Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Adventures at Comic-Con - Part 2!


So, to recap, I'm at Comic-Con, I had an interview with Dave Elliott, and had an encouraging talk with Pixar story artist Octavio Rodriguez. Good stuff.

The con was absolute pandemonium. There were people in costume everywhere. There were screens and lights and signs and all kinds of media attacking the senses.

Some thoughts. I'm trying very hard to be a content creator, but I didn't realize until I'd gone to the con, that I'm not much of a content consumer. It's clear that there are people who consume a lot more comics, tv, film and video games then I do. I mean, it's comic-con, so these are maybe the top consumers, but still.

LucasFilm had a large area. I started thinking about Star Wars, how the original content that started the brand was just three feature films. It seems like so little compared to the empire of off-shoot content, merchandise and fandom that has come up around it. Seems like the effort to produce all that secondary content is many times more then it took to make the original content.

It made me think about stories. If you create a story that people like, people don't just want to re-watch it or watch more like it, people want to INTERACT or CONNECT with the story in a different way. If a person feels a connection with a character or a story, there's a strong desire to express that somehow.

I know as a big Myst fan that I don't just play and replay the games, I want to buy stuff to wear, I want to meet Rand Miller, I want to create something new based on that brand. And comic-con was a lot about that aspect. They had panels and stuff to buy and contests that give fans a chance to connect with the source material in a different way.

It was interesting to see then the content creators (or rather people who license their content) coming up with different creative ways for fans to do just that. It was fascinating.

Anyway, back to the con!

I walked around more. I found a stand devoted to Kapibara-san. I LOVE kapibara-san. I discovered Kapibara-san when I was living in Japan for a year. It's supposed to be a capybara, the large aquatic rodent native to Central and South America, but RIDICULOUSLY CUTE. I have a big collection of the plushes at home, including one of those really big ones. So I bought another little guy with funny eyebrows to add to my collection. I also took a picture with some women dressed up as kapibara-sans.

At another booth I bought myself a "moustache monocle." You hang it from your pocket and can have an instant moustache, anytime! A dapper looking man was showing them off, sporting a fantastic accent. I should have bought more. They also had longer, more villainous 'staches.

Then I took a break. I had some blackberries back at the DeviantART area.

I then briefly checked out the upstairs area. There was a tables for free cards to take. I briefly thought it would be nice to put my own giveaway cards there, but I didn't want to go back and get them and I thought I might have to ask first too.

Then I met up with voice actress Karen Kahler ( She played "Anna" in the Myst animatic I did a while ago (link). I was great to finally meet her. We talked about the projects we are working on, our goals, etc. She told me that as a professional (if you can show credits) that your tickets to comic-con area are free! I didn't know that. I need to get on that for the future.

Then I meet the amazing artist Claire "Shoomlah" Hummel ( We coordinated via twitter and met near my table. We talked Myst and art, things we want to do in the future. She's awesome. It would be fun to do a project with her someday. She has some great ideas for a project with Cyan Worlds. Cyan, you should let the both of us do stuff for you!

Another break. Banana. Finished the blackberries.

During my break, I was looking at the graphic novel "Cuidad" I bought at Octavio Rodriguez's table. While I was at his table, I also looked at the graphic novel of story artist Louie del Carmen. Both of them had these really loose, energetic lines and limited color palettes that I really liked. I hope I can incorporate more of that in my work.

So I was feeling like I really wanted to go back and buy Louie del Carmen's book. And I wanted to talk to him. But I felt a little awkward about going back to the table. Plus I was deliriously tired at this point. But somehow I braved it and went back to their table.

I bought Louie's books. I started to tell him that I saw him give a talk at Ottawa in 2009, but he said that that was his brother, not him. "Fuck," I said. We laughed about it. Octavio joked that it was all over, I'm going to blacklisted from the industry now. Haha. But how can there be two brothers who are amazing story artists?!? How is that possible??

Anyway, Louie was very nice and I chatted with him and his wife for a while. He currently works at Dreamworks and had worked a long time storyboarding for TV. He told me that he and Octavio are very versatile, and that they are turning down storyboarding jobs all the time. It was very encouraging. I showed him a bit of my work and both he and Octavio said I "have the chops" for this business. That was really nice to hear.

I was so exhausted by that point. I took another break. Had a sandwich. I was very happy, but at the same time I just wanted to curl up in a little ball under the table.

Next on my agenda was to check out publishers. I wanted to see what publishers might be appropriate for the kind of work that I do. Or specifically, for Seated Lady. I checked out Archaia, Oni Press, Image comics, Dark Horse, and a bunch of other places. The problem was I really wanted to talk to people who could tell me about submission and selection process. I think the staff was more people just who were trying to sell the books. I tried to ask around a bit, but I didn't get anything really helpful. Where are those meetings happening? Where are those guys?

Another break. chocolate.

The day was almost over. I didn't have any other pressing items on the agenda. I took a long walk just to stroll around and get some pictures of the insanity. Lots of pictures!

I stalked that Link character for a little while.

It seems really fun to do cosplay. Everyone wants to stand next to you and take your picture! People were very direct about asking and the people in costume were very obliging. It was really fun to watch.

I didn't go to any panels. I didn't think I could sit down for an hour, not when all these people were moving around on the convention floor. I kinda wanted to go to the RiffTraks session, but it felt too crazy.

"The convention floor will be closing in half and hour" I heard.

I wish I had seen my art up on the big screens DeviantART had up in Artist's Alley. Someone said they did see it up there though!

At the end of the day, I chatted with Dave Elliott again over at his table. It felt like the day had come full circle.

7:00 pm. Everyone left. I packed up my stuff. Bye Comic-con!

On the shuttle back to the hotel, three boys were arguing about how much they would pay for a non-working ironman suit. "1000 dollars," one said. "1200," said another. Seems reasonable, I thought to myself.

I went back to the hotel and collapsed. It was like 8:30.

The next morning, I had scheduled a meeting with musician Gwen Barriac (link). She had contacted me a few weeks ago about doing an animated short film with a music score composed herself. We both went to Princeton, at different times. It's an ideal situation for me because she's paying me and it's a project that's right up my alley.

She happens to live in San Diego, so we meet for early lunch before my flight out. The focus of the story is how the creative process can be very painful, even destructive, when you are trying to create something new. You'll see art and sketches and stuff for the project in the months to come.

Gwen had written a script and we talked about it. I love talking story. I asked her to explain the feelings behind different parts she had written. We came up with some new ideas on how to approach it, to make it clearer and stronger. Then she was kind enough to drop me off at the airport.

Bye San Diego! I got on a plane for San Francisco. That's where I am now. I'm starting my first class on storyboarding today at Animation Collaborative.

I'm staying at a place literally three blocks blocks from Pixar. I shot this picture my first day walking around:

Hopefully, I'll have more to tell about that soon!

Summary: Comic-con was amazing and I'm very grateful to DeviantART for the opportunity to go!

Thanks for reading guys!

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