Here’s what I do and don’t do now that I’m ten years into attending SXSW, the crazy-ass film and music conference in Austin, TX. My SXSW attack plan keeps me productive, sane, calm, and somewhat healthy.
My SXSW Attack Plan
1. Download and organize the SXSW app schedule. I usually download it before my plane ride so I can browse through it on the plane. I make sure I go through it to star the must-not-miss panels, bands, and parties.
2. Get your badge. You can’t do anything else without it.
3. Eat. Even if you eat alone. Don’t worry about meeting up with everyone right off the bat. Eat something before it all shuts down.
4. Text the peeps you know you want to meet up with. While you wait to hear from them see #5.
5. Nap. You just traveled. Unpack. Relax. Even if just for a half hour. Transition from life to SXSW. (Because SXSW is not real life).
6. Do one thing on your day one. Wake up to texts from your friends. Maybe you’ll have plans that night. Go see a film screening. Or a band. If not, don’t stress, just read through the SXSW app schedule and finalize your week and what you don’t want to miss. (And note to self: you’ll probably miss at least half of those things.)
7. Next morning, figure out any lunch, drink, and dinner plans you want to have. Everyone’s figuring out their daily schedule so get in early. A quick text, email or facebook message can keep your day packed. I like to have at least 3 scheduled meetings a day. That makes me feel productive, connected, but not overwhelmed.
8. Go to a panel. If your badge allows, attend at least one panel. Make the most of the music industry people at your finger tips. Stay after to meet them but don’t shove a CD in their face. Ask to take them to coffee or to buy them a drink if you really thing making a connection is importnat for you AND them. (Want to pitch something? Do this quick pitching course to make sure your pitch is powerful and effective.)
9. Bring Tums. If you’re doing the coffee dates up until 1 then the drink dates through the night, pace your self, grab some Tums and keep drinking the water. Seems obvious, but it’s the only way to last through the acid reflux.
10. Don’t do sketchy sh&t. Especially my ladies. Austin is lovely and weird but it is a city. Downtown Austin is full of people, then you turn a corner and it’s suddenly not, and you’re walking under a sketchy bridge being asked if you want to buy a cake from someone who looks like they are probably not talking about cake. Be prepared to use Lyft or Uber or cabs, or to walk in groups. Just be safe, ya know?
So that’s all I got for now. I’ll keep you posted as I come up with more tricks and tips to survive one of the industry’s most fun networking events.