Friday, June 1, 2012

Big Wow! ComicFest 2012 Recap

(L-R) John Gillette, Reyna Young, myself, and Dylan D Walsh
on our "Horror Filmmaking 101" panel at Big Wow! 
This was my first time attending San Jose's Big Wow! ComicFest. More importantly (to me, at least), it was my first time ever speaking on a convention panel.

I have to admit, I've dreamed about sitting at one of those long, tablecloth-draped tables since the first convention I attended. It just seemed so cool, that all those people would sit and listen to what knowledge you had to share. So when my friend Reyna Young (horror hostess Miss Misery) asked me to participate in her "Horror Filmmaking 101" panel, I was over the moon.

Also on the panel were her husband/partner-in-film John Gillette, and one of her regular actors/production assistants, Dylan D Walsh. We covered everything from where to get screenplay ideas to how to distribute your film once it's done. The panel had a great energy, and it felt more like a group of filmmakers chatting over coffee than a formal panel.

Proof that I actually said something.
Honestly, a bit of that might have had to do with the crowd. You see, there was a little SNAFU with the scheduling, which led to a last-minute switch in the programming that didn't make it into the printed convention guide. So, unfortunately, most of our audience showed up at the wrong day and time.

However, the crowd we did have was awesome. Family, friends, a few devoted con-goers, and a sea monster. What we lacked in quantity, we made up for in quality.

Really, how many audiences have a sea monster?
I was especially touched that my friend and Everything I Needed to Know About Zombies I Learned From the Movies's Director of Photography Erin Castrapel (Mr. Thumbs Up in the photo) made a surprise trip up from Los Angeles to see the panel. It made the day all the more special, especially when he coordinated an impromptu lunch reunion with another old friend.

As for the convention itself, I liked Big Wow's vibe. It had enough clout to draw in some big names (Jim Lee and Terrance Zdunich, for example), but it also had a casual, local con feel. I love conventions where you can stop and chat with the artists and creators and really get to know them and their art. I'll take that over the big budget cattle-stampede the Comic-Con conventions have turned into (and no, I'm not bitter at all that WonderCon abandoned the Bay Area for freakin' Anaheim). We didn't stay long, but we had a great time, and consensus was that this con was a definite keeper. I'll be back next year!

For some more thorough reviews of Big Wow! as a whole:

Oscar Benjamin's Examiner review (with LOTS of gorgeous photos)

Graphic Novel Reporter

ConventionLife (shout out to Michael Tang for photographing our panel)

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