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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



I arrived at Comic-Con early Thursday morning and did little but wander about the place for hours, mentally cataloging the booths on the floor and not going to any panels because I didn't want to wait in line to see things I can read about later. I wasn't in a mood to be marketed to.

I caught sight of Marc Bernardin whom I met briefly a few weeks back. I wanted to thank him for running a short post on io9 in support of the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival (for which he was a judge last year), but he was involved in conversation at the AiT/PlanetLar booth and I'm loathe to interrupt people I don't know in that way. It's rude and it's something I need to get over and just be rude.

As most of the people that I know and knew to be at the con were locked away in panels, I didn't run into anyone I knew until around 3:30, then I ran into two of them, independently of one another within about three minutes, when I found Kira Snyder making her way down a main aisle, then Amy Berg came upon us chatting there in the aisle. Then no one again, the rest of the day.

Kira's first episode of Eureka screened on Saturday night. "All The Rage" was a brilliant take on zombie-flicks and featured Lord of the Geeks, Wil Wheaton as guest star. For my money, that should have made her Nerd Prom Queen.

Enough about her though, more about me. Things remained fairly low-key until I got around to the CCI:IFF room around eight. The Mastermind cast and crew and I caught another film in our category (comics-oriented) called The League. It had a great story, great effects and excellent acting. It was a student thesis film from the film school at Chapman and was produced with a budget of $40,000.

Then came time for Mastermind. We were produced with a budget of pizza. After the mass exodus of people who were there just to see The League (followed by an influx of people there just to see Mastermind) we screened the flick to an audience of about 40-50, which was about what I expected. No one goes to Comic-Con to watch the Film Festival.

By comparison, the next day I popped in on a short called The Minuteman. It also had a good-sized budget and starred Christian Kane (of Leverage and Angel), Barry Corbin (No Country for Old Men), Willa Ford (Dancing with the Stars) and others...and they were all on hand for the panel discussion. Their audience was about the same size. So I'd say ours was respectable given the circumstances.

There was a Q and A panel after Mastermind.

Friday, I bought toys and I met up with Dave from long last. That night was the aforementioned Eureka screening, which I marked by dining at Cafe Diem, where I spotted an actress I totally recognize but cannot for the life me recall what I've seen her in.

Saturday, I was in a sitting mood, so I started with the Leverage panel, despite the fact that Rogers thought it was more important to produce his show than promote it. Damn him. They were giving out t-shirts; five different ones. Each had the title of one of the characters on it; Hacker, Hitter, Grifter, Thief and Mastermind. Guess which one I got.

I followed that up with the genre television writers panel. Many good anecdotes told there about the likes of Middleman, Fringe, V, The 4400 and more. And man, Ashley Miller gets intense when he's giving advice on writing.

From there, I basically found all the Eureka writers shortly before the Eureka panel (including one who was actually writing an episode on a laptop in the hallway (that's bloody dedication!)) and found myself helping them save about 20-something seats at the back of room 6bdf because no one bothered to make sure that the writers and producers would be able to sit in their panel. Just network and studio folk. But, you know, it's supposed to be for the fans. They should be in the front, right?

Then, I hit the Film Threat panel, where you could see Kevin Smith speak to a small, half-filled room of about 40 people. The first topic of which was the stabbing in Hall H.

After dinner in the Gaslamp, I caught the last half hour of the big Kevin Smith Q & A (primarily for ease of meeting up with people) and the stabbing was still a big topic. One guy had a pen-in-the-eye costume already.

I blew off Sunday, but Mastermind director Susan Lee didn't. She instead collected praise from Mike Roush of Titmouse Studios and Lloyd Kaufman of Troma. She's also fielding calls about distribution and possible financing of a feature length version of Mastermind. These things, of course, remain to be seen.

So, would I do the CCI:IFF again?

Yeah. I would. I probably will next year. Look for Unkillable around late July next year. Or maybe sooner.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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