unCONVENTIONal NYCC

unCONVENTIONal NYCC

Everything we do at Hashtag Studios is about entertainment, in one form or another.

I haven’t quite figured out where it starts or ends but the fact remains that we get a LOT of traffic on this site so I feel somewhat required to keep you guys updated with the latest news and events happening in the business of show, the nology of tech, and the rity of celeb. Not really the last part, that sentence felt like it needed a third thing and I ran out of clever.

SO. I’m on the train right now heading to New York, it’s lovely. First class Acela is really a great ride; nice breakfast, drinks, wifi, comfy seats, everyone is dressed really nicely and there are no kids. I have nothing against kids, but this appears to be a place that you can go to get away from them since the prices have gone from about 125 bucks to 270 bucks each way. Sure, the commuter trains are about 90 bucks, so I understand why that would be appealing, but this train takes less than 4 hours to get to the city. In fact, it’s less than 3 hours, so I can work the entire time, leave just before 8 and arrive by 11. It works for me.

Today is a big day. Well, I guess every day is a big day but today is interesting. ICv2 has a conference called “The New Comics Customer”. It’s from 1-6pm (5 hours?!) at the Javits Center, tickets can be purchased from newyorkcomiccon.com‘s portal.  I recommend if you’re in the city a day early or are in the industry that you give it a gander. It’s not cheap, but I really think it will be worth it. I talked to ICv2’s CEO Milton Griepp last week and I’m think he’s excited about the event. According to him “this year’s conference will look at [new channels, formats, and content reaching new customers] and where they’re taking the business, with speakers from the forefront of the change.” Needless to say, I’m excited. As the head of a media studio AND the chief cook and bottle washer of a comic book publishing group, I have to have my ears wide open in covering today’s event. In today’s market if you don’t grow and adapt to the changing needs of the market you fail. If you can’t keep up with how people ingest their media and make yours available to them in that format, you fail. If you’re unable to capture a market share because your marketing doesn’t reach the right audience, you fail! I don’t want to fail.

It’s 9:15, we just arrived at the Delaware station. More once I get in the city.

–UPDATED–

Well! Here I am! I have arrived at the Jacob Javits Center, and am sitting in the back of the ICv2 conference room typing furiously to keep up.

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First up at today’s conference is the 1pm “ICv2 White Paper”, hosted by Milton Griepp, CEO of ICv2, essentially a ‘statement of the industry’. It is fascinating, first thing that stuck out to me was that he mentioned that Amazon was good for Comixology, but currently we’re seeing a lag in growth that was expected by the acquisition.

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Comics are up 3% from last year, while digital is flat. But who are the new customers? The traditional demo of comics, the young adult male, is still the predominant buyer of books, but there has also been a small surge in kids and women. In fact by segment kids make up 14% of the graphic novel sales community, this summer accounted for 60 to 70 million dollars in retail sales. Unfortunately this doesn’t include figures for libraries, which is a big unreported market segment.

That was the gist of the conference. It was awesome, I was in a room full of giants, I aspire to accomplish what they’ve accomplished. It’s incredibly impressive what this industry has been able to do in its lifetime. I wish this event was better attended but such is life, it was nice to be part of a small crowd.

–UPDATED–

Hey guys! It’s day 2 here at New York Comic Con, let me bring you up to speed on what you missed.

Yesterday the con was fantastic, we had a ton of great stuff to see and the booths are AMAZING!.

 

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Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, two of my favorite people. This was in artist alley, which didn’t get the air conditioning turned on until about noon so it was a sauna. Luckily I checked back with them a few hours later and it was all good.

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This is the main con floor, I did a panoramic photo, pretty proud of myself. This is a tame amount of people right now. The thing in the middle is where the two pieces of glass meet. Still a cool pic, I think it gives you a scope of how enormous this main dealer floor is.20141009_145544

Hey look it’s ME! and Stanley (ARTGERM) – yeah he’s one of the best that I’ve seen, and he wanted a picture with me. That’s my story. This was also in artist alley, which is pictured below, it’s the best place to go if you want to be inspired.

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Located just in a separate building from the vendor madness is Artist Alley. If you want amazing art, this is the place to get it. It’s off to the right as you walk in the main doors of the main hall. Artists from all over the world come to show their art and connect with their fans and it’s simply chalk full of creativity which makes it one of my favorite places to go in the entire con.

The only issue I have had so far at this convention is being one person. I know, I know, bi-location is something I should be able to do by now, HOWEVER this is not the case. I can not do everything at the same time, most panels have lines that are HOURS long and there is no special press access at this event so I can either wait in 3 lines or actually experience the entire convention and I took one for the team and said “no panels” this trip. It was an absolutely impossible decision but one that had to be made knowing full well that the panels last year are what gave me the courage to start my own comic book publishing group. 

My compadres Kay and Micah are here (Elysiam Entertainment and Beat Down Boogie) with me this trip so you’ll see me pop up in their photos and videos from this weekend. Yes. It’s a thing.

DON’T FORGET- tomorrow is my interview with FreddieW from RocketJump and Video Game High School!

–UPDATED–

Well, here we are, day 3! It’s Saturday and it’s raining. We went out last night to the SonicBoomBox party, the ‘official’ cosplay afterparty of the con. It was insanity. I went to dinner with a group of 35 people, collectively there were 11 million facebook likes accounted for between the two tables. I feel out of place at a lot of those things but the cosplay community is so open and adorable that everyone makes friends pretty quickly. That’s not really part of the con so I’ll spare you the details, but it was awesome, here are my new besties:

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Casey Ann, Jessica Nigri, NadyaSonika, Stella Chuu, Riddle, Chubear

Yep, those are pics from their facebook pages, all linked, go like them immediately!

Today I sampled all the food trucks. It was rainy, so there were no lines.

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Korean BBQ food truck. It was so good! These guys sit in the front entry way of the con with the Mac and Cheese truck and a kabob truck. I think having these available as an alternative to the amazingly overpriced convention food is a great option. A sandwich, water and chips is 20 bucks…

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I wanted to give you a little behind the scenes look at my buddy Micah working his magic. If you’re not familiar with Micah, he’s the genius behind Beat Down Boogie. These cosplayers happen to be cosplaying characters that were inspired by his video series Mario Warfare. Give it a watch, you won’t regret it. Here he is shooting two cosplayers (Zach and Zach) that got their costume inspiration FROM BDB!

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There are very few ways to get interviews with people you want to meet without throwing down a few bucks. Luckily I had great timing and got to talk to both LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner for a few minutes. They (obviously) are veterans of the convention circuit so it was interesting to get their take on how things are going, they also don’t shake hands, it’s a fist bump. LeVar and I chatted about his Reading Rainbow Kickstarter. He was so thrilled to be able to be a part of that series again and to have support from his fans was really inspiring. He thanked me for my support, there was a glowing pride in his eyes, it was pretty awesome to see. Brent’s chat was a little different, he asked me which picture I wanted and amidst a sea of “Data” pictures I spotted an 8×10 of him as Dr. Brackish Okun from Independence Day, snatched that one up immediately. He was having a good convention, there was a big group standing behind him so we didn’t really get to speak as much as I had hoped but his spirits were  high and he was looking forward to the weekend.

I turned the corner and saw what I imagined could not possibly be anything other than the line to get into see some premiere. I was wrong. It was the line to get Stephen Amell’s autograph. Easily 1500 people….LOOK.

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That’s the entire length of the building, three people wide, and then a second line, about 2 people wide, to the half way point. BUT I will say it looked like it went quickly. Stephen was gracious, seeing this line on Thursday he stayed an hour late, showed up an hour early and stayed another hour late every day of the con JUST for his fans. Big thumbs up to @amellywood

-=THE INTERVIEW!=-

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Here’s a picture of the video, once the video is up and running, I’ll send it out to you lovely people. BONUS – I’ll be in conjunction with the FreddieW spot on Beat Down Boogie, it’s pretty fantastic.

I can imagine you want to know what’s going on in this picture so I’ll tell you, I’m interviewing Freddie Wong and Will Campos from RocketJump Studios. They created and write Video Game High School. Oddly enough Freddie let Will do a lot of the talking but you could tell the wheels were spinning in Freddie’s head, he was actually a great interview and while not giving away any secrets (I asked, no spoilers, sorry) – they did give me a HUGE tip in saying that the 3rd and final season of VGHS will be released all at one time on Netflix! I can binge-watch it immediately, just like I did for the first two seasons. That was just epic news.

EPISODE 1 of SEASON 3 is out NOW. Watch below:

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Cosplaypic-ception. This is me taking a pic of Kay taking a pic of the guy on the right taking a pic of the whole group taking a pic of Nadya. FYI ladies, when you’re a pro with 200k facebook likes, this is the kind of attention you get.

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The before and the after of the final day. The last day I spent saying my goodbyes and handing out comics.

As you know here at unCONVENTIONal we try to break down the convention barriers and give you an inside look at what is going on at the convention. If you write for small-to-large press, these are the things you can look forward to doing. I spend a lot of time talking to other members of the press, most of them that do the convention coverage for [insert mega media outlet here] and I haven’t met any that truly love going to conventions. I do. I love the people, the parties, the bubbly PR managers, the weird smells, the exclusive access, the creativity and most of all, I like being able to write about it and show my wonderful readers my journey.

After all, if I didn’t love it I wouldn’t do it, and you wouldn’t read it.

I’m sorry it took me an extra day to get this done, the WiFi on the train was bonkers. As of this last typed word the view count on this article is 226,180. WTF. I can’t thank you guys enough, spread the word!

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