17 Oct SDCC 2014
ever since I started working on “Found in Kitsap” I’ve become more and more interested in 35mm film. there is something very special about the photochemical process. it’s a fascinating mixture of solar energy, organic material, and chemistry. the results aren’t always predictable and that leads to surprise and delight in seeing the final images.
however, this isn’t a blog about film – this is a blog about Comic Con! the pre-ramble (see what I did there?) is to explain why I’m just now writing about an event that took place three months ago. and that is because I wanted to include the photos I took with my film camera. hey, it takes me a while to send the film in to the lab.
for those of you who’ve been reading my blog, you know this is an annual trip filled with nerding out, partying with friends, and learning about my craft. (here are some previous year blogs: 2011, 2010. last year was a big year for me, my film CERTIFIED screened at the SDCC IFF and it was the year where I worked on transition from fanboy to professional attendee. that’s not to say I didn’t geek out about cool stuff, but rather I spent more time meeting new people and connecting with old friends than time waiting in lines. a LOT less time.
SDCC can get a bad rap as being “too commercial” or “too big”, some will say that the “soul” of the convention is gone, and that it was better before the TV networks and movie studios decided to use it as a promotional tool. I don’t know… this may be true… but regardless, the access to creative talent at SDCC is second to none. it’s truly amazing who you can walk to and start a conversation with. for example, I was able to talk to the Joe Kelly, the author of one my favorite graphic novels “I Kill Giants.” we chatted for about 10 minutes about his work, my work, and future plans. could this conversation have happened over email? maybe… but probably not. there’s something special about the energy that exists at the Con.
along with the chance of meeting artists you admire (and would like to collaborate with) there’s also a tremendous amount of knowledge that can be gained through attending panels. another change I’ve made in my Con-strategy is to be more selective which panels I attend. instead of going because the title sounds cool, I’m reading up on the guests to see if they’re people I want to meet OR have something new to teach me.
this year I went to a couple of panels that touched on a similar theme – the “other.” to explain this concept in full is a graduate level course, but the extra Cliff-notes version is the following – the “other” is someone that doesn’t fit in. this may be because of their country of origin, their race, their gender, their sexual orientation, their favorite team – whatever. the point is, there is something fundamental about them that makes them strange/scary/foreign to the group they find themselves in.
in all our lives, from time to time we find ourselves as “the other.” maybe we’ve moved to a new city, or started a new job, or pick a Forty Niner’s bar to watch the Seahawks’ game… whatever the case, it’s not a fun feeling. and the ability to know this feeling, and to portray in a story is a HUGE part of what makes a good writer. the process of putting yourself in other people’s shoes – is important for being a well-rounded person, and also for writing characters that are different than you. a writer needs to be able to not just imagine how a character might experience a situation but to KNOW how that situation would feel to the character. being able make your audience care, to have EMPATHY for your protagonist is one of the most important aspects of writing. if the audience truly cares for the character and can empathize with their struggles, they will forgive a great many things – a crazy plot, low production value, bad vfx – all of those things are secondary to having a character that matters.
I really cannot over emphasize how important empathy is.
here’s short video on just that subject.
but SDCC isn’t just about business and learning, it’s also about spending time with friends. this year I had the pleasure to both hang out with old friends and meet some new ones. from the Meatwad experience with Andrew, Brian, Lex, Mark, and Richie, to the zombie walk with Pam & Gregg, to the Hyatt bar with Hillary and Ryan it was a great long weekend with many of my favorite people. getting to spend time with my colleagues and friends is a big part of what I love about the con. sometimes it’s hard to make schedules connect in LA so having a getaway to San Diego can really help.
looking back at these pictures, I’m already looking forward to the excitement, energy, and opportunity of next year’s Con.
so readers – do you have a favorite event? maybe a conference or festival you look forward to attending every year? what makes that special? let me know in the comments below!