So when I decided to attend, I wasn't surprised that I had to find my own transport and lodging. My great MTV friend John Andrews was living in Austin, so I was able to sleep in his tool shed. But that was okay, it was free and close to downtown. Besides, I love Austin – the music, the food, the people.
So this year, they invited my new film "Guard Dog Global Jam" (it was a world premiere). Plus they asked me to run a panel on animation, and for me to be a judge for the animation program. I also had a cartoon exhibition. Now, any one of these features would get me a flight to any festival in the world – but not SXSW. The way Janet Pierson, the director of the festival, explained it to me was that since they were associated with the music festival, they had to follow the rules of their partner festival.
In any case, this year, interactive was king. I've never seen so many hipster-wannabes and "APPsters". At night, the streets were flooded with partiers and drunken cowgirls. The great music was echoing out of every storefront, bar, and nightclub. It was a feast of music and booze.
This year I was blessed because I was able to stay at my buddy Don Hertzfeldt's beautiful new house on the Austin City limits. He was in the middle of his new animated short but he found time to party after hours. The brilliant Mike Judge was able to hang out one night – we got a tour of his fabulous mansion, and he played some pedal steel guitar for us. He also showed some clips of his reborn series with MTV, Beavis and Butthead.
Saturday was the big day for me because I did an animation panel with the brilliant Bob Sabiston of "Waking Life" and "A Scanner Darkly" fame. He had some great stories of the animation business in Austin. Then after the panel, I raced over to Barnes and Noble for the first book signing for my wonderful Rizzoli book, "Independently Animated, Bill Plympton". It was a lot of fun giving everyone a cool drawing in their book.
Stay tuned, because we have a lot of book signings coming up – plus our big book party event – that you all are invited to! Check back with Scribble Junkies or plymptoons.com for more announcements.