An Actor's Guide to SXSW 2015: 12 Must-dos

Ok, you've already picked up your badge right? No! Oops. That was number one.

sxsw sixth street
  1. Pick up your badge on Thursday afternoon or evening. There are no lines, you'll be able to waltz right into your Friday morning. If you don't have your badge tonight, pack your patience tomorrow. And don't overplan your morning.
  2. Download the app. It tells you all kinds of important stuff like which theaters you don't have a chance in hell of getting into.
  3. Know your theaters. Have a rough idea where they are and, more importantly, how big they are. Violet Crown and Alamo Theater seating can be limited, so to make sure you get in, you're going to have to head over there early and line up. Vimeo is huge, so if you're at the Convention Center and want to spontaneously see something there, you usually can. Paramount is huge but is also where the biggest-buzz, biggest-star screenings are held, so there's going to be a line. It will wrap around the building, but, fortunately you'll usually still be able to get in.
  4. Get your face out of your phone. There are so many really interesting people with really interesting stories all around you. Talk to them. Worst case scenario you observe new personality ticks to use in molding your own characters.
  5. Check the weather. Dress in layers. Invariably there will be a day during SX that is rainy and cold. There will also be one when you sweat your ass off. Sometimes it will be the same day. 
  6. Take a chance on the little guys. One of the most amazing parts about any good film festival is the opportunity to see films that, chances are, you wouldn't see otherwise. So go see them. And save the movies that will come out in theaters or HBO for theaters or HBO.
  7. Make an exception for number 6 if there's someone in attendance you just really want to see. For me, that person was Jodie Foster, and although the movie came out in the theater, there is something super cool about seeing a film surrounded by people that love movies. For that movie, I ended up sitting next to a critic and trying to spy on his notes the whole time. (Hi, @jamesrocchi!) You guys should really follow him. He's great.
  8. Make a plan for each day with three things you REALLY, REALLY want to see and possibilities that could work around those.
  9. Be prepared to throw number 8 out the window. 
  10. Make friends. It's easy at this festival, and it will help you see and do things you wouldn't think to see and do otherwise.
  11. If he is there, if it is possible, go to Jeffrey Tambor's actors workshop. GO GO GO GO GO.
  12. Pack a little bag to keep with you during the day. Essentials include:
  • The small film guide pamphlet (the app is great for some things, a grid of everything that's showing at the same time on the same page is critical when your plans have suddenly changed)
  • Money/credit card (chances are you'll find free food, but you'll need to tip your waiter at the Alamo Drafthouse!)
  • Phone and charger
  • Pen and notebook or the note-taking device of your choice
  • Business cards
  • A snack if you're prone to low blood sugar

That's it. Have a blast. Be careful. Be nice to each other. And leave your favorite SXSW experience in the comments. 

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