One Hell Of A Convention: Crypticon Post-Mortem, 2014
(Umm. So I haven’t posted since – January? Can that possibly be right? I need to start remembering that I have a website. There are totally things I could post here. Like the fact that I’m on a podcast now. That kind of thing. Anyway… )
This year I was once again delighted to be a panelist at Crypticon Seattle, the Pacific Northwest’s own horror convention. I didn’t end up seeing a lot of the actual convention, as it happens – I attended maybe two panels that I wasn’t actually on, I didn’t go to the BioHazard party, and I missed the film track entirely – but I managed to have a great time anyway. Let me break this down for you.
Umm, yeah, that’s about it for Friday. I’m so broke right now I could only justify using enough gas to go for two days, not all three. The writer’s life is a romantic one, kids.
Saturday: Monster Island Is Actually A Peninsula! (*)
I showed up about an hour and a half before my panel, took a swing through the quite frankly amazing Dealer’s Room, and then spent a good chunk of the rest of that time trying to figure out where the hell I was supposed to be. The e-mail I got with my list of panels didn’t say. I didn’t get a printed program guide when I picked up my wrist band, because they had run out. (They should keep some set-aside in reserve for us panelists, because we’re different and special and important and oh well never mind.) I tried looking up my panel in the schedule listed on the website, and because it turns out I’m nowhere near as smart as I think I am, I was looking at Friday’s schedule when I thought I was looking at Saturday’s schedule and thus didn’t see a 4:00 panel listed at all.
Fortunately, I have many years of vast convention experience to draw on in a situation like this, and so I knew exactly what to do. Namely, I panicked. I went back to the table where I picked up my wristband and asked if they had even a single copy of the printed program that I could look at for just a minute. They regretfully explained that they did not, and pointed me toward their merch table, and said that the woman there might have one, so I headed over and repeated my request.
You would think I had just asked her if I could have one of her kidneys. This was her only copy, she told me firmly, and there weren’t any more, and – yeah. I reiterated that I just needed to look at it for a few seconds, I wasn’t even going to leave the table, and I would hand it right back to her, and she finally reluctantly placed it in my hands. I looked up my panel – 4:00 in Peninsula B, got it – and handed it back.
I wandered off to find the room, and quickly realized that not only did I not know where that was, but that I’d been coming to this hotel for various conventions for years, I had never heard of Peninsula B. What the hell? I wanted to go back and look at that program book again, in hopes there was a map, but I was afraid if I asked her a second time, she might try to have me arrested. (Seriously, next year I want to show up early, grab a stack of program books, and sell them to my fellow convention-goers for fifty bucks a pop. If I sell enough of them, I might even be able to afford to buy a meal in the hotel restaurant.)
Fortunately, I happen to run into Don Thacker, whom I had met here last year at his presentation of his film Motivational Growth (which was amazing, by the way). “Don, right?” I said to him. “Where the hell is Peninsula B?”
Fortunately, he recognized me, and didn’t think I was a crazed stalker fan or anything, and in fact immediately realized that I must be a fellow panelist and led me, Sherpa-like, into uncharted territory. The SeaTac Hilton is actually two buildings, I didn’t think there was any convention programming in the other building, hell, I didn’t know we were allowed to set foot in the other building. But there we were, bright and early for our panel, Best Horror Films of 2013.
I found out when I got to the panel that I was actually supposed to be moderator – or, as they refer to it at Crypticon, “Panel Wrangler,” which delights me and also seems a little more accurate. This panel was a cakewalk to moderate – I had everyone introduce themselves, I asked everyone what film was their biggest disappointment in 2013 and we each answered in turn, and then asked everyone what their favorite films were from 2013, and by the time we were done with all that, we had about ten minutes left in the hour and I opened the floor to questions. Dead simple, and enormously helped by the fact that all of my panelists were charming, knowledgeable, well-spoken, and funny as hell. I really had a great time with this one, even though some of the opinions expressed about horror movies were clearly and obviously demonstrably wrong. Ahem.
Afterwards, Don was doing a panel about his next feature, Depth, and so I followed him to check that out, and chatted with some of his Imagos Films team on the way, including Trin Miller, who is starring in Depth and who was also one of the stars of my will-get-released-one-of-these-days-I-swear-to-God webseries CAUSALITY. Always nice to see Trin. I’m very glad I went to the panel – they had a surprise casting announcement to make, which they did very theatrically by having the actor in question walk into the panel about halfway through. I was ridiculously excited, since this is an actor I’ve always loved – but since the ink isn’t dry on the contracts, I don’t think I can tell you who it is just yet. Stay tuned.
Then I hung out with the Imagos folks a while longer, and then paid a more thorough visit to the Dealer’s Room, which I eventually walked out of empty-handed. (Remember me mentioning how broke I am? I swear to God, one of these years I have to come to this convention with some actual foldy spendy cash in my wallet, because I could’ve dropped a few hundred bucks in there without even noticing. I could even have managed to get some of my Christmas shopping done really early.)
I ended up heading home relatively early, even though a very pretty girl was asking me to stay for the the BioHazard party. I don’t even understand myself sometimes.
Sunday: Land Of The Dead!
I did have a reason for going home early, though, and that’s because my Sunday panel was at noon. Wait, noon? You want me to be up and out of bed and dressed and presentable and coherent and out of the house and on the road and all the way down to SeaTac by noon? Why not just ask me to jump on a live hand grenade instead?
I managed it. I was even early. Wandering around the convention, I realized that practically no one was awake. All of these people were only pretending to be awake. With varying degrees of realism.
Sunday’s panel was, once again, in Peninsula B. (As I told one of the convention organizers later – if they wanted to hide me away in another building away from the rest of the convention, they could’ve just said so.) The topic this time was Best and Worst Book-to-Movie Adaptations, and the panelists included K.L. Young, Ronnie Angel, Tony Kay, John Portanova, Lorelei Shannon, Chris Fred, me again, Shannon Flowers and Don Thacker. That’s nine people all told, which means we greatly outnumbered the audience. So this was not quite as much fun as the previous day’s panel, if only because of the disappointing attendance. It was still pretty damn fun, though.
After that, I didn’t really have anything else left to do, and usually at conventions, I reach the “screw this, I’m out” state pretty early on Sunday afternoons, but this time I was having so much fun just hanging out and talking to people that I stayed well past the point where the convention was visibly winding down – partly so I could catch the last-ditch showing of the “Horrors of the PNW” documentary by Gloomy Sunday Productions. This showing seemed kind of cursed; the original Friday night screening was cut short by audio problems, and the late-night screening on Saturday got pushed back an additional 45 minutes because the previous program ran too long. The convention had given GSP one last shot on Sunday, in one of the film track rooms after programming there had concluded – at a time when the convention was technically over, but the con had told us that the room was ours so long as the hotel didn’t kick us out. So I did finally get chance to see it. (The fact that I heard that the documentary started with a clip from an interview with me surely had nothing to do with my determination to watch it. I’m not that vain. Am I? Okay, yes, I am.)
It was a good time, and it was over too fast. I love getting to run around feeling like I’m one of The Cool Kids. I’m already making plans for next year.