Welcome to Directing on a Dime, where indie moviemaker Andy Young provides tips and insight for moviemakers whose budget is more The Blair Witch Project than Avatar. Have questions for Andy about low-budget (or no-budget) moviemaking? Ask away at .

With its location in one of the world’s biggest film cities and its impressive slate of U.S. and world premiere screenings, it’s no surprise that this year’s Austin Film Festival (AFF), which took place from October 20th to the 27th, brought some of the biggest stars in the world to Austin, Texas. One of those is James Franco, who was at the festival with his passion project Sal, about the final hours in the life of actor Sal Mineo, which Franco directed and co-starred in. “I have a special place in my heart for AFF,” remarked Franco. “This was the first festival to show the first feature I ever directed, called The Ape, so they really introduced me to the festival world… I love this city and these people.”

Even though AFF brings in its share of high-wattage stars, it stayed true to its reputation as a “writers’ festival” with the annual Pitch Competition and its many panels on the art of writing. Some of the biggest names in movie and television writing, including Jim Uhls (Fight Club), Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), Alec Berg (“Seinfeld”), John Lasseter (Toy Story) and Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands), came to AFF to share their wisdom in panels like “Comedy: The Hardest Genre?” and “Endings: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great.”

Personally, my favorite film of the festival was Jeff Who Lives at Home, the new film from writer/director duo (and former Austinites) Jay and Mark Duplass (check out my interview with the Duplass brothers about Jeff). Several films from AFF’s lineup have already generated substantial Oscar buzz, among them The Descendants, The Artist and Martha Marcy May Marlene. There were also some great screenings of classic films (Edward Scissorhands, Toy Story) and a sneak peek at the “Beavis and Butt-head” franchise revival, with creator Mike Judge—who, in addition to his work on the TV shows “Beavis and Butthead” and “King of the Hill,” has helmed the cult classics Office Space and Idiocracy—in attendance. “In general, Austin is just a great place to premiere something”, said Judge.

Next year’s Austin Film Festival will take place from October 16th to the 25th. Applications for submitting shorts, features and screenplays will go live soon, and I assure you, it’s well worth the entry fee.

Andy Young is a director, editor, writer and composer living in Austin, Texas. At the age of twenty, he has produced over 100 short films and one feature film, The Legend of Action Man, which he shot on a budget of only $200. Andy continues to make low-budget shorts with his sketch comedy group Dingoman Productions.