dancing like Cosby, again.

730pm @ Austin Convention Center - Awake... I have only heard amazing things about this pilot, like, amazing things. Plus, Kyle Killen is a great friend to Austin and the Festival, so, go show him some love... in a completely normal, comfortable, respecting-his-personal-space sort of way. Please.

That's your Saturday, folks, a "Day of Television Amazing-ness!" If you've got one of them fancy badges, let's meet up at the Conference Wrap Party, compare onesies, and call it a day.

Oh, right, there's also three more days of panels and about a million amazing movies to watch (give or take).

Seriously, winning. Winning big time this year, AFF.

- Barbara

I'll be updating this blog and doing some tweeting throughout the Festival. Follow me, @babsamiga, and I'll try not to overdo it. I'll try really hard.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Website, y'all

I put up my website yesterday -

Sorry if you missed the launch party. ALL the famous people were there.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Road Trip Movie!

So, here it is, finally - my trip from the great state of Texas to Los Angeles. This is some of the poorest footage I have ever seen, shot, edited, etc. Soccer moms shoot better than this, well maybe not my mom, but anyway.*

It was pretty crazy going back through this footage about two months after the fact. One, we shot a lot of crap. Two, I am now familiar with the parts of Los Angeles that we shot. Finally, all anticipation and excitement around my apartment has since dissolved into the smoggy air that accompanies me to work every day. Although not today because the sun was shining and the weather was beautiful and life is wonderful and Texas is still better.

Anyway, thanks to Allison for capturing most of these glorious shots. Please contact me if you need B-roll of any of the following: road signs, roads, grass, rocks, water towers, sky, giant babies (oh yea, we've really got them).

A side note, that has to do with my time here in LA but nothing to do with my trip out here - I met Dr. Beardface yesterday at Ralph's... yes, the same Ralph's from my last post. If you do not know who Dr. Beardface is, go out and watch every episode of Scrubs. All of them. Right now.

Alright, watch the video. Thanks, bye.

* Sorry, mom!