Monday, July 23, 2012

San Diego Comicon 2012

Photo 1: It's the biggest and the best, and this year, San Diego Comicon one again lived up to it's reputation as the largest and most exciting comic convention in the world. 

Photo 2: And I came fully prepared! Red 5 and I drove a truck full of merchandise, promos, posters, props, supplies, and a metric ton of Star Wars t-shirts so we could spread the word about all of the shows we did this year, and promote my new company, Floppets!

Photo 3: Floppets had lots of new items to promote, but we were also excited to bring one of our original products to the con for the first time this year. The Guild Floppets are a fan favorite, and we could barely keep full sets in stock once all the Guildies found us!

Photo 4: Our big announcement this con was the premier of Star Trek Floppets! They are so new, even the first time my partner Rich saw them was at the booth! We made these exclusively for Roddenberry Entertainment, so we were honored to be able to promote them at the Roddenberry booth, which has been a staple of Comicon for years. 

Photo 5: I know there is a ton of Trek merchandise for you to chose from, so I thought I would sweeten the deal with a show special! I designed this blue command symbol as a premium only available at the conventions, and only as a bonus if you buy a full set of the standard nine designs. We sold a ton on Preview Night, which was a good sign of what was to come for the weekend ahead.

Photo 6: Thursday morning started early for me, but not as early as it did for Rod Roddenberry! He was up, at the beach, and prepping to dive by 5:30! Luckily, I got to meet up with him around 7:30. I did some press for our film, White Room: 02B3, which premiered later that evening, then supervised a small beach cleanup in conjunction with the Roddenberry Art Project I am doing. Rod's dive team is sponsoring a contest called Trashy Diver, which promotes waterway cleanups and awards prizes to participants. I gather up all the trash, and am turning it into a sculpture to create awareness for the damage we do to our water sources. thank you to everyone that came to help out on the beach!

Photo 7: After the cleanup, I went with the Roddenberry Dive Team to the Birch Aquarium, where Rod was the guest diver in kelp tank. It was quite the sight to see, and Rod's underwater speech about how the ocean was as alien to us as outer space was so moving it teared me up! 

Photo 8: I couldn't stay for the whole event, as Comicon had already opened and I needed to get back there, but I did manage to sneak in a private behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium, including the usually off limits seahorse nursery! Spending a few moments with those adorable baby creatures only fortified my passion for using my art to inspire people to help save the seas. 

Photo 9: I made it back onto the floor just in time for my first signing with the stars of my film, White Room: 02B3. It was shot in 360 degrees, and at the Roddenberry panel, we officially announced that not only will you be able to watch the film at a dome theater near you, but also on your iphone or ipad, where you can move the screen around to view anywhere in the room. That way you can watch Milynn Sarley as she paces the room, ready to strike at any moment! (photo courtesy of Beau Ryan)

Photo 10: After a full day of comicon, I headed to the Birch Theater to watch the director's cut of WR:02B3, and Rod's documentary about his father, Trek Nation. It was awesome to see both films on the big screen, and afterwards writer Tory Mell, actors Milynn, Tony Janning, and myself Joined Rod on stage for a Q&A.

 Photo 11: Friday started out with a live version of Felicia Day's Flog, filmed on the YouTube stage. I was thrilled that Felicia asked me to appear with her in the segment, and even more so with the turnout! We came up with the crazy idea of making masks so that Felicia can move about Comicon more freely, as it is hard for her to get from place to place without being bombarded with fans. By all means, that's a good thing, but because her schedule is so tight, she ends up feeling bad that she has to deny people autographs and photos in order to not be late to appearances. I thought it might be easier for her if she was in Comiconito!

 Photo 11: Felicia and I met up with the rest of the Guild cast for a signing at the Roddenberry booth. It was only an hour, as the whole gang had a packed schedule, but it was the ONLY signing on the convention floor for the whole weekend, so we had a huge turnout. It was awesome seeing celebrities from other huge shows wait in line to say hi, and express their love for THE GUILD and how much of an inspiration it was to them.

 Photo 12: It was also great to see so many custom made Avatar weapons! I always love seeing Codex with her staff, but I am constantly blown away by all of the other characters that show up, like this Tink. The detail and accuracy of her costume and bow prove how much she loves the show. Great job!

Photo 13: Friday night ended with the Roddenberry/Geek Nation party. It was a blast. So many Sci-Fi faces. Of course, Claire Kramer's face stands out in any crowd! You loved her on Buffy, now follow her as she leads Geek Nation on a never dull journey through all things geek. A stellar example would be her podcast, 5x5, which I guest starred on last week! She got me to tell stories I have never told a soul before...

 Photo 14: You know a Star trek party is a success when face huggers start impregnating assimilated federation officers! This is what I love the most about Comicon. It has opened up to so many genres, it literally is it's OWN genre! It has become a melting pot of everything that everybody loves, and it is the one place you can go where you are not judged for your specific allegiance. Star Wars and Star Trek fans share equal admiration for each other's universes, DC and Marvel diehards help each other in line for panels, Twilight and True Blood fans camp together all night to share the best seats in the house. It's its own universe, where everything we think is cool, is actually cool!

Photo 15: Saturday was very surreal for me. When I was 10 years old, fighting to stay awake late enough to watch re-runs of Star Trek, I never imagined I would be a guest at the world's largest comic convention, hanging out in the back of the official Roddenberry booth, applying Vulcan ears to a beautiful unicorn while being interviewed by a sci-fi magazine, while Brent Spiner, star of Star Trek: Next Generation, checks in on me to see if I'm ready to sit in with him for a signing promoting a new Star Trek product I created. It was a little chaotic, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I dream of the day when every moment of my life could be as magical as that opening to the biggest day of Comicon.

Photo 16: Brent and I have crossed paths many times, including the approval sessions for this Legends in 3 Dimensions bust I sculpted years ago. Most recently, I designed Brent's web-series, Fresh Hell, and we thought it would be a good idea to do a joint push for the show, and my new Star Trek Floppets.

Photo 17: If you haven't seen the show, definitely check it out. It's hilarious, and the cast is amazing. That's the lovely Kat Steel sitting next to me. She co-stars as Dakota, Brent's neighbor who helps him on his journey to restore his Hollywood career. Brent was kind enough to join me for free signatures to anyone who bought Trek Floppets, and if you bought a full set, he gave away Fresh Hell t-shirts that exclaimed, "At least I'm not Brent Spiner!". Trek fans know it's rare to access the main cast for free, so we had a massive crowd. I can't thank Brent enough for helping me spread the word on Floppets.

Photo 18: Brent wasn't the only Next Gen alum to get Floppetized! Luvar Burton dropped by to say hi and the fans went crazy. After I talked to him for a few minutes, the girl who was next in line burst into tears and said, "that was the most amazing thing to ever happen in my life!" It's amazing how much these guys have affected us all. Even after all these years, Star Trek still inspires.

Photo 19: After a while, we had a few members of White Room: 02B3 join in to sign some posters to promote the film. I've had a crush on Tamlyn Tomita since I saw Karate Kid II, and her kindness and beauty never let that die. We first met on the pilot of Babylon 5, and although we have been friends ever since, WR:02B3 was the first project I ever directed Tamlyn in. It was great to have her at Comicon. Especially for the Glee fans! David Blue also sat in to sign for a while, and gave some awesome interviews about the 360 experience. I'm very proud to have worked with such a stellar cast, and I think you will be blown away when you finally see the new form of entertainment we created!

 Photo 20: that...? Yeah, I think it is! I think that's a Figment from Epcot that she's holding...

Photo 21: Saturday was full of signing, panels, interviews, and pitching Floppets, but when the show floor finally closed at 7pm, it seemed like the day had only just begun! All the big parties are on Saturday night, and we hopped from one to the other, ultimately ending up at Zack Levi's private Nerd HQ till around 4:30am!

 Photo 22: It used to be the rule of thumb that Sunday was the quite day. And this was always a good thing, usually having been out till all hours of the night, and often being trapped in a booth or a table, the slower day allowed you to get out and see the floor. But now that the show is so popular, tickets sell out so fast that Sunday is the only day available for many hardcore fans. So this year, Sunday felt as energetic and packed as Friday and Saturday. Luckily, we still had plent of events to share with the crowd. Sandeep Parikh and the gang joined me for a combo Legend of Neil/ Save the Supers signing. We gave away a bunch of the LON DVD cover posters that I illustrated, as well as more WR:02B3 posters!

Photo 23: For the final signing of the weekend, we went out with a bang! Team Unicorn took over the booth to sign posters and give out the last of the TU logo floppets. The crowd was so dissapointed when the ran out, we decided to let them give away a bunch of Pets and Munchin monsters! Michele Boyd started a frenzy by tossing dozens of Floppets into the crowd, and so many people gathered around to get some, the rest of the girls had to join in to keep up with the demand!

 Photo 24: It was perfect wrapping up the con with team Unicorn, especially since these girls got the whole thing started this year! They were some of the first runners in Chris Hardwick's Course of the Force, and they promoted the Star Wars themed event by appearing in full costume as The Night Sisters from the Clone Wars. They got a lot of attention from the press, and it was exciting to see them wielding the weapons i made for them last year.

Photo 25: Actually, many of the costumes I helped make last year got massive attention THIS year! Brian Kameoka's Nien Nunb ended up on's best Star Wars cosplay list, and Kenny Mittleider's Hobbit was featured on the Weta homepage! Honors like rthat were worth the 12 month wait!

Photo 26: When I finally got to walk around for a bit, I ran into a few people who knew who i was! mostly because they studied the "Making Codex's Staff" video I did with Felicia. I had to stop for a picture, because nothing makes me happier than to see everybody's interpretation of the work.

 Photo 27: And the more of them I see, the happier I am! If you cosplayed as Codex and made your own staff, but I didn't run into you at the con, send me a picture! I want to make a coffee table book or something to show all of your great work!

Photo 28: There is so much great cosplay at Comicon, but there is no simpler joy for me than seeing actual StormTroopers cruising around. I may be bias, but there is something about the design that just seems so real. More so than any other character costume, they just never seem out of place in our real world. Even when they join in to help San Diego's finest with crown control!

 Photo 29: I'll admit, though, it was refreshing to finally see some Cylons join the mix. Having only trailed Star Wars by a year in the 70's, it was about time a legion of these sword wielding robots infiltrated the con circuit!

Photo 30: I'm certain there were a million other things that happened over the week that I have neglected to mention, but hopefully you get the idea of what Comicon was like for me this year. I'm already planning and scheming for new things to premier next year, so stay tuned! Too soon, you say? Not really! Even with a whole year ahead, Comicon has a way of sneaking up on you, despite it's massive size!

1 comment:

  1. I love that you're going to do a trash sculpture. Notable people in my city do these and they can be so amazing.

    Also - saw you on The Flog and thought, hey! Greg hasn't posted in awhile. And here you are!

    I've never been to ComicCon. Only GenCon, which is wonderful. But I heartily agree that you have to start planning a year in advance. These things are major!