Whew I am finally back from a long week down in beautiful Austin, Texas. The weather there was perfect and I stepped off the plane into 25 degree Cleveland weather this morning. Brr. Overall the trip was great. We made lots of contacts, rid ourselves of about 700 posters, about 1000 flyers and another 1000 business cards. Here’s a quick rundown of each day as I can remember:
Monday we arrived in Texas at around 3 something PM. Our flight was delayed for almost two hours and we had to fly around a storm which extended our flight about 2 more hours. And by the time we found our hotel and grabbed lunch at the Iron Cactus, badge registration for SXSW was already over. So we just drove downtown later that night in our rental car and explored the territory.
Tuesday we arrived at the Convention Center at around 10 AM and picked up our $900 Platinum Badges that Bill and I each preordered beforhand. That stuff is expensive, but we were planning on hitting up every Trade Show and needed access to everything to get the most out of our trip.
We sat in on a few panels featuring some people blabbing about the internet’s future and some new ways of digital advertising. It was all interesting, but we were really just looking to meet people we could potentially do work for. In one panel, we met a cool guy who does websites for Honda and other notable clients. I made a comment in the Q&A about viral videos and the Bittorrent Song and people dug the question. I had a few people come up to me afterwards and tell me that. Weird haha, but we got to chit chat and exchange biz cards and all that fun stuff.
We made our way around the Trade Show for Film and Interactive and met a lot of other business who, really in all honesty were not looking for design firms like us to come to them. They were other companies offering services to the filmmakers just like we were trying to do. So needless to say, we didn’t really accomplish much there. We handed out cards and flyers to lots of people, but we’ll be lucky if anyone calls us.
We also spent a lot of time sticking up posters all over 5th and 6th street. The two main hostspots for SXSW. After a few posters, we were greeted by a cop telling us we weren’t allowed to put posters or flyers up. Well, every single lightpost was covered in a mass of flyers anyway, but this cop decided that we would crack down on Go Media this time. Lame. But he was really laid back and didn’t assault us or anything.
We posted flyers and hung posters all over the place inside the convention center though. We saw quite a few people picking up the posters from a stack we laid out and grabbing postcards. It was really a hot item. We saw lots of people with our poster walking around.
Later that night was the SXSW Film Awards. We were planning on seeing some films and needed to know which ones to see. We watched the awards, listened to thank yous and clapped our hands for awhile. And then chatted with some award winners and we gave out flyers and postcards to our new friends.
Later that night was the Award Show After Party. We showed up about 2 hours into the party. And we found Alison Sie, the lead actress we had talked to from the Awards Show. Her film Americanese won for best Narrative Feature with an honor in Ensemble Performance and also an Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. We talked for a while and really hit it off well. She introduced us to Eun-hee Cho who directed the South Korean film Inner Circle Line which won an award for Best Narrative feature with an honor in Visual Achievement.
We all chatted like friends and they all were really nice and cool. Hopefully we can do some work for these amazing filmmakers.
We checked out the films Americanese and Doug Pray’s Infamy. Americanese was a beautifully filmed love story about an Asian Man and an American Asian woman. They were together but seperated and were having a hard time letting go and had to endure the tempations and agony of other lovers while still being attached to eachother. It was really a fine piece of work.
Infamy was probably my favorite film of the festival. Doug Pray was probably most remembered by his documentary Scratch about hip hop DJ’s and turntablism. And this one was all about graffiti artists. The music was awesome and the editing and pace of the film totally seemed to fit the style of graffiti itself and took you into their world. The 7 characters were really something to remember. We talked with the Producer and also with Doug about possibly revamping their current website. They seemed to really dig what we could do. So we are stoked about that and hopefully we can work for their film.
We were supposed to see a screening of Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly but we were unable to make it in time to get in. I heard he was supposed to be there, but I later found out he never came. Oh well. So we headed back to the Convention Center to catch the Beastie Boys for an audience Q&A. They pretty much joked their way through answering questions and it was pretty much a waste of time. They also were rumored to have played a “secret show” that night at the Fox and Houd. We missed it though, bummer.
That night we headed over to Antone’s to watch K-OS, one of my favorite Hip Hop acts. We got there in time to see Beth Orton, a reccomendation by Bill and she was pretty good. A Sheryl Crow type singer. K-OS finally went on about 1AM after multiple delays in setting up. The band really was great, but the frontman really “phoned in his performace” as Bill said. He wasn’t with it at all. Didn’t care and was a bit rude to the crowd. And I was dissapointed, no bboy battles broke out except for a small little circle with two dudes rockin it. But nothing special.
By Thursday we were really exhausted. Our legs were killing us. We were walking pretty much non stop every day for hours. And when we weren’t walking, we were standing and talking or watching a show. We hit up the Music Trade Show and talked with our good friends and partners at Jakprints. They had posters of ours they were giving away as well. Such cool guys they are.
We made our way around a bit talking it up with some neat companies. Making some new friends and contacts. But we only got about a third of the way through it before it closed for the day. We heard Lady Sovereign (a favorite of Bill’s) was performing at 7:30 PM and we hiked it across town to a venue called The Victory Grill. It was basically a hole in the wall and really hot and cramped inside. I was supposed to be at Maggie Mae’s at 8:00 PM to catch MC Lars whom I had ran into the day before at the Convention Center. I didn’t want to dissapoint him by not showing up. So I had to leave before Lady Sovereign got to play.
After the Lars show, Bill called me from the Victory Grill and told me that Lady Sovereign never got to come out due the entire time he was there due to audio problems. He was pretty pissed as were lots of others. Lars was cool, he’s gonna send me that CD Single I designed for him that he’s selling in the UK. He had a good turnout for his show which featured just him selecting songs on his laptop and rocking out to them.
We had to catch a cab over to the Dobie to see the film Inner Circle Line. It was a very etherial visual experience. It was about love, loss, tradgedy, etc. It was pretty stylistic and at times felt drawn out and overly arty. But that was the way it was meant to be. The dialogue between characters was sparse and was not natural. There were really long pauses between natural responses, but that was by design. Lots of props to Miss Cho for her directorial debut film. She deserved her award.
Our last day at SXSW. We hit up the rest of the Music Trade Show and made some good contacts. Nothing too notable though. Just some other businesses we could potentially work with. And we also checked out Flatstock and saw some really awesome and inspirational poster art. We posted the last bit of our flyers and posters everywhere we could, even though our legs and feet were throbbing and sore. We didn’t see any films today but we saw a few cool shows. The Loved Ones played a good set at Redrum and one of my favorites Tilly and the Wall played a great show at Latitude 30. The crowd was insane and it was quite an experience. We had the famous Hoeck Pizza aka “Death Metal Pizza” and at Stubbs BBQ. All great food.
All in all we were greatly impressed with the entire city of Austin. I would love to go again another time. But for now, I need to take a breather and relax this weekend. I am totally beat and am happy to be back home with Kim. She missed me so much and we talked every night while I was there. We had one really bad cab driver who was practically falling asleep a the wheel and we had to remind him numerous times where to go. He was so weird! And we made a lot of new friends and this experience is something I’ll never forget. I took pics, but not as many as I would have liked. It’s too inconvenient. Check out the pictures here.