Okay, technically, it's not Day 1, but today was my first day shooting as a SXSW photographer. I received my list of assignments last night and was up at 6:30am (after the time change) to get downtown by 8:30am. The MetroRail doesn't run on Sundays, so I had to find parking elsewhere. Luckily, I made it into the ACC parking garage and secured the best spot for a daily rate of $10. This made me happy considering it's been cold and rainy for the past few days.
My first assignment began at 9:30am at the Palm Door. They were hosting SXSW SketchCamp, a day of technologically advanced arts and crafts presented by Sunni Brown. Activities included robot building and programming, paper plane design and construction, and old school social networking.
My second assignment (11am) was a panel discussion by HBO executives titled, "Can a Social Web of Things Keep TV Cords Connected?" It was basically a dialogue on social media techniques and strategies that film and television companies utilize to engage audiences and attract new viewers.
Before attending the panel discussion on HTML 5 & Video, I was able to meet with a nonprofit film producer for a 10-minute round of "speed mentoring." Christy Pipkin, the Executive Director of The Nobelity Project, partners with other nonprofits and angel investors to produce documentaries that raise awareness for global social problems. She was able to offer advice on fundraising, promotion, and distribution of independent documentary films.
At about 1:30pm, I took a break for lunch at Volunteer Central. I met some really cool people who seemed to be in a similar stage of life as me and who shared my passion for all things creative. After lunch, I played a game of larger-than-life chess in Brush Square Park before continuing to my last assignment. I won.
At 3pm, I made my way up to the ballroom to set up early for the day's most popular panel discussion, "Funny Or Die: Future of Comedy & Everything Else." The executives and producers of FunnyOrDie.com discussed the history and future of their popular website. They gave anecdotes about how some of the employees got discovered and hired, often much easier than people imagine. It was both informative and inspirational.
To end the evening, I made my way to Paramount Theatre to watch the 6pm world premiere of Marley, a documentary on the life and times of Bob Marley. Presented by Ziggy Marley and Director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), this was one of the best biograpahical documentaries I've seen to date, using original archived video footage and exclusive interviews by the friends and family of the Rastaman himself. I gave it a 5/5.
After an exhausting first day, I grabbed a few Tex-Mex tacos on 6th Street before walking back to my car and heading home. And by "home" I mean my brother's place in North Austin. Twas a busy day, the first of 8.