It is the question everyone faces at some point in their lives. I faced it the second day at SXSW. The panels were great and I had my first mentor session, or seven minutes in heaven. I don't want to name drop so I won't tell you who I met with but I admit I was not prepared going in or knowing what to expect. I think the mentor wasn't expecting someone so 'new' to be sitting across from them either.
It wasn't until that evening that it hit me. That day I had been approached by people all who had seen my blue badge and all the conversations went like this:
Them: You are here for film (They looked at my badge and name and introduced themselves)
Me: Yes (I don't look at their badge because it is rude)
Them: You have a film here?
Me: No (I smile because I now know what is going to happen and try to engage them in conversation)
Them: What do you do?
Me: Nothing I get paid for yet (self-deprecating humor always works)
Them: (end of conversation)
It was a huge disappointment because I was not there for free drinks and free food. I went alone so day two was spent standing by myself in the convention center soaking it all in and seeing the worst of people and their self-serving interests. It was the side of business and entertainment you hope isn't true but know is there; those that will climb over the backs of others using the knife they have shoved in to help themselves up. It was a low point.
On the advice of a blog I read before going I decided to skip the official parties and head to a local bar hoping to find a friendlier SXSW crowd but ended up handing out with locals all night. That experience could be a blog of its own. They were lovely and I did enjoy myself but, there is always a but, we ran through the topic of kids and their honeymoon...oh, it is why the French hate Americans.
Luckily, I pulled myself together on day three.