The Austin Film Festival & Conference is the only major film festival in the United States truly dedicated to the art and craft of screenwriting. Like many festivals, AFF shows a slate of independent features and shorts in competition alongside upcoming major studio releases. What makes AFF special, though, is the Conference the festival holds each year featuring top screenwriters from Hollywood as well as award-winning screenwriters of independent films discussing their screenplays, their craft and the business. I feel lucky and humbled to be one of this year's Conference panel moderators at AFF because of my contributions to No Film School. To find out more about the 20th Anniversary Austin Film Festival & Conference and an exclusive No Film School promo code for $50 off their Conference and Producers badges, check out the details below.
For the first time, the Austin Film Festival & Conference will feature conference panels and discussions throughout the eight days of the festival, starting Thurs. Oct. 24 and continuing through the closing of the festival on Thurs. Oct. 31. The conference features over 80 panels covering the entire breadth of screenwriting topics from writing techniques to genre specifics to selling your screenplay to producing scripts independently. Here is a sample of some of this year's screenwriting panels at the conference:
- "A Conversation With" Series, including multiple conversations with director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married); writer/producer Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad creator and executive producer, The X-Files writer and executive producer); writer/director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter, Shotgun Stories); producer Mark Johnson (Rain Man, The Natural, Chronicles of Narnia; executive producer, Breaking Bad); writer/producer Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Transformers); screenwriter Robin Swicord (Memoirs of a Geisha, Little Women, Practical Magic); writer/playwright/producer Beau Willimon (House of Cards, The Ides of March)
- Scriptnotes LIVE! - John August and Craig Mazin bring their podcast to the stage in front of a live audience with special guests
- Script-to-Screen with Rian Johnson: Brick - writer/director Rian Johnson dissects his debut feature Brick and discusses what worked and what didn't from his script during production
- Script-to-Screen with Richard Kelly: Donnie Darko - writer/director Richard Kelly dissects his cult favorite Donnie Darko, revealing how the script translated to screen and what needed to change during production
- Keeping Time on Your Side: Temporal Elements and Your Screenplay - screenwriter Scott Neustadter ((500) Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now) and writer/director David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, St. Nick) discuss how they use time as a crucial element in their storytelling
- The Throw with Terry Rossio - a popular panel from past conferences, screenwriter Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek) presents writing techniques for scene transitions, also known as "The Throw".
- Getting Past the Reader - how to write a reader-friendly screenplay to get past the gatekeepers
- Independent Filmmaking Track featuring panels on The Short Film, Financing Your Indie Film, Directing Your Own Script, Keeping the Vision Big on a Limited Budget, Gone to Texas!, Packaging Your Film, Pre-Production: The Nuts and Bolts, Storytelling Through Production, and Storytelling Through Editing
I recently found out that I have the pleasure of moderating the Script-to-Screen panels with Rian Johnson and Richard Kelly, as well as A Conversation with Jeff Nichols and the Keeping Time on Your Side panel with Scott Neustadter and David Lowery. You can check out the full list and a complete schedule of panels on Austin Film Festival's website.
Also, now until Oct. 10, you can get $50 off Conference badges and Producers badges with an exclusive No Film School promo code. Conference badges get you into all of the panels plus priority seating for screening and access to select parties. Producers badges have the same perks as Conference badges plus entry into all of the parties. Conference badges are regularly $450 and Producers badges are $675, so this promo code brings Conference badges down to $400 and Producers badges down to $625. At checkout, enter the code No Film School to get the discount off these two badge levels. You can read all the details and purchase your badges with the discount at AFF's website.
Will you be attending the 20th Austin Film Festival & Conference? Do you have questions for Rian Johnson, Richard Kelly, Jeff Nichols, Scott Neustadter or David Lowery that you think I should ask during the panels? Share your plans and questions with us in the comments.