Ghosts, Ghosts, Ghosts
Going to conventions can be, well, rigorous. You're on your feet all day, moving from panel to panel, dodging people in the dealer's space aisles, talking to strangers, waiting in line for everything, and keeping your camera ready. Rest is for weaker fans, haha.
But I'm very sneaky.
Scott Tepperman, an investigator on Syfy's Ghost Hunters International. He's the coolest guy you'll ever meet: funny, easy-going, and kind. He had some great stories about what it was like to travel the world, exploring haunted castles and prisons in pitch black darkness. Although Scott is branching out into other avenues, like starring in low-budget horror movies, he still goes to conventions around the U.S. I was thrilled to hear that he'd be going to Megacon this year!
The GHI booth became my home base for next two days. I met fellow investigator Paul Bradford as well (who turns out to be a big Doctor Who fan, haha).
Dodging the crowds lining up for autographs in the special guest sections, I always returned to the booth to check in, eat my lunch, and listen with a huge grin on my face as fans came to the booth to share paranormal experiences with Scott and Paul.
Sci-Fi Speed Dating
Speed Dating was so much fun! The people behind the TLC show, Geek Love, were indeed running the sessions; just knowing that helped calm my nerves because they are the best, haha. Ryan Glitch had a slew of hilarious jokes to keep all of us distracted and calm. What I liked most is that he was very concerned that us girls were comfortable - and if we needed anything, he'd rush to our rescue like a superhero!
Luckly for me, I had no issues. I got to talk to thirty-five guys, three minutes each. My mouth went dry after the first three minutes, but I soldiered through it somehow. I had a water bottle, but time went so fast that I'd probably miss talking to someone if I reached for my water and took a drink (I kid you not). For the most part, three minutes was more than enough time to feel someone out and see if you like them. After the first four guys, I relaxed and started having fun.
I took Speed Dating very seriously. I vowed to myself that I'd only write down the numbers of the guys I'd like to get to know more - guys that I could see going on a date with. So... at the end of the session, I only wrote down one guy's number. Ah, well. I talked to so many nice guys, but the chemistry just wasn't there for me.
My sheet, however, had a lot of numbers on it. Wow! I'm very flattered.
I'd love to do Sci-Fi Speed Dating again. Really, truly. The only tough part is that the two hour sessions are huge chunks of time to lose when you're at a convention. To do more than one session per convention would mean that you'd ultimately miss out on other panels or, well, eating. Eating is very important... but tends to be ignored during cons, haha.
The panels this year were a mixed bag, but for the most part, I enjoyed them. My first panel of the weekend was "Crafting the Character Arc: How to Successfully Navigate Your Character Through Your Narrative." Going in, I expected to see a full panel of comic book writers, but instead discovered that the entire panel was going to be conducted by one lone woman: Jennie Jarvis, an MFA instructor as Full Sail University.
With less than a month away from holding my MFA degree, I felt a swell of pride in seeing her up there, kicking butt and taking charge of a large room packed with writers. Some of what she taught was review for me, like how she used a story diagram to talk about character growth (rising action, climax, etc). However, Jarvis has written in various mediums, including screenplay writing, so she had a lot of tiny but glittering gems of great advice. The best for me was when she defined the difference between goal and motivation. Readers, Jarvis says, expect to see a character win or fail at a goal (aka a tangible thing). You can't rely on a character's internal conflict alone. Ex: seeing two characters wed at the end of a story is more powerful than just having one character feel that the other character loves him/her.
Another memorable panel was "Q & A with Vic Mignona." For anyone living under a rock (seriously, guys), Vic is an amazing voice actor; some of his roles include Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist, Zero Kiryu from Vampire Knight, Tamaki Suou (!!! *passes out*) from Ouran High School Host Club, and, like, a million others.
In the evening, I attended an indie film festival, showcasing award-winning short films in various genres. In addition to seeing Creepy Crawly, an aptly-named horror short film with Scott Tepperman as one of the actors, I got to watch Pupsock and Wendell vs the Sky Pirates.
The humor is wonderful, and a bit eyebrow-raising, but the mixing of mediums is the best part. I love that puppets and digital characters share the screen, along with special effects and real actors and actresses. I met Thomas Mumme, one of the masterminds behind Pupsock. Somehow, we got on the subject of Buster Keaton (always a good thing) and then we geeked out about Hugo - he insisted that I need to put the book up at the top of my reading list! And it is. I have The Invention of Hugo Cabret on my desk, ready to be read.
Despite the gigantic dealer's space, I walked away from the convention with only a few items. Many booths sold the same exact t-shirts, plushies, posters, etc. - an unusual phenomenon. As you can see, I didn't get any Doctor Who merch;Hot Topic sold about eighty percent of what was there (and, if I had really wanted them, I would have already emptied by wallet at Hot Topic, thankyouverymuch).
I am a big, big, big fan of the Portal series, and practically slobbered over the small, but good wares. I got a huge, stuffed Wheatley and a "Wheatley Laboratories" t-shirt. Yes, Wheatley is my favorite character, haha.
I also got issues #1 and 2 of the Fionna & Cake comic book series. Adventure Time is pretty awesome, but the gender-bent characters have stolen my heart. I wish there were more issues! The artwork inside the comics was gorgeously-drawn and I'm so excited to see more of Flame Prince.
In regards to anime, I finished my collection of the Earl & the Fairy manga. I fell in love with the anime, but the manga is also great. And, last but not least, I got a keychain of Sailor Moon's disguise pen, the first weapon of sorts she ever used alongside her tiara. The disguise pen doesn't get much love, so it's wonderful to have one!