Sunday, October 14, 2007

AFF Aftermath

Despite negative forces and all the screenwriting demons of the world uniting in a "must stop MaryAn from going to AFF" sabotage campaign this year, a series of miracles got me there. Thank goodness. AFF saved my sanity but more on that in another post.

Check the pic closely and you'll see me on the left. Okay, half of me and no, I'm not drunk. I'm in a black and green fringe jacket NOT getting the shots of Jack Daniels that Dan Petrie, Jr. distributes until the bottle empties. The title of the session was "A Shot of Inspiration" and he took it literally.

Why did I almost not make it to AFF? Well, I had to hop between the AFF and the hospital a couple of times a day where my brother is still recovering from who knows what kind of as yet unidentified illness and yeah, cost was an issue since I left my job seven weeks ago and have a kid in college and did I mention the weight I'm dealing with as a result of steroids I've taken to combat shingles and Bells' Palsy, illnesses brought on by dealing with overwhelming stress induced by fulfilling my role as family problem solver and packhorse of everyone else's stress and did you know that six months of dieting and going to the gym at 5:30 in the morning will not prevent steroids from inflating you?

But hey, the good news is - no migraines!

Where was I?

AFF is awesome, amazing, and every superlative you can think of. This is the first year that I haven't attended as volunteer so I took pages and pages and pages of notes. Weird, too. I didn't see ANYONE ELSE taking notes except the guy from the Austin Chronicle. Oh, that annoying clacking on his laptop. I wanted to beat him with my shoe! But, seriously. In a room full of film students, I'm the only one taking notes? And, seriously. Chronicle guy, don't sit anywhere near me next year. Ever.

Sessions are over but films continue and there are still some I MUST fit in. I must.

I met dozens of people and finally put a few voices and faces with blogs and nom de plumes.

Helpful sessions. Not so helpful sessions. Wordplay dinner. Socials. Learned a lot about what the Texas Film Commission is doing. Exciting news. Seven more regional film commissions starting up including, FINALLY, one in East Texas. Lots more to tell about all this.

But AFF is not all about learning this and learning that. Yes, from almost every person I met and every session I attended, I gleaned at least one very valuable piece of information or one new idea. But I was also given a new way to look at or think about something or I was inspired by a comment or story and that inspiration made me want to breathe new life into one of my own ideas. Sometimes, just shaking a hand and realizing that you aren't an idiot for loving screenwriting was enough.

No single post can cover everything I absorbed at AFF and I collected a lot of good information that might be helpful to other screenwriters so I smell a series. How long? I dunno. One? Two? Ten? As long as it takes.


esruel said...

Hi Maryan
Just reading your post is an inspiration. I, too, left work - mainly in order to sort out my health and to help create a better environment for writing. Enough on that. If there is any justice in the world you will be successful. I'm sure you will
Keep doing it

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Well aren't you sweet! We all have our ebbs and often feel defeated - life is like that- but I've been blessed in more ways than I ever imagined possible and in the few short years I've been screenwriting, well, some amazing things have happened. Good things are on the horizon, but the horizon is a very big place!

Unk said...

Deep breaths... Every day. Lots of 'em.

Welcome back!


Julie O. said...

Great to finally meet you, MaryAn! Take care!

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Julie, you looked like a pro on that panel and with Scott Alexander, no less! Well done!

Chesher Cat said...

great to meet you in person, M.

Sorry we didn't have more time to talk.

Brett said...

Great to see you. Things were... "hectic" for me, so I was not able to do as much meeting this year in the Driskill as I'd expected, so apologies for not saying more or being more visible.

Next year I plan on being really tiresomely available. ;-)

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Unk, getting control one day at a time. Trying to decide whether to find another job or write full time awhile longer. Was hoping AFF would clarify that for me.

Deb, I wasn't there much during the wee hours when most of the socializing went on because (1) was dealing with brother's hospital stuff and emotionally wiped (2) didn't stay at a hotel and didn't want to walk to my car in the dark at 2:00 a.m. in the morning. But yeah, great to meet everyone. Didn't get to look at your book, though. Still gotta order mine!

Brett, no worries, you celeb. I'm assuming you're going to L.A. soon for your Nicholl interview? I'm so envious and proud at the same time!!! Congrats to you.