“Our little con is all growns… it’s growns up, it’s growns up and it’s growns up.”
That semi-butchered Vince Vaughn quote from one of the all-time best male bonding movies (Swingers), was one of a few thoughts swimming through my mind as Hot Nerd Girl and I tried making our way through the throngs of convention goers at this year’s WonderCon in Anaheim, CA.
Some of the droids we were looking for that caused major traffic, plus a few others picking up the trash.
For historical reference, if one were to rewind the clock almost exactly one year ago, the 2012 show represented my inaugural WonderCon appearance, and more notably, my very first comic convention ever. Keeping on the topic of firsts (and not THAT type of first since I’m still waiting on that one), 2012 was also the first time this specific convention was held in Anaheim, CA. That’s because WonderCon was in fact booted from its prior home in Northern California due to renovations of the Bay Area convention building itself.
Fast forward back to the 2013 event from this past weekend, and it was apparent that the WonderCon had it’s teenage growth spurt. (Side note: I’m still waiting on mine.)
For starters, the floor itself was expanded to at least double the size of the 2012 layout which housed a noticeably larger array of bigger name entertainment booths, seemingly taking a page from the behemoth of all cons just two hours down the road.
Throw in to the equation that the attendance felt like it was at least double last year’s number and I started having flashbacks of my body being involuntarily herded through the masses in random directions as was the case with the SDCC.
In lieu of the added massiveness, I did find myself in several more panels this go around which kept this Outlaw off the streets… so-to-speak. Fortunately, unlike it’s San Diego big brother, WonderCon panels didn’t require waiting for hours-on-end in lines guarded by an elite division of the Navy Seals. Entering each panel and finding a seat wasn’t an issue in the slightest, even seconds before the panel started.
Three of the panels I made my way to were actually geared towards writers, one that even featured Dean Koontz. Why is this you ask? I’m glad you inquired! Well, in addition to the reveal of Geek Outlaw’s upgraded threads (as seen in any picture with me), this past week I started down the road to what will be my first novel! Yes, you read that right, I have decided to turn one of those insanely outlandish ideas in this peculiar noggin of mine into a full length sci-fi novel. Alas, I’ve already shared too much, but I promise to keep you guys apprised of details as I’m able to share.
With my new found passion and goal of getting my (hopefully) ingenious concept to paper, this was a no-brainer for my first panel of the day. Mr. Neff supplied a worksheet and set out on achieving ‘golden coins’ – ala Mario style – in order to help motivate the inspiring young creators in the room. Overall, it was definitely motivational, but not ground breaking. The basics were to get organized, get some support, and set time aside to create. Don’t have to tell me twice!
Autumn Massey, Dina Kampmeyer, Emily Heyer, Geek Girl Diva, Jenn Fujikawa, Sarah Kuhn, Stephanie Thorpe and Theresa Wollenstein
I’m not going to lie, I went into this panel thinking there would be a bevy of beautiful geekettes ready to throw themselves at the Outlaw in a fit of passion. Unfortunately, I set my expectations a wee too high. (Wee too high = Outside the Earth’s atmosphere. While their motives were genuine in bringing geeky ladies together, I was wondering why I was in there since sitting to the right of me was a Hot Nerd Girl who already did what they did, and infinitely better. I’m sensing a possible joining of forces?
Drew Roy (Hal), Sarah Carter (Maggie), and Seychelle Gabriel (Lourdes), and executive producer Remi Aubuchon
Entertainment wise, the big fish of the day – for me – was the Falling Skies panel which included the younger faction of survivors of the alien invasion cast (listed above). Getting a change to see Sarah Carter all cleaned up and looking like the Outlaw’s next future ex-wife was the highlight for me. While there were obviously no major reveals, three separate clips from the upcoming season 3 were entertaining and kept the faithful at bay… for a few minutes anyway. Did I mention Sarah Carter was looking quite nice?
Dean Koontz – (Duh!)
Truth be told, this was probably the most disappointing panel of the day. Not because it wasn’t entertaining mind you, but because I was actually expecting some enlightening words of wisdom from the best-selling fiction author that would help me with my own new novel. Instead, Mr. Koontz shared a bunch of crazy stories from his childhood and bookstores. There were some funny moments, but nothing to help me write a novel, dammit! Oh well, at least everyone in attendance got a free copy of his latest book, Odd Thomas.
Rod Roddenberry (CEO, Roddenberry Entertainment), Trevor Roth (head of development, Days Missing) and Tory Mell (writer/producer, White Room: 02B3)
Roddenbury presents (company owned by Gene Roddenbury’s son, Rod) quite handily took the award for most energetic panel of the day. In fact, I was searching the room for stashed narcotics at one point. One of the most innovative undertakings Roddenbury announced for release was White Room, which utilizes a new 360 degree camera technology that might just be the future of how we watch entertainment. It will be presented in one of 700 unique dome theaters around the country.
Depending on where you reside, it may be a bit of a ‘trek’ for viewing a 15 minute short movie. The good news is, there will be an app that lets you view the movie in a 360 type atmosphere just by moving your portable device around… admittedly, I was impressed.
S. G. Browne(Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament), Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak), Alan Kistler (Doctor Who: A History), Alex Langley (The Geek Handbook), and Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight)
Easily the most informative panel of the long day, my third and final attempt at attending an educational writing panel finally hit pay dirt. All of the participants shared their experiences and advice in getting published. Their top three tips:
1 – You need to love to write and not expect to make millions doing it (at least not overnight).
2 – Get your arse into a chair and type until your hands fall off.
3 – Get a literary agent.
After all was said and done, author Alan Kistler – attracted by Hot Nerd Girl’s Dr. Who wardrobe choice – spoke with us for at least 20 minutes after the panel, answering questions and providing more insight into the world of writing. I found everything very useful in going forward with my project. (Did I mention I’m writing a novel?)
THE CELEBS, FRIENDS & MORE… OH MY!
Overall, it was a fun, educational and exhausting day. While I would have proffered WonderCon more comfortable had size and attendance been along the lines of the 2012 mark, I do understand that more people means more dollar bills, which in turn means even higher quality panels and booths. Still, as with SDCC, I felt there was too much to do in too little time.
Granted, much of my dismay had to do with my expectation of this being closer to last year’s less traffic laden experience. Don’t get me wrong though, should WonderCon return to Anaheim again next year, Geek Outlaw shall return too. Keeping that in mind, I’ll be doing so with a 3-day pass, a hotel room, and a ticket to the other happiest place on earth down the street where it also doesn’t matter how ‘growns up’ you are.