My school hosted a Comic Con a while back and I figure it's about time I talked about my first convention. Going to the Wildcat Comic Con was a fun, interesting, and educational experience for me. I got to meet people like author Jerry Craft and voice actress Erica Schroeder in the same halls I normally sip milkshakes in. It felt pretty surreal waking up that morning and seeing a crowd of costumes stroll by as I hunted for french toast. It was a great way to start a day of surprises.
Aside from all the amazing costumes what I remember most about the convention was the stuff I learned. Hearing people talk about what they do in person feels pretty good. You get a feel for an industry that's indirectly related to yours and can usually adapt advice to suit your needs.
I learned about character development, revitalizing franchises, making ethnic characters believable, heard about what a cartoon critic goes through, and I also learned a bit of Japanese.
Alex Simmons hosted a panel about adding your sensibilities to your work. He gave his example of re-imagining iconic characters using his character Blackjack in a Tarzan crossover and a Batman antagonist named Orpheus who didn't have a tragic backstory.
Simmons likes to teach kids how to express themselves and create worlds, and sometimes cheering up the ones who feel embarrassed or like a copycat in order to keep them going. Simmons also explained comic propaganda & worldwide influence. He showed how subtle things like race and interpretation affects sales and reader feelings with an example of the Archie comics he produced. He even told a story about how a journalist told him how he grew up with comics and never noticed the propaganda or it's affect on his thinking until Simmons' presentation.
The second big panel I learned the most from was the presentation by Jerry Craft who wrote The Offenders and shared his "Making Of" story with us. He worked closely with his own children to create believable and relatable characters. He says the best inspiration comes from outside sources you experience in day-to-day life. Samey stories and ideas come from basing works off of things created by the people who looked outward.
Craft also talked about subtle things that bring characters to life. Waiting animations, for example, could have a hyper character doing something human like bouncing it's leg when sitting. When a character does a small quirk 3 times, it becomes associated with its personality. Adding lots of these things adds the depth people love so much in characters.
Before Jerry's presentation started there was a video of The Huffington Post interviewing the director of Iron-Man 3 and talking about satisfying a fanbase while engaging the unfamiliar and bringing unique ideas to an established franchise. I thought it was a pretty good lead-in.
Although I had these concepts in my mind already, it's different hearing it from another person's mouth. People who "made it" and are active in their respective mediums. The kind of person I want to be... One with a success story. One who inspires others to do the same.
The convention was really fun. I also got a glimpse of the feeling I'm in for when I attend a brony convention at some point. I walked away from the fun with prizes in hand, notes from the presentations, and pleasant memories to recall. Conventions are just fun and having one right before midterms really hit the spot. I'm gonna have to do these more often.
I saw costumes ranging from cute to awesome to saucy, learned from artists who have their dream jobs, learned how to write and speak basic Japanese, met lots of bronies (really nice folks) of all ages, and had fun with my friends.