20. Remember: 90% of the people you’ll meet are aspiring filmmakers, and the other 10% have swine flu.
19. While questions are always encouraged during the conference panels, maybe it’s best not to ask festival favorite Shane Black anything about his personal life this time around.
18. Don’t forget to check out the Congress Bridge Bats, rumored to be the largest congregation of bloodsuckers this side of Hollywood.
17. If someone comes up to you claiming he’s a brilliant-but-misunderstood screenwriter, consider yourself lucky. You just met Roberto Orci!
16. If a movie starts to bore you, try not to leave in the middle of the screening, as the film purists in the crowd will undoubtedly think less of you. Instead, yell “fire” and everyone will be like “Hey! That guy’s a hero!”
15. Everyone already knows you’re only pretending to be vegan in a desperate attempt to look hip, so why not give up the act and treat yourself to what Texas Monthly claims is the second best burger in Texas. It’s walking distance from the Driskill. For those of you who live in LA, “walking” is the act of placing one foot in front of the other until you arrive at a destination.
14. Don’t let the hippies fool you with their long hair and funky clothes…they’ll cut you if they have to. Cut you real good.
13. Before settling in to watch Crispin Glover star in a film about cannibalism, be sure to look underneath your seatback for your complimentary AFF joint, which should help take the edge off.
12. Good news! There’s a P.F. Chang’s in town. Bad news? If you’re the kind of person who eats P.F. Chang’s when they’re traveling, is life really worth living anyway?
11. Head to Emo’s Thursday night and see KMFDM as a reminder that, yes, you’re old as shit, because you liked them back in junior high.
10. Unlike in some other cities, those breasts might actually be real.
9. Beware of writers shamelessly plugging their script by shoehorning their pitch into a completely unrelated conversation. By the way, since you’re gonna be in town anyway, you might as well read the pilot script I wrote about life in Austin. No joke! Email for details.
8. When visiting Austin, it’s important to tell everyone back home you “really dig the laid-back vibe” even though you’re secretly glad you don’t live in a place where soccer moms have neck tattoos.
7. As a big important film producer, authentic barbecue is beneath you. That’s why they invented Truluck’s Steak & Crab House. It’s great for impressing that wide-eyed UT film student you’re hoping to bed during your stay.
6. But now it’s the morning after and you need a quick place to buy said student breakfast before ditching her? That’s why Taco Shack was invented (try the Congress & 4th location to minimize awkward “walk of shame” time). If by some chance you want to extend your little tryst, take her to Torchy’s instead and do breakfast tacos up right.
5. No matter what anyone tells you, it’s not okay to swim in Town Lake, unless you’re drunk and everyone has their clothes off.
4. Try not to ask every funny-looking bald guy you see if he’s Mike Judge, especially since he’s probably Ron Howard.
3. Don’t forget to update your facebook and twitter accounts relentlessly. This has nothing to do with the festival, but it will remind people you’re a douche who thinks you’re five times more clever than you actually are.
2. Nobody wears socks or underwear in this town. Just FYI.
1. Pick up a copy of the Chronicle when you arrive. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about Austin culture and how to enjoy the city, except this little tidbit: don’t make eye contact with anyone holding a cardboard sign.
Got a festival tip of your own? Drop it in the comments.