Covering the film track of South by Southwest (aka SXSW) for Dread Central is a dream come true for a blogger and a life-long horror fan like myself. It’s also kind of nightmarish! I’ve been to conventions before, but nothing close to the magnitude of this event. It’s easy to feel lost, overwhelmed, and intimidated. I’m doing my best to learn the ropes, and hopefully, documenting my experiences will prove useful for future first timers.
Just picking up your registration badge is a task; if you arrive in Austin the day before the festival kicks off, I highly recommend picking it up in advance. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a daunting line even before the doors open. Luckily, the line moves relatively fast.
One of the first panels available to attendees should be considered a must for first timers: The Beginner’s Guide to SXSW Film. Consider this your freshmen orientation. You’ll meet some of the festival’s initial architects and get a crash course in the basics. From shuttles to scheduling strategies and self-care tips, it’ll give you a solid foundation for beginning your adventure.
SXSW has an app, and you better download it if you want to stay current; things change daily, and new/surprise events are announced at the drop of a hat. The app also allows you to get express passes for films screening in the next 24 hours; this will put you at the front of the line for popular screening.
The Convention Center is filled with eateries and surrounded by food trucks, so those nervous about venturing too far from the crowds will have all the nourishment they need close by. Of course, the organizers and past attendees encourage you to be adventurous, as Austin is a treasure trove of restaurants and artisan shops.
After attending a second panel (SXSW Insider’s Guide: Tips, Tricks, and Hacks with Fandango’s Managing Editor Erik Davis, Katie Hasty from EW, Angie Han from Mashable, and Neil Miller from Film School Rejects), it was time for lunch! We had the most amazing BBQ at Cooper’s, widely regarded as one of the best meat joints in the whole damn city—and we couldn’t agree more!
Jonathan Barkan and I made it into the world premiere of A Quiet Place, which was awesome. His review is already up for you to enjoy!
We’ve been on the go for over 14 hours, and our day isn’t even over yet! We have the option of checking out the Untitled Blumhouse movie (now confirmed to be Unfriended: Dark Web) or going to a party at Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios, where the sets from Alita: Battle Angel are still standing.
Check back tomorrow for my further adventures at SXSW! If you’re in town, too, and you see me sporting my Dread Central t-shirt, come on over and say what’s up!
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