An Inside Look at SXSW

What do John Mayer, mobile application Foursquare, and 2010 Best Picture Academy Award winner The Hurt Locker all have in common? They’re just some of the creative forces that were first showcased at the South by Southwest Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas. Since its launch in 1987, SXSW has evolved into a creative and cultural hotbed for musicians, filmmakers, and digital media/technology developers.

Full Sail recently welcomed two SXSW representatives to campus to speak to students about the considerable amount of work and planning that goes into the production of the annual event. Volunteer/Intern Coordinator Gene Butler and Music Festival Staffing/Production/Booking Coordinator James Shinault both took the stage in the Entertainment Business Auditorium to share their experiences and insight with students and faculty alike.

Both men have their fair share of stories from working in the business; Butler has also served as Coordinator with the Austin Hot Sauce Festival and has been the Transportation Coordinator for both the Cabo Celebrity Golf Classic and several David Kurio Designs events, while Shinault’s SXSW experience has seen him coordinate the staffing and production at over 92 stages during SXSW Music, as well as booking talent at several of SXSW’s official showcases.

In addition to detailing their professional career paths that lead them to SXSW, both speakers also shared insight about how students interested in becoming involved in an operation like SXSW could get their foot in the door – and stay there once they’ve infiltrated the ranks. The duo also answered questions from the audience during an open Q&A session at the end of their presentation.

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