ATX TV Festival Caitlin & Emily

Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson started the ATX TV Festival June 2012! On the heels of their 11th years, Austin Lifestyle caught up with the duo to get the scoop on their decade plus partnership and what we can expect from the fest this year.

How did you meet? 

Cait: We met as assistants on the Fox Lot in Los Angeles in 2005! Emily was an assistant in Feature Film Finance...."I joke that Emily approved my Petty Cash receipts...which she still does!" Emily: My boss told me I should take all the assistants I worked with out to lunch because those are the people I’d be rising through the ranks with. 

How did you decide to work together? 

Cait: We used to daydream about starting a company that allowed us to work independently where we wouldn't work on Mondays and our dogs could come to the office... The joke is that when you start a company you work every day, all the time. The festival came about because I was trying to figure out my next move...and when I wasn't hired at Austin Film Festival, I thought ‘Where is the TV Festival? I'll go work for it.’ And I didn't find one... Emily was also looking for her next adventure, so she hopped onboard within a week. Emily: I always knew I wanted to move back to Texas, so when Cait first told me this idea, it seemed like the perfect time. 

Is there a secret sauce to an enduring partnership?

Cait: Communication is key.

Emily: It’s like any relationship. You have to let each other grow and evolve, you have to be allowed to change your mind and direction, and you have to believe the other person always has the best interest of the company at heart…We also worry about separate things, and we panic at opposite times. It definitely helps that one of us always remains grounded while the other one is panicking. 

What’s a key lesson you’ve learned from your first festival until now? 

Emily: That you can plan and organize and schedule all the details down to the second, but the true magic comes when the people arrive, and with them comes unpredictability. Something is always going to go wrong, but very few things (COVID aside) are going to take down the festival. The unexpected is what’s exciting and that’s what makes live events so special. 

You have a festival coming up June 2, what’s something people can look forward to this year? 

Cait: Being back in person! Truly, we’ve had fun learning and being virtual, but we miss people. The happenstance of running into someone in a bar, in line, and finding an unexpected conversation. … Also Parenthood and Scrubs reunions! 

You call the festival a TV Camp for Grown Ups…

 Cait: We are a community of TV Industry and TV super fans that come together to celebrate all things television…while eating and drinking a lot of really great things. Emily: We watch, talk, and celebrate TV together. There’s panels and screenings full of your favorite TV series past, present, and future. But the “camp” part is really about being together and creating friendships. Whether it’s trivia or TV-themed karaoke or happy hours focused on your new (or old) favorite show, it’s about making your new best friend because you both love the same show. 

What keeps you motivated to keep doing what you do? 

Emily: It’s about the people. It’s the fact that we care so much about the ATX TV community and we want to give them the best experience possible. We also deeply believe in the power of story and that TV is a powerful medium that can bring people together. 

Final thoughts?

Emily: ATX TV is a place of discovery. Whether it’s something new about an old show, or finding your new favorite series, actor, or even platform. The possibilities are endless of what you can find. If you’ve never heard of ATX TV, go to our website and scroll through our panels from the past. I guarantee you’ll find a show or person you like, and hopefully it’ll give you a sense of who we are and what “TV Camp for Grown Ups” is all about. Website 

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