25 years ago, Austin very few people were talking about Austin outside of Texas — but because of the South by Southwest festival, the landscape of this town has been changed forever.

The economic effects of the yearly festival for Austin have been a boom for the city.  With 50,000 registered attendees in 2011 and over 283,100 people coming to the city to enjoy various other SXSW-related events, the SXSW festival funnels approximately $170 million annually into the Austin’s restaurants, bars, hotels and small businesses.

For an intro on everything SXSW, we were joined by the Event Director of the SXSW Interactive Festival, Hugh Forrest, and the filmmaker of Outside Industry: The Story of South by Southwest, Alan Berg.

Here’s a short transcript of Dylan’s talk with Hugh and Alan:

Dylan: Why did you make the movie? What are we supposed to take away — and what do we learn about what you guys have done in this town?

Alan:  Well, I made the movie because I’m proud this event took place in the city that I love.  And it illustrates just the entrepreneurial creativity — people finding a passion and pursuing it and creating something as wonderful as “South By.” I wanted to document that and share it with people.

Dylan:  The interesting thing is as we travel around you see that there are all different cultures — but there is a commonality in how those are succeeding do things and the way that they work with each other and the way they embrace the local culture.  Give us a sense of what the early culture and goals were that ultimately led to this sort of experiment that blew up to be so fabulous.

Hugh: I think SXSW is very much a reflection of Austin and the creative culture that’s in Austin as Alan referenced. 25 years ago we were a very, very small organization — and that was a good thing. We had the chance to kind of grow organically and after ten, fifteen years it began to get a lot of noise. Create a lot of movement here. But I think as much as we’ve grown, the heart of the event has always been the same which is to focus on creativity — whether in musicians or film makers or interactive technology.

Dylan:  What is your favorite part? How do you explain the “secret sauce,” Alan?

Alan:  Ten days of chaos really. For ten days this is the center of the world for people who are doing interesting things in film, interactive, and music. Every year the highlights are different. Twitter was launched here in 2007. Johnny Cash when he came in ’94. That was a big deal. And so every year is a different highlight. This year Bruce Springsteen is coming.

Dylan: But there’s obviously something that these people feel that they get whether it’s Bruce Springsteen or somebody that’s an established artist who is coming or somebody who is a brilliant artist from some other part of America who none of us have heard of, but will emerge next month when they are here.  There’s something that they’re getting, that gets them off the couch wherever they are that says it’s worth my while to go down there.  What is it?

Hugh:  Well, we like to say that South by Southwest for attendees is about taking your career to the next level. So if it’s Johnny Cash wanting to break into the alternative market, great. He was able to do that. If it’s a young musician just trying to make initial contacts you can do that also. On our end the stuff that I work on with web developers or wireless developers, that type of thing, it’s a great way to meet other people doing the same thing. Meet VC’s, meet angel investors. Again, getting your career to the next level and finding inspiration in all of this creativity that comes to Austin in March.

Dylan: There is an entrepreneurship program in south Florida called Launch Pad at the University of Miami.  Obviously, you can talk ad nauseam with the folks in Northern California. The common trait — that the community environment is what brings people. People feel they’re going to meet other people that are going to either recognize their talent or help them solve a problem that they don’t know how to solve.

Hugh: I think you’re exactly correct. On the one hand it’s the Austin community which has always been so creative. On the other hand it’s this community that comes together around Austin for what we do on the interactive end.  There is also this big component of a virtual community and that’s one of the things that’s helped us grow so much in recent years. It’s people coming to austin, having a good time, blogging about it, Tweeting about it, putting it on their Facebook page. It just creates more and more interest and more and more excitement and more and more enthusiasm.

For more information or if you want to attend the 2012 SXSW Conference, visit their website at SXSW.com.

– Meg Robertson is a digital producer for DylanRatigan.com.  You can find her on Twitter @megrobertson.