RTX (Rooster Teeth Experience) Austin brings together fans, filmmakers, celebrities, cosplayers, and more to enjoy the output from RoosterTeeth.com, a super successful online entertainment company. They bill the event, which took place August 3 to 5, as an “Animation, Gaming, and Comedy Experience”. That just scratches the surface.
As I stood in line talking to other attendees, I began to feel like I would have if I had grown up never having heard of HBO or Disneyland. Besides animation, gaming and comedy, RTX provides learning experiences, a great trade show, and special fan events.
At the Panels
As a filmmaker, I found two events particularly useful, regarding documentaries and television production.
Rooster Teeth makes documentaries. RTX included a documentary panel and a showing and Q&A about a work in progress, Waiting for the Punch Line. The film follows Nick Scarpino as he progresses from first-time open mike experiences, to bigger comedy clubs. His goal: to be asked to perform at San Francisco’s Punch Line comedy club. Filmmakers who worked on the project shared their experiences and lessons learned.
At “Producing for Stage 5,” producer Patrick Salzar asked the audience, “How many of you are film producers?” Many hands went up. He then led the panel in explaining the differences between producing in the traditional film environment and producing for TV. Stage 5 is the studio dedicated to producing TV-like programming for the Rooster Teeth online channels.
On the Floor
Learning also occurred in the exhibit halls of the convention center. I hung out for hours at the HP-Intel booth. Classes focused on Adobe After Effects and Vegas editing software, and in doing artwork with HP’s touch sensitive laptops. HP held a contest for the best artwork done there in the booth.
Full Sail University had a large area of the floor where they demonstrated a video game developed by their students. They also provided information on their other career paths that include Art & Design, Business, Film, Communications and Music and Recording. Full Sail grads have worked on Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Another recent grad became the graphic designer for the Miami Dolphins.
Want to shoot even higher? Space Camp was also in the exhibit hall with information and challenging simulations. A flight simulator gave the braver attendees a chance to find our what it is like to maneuver in zero gravity. You can find out what it’s like to attend their facility in Alabama by checking spacecamp.com.
In the Alley
No, RTX is not all serious. My favorite evening of laughs took place at the North Door.
Yes, you enter this non-descript building, which I’m guessing might have been a garage sometime in its distant past, through the north door, which faces a sketchy alley. Then, like Dorothy stepping into Oz, you find yourself in a transformed world with a restaurant and theater.
The night I entered the North Door, the show was: “Cinemonster! An Improvised Move Disaster!” Having seen the Rooster Teeth film Blood Fest the night before, I began to worry about how real this disaster would be. But the only thing real were the laughs. The event was hosted by Blood Fest star Nick Rutherford and actor Kirk Johnson. In classic improv fashion, they asked the audience for ideas, then brought on a team of helpers to improv a disaster movie.
Their helpers came from Movie Riot. This explosion of energy and talent creates improv movies every Friday night in Austin at the ColdTowne Theater on Austin’s east side. They were crazy funny.
The ColdTowne Theater was formed by remnants of two improv groups who fled Hurricane Katrina for Austin. Recently they have expanded from performing to having classes in improv and sketch comedy. See, you can even learn things while you’re laughing in an alley.
If RTX sounds like something you might enjoy, check out upcoming events on their Facebook page. Still not convinced? You can watch a highlight reel of this year’s Austin festival below.