I was finally able to start breathing around 7:05 Saturday night. My last panel was over, we’d gotten the trailer screened again (barely), and it went over like a thunderclap. The DVD for the screening at the masquerade was in the right hands, and I had nothing more to worry about than where to eat dinner, and how best to begin Phase II on Monday.
Obviously, our Cowboys & Engines Comic-Con excursion began on a less sanguine note. By the time I got finished FX footage, rendered the trailer, burned DVDs and checked all of them to make sure they worked, it was 3 am. I slept for a few hours, and then Hollywood & I headed down to San Diego at around 5:45 to beat the traffic. We got our badges and got into the convention center by 8:30 to watch the chaos begin.
I’m not going to turn this into another rant about the hows and whys of SDCC having completely burst its seams and outgrown San Diego. Its a disgrace, and an abuse to the actual fans the whole thing was started by and for. That being said, the non-profit that runs the con has a contract with the city through 2016, so we’re stuck with it.
The first screening of the trailer kept my sphincter clenched the entire day. It was at the Battlestar Galactica 35th Anniversary Panel, which had about 1,500 people in attendance. Producer Charles Mead, EP Michael Hemmerich, C&E star Libby Letlow, and a few of my friends joined Hollywood & I as we squirmed through the hour waiting for Richard Hatch, who was moderating the panel, to announce us.
Towards the end of the panel, he did just that, and time practically stopped. The next 1:56 took forty minutes to pass as I sweated and twisted and tried to ignore the knots in my gut. The audience loved the trailer. And I hated it.
I’ve seen our Comic-Con trailer well over 100 times, and every time I found it engaging, fast-paced, and slick. Sitting in that ballroom with 3,000 eyes on the screen, I was embarrassed we’d come. Because there were too many lights on in the room, the footage was dark. Because we were being projected onto huge screens from a DVD (next year I know I can bring an HD file on a laptop), it was muddy and cheap-looking. And because my heart was racing and time had slowed to a crawl, it seemed slow and incredibly boring.
I walked out of that panel ready to drive back to L.A. and tell the rest of our screenings to fuck off. Even though I knew I was being reactionary, I wrestled with the ideas of trying to rush home and cut a new trailer, trying to figure out a better means of projection, or just pulling the plug on the whole endeavor.
Mercifully, after a few hours of wandering the halls, I made myself watch the trailer online, and realized it’s still the beast I know and love. I went upstairs to eyeball the room our second panel was in, and understood that it was a much smaller screen and ballroom. Everything, I told myself, will be fine.
That night, Michael Hemmerich took the Cowboys & Engines cadre out for a great steak dinner, and I managed to be only slightly preoccupied for much of the evening.
Friday morning I had breakfast with my good friend David Baxter and a few of his people, two of whom have a comic they want to develop as a pilot, and I’ll likely be working with them on that. I had lunch with a lovely young thing who may or may not become a recurring character in this blog (time will tell), sat in on Richard Hatch’s panel on acting after bumping into him in the Gaslamp, and did the Walking Dead zombie obstacle course with my friend Meghan, which just about killed me.
A quick aside; most of the off-site media-related events are just walk-throughs with some props or wardrobe on display, and maybe some footage. This is a 5k through real obstacles that starts by running you up six flights of stairs. Halfway through, I honestly thought I was gonna puke. It was awesome.
I spent most of Saturday just cruising the Exhibit Hall (I’m old school; in reality, I still call it the Dealer’s Room), and then the Kickstarter panel I was on came up at 6. This time Kerri & Andy were there, along with our photographer, Ben Hoffman, and a few other friends (including the girl mentioned above; it made me smile that she made the effort to come). The panel went by far too quickly, but we brought up the rear, and we were far and away the hit of the panel.I briefly considered sitting in on the masquerade to see how the trailer screened there, but I thought better of it. The audience would love it, but I might not. End on a high note, I told myself. And, for once, my gut was right. Instead, I went to an awesome dinner with Richard, Meghan, my friends John & Brusta, and some other folks. It was a great close to the convention.
We had never intended to have anything ready to show to the public this quickly. I have to give credit to Ryan Carter for being able to turn on a dime and accommodate the sudden Comic-Con screening. A lot of people have asked to see it online, so we’re going to tweak a few things in one shot we’re all unhappy with, and post it. That should be coming within the next week.
In the meantime, huge thanks to everyone who came out to see the trailer screened, and to the cast, crew and friends who kept me from stepping in front of a bus Thursday morning.
This is just the beginning…