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Monday, October 5, 2015

Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 Highlights!



So as most of you know, recently I was at Salt Lake Comic Con as a panelist and presenter! It was my first Comic Con and my first time being a panelist/presenter at any conference.

It. Was. Awesome.

I totally loved it, and I've already started making mental plans for next year's! :)


Here are some highlights from each day! (Yes, the highlights, because there was so much more.) I realize it's long. I don't expect anyone to read all of them. So feel free to scroll through and read what you want. I just got going and this is what happened.

Thursday--Harry Potter is in Your Head (In the Best Possible Way)!

Thursday was my busiest day. The Con started in the afternoon, and from 4 p.m. to after 8 p.m., I had stuff going on. Like I mean back-to-back stuff. Leading up to 4 p.m. I had waves of excitement and then waves of "Why did I decide to do this?!" And felt like I might throw-up.

In college I had a terrible fear of speaking in front of people. Like. Really bad. But as time has gone on, I've realized it's not so much a fear of public speaking as it is a fear of not being in control. When I'm standing in front of people, a lot of things can go wrong in front of people--things I have no control over. And unlike writing, I can't just go back and edit it.

Since this realization, I've worked harder at accepting situations that are out of my control.

Luckily, my first Potter panel went awesome! I was nervous, but felt like I was really in the zone. The moderator, J. Scott Savage, did a great job. Everyone had their say, and we got the audience to laugh several times. The room was so full that some people had to stand and not even my family members could stay in and watch.

Since I had back-to-back stuff, I had to leave right after and wasn't able to talk to people after.

Thursday--Taking a Story Over 9000!!! How Dragon Ball Z Took Over the World

So right after my Potter panel, I had to hurry next-door and set up my Powerpoint for my DBZ presentation. I was so glad that there was an audiovisual guy and a gal in charge of the room itself both there just to help me.

When I sat down, the audiovisual guy goes, "Wait, you're the presenter?"

"Yeah," I said.

"You're the one presenting? You're September?"

"Yeah, that's me."

"Oh," he said. "I just don't know many girls who are into Dragon Ball Z!"

Then the gal in charge of the room goes, "Yeah, that's really cool"!

And we kind of laughed and they made me feel cool.

I wasn't sure how many people would show up to this presentation, but I was psyched that again, the room was full. And again, while I was pretty nervous, I still felt very in the zone. The audience laughed in all the right places, and seemed really interested in what I had to say. I got some good and fun questions, this time I had a few minutes for people to come up to me after.

It was so fun and so cool to talk to people who were as interested (or more interested) than I was in Dragon Ball Z, which is one thing I loved about Comic Con. I knew that people who came to my stuff would be interested in it. They weren't there because they had to be. Someone came up to me to talk to me about Dragon Ball and I told him how I tried to watch GT and could not for the life of me get into it and everyone around groaned and said things like, "GT is the worst!" "Don't waste your time!" "It's awful." There were like five people around us who said that, and it was fun to have a bunch of strangers relating to one another about it.

Seriously, that's one of the awesome things about Comic Con. There are 130,000 people there, but they're united in the same interests.

I know some followers on here wanted me to record that presentation, but I was so worried about my Powerpoint and nervous that I totally forgot! I'm sorry. If you want, I can still record it myself and put it up, though it is sad you won't be able to hear the audience's comments and feel their energy.



Thursday--James and Oliver Phelps

After that, I went to hear James and Oliver Phelps (Who play Fred and George Weasley in Harry Potter) answer questions. They were way fun. My favorite thing I learned was that they are naturally brunette and had to get their hair and eyebrows dyed every three weeks. One time a intern was told to do it and she left the dye on too long and Oliver's eyebrows were white! They had to put makeup on his eyebrows to compensate.

After that, I went and stood in line to get my photo with them. I was near the back of the line and was starving! I hadn't had anything since lunch. Thankfully my brother and sister-in-law brought my something to eat while I was in line. It was a sushi burrito, which I found out is basically a giant sushi roll in a seaweed wrap that's cut in half (instead of slices) like a burrito. It was SO GOOD! The best thing I ate on the trip.

Finally after being in line for like two hours, I got my photo with James and Oliver. They were very nice, and I was super happy with how the picture turned out.




Friday--As Vash the Stampede (and Other Costumes)

I had no panels or presentations on Friday, so I dressed up as Vash the Stampede from Trigun. I even carried donuts around. People totally knew who I was! What I didn't realize would happen was that people would want to stop me and talk to me now that I was in costume. I mean, it was cool, but I hadn't thought about that--it didn't even cross my mind--and so at first it was odd, because I was trying to get somewhere and strangers were stopping me on my way. I handed out donuts to people who knew who I was. They liked them (especially my six-year-old nephew).

There was something really magical about dressing up for Comic Con. For real. I've never felt so cool in a costume--and I've worn a lot of costumes.
















Friday--Booths

Okay, so there was a HUGE room FULL of booths. There were an estimated 130,000 people who attended Salt Lake Comic Con this year, so it was crazy crowded! But seriously, when we walked through the booths, I felt like I had just walked into my dream mall! No joke. Tons of Harry Potter stuff, artwork, costumes, Lord of the Rings, Zelda, Spider-man, Dragon Ball Z, books, and everything pop-culture you could think of. And the patrons surrounding you? They have killer costumes!

I wanted to look for a gun to go with my Vash get-up. We found some nerf guns altered to look like real guns, but nothing very Vashy. I'd looked online before Comic Con and the ones I found were really expensive and not made very well. The nerf gun guy said there was another booth up the aisle that had a gun like Vash's. I looked and looked and looked and couldn't find it. :(

Among the booths is a section called Artist Alley, which has a BUNCH of artists. I loved walking through them and seeing all the different styles and interpretations of characters, like Deadpool, and Harry Potter, and Link.


By the way, this view isn't even half of the room. Way bigger.


Friday--The Green Room

So one of the perks of being a special guest is that you have access to the green room, where you can get away from the crowds and talk with other special guests. The green room was on the second floor and had floor-to-ceiling windows that let you look out over a bunch of the booths. My brother and I hung out in there for at least an hour and just people-watched . . . which turned into a game of I-Spy, where we took turns picking out a costume, like Waldo or Spider-Man or Darth Vader, and everyone else had to find it. Good times.

Friday--Kid Con

At SLCC they also have what they call "Kid Con"--for the kids of course! We took my niece and nephew and they learned how to be jedis! They had people dressed like jedis that gave the kids each lightsabers (made out of pool noodles and duct tape). The main jedi had to have been trained in martial arts or something because he taught them some legit moves. My nephew was dressed as Darth Vader and he got really into it. My niece who just turned three was just sticking her lightsaber on her head, belly button, and trying to use it to poke the butt of the girl in front of her, and we were all laughing. One girl (probably eight) by my nephew started to cry when some "bad guys" came out and started fighting the jedis. Her mom had to calm her.

"It's okay sweetie, it's just pretend."
"They're only pretending to be bad?"
"Yeah, like in Dr. Who."

My brother, sister-in-law, and I all started laughing some more. Unfortunately, the girl was still scared.

The kids also did a "galaxy obstacle course," got balloons shaped like flowers and lightsabers, while a professional Elsa sang "Let it Go" to everyone in line, and had a tea party with Disney Princesses (who were of course in character). Apparently at the tea party, my nephew put "sugar" on everything.




Saturday--Hazzah! My gun!

On Saturday morning, the line to get into the convention was HUGE! Like it went back for blocks, I couldn't see the end of it. Luckily as special guests, we had out own special entrance and could just walk in ;)

The first thing I wanted to do was go back to the booths and shop (cause, like 75%+ of the people were still in line outside so there was actually room between the booth to look at things). It wasn't long until I finally found the Vash gun!! I freaked out!!

And totally bought it.

Actually, it was one of those "Shut up and take my money" moments--I gave the vendor my card when he wanted me to hand him the gun so he could wrap it up.

It's so beautiful.




AAAHHHH!! I'm so happy!

I wasn't dressed as Vash that day, but next year. Next year.

I was on a high after that and kind of wanted to by everything. And wanted everyone to buy everything. So I got a stuffed Totoro, a stuffed Pikachu (I wanted one when I was 10, but never got one, so, over 15 years later, it finally happened), and this awesome artwork. I LOVE loose water color pictures, so I bought this Link picture.





I now wish I'd bought more of the artists prints, but don't have his name. So, if anyone knows it, please let me know.

Saturday--Edward Elric and Adventure Time Art

I went to some presentations and panels. One was Vic Mignogna, who is a voice actor and in Star Trek. I actually haven't seen really any of his stuff. He was Edward Elric in FullMetal Alchemist, but I watched that show in Japanese. I've seen segments in English, and I do have to say, it was fun to hear Ed's voice coming out of Vic--and Ed's laugh.

I thought Vic's would be fun to go to, because I somewhat secretly think it would be way fun to be a voice actor. So it was interesting to hear how he got started in his career. He voices a lot of anime, and at Salt Lake Comic Con he had a TON of fans. On the other hand, he says he meets people all around the world who hate or look down on anime. It's interesting how one person can be a superhero to one group of people and scum to another group.

But what I like best was that he said that whatever you like to do or create, do it. Don't let others stop you. Just create what you love. He's spent loads of money on helping produce more Star Trek--simply because he loves it. Everything he does, he would do for free. Luckily he makes a career out of it and doesn't have to starve.

No, this isn't Vic, just a good place to put this picture :)
 Then I also saw an artist who does the Adventure Time comics. I haven't really watched or read Adventure Time, but wanted to learn about the art. This guy, JJ Harrison, says he enjoyed working on Adventure Time because it was really loose. Some companies like Disney have very specific guidelines on how the characters look, how far you can exaggerate their expressions, etc. But the only thing JJ got in trouble for was making Finn's arms too fat. It was fun to hear him talk about what he does.

I love hearing the pros in this industry, because it brings to mind that people to this for work. It makes it feel more like a reality.

Saturday--The Lasting Power of Harry Potter

My last panel was on Saturday night, and it was another Harry Potter panel. I quickly learned I hate sitting on the side, in the corner of the room. Hate it. I've told myself that in the future, I'll try to sit close to the middle of the panel table. But the panel still turned out and I think that the audience had fun. During the Q&A I got a question from an audience member that was specifically directed at me, which was fun.

I didn't have to be to anything after this, so people came up to talk to me and ask me more questions after. Two people were wondering where they could read my thesis on Harry Potter, so that made me feel like I was cool (Thanks Dr. Comeford!). I talked to some more people, but was told we had to leave the room because there was another panel. I walked out and a girl asked me for my autograph, like legitimately asked me for my autograph! I was so surprised and flattered. It was the first time I've signed "September C. Fawkes" an anything. :)



Advice

If you want to go to Salt Lake Comic Con and have never been, my advice would be to set priorities. Seriously. There were so many things I wanted to do, and I only did like 10% of them. There is just so much going on all the time! But I did get to see the Phelp twins, which was the top thing on my list.

Also, get a paper program. I had the SLCC app on my phone, but it wasn't working on Friday, so I couldn't look up the programming. And I completely missed Sean Astin, who plays Samwise, my favorite character in Lord of the Rings.

2 comments:

  1. Totally love your Vash cosplay! I'm still lamenting the fact that NYCC is this weekend and I did not get tickets in time.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! <3 I loved it too!!

      That stinks. Maybe next year!

      Thanks for reading and commenting :)

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