As someone working in tech with a film background, SXSW is like Christmas for me. I get to go and learn the latest and greatest in tech; and after all panels are done for the day, I get to gorge on the best of indie cinema! Here are my picks so far for SXSW Interactive and Film!
- Austin Breakfast Tacos: interview with Mando Rayo, author of the book by the same name. Learn about the history of Austin and the most important taco of the day.
- The Golden Age of Table Top Gaming: panel with the producer of hit YouTube show, Table Top.
- Scaling Twitter with Drupal and Thrift: I work for a company that is a huge advocate for Drupal, especially around scalability, so I am ALL about this.
- The Internet of Cars: I am kind of obsessed with what the future will bring, especially when that future involves accessing the internet through your car. What does that look like, and what does that mean for web design and development? I hope to find out!
- Mentor session: Ben Thoma: I highly, highly recommend you talk to Ben if you are a creative person. Ben runs Creative Mornings ATX and does a fantastic job of it.
- Cat Cash: The Economy of Internet Cat Videos: One of the best panels I saw last year was about #CatVidFest, so I am hoping this will be at least that good. Seriously, I think this panel cannot go wrong. I mean, cat videos.
- D&D and UX: enough said.
- Emoji and Texting: Is Human Language extinct?
- Is It Too Late to be Awesome? I ask myself this every day.
- 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon with the man himself in attendance.
- Jeffery Tambor’s acting workshop is repeatedly my favorite thing at the conference. If you do anything on Sunday, attend this amazing session.
- Glass: Game Changer for People with Disabilities? My friend Jen Quinlan, whom I owe my career in the agency world to, is leading this great talk on wearable tech.
- Reddit: You’re Doing it Wrong: Because if you, like me, have been asked to post a company blog post on Reddit, know and feel my pain.
- Search is Dead: The Secret Sauce Behind Discovery: My friend Noah Kuttler recommended this panel, and I am very happy he did! Organic discovery is where digital is headed for users, so I can’t wait to learn more from execs at Birchbox and Netflix.
- Build an Audience Without Selling Out Creatively: Because we all want to be YouTube rockstars. Or maybe it’s just me ;)
- Open Source = Unemployed and This Rocks! I love anyone who loves open source this much.
- Facial Recognition: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. First of all, GREAT title.
- Alternative Design Workflows in a Post-PSD Era: I am all about style tiles and dumping comps, so I want to learn more about alternative design workflows.
PRO TIP: Don’t miss the Future 15 talks! I think Future 15 talks are still the best kept secret at SXSW! I always get the most insight out of these lightning talks. Future 15 talks are usually in the afternoon, and they’re a great way to wrap-up your day and learn something before you hit the parties.
Films usually screen at least two times, so in no particular date order, these are the films I am looking forward to.
- Wicker Kittens: a documentary of competitive jigsaw puzzling. Given that one of my favorite docus ever is a film about competitive Scrabble, I am looking forward to seeing what this film brings.
- The Immortalists: sometimes, documentaries end up being so much more complex that narratives. This film looks to be one of those examples in which reality is truly stranger than fiction.
- What We Do in the Shadows: a film about vampires made in New Zealand starring Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords. Need I say more about this?
- Oculus: Starbuck and Amy Pond. Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who come together in the form of two of my favorite female leading ladies sharing the screen in this horror film. I don’t care how good or bad this ends up being, really.
- Starry Eyes: “from the producer of Cheap Thrills” is all I needed to know.
- Doc of the Dead: First of all, this film was made by the filmmakers of The People vs. George Lucas, so it’s legit (I dug that film); plus it explores zombie flicks. And it features Simon Pegg. There is no way I am not going to enjoy this.
- Hellion: lots of people I look up to are involved in this film: Kat Candler is directing, Jef Nichols is an executive producer, and my former boss Kelly Williams produced this. This is a who’s who of Texas indie filmmaker. Oh, and it’s starring Aaron Paul. Cannot wait to see this!