…but a little brown mav’rick is winking her eye.
There are no writers in my suburbanally un-Hollywood daily life, but for four days each year I get to share air with other crazies like me at the Austin Film Festival. These are the kind of nutjobs who’ll gleefully talk screenplay minutia until the wee hours and whose eyebrows scrunch in perfect empathy when you’re wrestling with a story problem.
While I’m lucky to have some deeply cool and talented friends with whom to chill in the Driskill bar, this year we actually ventured out to attend the screening of SHOPGIRL. I loved Steve Martin’s novella and the film was just as beautiful. There was a brief Q&A following, but we were sitting too far back to see very much… so, you could say I kinda geeked out later that evening when Jason Schwartzman and the director, Anand Tucker, walked past me into an AFF party.
As I watched them go, I wished I could thank them for creating a film I loved and thought it would be a lot of fun to chat with Anand about the novella and how the film’s tone felt just perfect to me…
So, I did.
And then they invited my friends and me to sit, so we hung out with them for a while. (I already knew this, but in case you did not: people are people. Write that down.)
Some other AFF highlights which felt a bit like fairy godparent intervention include:
~ the empty seat right beside Dan Petrie, Jr., the panelist I most wanted to meet in the roundtable session to which I was a few minutes late;
~ a bunch of convos with Bob Fisher and Steve Faber, the guys who brought us WEDDING CRASHERS. When I saw them on the list of panelists, I’d hoped to meet them and I’m happy I did — they couldn’t be cooler or less full of shit;
~ hanging out with Terry George who, despite having written and directed an important film like HOTEL RWANDA, is charming and funny and respectful to as-yet-unproduced comedy writers;
~ being rudely interrupted mid-chat with Shane Black by a couple of young writers asking young-writer questions Shane had just answered in a panel earlier that day. I was struck by the character and patience Shane demonstrated with these guys. It was sweet to see. (Really. Don’t believe the hype.);
~ meeting Harold Ramis and absorbing the light of his ever-present smile for a few moments;
~ arriving at the Austin airport with just enough time before my flight to spend half an hour catching up with Phil Levens, über-laid-back AFF regular and showrunner of the upcoming South Beach;
In other good news…
My new job is perfect. Cool people. Just enough work to keep me busy, not so much to stress me out. And I leave there each day in time to write for a few hours before the cows come home.
And yesterday, I hammered out a logline I’m happy with and have started putting out some feelers.