Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 is over & done for another year but I wanted to post a few of my favorite moments from this past weekend. It was only the 2nd year of Salt Lake Comic Con but already the show is better than last year. A lot of the logistical issues in terms of crowd control and traffic flow have been fixed (although you might not have noticed because the attendance was so overwhelming this year, that everything felt packed no matter where you were). The con’s also gotten more “street-cred” with bigger-named celebrities and more legitimate vendors/artists/writers coming in for the show.
Here’s a few highlights:
During the John Carpenter: Master of Modern Horror panel, I met Sean Smithson (a fellow panelist) who is a walking encyclopedia of movie knowledge. We had a blast talking about John Carpenter’s work. One thing Sean mentioned that I didn’t know is that early in John Carpenter’s career, he wrote a screenplay for a Western that John Wayne was set to star in. The film’s name would have been “Blood River”. Things fell through and the movie never happened but you can see so much Western influence in John Carpenter’s work, it was interesting to hear that he’d almost made a John Wayne Western.
Everyone had some amazing comments at the Novels, Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Screenplays & Video Games: Which Medium Works Best for My Story? panel. I was the moderator on this one and we had such a great group of talented people. Some excellent advice for the audience. One point in particular from Tony Puryear stuck with me. He talked about how time is one of the most important elements in story-telling mediums. For instance, in films, time can be compressed or expanded but in a comic, time is totally up to the reader and how fast they turn the pages so you need to design your stories with time in mind depending on the medium.
One of my favorite things was getting to interview James Hong on his panel. I first met James about 5 years ago at the San Diego Comic Con and we’ve become friends since then. He’s an amazing entertainer and brilliant actor who has more screen credits than any other actor in history. A few of the most memorable moments were: James doing some of his stand-up comedy impressions he used to do back in the 1950’s, his stories about classic Hollywood actors he worked with (Clark Gable, Peter Falk), and his spontaneous beat-box & R&B dance he did with the audience at the end. He really brought the roof down. I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone that attended that panel thought it was the best thing they saw the entire con.
I loved talking about apes and man on the Planet of the Apes panel. There’s so much symbolism in those films. We spent a lot of time talking about the difference between that smart science fiction in the apes films and the more adventurous, less science-based sci-if we typically see in movies today.
On the Skynet, HAL & GLaDOS: Why AI Always Turn Against Their Human Creators panel, we got into some deep philosophical discussions about AI and what intelligence actually means. I was a smart-Alec and mentioned Johnny 5 from the movie Short Circuit. Super fun panel.
The Whedonverse: Why Writers and Creators Love Buffy, Angel, Firefly and the Rest was really well attended even though it was the 2nd to last panel of the show. Pure joy talking about Joss’s creations with fellow super-fan panelists. One of the panelists (Brian Wise) was an extra on the Serenity movie. He shared a cool story about how everyone always gives credit to Firefly and Serenity because there are no aliens and yet it’s a space story. The interesting thing is that there actually were scenes shot with aliens for the films. But these scenes ended up being cut from the final film edit. The point he made was that Joss tries lots of different things but in he end, what is shown is what he meant his story to be.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the When Filmmakers Go Insane panel but it turned out to be a great way to end the con. I was on the panel with some thoughtful and successful filmmakers. The panelists shared stories about crazy things that happened on set and insane moments in Hollywood history. There was some great advice given as well. Awesome end the con.
Of course, a big part of comic con is the costumes and cosplayers were well represented. I shared several costume photos on my Twitter/Facebook/Instagram accounts but here are a few others I really liked:
Another great Salt Lake Comic Con and another attendance record with over 120,000 people on Saturday. Looking forward to next year.