Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Week in Writing #46 - Report From the Front - Comic-Con 2015

I knew going into this week that it would be a short one because of Comic-Con. But not short enough to stop the rejections. Got one back from the eight I sent out on the 4th. Must have been the first thing the agent did that morning. Better to hear something than nothing, but a rejection is not a fun way to start the week. Seven still to go.

No time to fret, there are other more pressing things to worry about, like Comic-Con. If you've never been, Comic-Con is sort of like Christmas, but only for about 180,000 people. If you're an adult, you know that Christmas is not so much that magical time when Santa brings gifts made by elves, but requires a lot of planning and prep. Comic-Con is like that. There are hurdles every step of the way. And everything for the regular con attendee is a lottery, a game of chance.

The most important thing you have to remember about Comic-Con is that everything about it says "no", but you have to keep saying "yes". It's like the organizers try to make it nearly impossible to attend by setting up obstacles all along the way. But you have to be more determined to go than they are to keeping you from attending.

It starts with getting the tickets. The best way to get tickets is to have attended the previous year's convention and even then it's a crap shoot. The fact that tickets go on sale all at once means that buying tickets is like everyone trying to go through the same doorway shoulder to shoulder. Some of us get through, but some don't. And some get the days they're looking for and others don't.

For some reason, Comic-Con has never heard of a family of four, so you have to be lucky twice to get everyone tickets.

So you're lucky enough to have tickets, now you'll need a place to stay. Now there are some people who seem to camp out every night, but those are hardcore crazies (my apologies if you're one of them). This is my vacation and if I want to camp out it won't be on the cement in front of the San Diego Convention Center. Hotels are another lottery.

And then there is parking; and you guessed it, another lottery. While there are alternatives to parking the car, San Diego has a train that stops in front of the convention center, there are reasons against this. We took the tram the first few times we came and maybe it's just us, but we found the train ride to be an excitement killer. Something about not being in control and all those stops. Better to park and walk. Last year, we managed to get parking for three days at the Convention Center. With the lottery system Ace Parking used, we ended up parking three of four days at the MTS garage across the tracks and much further away.

Now, my writing reason for coming to Comic-Con is to look for an artist for our comic book, PowerSquared. This is our third time to attend what is called the Comic Creator Connection at Comic-Con. The first time, we actually found an artist,  but that relationship fizzled after several false starts and we finally had to let her go. Last year, the selection of artists was really slim. There were only one or two who seemed serious and even though we thought we found someone, she never responded to our emails. What is she, an agent?

As a writer going in you are at a disadvantage; there are a lot of writers. Everyone with a laptop thinks they can write, but there are relatively fewer artists. This, one assumes, takes more talent and patience. I know that what we can write in a week or two and be satisfied with can take much longer to draw, ink and color. If I could do these things myself, it would make things a lot easier. I would, but that is not where my talents lie. There are X number of artists in the room, and twice the number of writers. The two hour session is sort of like speed dating; you get three minutes to make your pitch, see their work and exchange information. The writer has three minutes on and three minutes off.

Paul and I are a bit unusual, as there are two of us. If you've ever heard that writing is a lonely profession, then this is your proof. We have usually been the only pair of writers at the CCC. I like having a partner in this and it really helps to have someone else with you for the moral support. A pitch is sort of like a query, in that you're laying your writing talent out in front of someone else so they can judge you.

I hate being behind someone that runs over their time, since they're eating into mine. I try to be quick and to the point about it and move on as quickly as possible. Last year, the writer in front of us didn't seem to understand what the word "Time" meant and would continue to blather on, even as we were sliding into their chair. This year it was much the same thing, the other writer pair in the room consistently ran late; fifteen seconds is a lot of time when you only have five minutes.

The trick is to pitch enough of the story to pique their interest, but not enough that they could go home and write it themselves.

The CCC session went pretty well, considering that Thursday is usually one of the hardest days at the Con. We get up about 4:30 am to get there early and the Comic Creator Connection doesn't start until 7 at night. By that time we've walked about 10 miles and have been on our feet most of the day. After a short night and a lot of exertion, it's time to turn on the charm and try to sell ourselves and our story to about 10 artists. We had five minutes to get to know each other, swap bios and pitch. And then because there were twice as many artists as writers, we had five minutes off between most artists. Time ran out before we could speak to one artist.

Mostly, the reaction was positive. People seemed to like the general story idea and the twist. We usually get a good response, though that doesn't always end up with a collaborator.

From the point of view of a writer looking for an artist, this was a really good crop of would-be collaborators. I won't name names on the blog without permission, but there were some really good artists there that we, Paul and I, would love to work with.

The thing I like best about the CCC experience is that for those two hours I get to be the writer I want to be; the occupation on the business card I was handing out. The person on the other side of the table takes us seriously, which is not always true. The other people in the room have the same dream, but whether or not we'll have a shared-dream remains to be seen.

The CCC is moderated by Doug Neff, author of Epic Win!, and his last instruction was to email three possible collaborators before we went to bed that night, which we did. Again, hard to write at the end of a long day, but I did. Not surprisingly, have not heard back from anyone, but my guess, most people don't send the emails and are probably too busy with Comic-Con, etc. to send the email. Let's hope anyway. I'll follow up next week with everyone and we'll see what shakes out. Hopefully, I can write about us finding an artist.

Managed, albeit late, to post a new review on Trophy Unlocked while at Comic-Con for The Threat (1949). I honestly forgot it was Saturday until we were in line at the Con. By then, it was too late, but I did post when we got back to that hotel room after dinner. Better late than never. I like to treat the blog like a real deadline and I post a review every Saturday.

The week ended with, what else, another rejection from my fourth of July queries. What a way to finish the week and a reminder about how fleeting the good feeling can be.

No comments:

Post a Comment