Thursday, July 19, 2012

San Diego Comic Con 2012

I shouldn’t have to post this warning, but this post contains language that may hurt delicate sensibilities. If it does, what in the hell are you doing reading the blog of a horror filmmaker?

For photos from my trip, head on over to my Flickr account!
Anyway, you always read about how crazy San Diego’s Comic Con is, but it doesn’t really sink in properly unless you’ve lived it. I was there from at least 8 am until 9 pm every day from preview night until Sunday close. I definitely lived it.
But first, let’s start with my initial couple of days in San Diego. You may have noticed that I’m careful about using names in my posts about certain adventures I’ve had and certainly try to not name the people I’ve stayed with. I even avoid telling people where I’m staying when I’m in L.A. because safety is paramount and I don’t want to be the unwitting cause of some stupid, pointless drama or to have people suddenly start talking to me because I know this person or that person (I’m more familiar with this than you might think.)
My kind San Diego host was nice enough to give me a lift to Balboa Park early on Monday morning, a beautiful, huge area smack dab in the middle of the city that houses pretty much every single museum San Diego has to offer including the San Diego Zoo, which was my main goal for the day. I walked around just taking in the architecture and the biological house (where they have a lot of exotic flowers like the Venus fly trap!) and then headed over to the Zoo where I promptly got a sunburn.
A slideshow of my San Diego (not including Comic Con) photos, with some L.A. thrown in there for good measure.

On Tuesday, I ventured into downtown San Diego just to get a feel for where I would be spending the next five days of my life and walked along the bay via the Embarcadero Marina and Seaside Village. The weather was absolutely gorgeous the entire time and, of course, I managed to make my sunburn worse, but I saw a wild seal (who needs Sea World?!) and the Midway (what a huge boat!) and then my host and I went out to the Hotel del Coronado where they filmed Some Like It Hot and had dinner, then went back to the house to prepare for the next day. Preview Night.
Wednesday is Preview Night at Comic Con. What that means is that they let you in to the exhibitor floor around 6, I believe it was, and you can start spending your money early and then, alter on, you can watch some special screenings of new genre pilots. Since I’d already planned my weekend (HA!), I decided to do my shopping on Preview Night, well aware that sometimes you can get better deals on Sunday. I’m a t-shirt person and got a Carrie Fisher Wishful Drinking tour shirt, a Miskatonic University shirt, and a Facehug shirt (a parody of Facebook with a facehugger. :D)
It was fairly well packed on Wednesday night, but I kept telling myself, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” And I hadn’t.
Afterwards I went to a screening of Street Fighter hosted by Miguel Rodriguez of Horrible Imaginings for GamerCon. I, perhaps not surprisingly, hadn’t seen Street Fighter before. I don’t think I’ll see it again, even if the late Raul Julia was so good in it.
Wednesday and Thursday, I did what I call calorie packing. I ate more than I usually do and had actual ice cream (god, it was delicious, too). I got the idea from marathon runners because I figured that I wouldn’t really have a chance to eat during the con. I was right. Other than whatever breakfast bars I brought in with me (which, let’s be honest, are like Lembas bread...they might fill you up for a hot minute, but don’t taste like much), I didn’t eat at Comic Con and usually afterwards, I was too tired to get something to eat. I feel like I lost weight, but the scale’s all like “Nope.”
Thursday was the true start of Comic Con. I managed to just barely make it into a couple of panels, but even though I left one early, I didn’t make it to the screening of my friend Karen Lam’s film Doll Parts. This made me a sad panda. Not making it to things became common throughout the con. How in the hell do people make it to all of the panels they want to see? Oh yeah, they camp outside the night be-fuckin’-fore.
Yes, really.
And they stay through panels they don’t care about, pretty much guaranteeing that those who want to see that panel don’t get to.
Obviously, I’m really annoyed by the way Comic Con handles the panels and am going to sum up Thursday like this: I got to see the Disney panel and Jackie Chan in Hall H by sheer luck. The rest of the panels were in smaller rooms and no one really cared about them enough to line up for days in advance.
Friday, though...Friday was going to be a big day. The Firefly and Walking Dead panels were that day as well as the Resident Evil movie and Looper/Elysium/Total Recall panels. Firefly was in Ballroom 20 which is a big room, but not Hall H size. I got in line for that, but first i had to find the end of the line...which was all the way down by the bay. Eventually, volunteers came out and told us that where we were in line meant that we probably wouldn’t get in. I was fine with waiting to see until they came out and told us to sit down. For whatever reason, that got my hackles up and I left the line, wandered for a moment, then got in line for Hall H. It was still early so I hoped that maybe I could get into the Walking Dead panel at 1:30 I think it was, even though that line wrapped around a large sidewalk by the bay...twice.
I got into line around 9 am, I believe. I didn’t get into Hall H until the 3 or 4 pm Resident Evil panel and even then, I almost didn’t make it for that.
I’d thought ahead and put a couple of movies on my iPod, including a great flick called The Cellar Door. It starts out a bit slow (I’m sorry, but motherfucker kidnaps me for some weird fetish thing and I get a chance to escape, I’m not going to just knock him out and run. He’ll Always Be There if I do that. No, no, I’ma make sure he can’t follow me, y’dig?), but the film picks up in the second act or so and doesn’t relent. Most of that intensity is thanks to lead Michelle Tomlinson and how well she plays off the antagonist.
I survived a six hours wait in line to see these panels. Now that it’s over, I can say it was kind of worth it, but I would not do it again unless I had friends who were willing to stand with me. Because Comic Con apparently refuses to figure out a better method (reserved or ticketed seating, separate lines, clearing the fucking rooms in-between panels), they’ve made standing in line a team sport. You need at least two people so that one can go to the bathroom or make a Starbucks run and the other can hold the fort. All of the friends I had at Comic Con were WORKING the convention either as press or in a booth.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to being by myself and doing a lot of things by myself. When I was a kid, I was once yelled at by my brother’s then-girlfriend because I said that I wanted to go bowling with them and for a long time afterward, I just waited for invitations to hang out. Eventually, I decided that I wasn’t going to wait anymore and started to invite myself. My conversations with me often go like this:
“Hmm...I want butterbeer.” -- “Do you have money to go to Universal?” -- “I have an annual pass.” -- “Let’s go!” -- “WHEE BUTTERBEER!”
In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty socially awkward. Thankfully, I understand that.
Shit, now I want some butterbeer and my annual pass has lapsed.
Anyway, after wasting most of my day in a fucking line, I escaped and went to things that didn’t really have lines and the next day, Saturday, where the big panel I wanted to see was Django Unchained, I skipped out on lines almost entirely and hung out with a couple of friends who came down from L.A. I missed out on Django, Mythbusters, and Carrie Fisher, but hanging with people I like, even in a madhouse such as this, was far better. When they left, I caught the Tromatize Me panel about branding yourself / your work and that was pretty much it.
Sunday, I headed in and went right to the dealer room for try and snag some free stuff. Because I wasted my time in line on Friday and didn’t want to waste my time on Saturday, I missed out on the swag, but Sunday I was able to grab some free stuff and I got a good deal from the Famous Monsters of Filmland booth that had a buy-one-get-one-free deal on their shirts and hoodies.
I had a couple of panels I wanted to get into that day and I managed to get into two out of three of them. I missed the Drew Struzan panel, though. Ah well. Since I missed that, I ended up going to the Sega pop-up arcade and playing Aliens: Colonial Marines and then went over to the Nintendo lounge and played the new Castlevania 3DS game. I was disappointed in their 3D, though. Either it needs work or they need to take that handset off the display.
After that, I went back to where I was staying, hung out for a bit, then passed out for I was leaving very late the next day and wanted to be all fresh.
The next day was a Monday, the start of a new week. I popped back downtown to check out what I didn’t get to see while there during the event, got some food, and then went back to make sure I had everything packed up and ready to go for my trip home. 
I left San Diego International Airport at seven pm and got home around 11 the next morning. That was rough.
So there you have it. I survived Comic Con. If I ever have a film that makes people stand in line like that at a con, I’m going to make sure they’re taken care of. I’m going to have volunteers take them bottles of water and Lembas bread and maybe even line-exclusive swag because the way Comic Con handles it is bullshit.

As far as costumes go, I saw a lot, but very few really stood out. I saw a lot of men in drag, like male Slave Leias and a male Catwoman, even a male Princess Peach. Lots of Doctor Whos (not Doctor Whose) of varying gender associations as well as a couple of Hot TARDISes and Hot Daleks.I don't have a whole lot of costume pictures, though. Most of the time, I really just wanted to get to the point B...

Would I do this again? Sure! But I'd hope for a panel or friends to be with me.

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