Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SXSW recap: Interactive and Film

It would be impossible for me to try and sum up my entire 2010 SXSW experience in a single blog so I will try and break it down into Film/Interactive followed by music. SXSW for me means vacation and getting a chance to catch acts that I normally wouldn't see or acts that typically don't come through Texas. I made sure to take some time off before and after SXSW just to prep and recover. Badge and press pickup was on Thursday the day before SXSWi started. Upon arrival of the convention center I noticed the line was already long; to be expected, so I bust out the iPhone and check in with Foursquare and Gowalla to notice several others already checked in. It's official, SXSWi has started, let the games begin. Thursday night Mellow Johnny's had an event which consisted of free food, booze and indoor races on the bike trainer. What a perfect way to prep for SXSW week. Friday morning and every morning following consisted of me having breakfast at Juan Pelota cafe followed by a stroll through the Convention center. The first interactive panel I attended was the Battle Decks panel. This was basically a free form PowerPoint presentation in which contestants would have to MC to random slides they haven't seen yet. Hilarious to say the least. Friday afternoon Mellow Johnny's hosted an SXSWi event by Tweet House as well as a red carpet event/party later that evening. Upon waiting in line at Juan Pelota for some fuel I was asked by someone who I was shooting pictures for and if I wouldn't mind shooting pictures for the red carpet event that night, as well as a different one the following night. My response "seriously? I would love to!" After shooting pictures of some tech celebrities like Robert Scoble I noticed that Jamie-Lynn Sigler had arrived so I snapped several pictures of her and then made my way down to the Paramount for the Red Carpet premiere of the movie "Kick Ass" (note I took a pedicab to the Paramount and caught grief from my friends that work at the bike shop). I got to the event just in time and was able to snap several pictures of the red carpet event. Back to Mellow Johnny's for the red carpet party. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it back to get pictures of Adrien Brody (sorry ladies) but I managed to have a great time at the party snapping pictures.

Saturday after my morning ritual I headed over to the Kickass panel with the cast, director and writer of the movie. This is where I met another shutter bug by the name of Erin Fotos (yes that's her real last name) we would basically have each others back for the rest of SXSW informing each other of all the events and saving each other seats at panels. On a side note I was a little nervous running into other shutter bugs being this was the first time I would be taking pictures at SXSW events. I must say everyone I met was extremely nice and gracious. We all sort of bonded and made sure we all had the chance to get "choice" pictures at events. Very cool I must say. On to the next red carpet event. The red carpet for Elektra Luxx with cast and director at Speakeasy. Upon arrival I find out I'm the ONLY photographer for the red carpet. The next couple of days and nights were pretty much the same routine, panels, discussions and heading back up north to catch some sleep before the next day started. I still had a couple of days before checking into my hotel downtown, which was well worth it.

Fast forward to the Lemmy movie premiere and Gowalla party sponsored by Livestrong. I had already been walking around all day trying to figure out what to do before the Gowalla party at 10pm. Feet don't fail me now. I decided I would swing by the Lemmy premiere to see if I c
ould get pictures of the red carpet. I figured if I couldn't get pictures I would just go back to the shop and recharge both mentally and physically. Plus my phone could always use a charge. I got there just in time to see Lemmy's limousines roll up. I snap several pictures and wait for Lemmy to finish up his interviews so I could get pictures of him on the red carpet. I suddenly feel a tap on my shoulder, I turn around to see that it's Chris Martin (aka Madgods) and the Madgods bus behind me. I do a double take because the bus is decorated and setup specifically for the Lemmy and Motorhead's movie premiere and concert the following evening. After a couple of more pic's I hop on the bus and we roll out. I swear everyone must have wondered who the heck I was to get on that bus the way I did. Awesome! This is how you charge your cell phone! We stroll around town for a couple of hours and even had people knock on the door asking if Lemmy was inside. LOL. I asked Chris "hey do you mind dropping me off at the Belmont for the Gowalla party?" his response "sure that would be kind of baller!" Upon arriving at the Belmont I notice the line was as far as the eye could see. Chris says "don't you dare go to the end of that line after getting off this bus!" no way. I go talk to the door man and tell him I'm shooting for Mellow Johnny's and Livestrong and he escorts me to the VIP section and walk right in. SCORE! The place was packed! or as my friend would say "hipster sardines". I run into my friend Brooke as well as Doug Ulman from Livestrong just in time. They said they were about to set a record for the most Livestrong wristbands put on an individual and asked if I would take pictures. Of course I will! Talk about crazy, the first girl to set the record set it with 76 wristbands and the next broke it with 77 bands. I thought she was going to pass out! Talk about a great time. Livestrong sure does know how to throw a party! Oh and for everyone that checked into the Belmont for the party using Gowalla, $1 was donated to Livestrong. Read all about it on their blog. Photos by yours truly.

I must say one of the highlights of SXSWi was the panel with director Michel Gondry (director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). His panel was so inspiring. It was just by chance that I caught this too! Thanks Erin for the heads up! Hearing him speak about film making and what inspires him and how he gets ideas was incredible. You could just tell he's a true artist who has a passion for film and everything he does. I won't do it justice by recapping, you just had to be there.

Some other highlights of Interactive and Film were:

Jeffrey Tambors actors workshop (this is a MUST see if you attend SXSWi) Hilarious and inspiring.
Horror Film panel with directors (Robert Rodriquez, Neil Marshall, Ruben Fleisher, Matt Reeves)

I encourage you all to attend the interactive festival. It's getting better each year and the numbers keep growing. Numbers released last night for interactive attendance was over 14k! That's a 40% increase from 2009 and 1k more than the music attendance for this year. Crazy!

Pictures from this years SXSW can be located at my site:Chris Gomez Photography

100% of the proceeds will go to LAF.

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