As writers we take our shots where and when we can get them. A recent adventure to the Austin Film Festival proved to be just the inspiration I needed. If you are an aspiring screen writer, or writer in general, this was the place to be. First I must mention one of the classes I took was called A Shot of Inspiration, and as the class was in session, Daniel Petrie, Jr., writer of Beverly Hills Cop, The Big Easy, and Shoot to Kill, passed around shots of whiskey. Liquid inspiration, he said. Of course we had our own cups. No swigging from the bottle. Being notorious for giving myself away with facial expression alone, I must have done an eye pop, combined with gape-jawed surprise, because the next day a fellow writer found me and said my expression at the mention of free whiskey was priceless. I really don’t drink much. And just so you know, that whiskey scorched all the way down.
Seriously though, the four day event was nothing short of amazing. Not only did I meet other splendid writers, but plenty of directors, producers, etc. Here’s a few I got to take panels with and also meet: Marcia Nasatir, Tom Skerritt, Herchel Weingrod, Pat Hazell, Cheryl Hines, Gayla Nethercott and Peter Hodges, author of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, a personal favorite. Like I said, these were just a few.
Ron Howard was there, and I especially enjoyed his tennis shoe style. He is the original nice guy who just happens to be extremely talented and well known. Watching Apollo Thirteen, the movie he directed, with him and astronaut Jim Lovell in the audience was a real treat as well.
Classes, or panels ran from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then there were plenty of independent movie screenings to watch. And if you were still fired up, parties to attend. We saw Serious Moonlight, directed by Cheryl Hines, Precious, Apollo Thirteen and several others.
The best part for me though was spending time with my oldest daughter, a screenwriter, and watching her get such a kick out of the events and movies. If you haven’t attended this event, please put it on your must do list.