Friday, October 12, 2007

Convention Report for the SiliCon SciFi and Horror Con.

October 5-7, 2007

SiliCon was my first convention appearance. My girlfriend and I arrived late Friday night but were still able to attend the “Meet the Guests” event. It was an informal gathering to announce all of us guests, our projects, and smile for some applause. It was cool to place a face to people whom I had only known online up to that point.

I got to meet Molly (pictured above) and Wil from, who invited me to the event. Gregory Lamberson, the director of Slime City and writer of Johnny Gruesome introduced himself to me and Christy. He and I had talked online before the event because our names got mixed up by the convention staff. They had me scheduled in his place on the “Slime City Creators Panel” due to our shared first names. He was a very nice guy, not gruesome at all.

Later on I introduced myself to writer, Simon Wood, of Accidents Waiting to Happen fame.
He and I had corresponded through MySpace in the past where I have become a fan of his blog.
We were both scheduled to sit on a writer’s panel on Saturday. I told him that I had never been on a panel before. His advice was to not worry and when I do answer a question, not to be too long winded about it. I appreciated his counsel.

Next I judged a short film festival that ran for a couple of hours with filmmaker Michael Paul Girard, the lovely Sarah from and cats from the PopCornReview. We saw some pretty good horror shorts. One film that stood out for me was David Pope’s Gasoline Blood. It was a zombie short that had a great retro-seventies look. Pope seemed like a good kid out here from the U.K. to pitch some producers in L.A. I wish him luck. The unanimous winner of the festival was an interesting torture thriller called Criticized by filmmaker Richard Gale. I am not a fan of such films but what I saw was indeed well executed. The film looked great, the story was there and the special effects top notch. I was very happy to meet Sarah since she gave Rise and Walk such a kind review.

Saturday came too early and I was very tired from the previous week’s preparations. I made it to the Horror Writers Panel where I shared the stage with four other fine authors. Kevin Murphy, Jordan Stoen, Fred Wiehe, and Simon Wood were all there to answer the audience’s questions. We spent over an hour talking about what scares us, why we write and what we think about horror cliché’s. I really enjoyed it and was happy to find that I wasn’t nervous. It was a wonderful feeling to be accepted by these authors. They made me feel very welcome. I would love to do another panel soon!

Next I went to my table to meet the conventioneers and sign copies of Rise and Walk. Simon had a table next to me and in between our exchanges with guests we got to spend some time talking. His advice on book deals and how to protect Rise should I go to another publisher was very important to me. Listening to someone who has made deals and been through the process was greatly appreciated. He is a good guy. The guests at the convention were great. I got to meet a lot of horror and Sci Fi fans. I signed a bunch of autographs and smiled a lot more than usual. I like this writing thing:)

A film crew from some television show in the Silicon Valley dropped by the table and asked me for an interview. The newsman told me the name of the show but so much was going on that it has slipped my mind. I used to host shows in my Television classes back in college so I thought what the hell, it would be good for the book. I have experience being on camera but it has been a long time. I did about seven minutes of Q&A with the host, remembering to look at him and then the camera, just like in school. They said they would send me an E-mail about when and where it would be on so I hope to see it soon.

As the Saturday sun waned my filmmaker friends over at the Black Devil Doll table said that their neighbor was leaving for the weekend. So I moved my stuff to the table next to them. For those of you who haven’t heard of the movie, Black Devil Doll before, trust me, you will soon. It is going to be in the news eventually and you will know that Independent Cinema history has been made. The BDD kids had actresses dressed as Exotic Dancers at their table bringing them lots of attention. Natasha enjoyed some Rise and Walk. I know the filmmakers but the mysterious executive producers, Menahem Ostein and Yoram Mayberg were nowhere to be seen. Their reputation as inveterate womanizers and libertines of modern chemistry seems to be intact. Director Jon Lewis told me that the producers disappeared with two other actresses and a suitcase of unmarked bills to have a “Casting Session” in Vegas. Sitting next to the BDD crew was a very fun time. The girls were barely dressed and I had a bucket of Candy!

I closed up the table around eight so that Christy and I, along with our friends John and Robyn from the BDD crew could go get Sushi. I was beat. I had three large Starbucks over the course of the day. That’s right, I said LARGE. I don’t buy into that Venti-Grande-Tall crap that they use to socially engineer our vocabulary. I took a nap after dinner until about eleven but awoke thinking of how I could better promote Rise and Walk. This was my first convention and I should do all I could to get the word out. I lay in bed for the next ten minutes formulating a plan.

I got out of bed, washed my grill and took a walk around the convention. There was still a lot of activity in the hotel. I spoke to Wil and thanked him for his invitation to the Con.

I toyed with the idea of having a drink with the Black Devil Doll boys who were doing shots at the bar but I wanted to be at my best for Sunday so I politely excused myself. Getting drunk with Mitch and Jon is not for the weak of spirit and I didn’t want a hangover.

Walking around I noticed how the convention had taken over the hotel. There were flyers and posters plastered all over the common areas. Since I am new to this phenomenon it never occurred to me that I could post my promotional stuff around like this. Greg Lamberson had posted flyers about his film in the restrooms. Hell, I thought, I’ll be like Greg. I went back and grabbed a stack of flyers and a roll of scotch tape and set out posting my flyer above the urinals in the bathrooms. Everybody has to pee and when you do, you usually read what ever is in front of you. I would have a captive audience. In the front of the hotel, as one enters, there was a second floor of events that could be missed if one wasn’t paying attention. So someone on the staff had made a large LOOK sign out of blue tape with an arrow pointing up. So I posted a Rise and Walk flyer at the top of the arrow. LOOK-Rise and Walk. Thank you to who ever made that sign. I made sure I had plenty of cards and free chapbooks out on the swag tables and headed back to bed.

Sunday, busted through the curtains without mercy. I was very tired and had not had more than maybe four hours of sleep at a stretch all weekend. I knew that I had to get out there and meet the guests. I have to admit that it is reassuring to wake up and be twenty five yards from a Starbucks. I met Kevin Andrew Murphy at the Starbucks counter and we talked a bit about the Gummi-Gods. Don't ask, I am not explaining that one. He wanted to have lunch but I had to get behind my table. I felt bad turning down the bread breaking but I had to get my promotions on. Things went good at the table. I met more cats and shook some hands. Jordan Stoen dropped by and we talked books. She has a lot of experience as a writer and editor and lives near me so we are going to meet for coffee in the future. Dave Reda, director of Bit Parts dropped by. We spoke about our DIY philosophies. Dave's enthusiasm was infectious. I am glad he picked up a copy of Rise. I can't wait to find out what he thinks. I met a nice couple at the table across the hall. Kat from KatGirl Studios and her boyfriend Scott from Lost Graphics who drew me a killer zombie pic from Rise and Walk. Thanks Scott, that was cool. Greg Lamberson dropped by and we chopped it up for a while. He was very supportive and encouraging about my efforts. I hope to meet him again.

All in all the con was a great time for me. I will do another at the drop of a hat. I absolutely loved meeting the other writers, filmmakers and fans. I am so sold on making my writing the best it can be so that the readers enjoy my work.

Next time I am throwing a room party!

Gregory Solis

1 comment:

A.P. Fuchs said...

Sounds like a blast, Gregory.

I love cons. We just had Keycon here a couple of weeks back. Next one (the Manitoba Comic Con) is in October, and then WHC is in May '09 (I think).

Keep getting "Rise and Walk" out there.