I'm a bit sleep deprived so this may not be the most poetic entry. I was laying in bed last night at 2AM, wide awake, knowing I had to get up at 5AM for my flight. My mind was on fire with potentialities and projections of my looming travels. I finally slept a couple of hours, then packed up and got on the plane to my first potential home - Austin, TX.
There are a few reasons why I see this as a prospective home. Admittedly, after my decision to make a dash for the border and leave LA, my initial impulse was one of panicked scouring of the country for other film industry hubs. I've since backed away from the strategy a bit, instead looking for a place that speaks to me first, having a film community second. But of the options observed in that initial burst of research, Austin remained.
I went to Austin several times in college for the Austin Film Festival. It was my first taste of the industry and was a lucid dream. I was honored to sit in on talks from screenwriting legends like Michael Arndt & Terry Rossio. I sat stunned in the premiere of Blue Valentine. I had a lot of valuable interactions over the two years I attended that I still carry with me today. That being said, that was attending a film festival, not really getting to know the actual day-to-day city life.
I'm staying in a room at an AirBnB'ers house near South Congress ("SoCo District"). From what I've read, this is the up-and-coming area that's laden with coffeeshops and record stores. AKA Hipster. My hope is either my host or a nearby local will care to show me around or give suggestions on places to hangout. I've gotten advice on where to look for the film scene, so I'm definitely checking that out. Otherwise, I'm planning on seeing a lot of live music, meeting some locals, and just generally seeing if the culture is one in which I can see myself assimilating.
My preconceptions are as follows:
Pros: Very Liberal City in an otherwise Red State (meaning demonstrations and protests actually have a chance of reaching the hearts and minds of those we're trying to reach). Quirky "Keep Austin Weird" environment. Great music and food. Tough folk that are willing to work hard. A tight-knit film network that, once within, will be supportive and daring to create.
Cons: Very Liberal City in an otherwise Red State (meaning people I'll meet being affected adversely by Texas' obsession with restricting benefits, women's healthcare, and pushing religion into textbooks). A southern sensibility to the culture that I'm wary of it too heavy-handed. Country music. A defensive/impenetrable film community that doesn't want or need interlopers coming for their jobs.
I'm going to do my best to keep an open mind and check these prejudices at the state line. Regardless, I know I'm going to have a nice time and am confident I'll meet some great people.