Did you know I like a few TV shows? (Just a few.) (And a few more.) So, it's almost as if the ATX Television Festival was created just for me. It certainly sounds like my kind of weekend, an entire weekend of panels and screenings for TV shows past and present. I got to find out if it was indeed my kind of weekend this past weekend.
I snatched up a ticket last fall, determined for the chance see a few Friday Night Lights stars in person but really nothing could have prepared me for just how awesome a weekend it would turn out to be for a TV fan like me.
For the cost of your ticket, you can get into 3-4 panels/screenings a day. I chose FNL, Party of Five, Parenthood, and Veronica Mars on Saturday, and then an Actor's Roundtable on Sunday. Because of my work trip two weeks ago and also because of a pretty full plate, I couldn't head out of town for any of the Friday panels (next year, Friday, I am coming for you), but it was still a perfect weekend.
The screenings and panels (at least this year) were all great sizes. You were near the actors, and it felt personal and like the cost of the ticket was absolutely worth it. The moderators, volunteers, and organizers were all great, too, and everything ran smoothly.
Our first screening was Friday Night Lights, and we ended up in the first row of Austin's Paramount Theater. Oh, and I also ended up in the concession stand line behind Mae Whitman, which was a cool way to kick off the morning. I nearly said "You stink Justin Matisse" to her but resisted. She's probably thankful for that. As is security.
After they brought out some of the show's actors...
No big deal, just sitting in front of Scott Porter and Matt Lauria
...they introduced a clip from the show, a clip that was (as the audience probably noticed) just of Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler. Then the moderator went ahead and made all of our days (years, quite possibly) by INTRODUCING CONNINE BRITTON AND KYLE CHANDLER (they weren't previously announced to be there, total surprise).
This was my favorite panel of the weekend not only because of Tami's hair (although that was 90% of it), but also because the panel was a perfect combination of show clips, the actors talking about the clips, and then a time for audience questions.
The other panels were still really good, though.
(From top to bottom, left to right: Party of Five, Chris Lowell & Rob Thomas from the Veronica Mars panel, my Veronica Mars ticket, and the Actor's Roundtable with a bunch of awesome actors including JOSHUA MALINA.)
SPEAKING OF JOSHUA MALINA:
Basically two degress away from Aaron Sorkin, no bigs. He was so gracious and kind, too, although his expression in this particular picture isn't proof of that. Really, so nice.
After that picture was taken, we had an actual conversation with Scott Porter, who is also incredibly nice. He said he'd be back next year "if they'd have him." Oh, Jason Street, I think any TV festival would have you.
It was a great weekend, so worth the ticket cost and the drive down. I plan to be there next year, and if you like TV at all, you should come too.
If TV doesn't appeal to you, did you know Austin has both queso and margaritas?