Back from SXSW: A Few Lessons Learned

Ava Duvernay Keynote SXSW

Hi everyone, it’s Lis – you know, the Jpixx producer walking around staging areas constantly checking her watch. I’m back from South by Southwest (SXSW) and thought I’d share all the little tidbits I picked up during my first visit to Austin.

  1. Bring business cards. It sounds like a no brainer but there were a few attendees who hadn’t brought theirs. Our Jpixx business cards are specially designed with a scene from one of our productions, offering up great conversation starters about what we do.
  2. Don’t be afraid to leave a session. It’s well known in New York that if a subway car is empty, it’s empty for a reason. The same generally applied to sessions I attended – whether they’re dry or irrelevant to your interests, don’t be afraid to duck out. There’s always another session going on somewhere else!
    Boyhood Post Production Panel

    This was something you didn’t want to leave. Boyhood Post Production Panel!!

     

  3. Keep an eye on your belongings. Oh the irony that I’d have my wallet stolen in friendly Austin and not while abroad or living in NYC. Loss of credit cards aside, it was being ID-less that got me in the most trouble.
  4. Attend the parties. Everyone is running around so much at SXSW that the best time to truly get to know someone is at the parties. Sign up for as many as you can on Eventbrite and other platforms to make sure you can get in. And always bring an ID – kind of puts a damper on things when you don’t have one (see #3).
  5. Visit the lounges. This is another great place to meet new people! We visited the filmmakers lounge several times where, not only did Jon receive a massage, but we also met several people in the industry over drinks.Massage Chair Filmmaker
  6. Wear comfy shoes. Not shoes that you bought two days before thinking they’d be comfy but really need breaking in. comfy. shoes. It’s a lot of walking and you don’t want to scare the girl giving you a pedicure when you get home.
  7. Make a plan of attack for each day. Each morning I’d take about a half hour at breakfast to go through the sessions I’d starred in the SXSW Go app and write down an hour-by-hour schedule, including the parties and films to end each night. It was such a relief for this Type A personality to know what I’d be doing at any time.
  8. Talk to people everywhere you go. Attend mentor sessions with people who are advanced in your field. Bring business cards to your hotel/hostel breakfast. Ask the guy beside you in line what part of the film industry he’s in. It’s truly amazing where you’ll find those gems. Networking at SXSW
  9. Get a hotel. This advice is debatable but I would strongly advise against getting a hostel. The cost really isn’t that different after the taxes and fees are tacked on, and the Capital Metro transportation is pretty reliable. Imagine waking up in a nice luxurious bed with your own bathroom. Now picture waking up in a bunkbed with three other guys in the room. Yep. I did get a great haircut from an awesome San Francisco stylist, though!
  10. Eat the tacos! Seriously, going to Austin and not trying the Tex Mex is like going to New York and not eating a real bagel. My body was 50 percent taco by the time I left Austin but I had no regrets whatsoever.
    SXSW Food Bites

    SouthBites – home of wonderful local food trucks

     

Amazingly enough, even without an ID, I still made it through airport security and back to Virginia Beach. Full updates can be found by scrolling through our Twitter feed!

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