THE CONFERENCE: Choose Your Own Adventure – Sonja Luther
Sonja Luther | 10.02.13
Have you ever noticed that when you check out a movie on the Netflix website, you get lots of information about the movie but nowhere does it tell you who wrote it? This is actually very typical of how the screenwriter is usually treated by the media and as a result often by the audience as well. I was guilty of it, too, until I started my apprenticeship with the Austin Film Festival & Conference. Of course, I knew quite a few screenwriters and their work when I started, but, honestly, most of those screenwriters were also directors, and being not only a writer but also a director usually gives writers an immediate popularity boost. Fortunately I can say that after working with AFF and particularly our conference director, Erin Hallagan, I am no longer ignorant of the great writers without whom we would not have all of the incredible movies and shows we love so much and would not want to miss.
The Austin Film Festival & Conference does an amazing job for every screenwriter out there. It promotes the already established writers by giving them the much deserved recognition they should be getting everywhere but don’t, and it helps the aspiring writers to get all the vital information about the industry by letting them learn from the best. The Austin Film Festival & Conference is all about sharing: the sharing of knowledge, the sharing of experiences, the sharing of ideas, and anything else you would like to share. This reminds me of something Shane Black said about writers groups in general at one of AFF’s conferences: “You share your misery, you share your joy, and eventually you share your women.” Well, I’m sure Shane Black knows what he’s talking about. By the way, he will be back this year to share more of his holy wisdom with us, and I can’t wait to hear it!
I look forward to all the exciting, informative, and inspiring panels that will be happening at this year’s Conference. I can’t wait to hear Robert Rodriguez and Roberto Orci talk about their recent collaboration on El Rey, a cable TV network that will be targeting Latin American audiences, or hear Callie Khouri and Jenji Kohan talk about the heroine’s journey. What’s so great about these panels is the super friendly atmosphere. At the end you can even get answers to those of your questions that are still left unanswered, and what’s even better is that the conversation doesn’t end once you leave the room but continues, often at the bar over a drink or two. Can you imagine yourself sitting at a bar with Vince Gilligan, talking about the purity of Heisenberg’s meth? Well, it could happen. But, first of all, you need to get yourself a badge if you haven’t already!
After having been an apprentice with the Austin Film Festival for the past nine months, I can’t wait for the Conference to finally get here. Throughout my apprenticeship I got to experience the entire development process of this year’s Festival & Conference right from the start and because of that I know that it’s going to be fantastic, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I hope I will see you all there so that we can all share this great experience together!
Sonja, who was born and raised in Germany but is now a happy Austinite, is also a Ph.D. Candidate in English at The University of Southern Mississippi. Even though her degree in English suggests a career in academia, Sonja’s first and foremost passion is film, and that’s why she’s decided to leave the world of academia to pursue her real dream.