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ATX TV Fest 2023- Why The Micro Sessions Are So Great

ATX TV Fest is best known for its unabashed love of television. Scripted, unscripted, comedy, science fiction, horror, romance, and drama are all represented with equal appreciation. This is a festival for fans, by fans, that is truly unique in its format and dedication to television. One of the things that makes it so special is the micro sessions which work more like friendly conversations with the most intelligent people in the industry than traditional screenings and Q and A’s. They provide an up-close and personal look inside the mind of some of our favorite creatives.

Have you ever wanted to know how a dark character is conceived? Do you long to know what a writer’s room is really like? Ever wondered how big a part costume and music play in the creative process? How about an intimate look at the career and personal life of television royalty? All these things and more can be found at Austin’s ATX TV Fest, now in its 12th season. ATX TV Fest 2023 featured a few truly surprising panels despite the limitations that the writers’ strike imposed.

Although sometimes overlooked, the micro sessions are incredibly insightful and unique in the entertainment festival landscape. What other fest would give festivalgoers such unprecedented access to the minds behind some of the best series ever? These intimate sessions are the hidden gems of ATX TV Fest. Here are the 5 Best Micro Sessions at ATX Tv Fest s12.

Are They A Good Person?(The New “Likable”)

A one-two punch with Justified: City Premevil, the panel featuring Jacqueline Sacerio(Co-Head, Development, Scripted Television, eOne) and Sarah Timberman(Executive Producer Justified: City Primevil, Fleishman is in Trouble), this panel explored the allure of the anti-hero. The rousing conversation explored why we are drawn to those who live in the moral gray more than those who are always good. The micro session was intimate and as close as you could get to insiders who know how to craft extraordinary characters and stories. Coupled with the World Premier of Justified: City Primevil, it is a no-brainer and a perfect example of what ATX TV Fest does so well.

Micro sessions
Photo Credit: Tammy Perez

The End

What makes a series great? Arguably, how the series ends defines it as much as the years of episodes that preceded the finale. Just ask Lost or Game of Thrones what they wouldn’t give for an audience-satisfying ending. This micro panel with Dave Andron(Co-Creater, Showrunner, EP, Showrunner) and Maril Davis(EP, Outlander) was another of the often overlooked microsessions. They candidly discussed how and when they begin planning the end of a series and what that process can look like. Lastly, as a writer, how you can satisfy everyone and let the story go once it has ended was explained. This nearly packed house stayed until….the very end.

Diverse Voices In Comedy, presented by Universal Studio Group

One of the most critical micro sessions of the fest combined humor with understanding. Diversity and inclusion are essential in every facet of life. Seeing people on television who look and sound the way we do is important. With audiences demanding more diversity in all forms of entertainment, we are finally seeing those changes. Panelists Jerry Johnson(Actor, Harlem) and Christina Vidal(Actor, Primo) discussed the importance of representing communities of color, particularly in comedic programming. This interesting panel looked at how things have changed, why they must continue to evolve, and what change looks like in the future.

Micro sessions
ATX TV Fest 2023 Photo Credit: Teodora Pogonat

Indie TV: How We Did It Differently

The team behind Everyone Is Doing Great came together to discuss how to make an independent television series. James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti (Creators, Writers, EP’s, Actors) and Alexandra Park(Writer, EP, Actor) discuss leaning on your strengths to compensate for the lack of resources. The refreshingly honest panel sent everyone away with a newfound respect for what can be done with talent and belief. It was a must-see for the hopeful creatives at the festival and anyone who loves television but refuses to conform.

Into The Dark

My favorite micro session of the entire festival paired Gina Fattore(writer, Producer, Dare Me, Californication) and Julie Plec(Creator, Showrunner, EP, Director, Vampire Academy, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Legacies). These two women have been bringing to life the kinds of complex characters that episodic television is made for. They discussed how their bad boys and girls of television came to be and how the changing social landscape has changed how they write characters now. The psychology behind why these characters make such good television was also discussed. It was a smart and hilariously honest look at the creative process.

The premier screenings and Q and A’s are always a hit, but the micro sessions make ATX TV Fest what it is. This television festival has continued to grow year after year because of these captivating panels, talks, and conversations. With ATX TV Fest s12 a wrap, we will have to wait until next year to see what they cook up for us next. Find all our ATX TV Fest coverage here.