‘Sup gang?! So this last weekend I headed down to Austin for the first ever ATX Festival. I think I ended up being the only OCTV person there but next year that all changes. I can’t glare at y’all and telepathically bend you to my will through a computer but just imagine that’s what I’m doing. Look further on, I’m going to get into some criticisms (& one major bitch moment) because this review is about the festival, not news on specific shows (though I’ve got a little of that). But I want to be absolutely clear that the festival was absolutely worth going to. I’ll be going every year from here on out and I would highly encourage y’all to go as well.
So let’s start with why ATX Festival is different from other TV festivals. I don’t know if any of you have been to say Comic Con or Dragon Con or smaller versions of such cons or show specific cons but they work a little different. The focus is very much from a celebrity fan and promotional perspective. Meaning that any actor panels tend to be about learning more personal stuff about the actors and show panels are about promoting new episodes. It can be a great thing but for major TV fans, there’s often the feeling that something is lacking. While they are by no means excluding these traditional fans, the atmosphere is clear that this isn’t really for people who are solely fans of an actor or press dominating conversations. It’s a chance to interact with all of the people behind a show and in fact embrace shows with another show’s cast and crew. Not only is that environment clear among the attendees, but also among the actors.
Which leads me to the great thing about ATX. The show panels are full of writers, directors, and producers. So you get the chance to not just learn spoilers but to understand why writers make specific story choices or how a director chooses to frame a scene. The actor panels as well gave attendees the chance to ask about the process and past work, not just an upcoming season. But even more enjoyable was the way panels allowed the cast and crew of shows to get excited about shows. Instead of focusing on promoting themselves, Cougar Town stars are popping in on other comedy panels and Parenthood actors geek out over Friday night Lights. There’s a very intimate, insider feel to the inaugural year. Speaking of the intimate feel of this year’s festival, the other thing the organizers have done is make it clear that this is an event for TV lovers. It’s a lot of fun and the ATX Festival should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished. Read the rest of this entry »