MONDAY, MARCH 12. AUSTIN, TX. SXSW
Taking advantage of the close proximity of drinking establishments on 6th Street, the Austin Chronicle hosted a Tech Recruitment Crawl on Monday, March 13th. Starting off at Babes, I had some sausages with Interactive Industries Development Manager for the City of Austin Jim Butler, who gave me the scoop on Austin's thriving development. First of all, there is construction going on everywhere you look; there are at least nine cranes visible in the downtown area. Another development, but utilizing an existing structure, is the film production center that is taking over the old airport. What a great use of all those hangars and space! What a creative and smart way for a city to keep an existing and burgeoning industry thriving within city limits. The Chamber of Commerce is working in other ways to support the film, music and interactive industries. Austin Film Society's Executive Director Rebecca Campbell and Founder Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed & Confused) have had an impact, as well. I noticed more digital and low-budget, independent films, as opposed to just traditional filmmaking in Austin. Linklater gave Austin another notch on its high-tech belt by using software developed in town for one of his Sundance submissions. Drew Mayer-Oakes of Pixel Perfect is equally involved in the Austin film community with the Digital Storytellers Alliance, as is Tom Rhoades with Austin's Digital Video Center.
So, after getting the scoop on the film scene here, Jim and I knocked off a game of pool under the gaze of a big Moose at Buffalo Billiards before heading uptown to Herdomain.org's Club De Ville mixer. Herdomain-er Donna Kidwell greeted us with "Dinner is ice cream and cookies!" So, of course, we went right over to get a big heaping bowl of locally made ice cream and Pepperidge Farm cookies! We listened to the ambient Numeralia band that was quite "harp and soul-ish." (The band featured a harp.) Before leaving, we chatted with Silona Bonewald (www.exemplartech.com), who told us about her various projects and two great restaurants in town.