Profile by COURTNEY HAZLETT — Don Elfant has been with team for a while, and even wrote the first several profiles, so its sort of ridiculous that we hadn’t profiled him until now. Courtney rectifies that. You can see Don at all our events, and he is the one working to get all the great press for our filmmakers.
1. Where are you from originally and what brought you to Austin?
Born and raised in Houston (oh, the humidity!). Came to Austin to attend The University of Texas and never left. I majored in Advertising and minored in Sleeping Late.
2. What drew you to want to join the OWA team? And what do you enjoy about being the Director of Marketing and Development?
Bears Fonte drew me in. We’re friends and, at the time, we were in the same screenwriters’ group. We once even wrote a SciFi script together. So, when he said he was starting a SciFi film festival it sounded like the perfect opportunity. Plus, who doesn’t want a boss named Bears?
The best part about my job is working with filmmakers to promote their films. They work so long and put so much energy into one project and then they trust me to get the word out. It’s gratifying just to be a part of it.
3. What advice do you have for anyone interested in working in marketing?
Before you start getting creative, know your prospective audience. Be clear about what you want them to know and what you want them to do. It is at that point you can do the fun part. There have been many famous ad campaigns that won awards for creativity but did nothing to achieve their actual goals.
4. What is your favorite SciFi TV show or film?
I’m old school – STAR TREK: TOS. I watched it in reruns as a kid with my older brother, Alan. It had a profound effect on me. I learned about race, war, and inequity. Of course, I didn’t think of it like that at the time, it just seeped into my consciousness. What I knew I liked were the characters: Captain Kirk—heroic bad-ass (I probably thought the acting was amazing!); Mr. Spock—Science Officer? There’s an officer of science? That blew me away. And I kind of learned what logic was; Bones—Oscar the Grouch with a medical license. Cranky and hilarious. Everything a kid could want.
5. What appeals to you most about the SciFi genre?
When I was young, it was the science. I thought I was seeing the future! As I got older the stories became more important. I’ve seen a lot of amazing special effects so I’m not easily impressed anymore. But the SciFi genre is great for telling good stories. Combining old themes with a new spin—it makes the viewer watch from a different perspective.
6. What do you like to do when you are not doing stuff for OWA?
I like to spend time with my wife and our two awesome dogs. I like science and history. I bowl and play golf, but I no longer do anything that involves running.
7. Is there anything else that people should know about you?
I sold political buttons at every Democratic National Convention from 1980 until 2008. I started young. Long story…