Like South By Southwest, the Austin Film Festival is a stargazer's dream. The annual, weeklong event in A-town features 80 advance screenings and film premieres, as well as exclusive conferences and parties chock-full of industry professionals and major celebs.
The screenings open Thursday, October 20, with Shopgirl, a romantic tale written by Steve Martin, starring Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman (note to star-stalkers: both will be in attendance). Other highlights include a showing of The 40-Year-Old Virgin followed by a Q&A with screenwriter Judd Apatow. At the conferences, aspiring filmmakers can rub elbows with famous such screenwriters as Mike Judge, Harold Ramis, Shane Black and Buck Henry at Austin's Driskill and Stephen F. Austin hotels.
You could drop $35 for a festival movie pass or hundreds for a conference pass and schmooze the stars. Or you could crash the party. As a public service to our readers, we enlisted the help of Steve Faber and Bob Fisher, the writing team behind this summer's romantic comedy gem, The Wedding Crashers, who will be featured panelists at the festival (check www.austinfilmfestival.com for schedule). The droll duo -- and accomplished party crashers --agreed to offer some tips to crashing the exclusive AFF soirees:
Austin Film Festival
The Austin Film Festival opens Thursday, October 20, and runs through October 27 at various venues. For information, call 800-310-3378 or visit www.austinfilmfestival.com a>. Prices start at $35 for nonmembers; free for crashers -- at your own risk.
"Walk in like you belong. In Wedding Crashers, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn acted like they were part of the party," says Fisher. "Name-dropping looks desperate -- and desperation is bad -- so don't do it."
Faber has three useful ideas:
1. "There's the walk-in-fast method. What you do is get the attitude that you're late -- a lot of shaking your head. I see people who do that at these parties and I think, 'Good job.' "
2. "When they ask, 'Are you on the list?' look confused and say, Je ne parle pas anglais. ("I do not speak English.") They'll think you're French -- and thus important -- and you'll walk right in."
3. "Go to Lowe's and buy a stepstool for $12.99 -- best investment you'll ever make. Keep it in the car. Also, when you're at Lowe's, buy a one-piece jumper, the disposable kind. You can put on anything -- a tux, stylish clothes -- underneath. Your one-piece jumper says, 'I'm a plumber.' Park several blocks away from the party. Walk up to it with the confidence of a busy plumber. Find the farthest possible bathroom from the door. Pry the window open and climb in. (You might as well pee, just to get that outta the way.) If someone's in there, just say, 'I'm here to fix the faucet.' When they ask, 'But why'd you climb in through that bathroom window?' you say, 'Look, I had to deal with a main. (And look at them like they're an idiot. Nobody knows a goddamn thing about plumbing.)
"When they leave, trash the jumper (unless you're super-cheap, then hide it) and go have fun at the party. If you meet and leave with a celebrity, pray that he or she appreciates plumbing, or be ready to sacrifice the stepladder. Do not, under any circumstances, stop when you're walking by the window and say, 'Hey, that's my stepladder.' "
Disclaimer: The Houston Press does not endorse impersonating wastewater management professionals.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly guide to events in Houston, and never be bored again. With suggestions for every day of the week, our recommendations will keep you busy on any budget.