Monday, July 8, 2013
You know something is really going right when your local sci-fi/comics con in the great
FLYOVER part of the country—a term as despised as "Okie" used to be, in its day—gets a full-page splash across the weekend newspaper front. And three stories in all. Online also, of course.
And this is Oklahoma we're talkin' about—and the ultra-conservative Daily Oklahoman doing the splashing.
In fact, it's so right, it's another example of what I'm going to start calling "The Big Bang Theory Era of Fandom"— as in, you get *It* (not just publicity, but respect) without even having to ask for it. As in, The Geeks Rule The World and never had to fire a shot: they just fixed the servers and wrote the code. (I recently opined abut this in my latest guest blog at startrek.com—and how it really All Started With A Big Borg.)
But there it was, from theory to reality in the reddest of states: the Ok's WeekendLook cover (above) dominated by a story and a montage of art of a classic Prime-film-era Enterprise, native Sooner sci-fi great CJ Cherryh and fellow OK SpecFic Hall of Fame inductee James "Count Gregore" Ferguson, my bud Kevin Hopkins' SC22 poster art ...and an icon of even Star Trek Continues' lead faces in 2009 style. I made the news!
And what a shock at that. In MY day, in my con PR trenches (that's my local fan production cred, kiddies), we had to fight for every scrap of space and airtime and legitimacy we could get—especially when we had no Trek actors to headline, with an old-school pure litcon. Even when we did have actors at ThunderCon, it was no picnic: even news column-inches and airtime-minutes do not buzz and turnout make.
It helps when the culture overalls just turns with you, and you're suddenly swimming downstream. And that's what happened for my SoonerCon peeps: pre-registrations jumped 50 percent over last year, and the military/college suburb of Midwest City literally schmoozed them away from a downtown location to a new conference center/hotel complex—to near-universal acclaim by fans, guests and dealers. SCon is still on the small side by national standards, but it may be about to explode—and have a Comic-Con savvy Chamber of Commerce helping out all along. It doesn't hurt to have the Starship Ajax team (and their bridge ripe for fan snaps) as yet another looming Star Trek national-level indie fan film of note rightin Oklahoma City, either.
In fact, indie films are a looming aspect at SCon already, as OKC's nascient Dead Center Film Fest attracted 15,000 this past year as well, I'm told. Saints preserve us. That aspect of creatives was on display often in panels and screenings at SCon, too, along with all the rest of the traditional fare and genres involved.
What astounded me, though, was how my benefit meetup for The Con of Wrath at this SoonerCon drew the most turnout ever, ANYwhere—even with S-Con's sub-Vegas scope in numbers. More on that later, but the night was a humbling moment and gratifying thrill to both entertain that size crowd and add an extra hour to big-screen our "Star Trek Continues" in its Oklahoma public premiere. The winners of an autographed STC Phoenix debut poster even turned around to re-gift it for a benefit Trek auction for the troops coming in November—so the good karma's really catching.
that crazy Houston weekend—and I doubt she forgets them before we get her on camera soon.
So sure, money talks—but equality of money is just as gratifying, as fandom is finding out these days. So, here's to SoonerCon 23 in 2014—where the buzz is already hot, the exhibitors are flocking, the guests and panelists are already brainstorming.
I look for Jerry Wall, Leonard Bishop, Aislinn Burrows and all the volunteers to pull off another great clambake next year. And even if the busy Matthew Price (thank you!) Is not still at the Oklahoman, whoever comes along in his shoes later on deserves to do no less to get the word out to the untapped but hungry readers and viewers as Matthew does, especially this year. Wow.
Yes, It's a Different World—and I am cheered to say that's sometimes a GOOD thing, Miri.