July 14, 2015

Spending San Diego Comic-Con with Fandango

Another San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone. The four day convention requires so much preparation and planning that I swear it's been affecting my schedule for at least a month, but it speeds by in the blink of an eye. The big highlights of this year's convention according to the scientific data that is my Twitter feed were Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn for Justice, the teaser for the Suicide Squad, and the panel for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. Those panels all invaded the biggest panel room at the San Diego Convention Center: Hall H. I wonder what historians will make of the hours and hours attendees spend waiting and sleeping in line to get into Hall H.

I didn't catch those panels, but I did explore a whole lot of the convention center and the surrounding area. If you've never been to Comic-Con, you might not realize the exhibits and displays spill well out of the convention center into San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, onto the lawn between the convention center and hotels, and beyond. It's hard to escape the convention unless you stay far away. FX set up buildings and a giant snow globe near the Hilton to promote shows such as American Horror Story: Hotel and Fargo. Ubisoft brought back a parkour/obstacle course for Assassin's Creed. Fox built a carnival ride to promote Scream Queens. Those are just a few examples of the outdoor activities.

I wondered around several of outdoor displays and inside the exhibit hall with Fandango on Thursday. Using the magic of Periscope, I tried my best to bring the Comic-Con experience to those who couldn't make it. Because really, it's not like any other convention. It's giant in a way that's hard to wrap your head around, and though photos nearly do the event justice, they don't capture the crush of the crowds and how much you get jostled around -- there is oh so much jostling.

We had people tune into watch the Periscope stream from all over the world. We took questions about the convention and tried our best to take requests from viewers about what they wanted to see. The Walking Dead was a popular choice. As scared as I am of zombies, I can't deny that AMC does a bang-up job of making their booth amazing and terrifying every year... but I didn't like to linger near it.

Later in the day, we decided to get outside to move away from the crowds (yes, the aisles in the exhibit hall were packed already, even on Thursday) so I could show off how much of Comic-Con overflows outside the walls. We saw the FX displays mentioned above, the pop-up carnival set up by Adult Swim – a character from Rick and Morty danced for us and I'm still a little scarred – and wandered across the pedestrian bridge into a corner with the Scream Queens ride, a Point Break display, and ice cream (also to promote Scream Queens). Ending with ice cream seemed like a perfect time to wrap the day's streaming.

It was fun to play the Comic-Con tour guide to the internet. I'm always happy to talk about experiences and fandoms I love, and I liked sharing that with viewers.

I'm still in Comic-Con recovery mode, but every step taken at the convention was worth it. I've been catching up on all the news that dropped during the convention, and if, like me, you missed the news and trailers that came from panels because you were at the convention or if you're just feeling out of the loop, you can sit down and catch up with the new Fandango MovieClips app (available for iOS and Android). The new trailer section has made it easy for me to see everything I missed without having to spend forever searching for the highest quality videos on YouTube.

To stay in the loop about future Periscope videos from Fandango – they film at red carpets and all sorts of events – follow Fandango on Twitter.

This post was sponsored by Fandango.

July 3, 2015

San Diego Comic-Con 2015 Schedule

Guys. It's that time of year. San Diego Comic-Con is next week - July 8 through July 12. It's arriving earlier than usual, and my body/soul/heart/etc is not quite ready. The truth is I wouldn't be quite ready regardless of the dates. It's impossible. You prepare as much as you can and it's stressful and tiring, but then you dive in and run on adrenaline, caffeine, unsatisfying and unfulfilling snacks, water, and more caffeine for four and a half days and it's fine. Fun, even. 

Comic-Con seems to get busier for me every year - this is my tenth year attending the convention, by the way - and in addition to covering panels and press lines for places like IGN, Nerdist, and Fandango (this is what it's like to cover Comic-Con as press), I'll be on three panels and moderating one and I'd love to see you at them! Here's my schedule:

Level-Up Your Style with Geek Fashion
Thursday, July 9, 1:00pm-2:00pm - Room 14A
Geek Fashion saw unprecedented growth in the past year, and with more choices comes more opportunities to make these clothes fit your own unique geek. This will be a hands-on panel that will talk about how to express your own unique style with geek clothing and accessories, classic layering pieces, hair/makeup, nails, and more. The panel will also highlight their favorite designers, retailers, and trends and discuss where they would all like to see geek fashion go in the future. Join moderator Dina Kampmeyer (fashion judge, The Geekie Awards) and panelists Amy Ratcliffe (Nerdist, Star Wars online), Anastasia Washington (Fashionably Nerdy), Josephine Moss (Geekosphere community analyst), Katie Elspeth (theatre costumer), Stephanie Bray (Subtle Fashion Geek), and Stephanie Pressman (Fashionably Nerdy) and learn how to shop and style smart, the geek way.

Live-Streaming on Periscope with Fandango
Thursday, July 9, 9:30am-10:30am and 4:00pm-5:00pm
Hang out with me while I take Fandango around the exhibit hall and around the Gaslamp. It will be like getting a taste of the Comic-Con experience without being there. I'll answer questions, ramble, etc. Get the link by following Fandango on Twitter.

Geek Wars: The Nerds Awaken
Friday, July 10, 10:00am-11:00am, Room 14A
Professional nerds square off in an epic trivia battle for the ages, all while discussing the hottest pop culture topics, including racial stereotyping, objectification, online bullying, casting decisions, and more. Spanning comics, TV, film, and the web, this discussion will be hilarious, outrageous, and challenge your perspective on culture. Moderated by Tony B Kim (Crazy 4 Comic Con), this super-powered team will be joined by Chris Gore (comedian), Amy Ratcliffe (writer), Andre Meadows (comedian), Ivy Doom Kitty (pro cosplayer), Sam Maggs (writer), and Ali Mattu (clinical psychologist).

Building the Modern (Super)Heroine
Friday, July 10, 6:30pm-7:30pm, Room 26AB
More and more, heroines are being positioned front and center on the page and screen-Katniss, Agent Carter, Tris, Furiosa, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel, just to name a few. What do creators and fans want out of a powerful female protagonist? How can you pay tribute to the heroines of the past while still looking toward the future? What's the difference between writing established heroines and creating your own? And how can one best position and support these characters to usher in a whole new era of totally bad ass (super)heroines across all platforms? This dynamic group of creators and expert commentators will discuss the challenges of building modern heroines in a variety of mediums. With Cecil Castellucci (Stone in the Sky), Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex), Andrea Letamendi (psychologist, Arkham Sessions), Jose Molina (Agent Carter), and Babs Tarr (Batgirl). Moderated by Amy Ratcliffe (Star Wars online).

The Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars: Episode V
Saturday, July 11, 7:30pm-8:30pm, Room 24ABC
Geeky psychologists Dr. Andrea Letamendi (The Arkham Sessions) and Dr. Ali Mattu (The Psych Show) step into the pop culture ring to debate the psychology of teamwork, rebellion, and galactic war. Panelists include Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise), Thom Zahler (Love and Capes), Consetta Parker (Rancho Obi-Wan), and Amy Ratcliffe (Star Wars Insider). Join a side, but remember: phasers and lightsabers are no match for this battle of wits! Refereed by Brian Ward (Comics, Assembled!)
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