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Posts Tagged ‘get ready’

Getting ready for SXSW means sorting out your visa

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Just over one in ten of the attendees at SXSW last year were from outside the United States (which means that the international delegation last year was larger than the total attendances at some of the early SXSW Interactives…). We here at The Baby! are expecting similar sorts of numbers this year as well, so we want to remind all of you who are going to be passing through the International Arrivals Hall to check two things?

Do you need a Visa?

Except in exceptional circumstances, anyone performing a showcase is going to need to apply for a visa. You should have details in your invitation from the SXSW team, but don’t delay – if you’ve not started the process, get going now. Residents of some countries will always need a visa to enter the US, so check the Customs and Border Patrol website to be sure.

Do you need to fill in an ESTA?

If you are resident in a country which is part of the Visa Waiver program, and you aren’t under one of the exception categories (such as performers, but there are others), then you can skip the Visa process. That doesn’t mean you can walk straight in without filling in a form – you’ll need to register with the ESTA program before you travel.

Head over to the website to register OR to check your existing ESTA is valid.

One Week To Go: Interviews, Intrigue, and Panic Booking

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Next week, many of us will be heading over to Austin for SXSW – the Interactive and Film crowds will start the gatherings to all intents around lunchtime on Thursday 8th March, and while the Music crowds will take a bit longer to drift to the Texan Capital, the SXSW 2012 clock will have started.

Just time for some last-minute thoughts and things to do in our “Weeks to Go” series.

What I’d suggest now is you take a calm ten minutes, and quietly go through your preparations. Plane tickets, hotel reservations, AirBNB arrangements, all of the stuff that needs to be done… is it done? Have you copies of the information you’ll need? Will you print them out because you know your smartphone will go flat if you rely on it in Austin? I know I said cover the basics at six weeks to go, but let’s check them once more (and that includes Visa or ETSA applications that those Southbyers outside of the US will need to apply for before you fly).

Do it now, and you have just enough time to do a panic order on whatever it is you have.

Everyone has a story to tell at SXSW, and many of you are going to be looking at media outlets, bloggers, websites, newspapers, radio, and anyone else you can find to get the message out. Now is the time to reach out to them, with a short, succinct message, and a clear request of what you’d like (come to our show, are you doing interviews, would you download the application please).

Build up the intrigue on the social networks as well if you are doing a launch, tease a track from a new album, release a new film trailer… SXSW is close enough now that the PR legwork you do now will be remembered next week as it all starts. And for us in the media who are booking interviews with interesting people, great musicians, and amazing films, this is week we want to lock down or diary of appointments. So let’s have both sides help each other out!

Two Weeks To Go: Get your crew together

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Not long now till we all descend on Austin, and hopefully you’ve got your head around planning for SXSW through the last few weeks. So what would we suggest this week? Forget about SXSW as a place to meet new people, find exciting ideas, and decide on a new career direction, just think of it as a way to be around your online friends for a week.

How many people have you got in your social networks that you don’t see on a day-to-day basis? Given that you are off to SXSW, there’s every chance that people in your circles are heading there as well. Do you know who they are? It’s time to ask around, and make sure that everyone who is going knows you’re going as well. Blog posts, Twitter messages, Facebook status, go and get them updated!

Very soon you’ll find a little group who are heading to Austin, and it’s likely to have a mix of newcomers, old hands, and people in between. Perfect.

Now, you’re not going to with the group the whole time, but I’d suggest you have a time that everyone can get together and talk about their time in Austin. There’s always a lot going on, and trying to make sense of it on your own can overwhelm you. So help each other in your crew – I’d suggest you all make a point of having breakfast together before you all go your separate ways. It’s a great time to think about the previous day, and plan the next twenty-four hours.

And if it does get a bit too much, a quick text or DM with “I need coffee” should be a bat signal for everyone else!

Six Weeks To Go: Sort out the basics for SXSW 2012

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

You got the Austin buzz yet?

With six weeks to go until we all start packing bags and heading to Texas for the absolute brain-smash that makes up Southby, whether you are doing Interactive, Film, Music, or the whole eleven day marathon, we’ll count down to the departure every Monday here on The Baby to keep you pointed (roughly) in the right direction.

This week, how to suck eggs.

Sort out your badge

Look I know it’s pricey, and you might have problems getting it past whoever oversees your finances (be it the VC, the accounts department, or your partner), but it’s not going to get any cheaper. And last year Interactive sold out before March so the safety net of a walk-up badge was simply not there. Make the decision. Go or no-go. Buy the badge, or walk away.

SXSW 2012 Now until Feb 10 Feb 11 and Walk up rate
$1295 $1395
$1050 $1150
Music $700 $750
Film $550 $595
Interactive $850 $950

You’ll need the official site to do this bit… sxsw.com/attend.

Where are you crashing?

Hotels are in short supply this year, in fact the official Austin hotels are sold out for Interactive (Fri 9 – Wed 14) so you’ll need to look somewhere else. AirBNB might be an option, as are the Austin Craigslist classified. We’ve got a Room Share Forum that might be able to help as well. Ask around your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc, and see if you can find a room buddy for the event – that cuts the cost down as well.

Transport Sorted?

Austin is not in the floo network (I think the clean air act had a huge impact on routes) so you can either road-trip yourself to Austin – in which case get the vehicles booked in for a service before you leave – or you’ll be flying in. Flying in with everyone else to Austin-Bergstrom International. Which means flights will fill up and get more expensive. If you’ve made the call to get here, you do have the flight tickets sorted, booked, and locked down. Right?

Break in the footwear.

I’ll make a prediction right now about your time at SXSW that is 100% going to come true. You will be walking for miles. Every day. Without fail. Put aside the dainty ballet shoes with a sole, forget the fantastically strappy sandals with the kitten heels, or the cool trendy canvas loafers. You need something that supports the ankle, that cushions the impact, that’s comfortable and are broken in!

Simply put, you need a pair of boots made for walking.

You either have them in your closet, or you need to buy them now and start wearing them round the house so your feet won’t get cut to ribbons by the time you to Austin