2015 DIY Convention Explores Age Challenges


This is the 14th year for the DIY Convention: Do It Yourself in Film, Music & Books. In conference years, that’s middle-aged. So it’s appropriate that we take a look at the struggles of artists who are in the middle of their career on the DIY battle lines.

“For Mature Audiences Only” is the theme of this year’s panel sessions, taking place on Saturday, March 14 in the Academy Room of the Roosevelt Hotel.  The sessions are free and open to the public, but reserved seating is being held for those who RSVP. Details at www.diyconvention.com.

The origin of this year’s theme began on Facebook after last year’s SXSW.  As veterans of that mighty Austin, Texas conference are wont to do, there was a lot of griping that things weren’t the same as they were in the earlier years.

Sixth Street, the main drag of Austin’s club scene, was too crowded; the lines for shows were too long; there was no place for Lady Gaga at an event that became known as one of the cradles of Americana; there were no great restaurant reservations to be obtained; and getting a drink in the Four Seasons meant a long wait (the last two an inside joke!)

While some of the griping was typical for any conference, it pointed to an obvious truth: as things mature, there are different needs and desires. And that’s true whether you are an artist, a journalist, an author, filmmaker or just a fan of all of them.

As new technology has changed the landscape of what’s possible for any DIY artists, there still remain challenges for artists who are over age 30.  For musicians, many of their contemporaries have moved on from being avid music consumers; for filmmakers, tastes for the avant garde have given way to family movies; and authors battle the challenge of getting the attention of audiences whose love of books is impeded by the demands of work, family and other activities.

Some of these are problems not particularly related to age. But many of them pose a serious challenge for artists trying to expand and thrive in the summer of their careers. Yet many artists are thriving in this new environment, and we’ll explore some of the questions and hopefully provide some answers in our sessions.  We hope to see you at the Roosevelt on March 7!

Saturday, March 7 – Panel schedule at the Roosevelt Hotel: 

 1 p.m. Not Fade Away: Being Older in a Young Person’s Business Panelists:

  • Vicky Hamilton, artist manager/author
  • Matty Karas, composer/journalist
  • Edna Gundersen, journalist
  • Janiss Garza, author/blogger

2:30 p.m.: “I’ll Try to Make It:” Social Media and Marketing Panelists:

  • Christine Elise, author/filmmaker
  • Pleasant Gehman, author/musician/dancer
  • Carrie Borzillo, author/journalist
  • Bobby Borg, author/musician

4 p.m.: War Stories from the DIY Front Panelists:

  • Richard Martini, filmmaker/author
  • Johnny Angel, musician/radio personality
  • Bruce Duff, musician/author
  • Ethlie Ann Vare, author/television writer