Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MystiCon-Adventures in Roanoke

Better late than never, right? Yes, I'm a little slow on getting my latest blog report up, but I am getting pretty swamped on the mondays following my returns from the convention weekends.

Last weekend was MystiCon, in Roanoke Virginia. This was a very interesting Con for me, as it is largely new turf...I didn't know any of the other guests going in, and the only person I had some previous interaction with was the track promming head, Alex Wright (who was the one that had reached out and invited me) The Con is relatively new, or, more accurately, a relaunch, according to what I was told.

Let's just sum it all up by saying that I highly recommend MystiCon!

From the get-go, the staff of the Con and the staff of the hotel were extremely friendly. This helped a great deal, as I had just endured a six hour drive through very turbulent weather. The winds were strong enough to push my car towards the side of the road on many occasions. I was very happy to be on site, and in the building!

I had a table in the exhibit hall (which continues to grow...I even had some new buttons themed on the artwork from my 2 series this time), and participated on several panels over the weekend, as well as hosted a screening for Swordbearer. Due to last minute complications, Roni Jonah and Jason Crowe couldn't make it, so I had to go solo on the film screening. More on that in a moment.

The first part of programming that I took part in was Bethany Halle's Podcast, as one of the selected guests. Bethany is an author, podcaster, and blogger, who is a highly gifted interviewer, in my opinion. She's got a real magnetism and ability to make a new guest feel comfortable. I was a brand new commodity for her, but her style makes it seem as if she's known you for years, and she keeps the flow going. I really enjoyed her guests, which ranged from authors like Pamela Kinney, Alexandra Christian and Paul Dellinger, to an artist and a game designer.

Day two had a panel on what franchises will stand the test of time, where I got to meet artist Mark Davis. Mark was adamant that ensemble casts in literature/franchises are the thing of the future, and I hope he is a prophet as both The Rising Dawn Saga and Fires in Eden Series feature ensemble casts! The panel was great, as there were differences of opinion on some of the franchises discussed. Mark and I have very divergent views on the longevity of Harry Potter, with Mark thinking that its popularity will not sustain, while I think that it will. We will just have to reconvene in twenty years and see what transpires! LOL

Jason Cordova was also one of the participants on this panel. A science fiction/fantasy author, Jason knows several authors that are also friends of mine on the Con circuit, but this is the first event where we've met. He is one of the writers to be featured in the upcoming Heroes in Hell volumes, and he and his girlfriend will be making a visit to Lexington during march (where I'm planning to catch up to them).

Later that afternoon, I was included on a Celebrity Match Game panel, which featured some of the GOH's such as Brinke Stevens (actress), Randy Asplund (artist, who did several of the designs for the popular Magic card game, as well as making medieval-style books through an authentic process), and David Gerrold (Hugo Award-winning author of The Martian Child, who also wrote the famous Tribbles episode on Star Trek). Members of the audience were brought up, and a sentence was read to them that had a blank in it. The audience members filled in the blank, as did the panelists, and then the contestants got a point for every panelist that matched their answer. Things degenerated quickly, in a comedic sense, with responses running the gamut. The full audience seemed to love it, and I think this will be a hit event at future MystiCons.

I had an enjoyable Independent Film panel, in which I got to meet John Johnson, a VERY prolific filmmaker who is doing the remake of Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space at the moment. He really knows the market as it stands now, and had some excellent insights regarding selling a movie and distribution. I hope to see him at Fandom Fest later this summer.

Following the independent film panel was a Swordbearer screening. We did not have a big crowd, as we were running opposite the Con's costume contest, but we did have a lot of postive feedback from the ones that did attend. One of the attendees, Tyler Cook, was the cousin of one of our two main costume designers, and the Wardrobe Lead on set, the wonderful Abby Cook.

Sunday featured a great panel on the issue of killing main characters, and it included David Gerrold, Allen Wold, Jason Cordova, and myself. It was probably the best attended panel of the weekend. Allen was the moderator and was very gracious about keeping everyone in the discussion.

While the Con had some great programming, and guests, the best part was that I got to make several new friends. Here's a couple of them, a HIGHLY talented artist, Shan, as well as Honey, who both stopped by and visited my booth (and attended the wild and crazy Celebrity Match Game):

That's the best part about these Cons, and this one in particular. I walked in without knowing anyone, and departed enriched by the knowledge that I have several new friendships underway. A really wonderful experience, and I definitely endorse MystiCon. Put it on your calendar's for 2012!

Next up this weekend will be Metropolis SuperCon, in Metropolis, IL!

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