Les had a blast attending his first ATX Television Fest here in Austin, Texas and has charted his journey in a series of blog posts. Be sure you start with his first post, here.
Now for the final day: Sunday!
ATX Television Festival Season 6 wrapped up one week ago! I've been resisting writing up my recap, I think, because I don't want the feeling to end. This was a great weekend for me.
Last day. I’ll admit it, y’all, I woke up a little sad. I was worn out from walking (and standing in the sun), and a little brain-fried from social interaction and the sheer volume of interesting stuff to think about from the panels. I headed downtown once more and lined up for the first and only panel I saw at Trinity Hall. “A Showrunner Defined” featured Julie Plec moderating Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Bob Daily, Tracy Wigfield, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, and Greg Garcia through an incredibly revealing chat about what it means to be the showrunner. Essentially, it boils down to being the one person who knows EVERYTHING happening in the show. They know the soul of the thing, and make sure the sermons stay on gospel. Javier Grillo-Marxuach followed up on something he’d mentioned in 'The Middleman' panel and also to me later: that the coaching tree of good showrunners he’s mentored is vastly more important than an Emmy. Michael Pillar from 'Star Trek: TNG' gave us at least 6 prestige television showrunners working today. No matter whether you like Trek, if you enjoyed Hannibal, then recognize that space is the place where Bryan Fuller learned the job. Likewise, a writer from 'The Middleman' was at the festival to promote her new show on Freeform, 'The Bold Type'. She was now showrunning, and the pride from Grillo-Marxuach at having been a positive influence on her career was palpable. “We are responsible for the management culture of our industry.” Well said, sir.
Paul Scheer wrapped my day with an indie pilot showcase, where he and his writing partner shared the “mini-pilots” they shoot to pitch shows. It was hysterical and amazing, and I can’t believe he’s not been sued out of existence for some of the stories and footage. I had a beer at the Alamo, listened to Scheer tell amazing anecdotes, and laughed at shows only seen by a handful of people. What a great way to end a truly special weekend.
Randy, Grant and I met up at the new Permanent RCRD studios and put down a rambling wrap-up episode while the excitement was fresh, then I headed home to let it all soak in. I still feel like I’m dreaming, and the first person to wake me gets punched in the face*.
*I’ll be all sleep-weak, so don’t worry about it, but I will swing.
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