Friday. 9.35am. We wake up. Jay hadn't packed. I was a zombie. And we were getting picked up in 10 minutes. Luckily there was a mixup in the lifts, so we had a bit more time to sort the place out and leave it in a nice, presentable state. Bleary eyed and zombified, we staggered out to the car and vegged our way to the airport. And now I look like this:
One final dose of meat - a burger - and some caffeine, and we were all set to go. This time, we got a better set of seats in the plane, same amount of room but further towards the front. Just before we took off, a flight attendant asked our row if anyone wanted to switch, as a couple with a baby needed the section to connect their crib to (it plugs into that wall or something). Faced with either moving, or sitting next to a baby for 9 hours, we moved - back to the 2 exact same seats we had flown over on. You couldn't make this shit up.
I'm typing this now, on the plane, somewhere over Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the dark, most people asleep around me. There are 5 hours and 16 minutes left to London. I'm exhausted, shattered, but I've had the most amazing time. The good people of Texas and the Alamo Drafthouse have been incredibly cool to us, treated us like royalty, and we've wanted for nothing. I've made some friends for life, and had a blast. The only bad points have been visitors behaving badly, no bad points at all for our generous hosts. I'm not naming names, but a couple of VIP visitors took a few liberties, treating people like personal assistants or complaining about tiny, silly things - you're getting all your food for free, all your drinks, put up in a nice house, treated like a king, so act with a little bit of fucking grace and humility.
The highlights: Meeting Angela Bettis, Lucky McKee, R. Lee Ermey. Seeing my old buddies Karey and Kristy. Hanging out with our new best mates Devin, Ryan, Adam, Scott, Liz, and Will. Watching a man carve a sculpture out of wood with a chainsaw. The two Severance screenings. Being approached by so many people telling me how much they loved Severance, saying that everyone was talking about it. Bug. Edmond. The Woods. The trail of beer. The cabin in the woods. Walking through the woods and over a train track to get to the cinema. Our first night, being driven to the cinema, taken in the back door, through the kitchen, down the corridor, past the queue, into the screen, and straight to our reserved VIP seats to watch Borat, just like that scene in Goodfellas when Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco get taken into the club through the kitchen. Shooting guns. The Broken Spoke. The Alamo Drafthouse itself, the cool people that work there, and everything about it. The crazy old trailers they show before the lights go down in the cinema. The cinema ads which involve people getting killed or attacked in a cinema, with the tagline "don't talk during the movie, or we'll take your ass out". Screeching with laughter many, many times. Too many more highlights to remember...
My first, full-on film festival, representing something I worked on, and I'll never, ever forget it, or the buzz I got when I was there. The people are all, without exception, incredibly friendly, cool, and fun, and if it wasn't for the fact that it gets hotter than the sun during the summer, Austin is totally a place I could happily live in. Texas rocks. Can't wait to visit there again.
I'll be back, guys. Keep a beer cold for me.