AFF Presents: Pitch Day!

Join Austin Film Festival for a day of pitching fun! Fine tune your pitch before you take on the big leagues at AFF 2018 with Pitch Day on Sunday, July 22nd. This workshop is great to practice an elevator-style pitch and can help writers to conquer their fears of public speaking and selling themselves.

Start your day off with an intimate Pitch Workshop with industry script consultant Jill Chamberlain, founder of The Screenplay Workshop. She’ll give feedback and workshop a few pitches to make sure they’re ready to go!

Next, enjoy a generous break – plenty of time to practice your pitch with other workshop attendees and grab a drink or two before… The Pitch Party! Invite your friends because there is also going to be an audience award-winner for the contest! Guests can arrive at 2:30 pm for drinks and mingling. The Pitch Party is Free with RSVP!

In the final event of the day, you’ll have 90 seconds to pitch to a live audience and a panel of judges. One winner will be crowned Pitcher Extraordinaire and win a Lone Star Badge and Pitch Ticket for the 2018 Austin Film Festival for a chance to do it all again!

Confirmed Judges include:

Elizabeth Avellán – Co-Owner and Vice President of Troublemaker Studios and President of EYA Productions. In addition to producing family and genre films that have collectively grossed over a billion dollars, she has played a primary role in developing Austin, Texas as a thriving film community.

Cathleen Sutherland – Oscar® nominated and award-winning producer of Boyhood. She has been involved in independent filmmaking in Texas since she was a youth and is proud to still call Austin home.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets!

New Members. New Movies. Same Movie Riot.

Comedy juggernauts Movie Riot perform a brand new, action-packed movie live on stage every Friday night. Featuring some of Austin’s most talented comedians, Movie Riot has played to sold out crowds for 5 years and are 3-time nominees for the B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Improv Team. Whether they are performing their signature Trailer Thrash, Spin-Off Summer, Horror-fied or The Classic Film form, their movie-inspired masterpieces promise hyper energy, wild characters, and huge laughs.

This Summer, Movie Riot’s freshening up their time slot with some new cast members and switching back to having improv troupes open. We sat down with Movie Riot’s Kyle Sweeney to talk all about it. TICKETS HERE.

So, you got some new members. Tell us about them! What was the “audition” process like?  No auditions. Gross. I feel like that’s always a tough environment to succeed in. We’re not too precious about what we do – just come play and have fun with us. We opted to just play with a boatload of guests over the better part of a year, really feeling out a lot of different personalities (#deepbench). We ended up boosting our cast up to 7 strong, which is a nice number for the Movie format.

Ultimately Molly Moore, Katie Byrnes, and Nicole Russell all thought it was a good idea to jump on board our crazy train, and it’s been a blast. I think it is fair to say our shows have gotten that sweet combo of crazier, but also more grounded. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s been super fun.

You guys have been doing this as a weekly show for years now. How do you keep it fresh? Movie Riot has a mode of just wanting to have fun. That’s our modus operandi – just ours, no one else wants to have fun in their shows. That’s uniquely copyright Movie Riot (2018) TM.

We had gotten pretty familiar in our old five person dynamic for such a long time that the infusion of some of that new #deepbench energy really stretched and challenged the old status quo of Movie Riot in a a super positive way.

Also, I think now with the larger cast, we have an opportunity to play and enrich the main characters that we inhabit. Before when a show would have less overall improvisers, we’d all have to fill in as three different characters and we’d charmingly confuse ourselves and chaos would reign. It would all come to a head in the final climax of the movie when we were all both playing the heroes and villains and side characters.

You do a longer show, where the Austin standard is often 22 minute sets. What kind of improv muscles do you have to flex keep that going? Most of our festival sets or when we perform at other theaters, we will play 22 minute sets. But it’s just so quick to try and fit an entire movie into that timeframe. It tends to be very manic and somewhat plot centric. The longer format just gives us the ability to follow the fun. We get to play a little slower with more time to discover character/game moments.

You just switched back from stand up to improv openers. Why the switch? We loved having the pop of rad stand-ups at the top of the show. It was a great 1-2 punch stand-up/improv. But two improv acts in a show also gives the audience two pretty cool distinct flavors. We also missed seeing batches of improvisers playing and hanging out Fridays at 7pm

In fact you can catch Perineum opening for us throughout June. It’s going to be a party.

Dynamite Summer Bogo Deal – FREE COMEDY!

Any good blog post about an awesome Summer buy one get one deal should begin with a list that might start something like, “The 5 best ATX summer deals,” … you know, something with a little lifestyle research tied in. Then the blogger cleverly ties said cliché summer suggestions to a sweet deal with a rhetorical twist.

We’re not lifestyle bloggers though, so we’re going to cut right to the chase.

This summer (now through Labor Day), you can get into any late night show (i.e. the last show of the night) at ColdTowne Theater for FREE if you attend an earlier show that same night***. Start AND end the night at ColdTowne Theater. When you come in for a show earlier in the night, present your ticket stub at the counter for free admittance to the late performance.

Sounds cool! Please explain more.

Want to check out Pendulum Presents on a Thursday after Frankenfriends? We got you covered. Want to check out Movie Riot, go to the Grand for a few hours, and come back to see Everything’s Fine Mom at 11? Got your back! Want to see the 8:30 Saturday mainstage show, then come back in December for a free ticket? Get lost. This is only cool for the summer (Not associated with #1 hit music maker, Demi Lovato’s summer hit, Cool for the Summer™) while the city empties out due to the oppressive heat!

Plan your night by checking out ColdTowne’s calendar or Evenbrite page.

Okay, final review of what you gotta do.

Buy a ticket to any show and get that sweet ticket punched at the bar. Return later, present thine holy punch and enjoy a free late night show. BYOB optional.

But wait! There’s more!

If you’re like us – in a perpetual state of financial panic – you’re always looking to stretch your entertainment dollar. As always, we have a variety of completely free events each and every week.

IMPROV 101 – Our weekly free improv class!

DREW’s GYM – Pay what you want improv rehearsal at our Conservatory!

STAGE DIVE – Our Monday night stand up comedy open mic!

STOOL PIGEON – Our Sunday night all-star improv show!

*** Offer subject to seating capacity. Unclaimed tickets will be released at showtime for people presenting their ticket stub. Offer not good for nights with only one show.

Top 3 moments in “What Had Happened Was” history

What Had Happened Was is the ColdTowne main stage happening Saturdays, 5/12-6/2 at 8:30 PM. This improvised comedy show turns the suggestion of a historical event into a tapestry of facts, misunderstandings and laughs. With a focus on tying the events that lead to history’s greatest catastrophes to events of today, this cast of world-class improvisers will live, love, fight, die, and probably get a lot of stuff wrong in the time period of your choice.

Producer Katie Stone, whose production work on the show “Naughty Bits” has been lauded by the Austin American Statesman as “consistently hilarious,” developed the show in March of 2017 as her ColdTowne Advanced Studies courses. Since then, it’s been workshopped repeatedly to get it ready for the Saturday stage.

To give you an idea of the show, we’ve put together three of our favorite moments from our previews:

  1. Pete Parsons, a very Trumpy Napoleon

    Cast members Pete Parsons (left) and Mason Pitluk (right). Photo from Steve Rogers Photography

    Small, petty, and ultimately far more classist than he promised… sound familiar? At the suggestion of “French Revolution,” Pete saw the parallel immediately. As he enjoyed French delicacies in the signature Trump cadence, the audience felt hopeful that we, too, could hope for our leadership to soon be exiled to Elba.

  2. Xaria Coleman, “Hello. I’m white but I’m gay.”

    Former cast members Xaria Coleman (left) and Linzy Beltran (right). Photo from Steve Rogers Photography

    One of our key goals is to play with concepts of identity throughout history. At times, because improv requires actors to take on other perspectives, folks have to make it very clear who they are when they come onstage. To save time at the start of a thoughtful scene about the difficulty of being queer in the 18th century, Xaria Coleman (now NYC) walked in and immediately shouted “Hello! I am white but I’m gay!” Her bluntness broke the audience, and made it immediately clear what she wanted to address about the past and present.

  3. Conor Sullivan, “They spent so much money on lightbulbs”

    What Had Happened Was preview in June 2017. (Conor is the tall one!)

While Conor is secretly our history ringer, he also delights in comedic

inaccuracy. In a show about the Industrial Revolution, Conor bellowed, “it was super expensive to be a photographer back then because every time you took a photo with flash the lightbulb exploded.” The audience exploded with laughter, because, of course, what child HASN’T thought this when watching films using flash powder. Drawing on these instincts and childhood memories is part of where the fun of our classroom-based show comes from.


You won’t want to miss the hilarious moments to come from this group comprised of the city’s cleverest minds. Get your tickets to What Had Happened Was, happening Saturdays at 8:30, May 12 – June 2 at ColdTowne Theater. As always, shows are BYOB. TICKETS HERE

Missed Connections ATX: Mining Local Personal Ads for Comedy Gold

Have you pondered the existence of love at first sight? Are you hoping to meet-cute the partner of your dreams? Do you still consider yourself a hopeless romantic in an age of dating apps and matchmaking sites? If your answer to any of these questions is remotely close to “maybe,” then Missed Connections ATX opening February 3rd at ColdTowne is a must-see.

Back following a sold-out run of shows in 2017 (including during Out of Bounds Comedy Festival), the show features Austin improvisors Nathan Sowell, Ronnita Miller (Damn Gina), Sanjay Rao (Midnight Society), Shane Gannaway, Kelly Campbell, and Tyler Groce. The fully improvised show also adds the talents of Allison Webber, Katie Stone (Naughty Bits), Frank Sanchez, and Dave Buckman (The Frank Mills) to the cast.

While the show itself is entirely improvised, the cast draws inspiration from missed connections ads posted on the “Missed Connections ATX takes the lost opportunities of fellow Austinites and allows us to have fun with the looming conclusion that we’ll all be alone forever,” said veteran cast member, Tyler Groce.

The audience will hear personal ads read aloud for the first time along with the cast, adding an exciting element of discovery. “You very much see Austin keeping it weird,” cast member Kelly Campbell said in regard to the ads used in last year’s shows and in rehearsal.

From the Puritanically tame to lewd, crude, and naughty, Missed Connections ATX is guaranteed to feature pieces that run the gamut of lovesick, anonymous personal ads. “When you get an ad that starts off with ‘man for woman at junkyard,’ that’s when you know you’ve struck gold!” Groce said.

“The show is, in a way, its own lovingly crafted ad to the city of its inspiration,” said cast member Shane Ganaway. “Audiences will delight in the uniquely Austin voice a lot of these missed connections carry.”

The show lovingly pokes fun at the lengths we’ll go to find love or affection without being cruel or disparaging toward the post authors. “We take these missed connections as an opportunity to connect,” explained Groce. He went on to add that, of course, “we have a little fun along the way.”

Opening February 3rd at 8:30pm, the show runs every Saturday through March 24th, with a special Valentine’s Day show on Wednesday, February 14th. Filled with music and mayhem, Missed Connections ATX is a not a show you want to ghost. And if last year’s run is any indication, buy your tickets ahead of time before they sell out. Who knows? You just might make your own missed connection at Missed Connections ATX.

Get tickets in advance: