How should rising actors do Comic-Con? Plus, a few updates!

Always a pleasure running into our buddy Matt Kamimura, whether it's at Fringe or Comic-Con!

Always a pleasure running into our buddy Matt Kamimura, whether it’s at Fringe or Comic-Con!

Last week, Jenn and I snuck away from L.A. for a couple days and headed down to San Diego to celebrate our ninth anniversary, and also to take in some of this year’s Comic-Con.

This was my first time attending SDCC since 2013 (I’d been going regularly for one of my former jobs since 2010), and the first time I’d ever gotten to attend it as a Professional (thank you, Altered Spirits), instead of an Exhibitor.

We had a pretty great time catching up with friends, wandering the Gaslamp district, playing BINGO on a tour bus, strolling the exhibitor floor and attending panels.

Thursday morning, I managed to get into the From the Bridge panel, which promoted the upcoming documentary of the same name, celebrating the rich history of Starlog and Fangoria Magazines. I would also like to mention that said documentary features a score by the incredibly talented Michael Gordon Shapiro.

In the meantime, Jenn was off in the Gaslamp doing this:

Yep. That’s Jenn and Teri Hatcher, who was in San Diego for the Coraline 10th Anniversary celebration and shooting episodes of her web series, Van Therapy. Jenn was checking Instagram at one point and saw that Ms. Hatcher was headed down to SDCC and streaming clips of her drive live online.

Now, one thing you should know about Jenn: she’s a MASSIVE fan of Lois & Clark, and Teri Hatcher is her Lois Lane. So, Jenn set off that morning to find out where Teri was parking her van for the day, determined to meet her favorite intrepid reporter in person.

And she did!

And Jenn even got to be on Van Therapy!

I know, right?!

We don’t know when (or if) her episode will air, but if/when it does, I’ll be sure to share it.

Jenn and I even ran into Teri on the exhibition floor while she was looking for Superman.

After that, we met back up and hit up a few of the writing panels. We checked out Writing the Mysteries with Paul Levitz (which was a lovely trip down memory lane for Mr. Levitz, but I felt really lacked useful content on actually writing mysteries), followed by Writing Great Dialogue and Here There Be Dragons: Creating Fresh Stories in Fantasy. Ultimately, I got some really helpful insights and inspiration for my playwriting efforts from each of the panels, which is what I was hoping would happen.

Playing BINGO on the SyFy Gaslamp Trolly!

But I also had a thought: it’s obvious to me how SDCC is useful for aspiring screenwriters. Most professional, working writers that attend the con are friendly and make themselves accessible to fans and are happy to dole out creative and career advice from the stage. There are also plenty of opportunities to connect and network with these folks.

I would *love* to be able to do the same with television showrunners and producers, (especially for Marvel projects that shoot in L.A.), but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that. It seems to me that those decision-makers who attend the con are there to promote their projects in places like the sprawling Hall H, and spend the rest of their time in San Diego sequestered inside VIP-only areas, surrounded by gatekeepers. Still, I feel like I’m missing out on an important business opportunity, being in the same general area as these folks and not connecting with them.

So, I’m making it my goal next year to go down to San Diego with a list of shows that I want to be a part of that I know will be represented at the con, a list of connections I need to make, and a strategy for making them.

Problem is, I’m not quite sure what to do. Should I make it a goal to get into parties they may be at? Attend their panels and camp the stage door afterward? Roam around and just hope I get lucky bumping into people?

A well-planned strategy will be the difference between a con that is professionally beneficial, and one that was just a lot of fun.

So, a question for my actor friends: why do you attend shows like SDCC or WonderCon each year? What are your professional goals or objectives when you go? Your strategies for networking? Who do you seek to connect (or reconnect) with and why? How do you go about doing it? What has worked, what hasn’t, and what was unexpected? Please let me know in the comments below! 

I’m talking specifically for enhancing your acting career, not screenwriting or to pitch your own projects (but hey, if you’ve got a good anecdote about that, feel free to share). Any and all sincere advice is welcome. Really looking forward to what folks may have to say!

In Other News!

I’ve got a couple of updates to share about a variety of topics:

First and foremost, What We Do When We’re Dark is not dead; I’m just really behind in getting new episodes edited and posted. However, we have footage for three new episodes shot and ready for editing. My plan is to get the first of said episodes out next Friday and resuming our weekly posting schedule from there. I’m sure you’re all incredibly relieved to hear that.

I’m planning a workshop reading of my play Three Can Keep a Secret for sometime in August, as I haven’t heard the latest draft out loud yet. I’ll post the details as soon as they’re set.

Speaking of my plays, I’ve been scouring the internet for news of a rumored production of Super Sidekick: The Musical at the Devonshire Playhouse in Skokie, IL. Mike and I approved the license for this show back in March, but I have seen ne’er a superhero cape or koala hair anywhere online about this production since. I hope it hasn’t been scrapped (although that is my growing suspicion).

More on the writing front! We now have an official trailer for Hold For Plane’s 24-Hour Film Race Finalist, Get a Clue! I would embed it in this post if I could, but I can’t, so I won’t. Just click the link. Lisa K. and I are also gearing up to write for the 48-Hour Film Project in August.

Switching over to directing/producing, I was honored to be honored last week by TheTVolution.com for my direction of A Very DIE HARD Christmas as a part of their 2018 Hollywood Fringe Awards. Kudos also to my Hans Gruber, Jim Martyka for an Acting Honor, and my fellow directors Jim Blanchette and Matt Ritchey, who shared directing noms with me. I’m pretty thrilled to be in such talented company.

After designing lights for over a dozen shows at studio/stage and The Hobgoblin Playhouse for Fringe this year (not to mention Fame Jr. at Fairfax High School), I’ve confirmed at least one lighting and sound design gig for August/September, and am on the verge of landing a second lighting gig for August. Details on both forthcoming as soon as the contracts are signed.

Tonight, Jenn, Jake and I are headed down to The Muckenthaler Cultural Center to meet with their artistic team about possibly re-mounting a Theatre Unleashed project or two in their glorious 300-seat venue in Orange County. Really looking forward to this meeting, and crossing my fingers that we’ll be able to strike an arrangement of some sort. More on this as it develops.

It’s almost August, which means it’s almost time for me to renew my Ovation Voter status!

On the acting front… back in May I took a break from submitting on roles because I knew Fringe was going to eat up all of my free time. Well, last week I resumed submitting on projects, and I’ve already landed two auditions this week. Here’s hoping they’re the first two of many!

I’ve also signed up for a few SAG-AFTRA Foundation workshops in August, focusing on branding, demo reels, and representation. I loved the one I attended about focusing my career back in May. Looking forward to seeing what else these workshops have in store!

Finally, if you haven’t checked out my Instagram lately, I’ve been working on revamping it from the ground up and giving my posts a little more artistic flair. Give it a look and a follow!

That’s it for the moment. As always, onward and upward!

And please, let’s chat about Convention networking strategies in the comments below!