Comic-Con Professional Badge: The Unboxening!

The first few times I attended San Diego Comic-Con as a professional, the process of obtaining your “professional credentials” was straightforward, albeit soul-killing. Even for the years I don’t go, I always register for my badge, anyway, as it’s usually a late decision about attending, and I don’t want to get left tapping on the glass because I missed the registration/verification window.

After completing the verification process which requires hopeful attendees to fill out a few forms, and submit proof of their status as professional writers, artists, or other creators, you’d receive a letter letting you know you’d been approved, and a badge would be waiting for you at the con. All you had to do was survive the gauntlet of crowds, lines, and other obstacles until you fought your way to one of the people who would give you your badge, along with a few other goodies like a lanyard, program guide, ginormous swag bag, and so on.

In recent years, the con has taken steps to streamline this process so that it moves more quickly and efficiently for everyone involved (yes, including the recipients of said badges). The last couple of years, after the verification and registration process is completed online, credentials were mailed a few weeks before the con, in a nondescript envelope.

This year, it seems the con is stepping up their game yet again. Apparently dissatisfied with the simple envelope approach, now the receipt of one’s professional con credentials is a bit of an event!

It starts with the plain packing envelope that arrived in my mailbox, and the opening of said envelope which reveals this little package contained therein:

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Pretty classy, I have to admit. This isn’t some cheap, fragile box, either. I’m moderately convinced I might be able to use this thing as an improvised weapon in one of those crazy Jason Bourne fight scenes where he uses books, pens, and whatever else he can find.

Anyway, I can hear some of you yelling, “What’s in the box?!?” Flipping up the box’s lid reveals the juicy contents:

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Yep! Right on top, there’s my badge, sans lanyard. It seems that I’m still going to have to wait in line for that, the program guide, swag bag, and other stuff, but at least now it’s more of an assembly line process where you just grab and go, etc.

But wait! There’s more! Beneath the badge, lies other goodies:

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Actually, aside from the cute little pin, the main thing in there is a small checklist/FAQ-type doc, that can be helpful if you’re new to the con and dealing with the information overload you’re going to experience upon setting foot inside the con for the first time.

Pretty snazzy, Comic-Con. Pretty snazzy, indeed.

 

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The Official Dayton & Kevin 2017 Convention Stalking Guide.

It’s still early, but the 2017 convention season is already starting to build out for me and Kevin. I don’t typically do very many cons each year, and Kevin does a few more in his role representing Hallmark. That said, there are a couple we always never to miss, along with a few others we’re always game to attend if schedules and planets align in proper fashion.

As of this writing, this Official Stalking Guide is a work in-progress, but we do have a handful of tentative dates already slotted. Nothing’s been absolutely confirmed, but it’s our sincere intention to lower property values at the following locales during throughout the year:

Starfest 2017 – April 21-23 – Denver, Colorado
One of our very favorite cons, Kevin and I will almost certainly be making our fifteenth consecutive annual trip to Denver to hang with the Starland gang. The trip has truly become something of a “family reunion” as much as it as a convention, as we’ve made so many friends there over the years, and each new con brings with it the chance to make new friends, or put faces to names we encounter over the internet.

Shore Leave 39 – July 7-9 – Hunt Valley, Maryland
Another show we make every effort to attend, mostly because it’s one of the few media cons of this size that also caters to a large list of author guests. Pocket Books and the Star Trek fiction cabal is usually well-represented, but there are also several other writer guests who show up every year and who have loyal followings. It’s three days of jam-packed programming, after which I may have to build in an extra day or so of sight-seeing so I can get down to D.C. and check out the restored U.S.S. Enterprise model at the Smithsonian.

Comic-Con International – July 19-23 – San Diego, California
Does this con really require an introduction? Kevin will be at this one, acting in his capacity as a representative of Hallmark Cards. If the writer gods are kind, he may also participate in a book signing or two, and perhaps even the odd panel.

The Official Star Trek Convention – August 2-6 – Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City plays host to one of the largest Trek cons going. Boasting a guest list that now routinely hits the 100+ mark, it really is five full days of Star Trek fandom goodness. Though this one is still written in pencil, Kevin looks to be heading that way to man a booth on behalf of Hallmark, and — as of now — there’s a slim chance I may make this one, too. Stay tuned.

New York Comic Con – October 5-8 – New York ‘Effin City
It’s the smaller, feistier version of the San Diego con. As with that one, Kevin will be working his ass off on behalf of Hallmark. Book signings and panels possible, depending on his schedule.

And there you go. The list is, once again, tentative and subject to change, additions, or even deletions.

So, if you plan to be at any of these cons, maybe we’ll see you there!

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Dayton & Kevin’s 2015 Convention Stalking Guide.

So, 2015’s convention season is starting to heat up, at least for me and Kevin. We don’t typically do very many cons each year, but there are a couple we always try to attend, along with a few others we’re always game to attend if schedules and planets align in proper fashion.

At this early point on the calendar, we have a handful of tentative dates already slotted.  Nothing’s been confirmed, one way or the other, but it’s our sincere intention to lower property values at the following locales during 2015:

Planet Comicon – March 13-15 – Kansas City, Missouri
We’ve been attending this show as guests for the last few years, and for years before that we’d go just as normal, ticket-buying folk. This con seems to be getting bigger every year, and the people running it are doing an amazing job making sure they don’t get too big too fast, as we see other shows do from time to time. The show promoters have been sure to assemble a nice mix of guests, including an impressive array of comics talent. For the price, it’s one of the better shows of its size I’ve seen. This year, I’m told the showrunner has some new stuff he wants Kevin and me to do, which sounds like it could be fun, you know….provided I don’t have to get naked, or anything.

Starfest 2015 – April 17-19 – Denver, Colorado
One of our very favorite cons, Kevin and I likely will be making our thirteenth annual trip to Denver to hang with the Starland gang. To be honest, the trip has become as much “family reunion” as it is convention, as we’ve made so many friends there over the years, and each new con brings with it the chance to make new friends, or put faces to names we encounter over the internet.

Comic-Con International – July 9-12 – San Diego, California
Does this con really require an introduction? Kevin will be at this one, acting in his capacity as a representative of Hallmark Cards. If the writer gods are kind, he may also participate in a book signing or two, and perhaps even the odd panel.

Shore Leave 33 – August 7-9 – Hunt Valley, Maryland
Another show we make every effort to attend, mostly because it’s one of the few media cons of this size that also caters to a large list of author guests. Pocket Books and the Star Trek fiction cabal is usually well-represented, but there are also several other writer guests who show up every year and who have loyal followings. It’s three days of jam-packed programming, after which my current plan is to spend a week with the wife and kids sight-seeing in and around the DC area.

New York Comic-Con – October 8-11 – New York ‘Effin City
It’s the smaller, feistier version of the San Diego con. As with that one, Kevin will be working his ass off on behalf of Hallmark. Book signings and panels possible, depending on his schedule. I haven’t completely written off the possibility of attending this one, myself, but it’s still too early for me to know for sure. Stay tuned.

And there you go. The list is, once again, tentative and subject to change, additions, or even deletions.

So, if you plan to be at any of these cons, maybe we’ll see you there!

kevin-dayton-sl2010(Photo Credit: Jen Snyder)

“Dayton Made Me Do This” @SDCC…UPDATE!

So, the three or four regular readers of this space saw this entry the other day, in which I made the semi-sorta-kinda challenge to those attending this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Short version: Seek out my bud Kevin Dilmore — and/or any other colorful character willing to get in on the action — and post with him and a pic that reads, basically, “Dayton made me do this.”

Fun for the whole family, right?

So far, a few brave souls have accepted the challenge either of posing themselves or enlisting the aid of fellow good sports. Here’s what we have so far:

From @MarkStreed, with a confused yet tolerant Kevin.

From @starfleetmom, showing us how it’s done, and giving us the two-fer, as she also met the requirements of the “Where’s My Book?” challenge!

@starfleetmom also found this lovely lady willing to play along. At least…she doesn’t appear to be under duress. And again…the two-fer!

And there’s this one, also captured by @starfleetmom’s camera. GeekPoints to those who can spot what’s wrong with this picture.

UPDATE FROM FRIDAY: Here’s another one from @starfleetmom. Kevin finally looks to be getting into the spirit of things. What do you think?

UPDATE FROM SATURDAY: Lots more new pics, thank to the awesome efforts of @starfleetmom (I so love that lady):

This is the con he’s looking for.

Precious.

@starfleetmom with Kevin, and check out her rocking the Galaxy Quest uniform!

Minion!

“Judge me by my taste in friends, do you?”

Gary Graham, aka Matt Sikes from the Alien Nation TV series and Ambassador Soval from Star Trek: Enterprise:

PetCo Pets!

Wonder Woman!

Highlight of their day? I think so.

@Grimagination from Twitter!

More ladies in awesome costumes being good sports.

John Champion, he of DVD Geeks and Roddenberry.com‘s Mission Log Podcast!

Hulk sad.

Best landing party ever!

@starfleetmom again, this time in front of the Falling Skies backdrop.

Two poor souls who got cornered. I think.

Thanks to these fine folks for rolling with my goofy notion. With three full days of #SDCC action still ahead, there’s plenty of time for fearless adventurers to get in on this. Full details —-> HERE.

And remember to pace yourselves. It’s a long weekend.

“Dayton Made Me Do This,” the SDCC 2013 Edition.

UPDATE FOR THOSE JOINING THE SHOW ALREADY IN PROGRESS: I’ve been collecting the photos submitted throughout the weekend, and posting them HERE!

Okay, those of you about to set forth into the madness that is San Diego Comic-Con 2013, I’ve got an assignment for you.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to venture into the bowels of the convention’s exhibitor hall, locate my friend and hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, and have a photo taken of the two of you, while displaying this sign:

“But, Dayton,” I can hear you asking, “where, oh where might I find the elusive Mr. Dilmore?”

Well, it’s like this: He works for Hallmark.

Go.

(Of course, please treat my boy right. He’ll likely be busting his ass for the Hallmark gang, as is his habit. Bring him some water or a pretzel dog or something.)

I’ve done this a couple of times before, targeting other friends of mine at different conventions where they’re liable to be a captive audience. The results have been varying degrees of entertaining, owing mostly to the creative efforts of those who took my basic request/challenge and modified it for their own enhanced amusement. For example:

Farpoint Convention, February 2011

New York Comic-Con, October 2010

Now, you’re obviously under no obligation, here. You don’t even need to use my sign fodder. Feel free to scribble your own variation. Whatever floats your boat. You’re also not confined only to seeking out Kevin. By all means, enlist the assistance of any willing souls you might encounter throughout the weekend–celebrities, other fans, cosplayers, whatever. If they’re up for playing, I say the more the merrier.

Post your pics here, or shoot them to me via Twitter and/or Facebook and I’ll see that they get collected. Once it’s all said and done (and assuming I get any traction with this), we may have to do a contest with some giveaways.

And since we’re here, let’s not forget the related effort that’s still underway: “Where’s My Book? The 2013 Edition!

Any questions? Hit me in the comments. Should you or any member of your team be captured or killed, the Flying Spaghetti Monster will disavow all knowledge of your actions.

Go forth, my friends. Go, and get your nerd on.

Pics, or it didn’t happen.

Apparently, I want to read audiobooks at New York Comic-Con.

For those of you not in the know, today marks the start of the 2013 New York Comic-Con! My writing partner, Kevin Dilmore, is there, representing his employer, Hallmark, as they pimp out all sorts of ornaments and other cool stuff tying into various licensed properties.

Yes, I wish I was going. Among other things, and even more so than San Diego, the con in New York represents an opportunity to connect with many of my east-coast writerly friends. Publishers with vendor presence at the con are also more likely to have editors and other folks from the production side of things on hand, and I have a growing list of friends from that world, as well. Then, of course, there’s the whole “Getting your geek on” aspect of the con. So far as con trips go, I’m seriously considering waving off future jaunts to San Diego in favor of New York. I’ll have to give that some thought for next year.

Speaking of fun things to do at the con, I got an interesting con-related e-Mail from Random House Audio. I’ve been on their mailing list for years, as I happen to be a big audiobook/audio drama fan. This one, for some reason, caught my attention even more so than usual:

“Going to New York Comic-Con? Experience what it’s like to be an audiobook narrator! Stop by the Random House Audio Booth #1121 and narrate one of four excerpts from Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire.”

And there’s a list of recording times, and a reminder that they’ll be giving away stuff throughout the weekend.

Now, maybe I’m just being more nerdy than normal, but the whole “be a narrator for a few minutes” thing looked like fun, with the added benefit of getting a small peek into just part of what goes into creating audiobooks. As I said, I love audiobooks and audio dramas, and I definitely have my favorites so far as narrators of such works go. Heck, I just got done listening to an audio version of Nelson DeMille’s The Lion, and sent a gushing Tweet to reader Scott Brick, who is perhaps my current favorite audiobook reader. I seem to have a man-crush on the dude, as a sizable number of the audiobooks in my collection are narrated by him.

(I’ve rambled about audiobooks before, but that was a while ago and I may need to update that list.)

I’ve given thought to creating audio versions of some of my stories (not the Trek stuff, obviously. That would be a no-no.) which could be offered to fans at low/no cost. I only have one short story that’s been adapted for audio (“Stop-Loss“), and the first few Star Trek: Vanguard novels have been adapted for audio in German! As for other stories of mine, I think it could be fun, particularly a couple of stories which are told in first person.

So, I think maybe I just want to be Scott Brick when I grow up.

Anyway, if you’re going to the con, be sure to stop by the Hallmark booth and tell Kevin “Howdy,” and do the same for the folks at the Pocket Books booth. For my friends who will be working or signing at the con, have fun! I wish I could be there, but hopefully our paths will cross again soon.

Meanwhile, I’ll be over here in the corner, talking to myself reading one of my stories out loud.

“Virgil Brigman Back On the Air”

Previously on The Fog of Ward:

After the annual San Diego-induced hiatus, we’re back to whatever passes for normal around here. As for Comic-Con, it was fun if not hectic. I got to catch up (all-too briefly) with some left-coast friends and even a few other-coasties who also made the trip. A few interesting discussions were had, which might even turn into fun activities down the road. We shall see.

This was parked outside my hotel all weekend:

Rumors are that other versions/incarnations also were present, but I refuse to buy into such unsubstantiated gossip. Nevermind that ghostly figure in the background. It’s just a digital artifact from my crappy phone camera.

I also ran into this fine gentleman:

Richard Anderson, aka “Oscar Goldman” from The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. He seemed to be having a grand time, and really got a kick when I told him Erin’s always asking me to watch “the one with Robot Oscar.” He told me to tell her “Robot Oscar says hello.”

Anyway, it’s back to work and the grind, I suppose. I’ll soon be starting work on the new novel project, but first there are galley pages for In Tempest’s Wake to read through. I also have a column for StarTrek.com to write in the next day or so, and there’s also a short story I’d like to write before month’s end which may–if I follow through with the line of thinking I started while in San Diego–provide a premise/setting which could work for a novel (or two, or…?). Again, we shall see.

So, did you kids have fun while I was away?

Comic-Con 2012…here I come!

I’m getting set to head to the airport and board the Big Silver Bird, bound for San Diego and Comic-Con 2012!

Kevin’s already there, acting in his capacity as a member of Hallmark’s landing support battalion. Preview Night starts this evening, of course, and then things kick into high gear tomorrow morning. If you’re going, be sure to wear sensible shoes and hydrate, yo.

If you’re looking to catch me at any officially scheduled events, you can find me at the following times and locations:

Thursday, 7/12:
10:30am-11:30am – Book Signing for the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore – Booth 1119 (Exhibitor Hall)

Friday, 7/13:5pm-6pm – International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW) Scribe Awards and panel – Room 23ABC
6:30-7pm – IAMTW Signing – Booth AA9 (Autograph Alley)

In addition to those, I’m looking to check out any or all of the following, though it could just be wishful thinking, of course:

Thursday, 7/12:

4pm-5pm – Booth 3919 – Space Command Signing

Friday, 7/13:

3pm-4pm – Room 7AB – The Future of Star Wars Publishing
8:30pm-9:30pm – Room 5AB – Space Command

Saturday, 7/14:

10am-11am – Room 9 – Planet of the Apes at Boom! Comics
11am-12pm – Booth 3919 – Space Command Signing
1pm – IGN Oasis – Starship Troopers: Invasion Signing

6pm-9pm – Space Command Countdown Party – Embassy Suites Monterey Ball Room

In and around all of that, I have a couple of meet/greets scheduled and maybe a party or two, as well as catching up/sharing meals/causing trouble with friends and colleagues. I hope to see lots of friendly faces at the book signings and for the IAMTW panel.

San Diego, here I come!

Geek Dad and Fan Girl do Comic-Con!

Okay, faithful followers, check this out: my friend, writing partner, and hetero life-mate Kevin Dilmore and his daughter have launched a new blog, Geek Dad and Fan Girl, in which they plan to explore various topics within the realms of nerdity, geekery, fandom from the perspectives of two disparate generations.

First up? Comic-Con!

That’s right! Dad and Daughter are heading to San Diego next week for the annual Monster Fandom Gathering that is Comic-Con International. Kevin, of course, is a Comic-Con veteran, having attended the show several times either as a guest professional or as a representative of Hallmark Cards at their booth in the exhibitor hall. His daughter is making her second visit this year, ready to employ valuable lessons learned during her rookie tour. Comfortable shoes, for example.

Anybody who knows Kevin already knows why he’s one of my prime examples of a dad doing it right, which is why I expect this to be an entertaining blog as it chronicles “Nerd Prom” and, perhaps, moving on to other topics. I may have to do something similar once my daughters are old enough to participate in such things. For now, though, check out the continuing adventures of Geek Dad and Fan Girl, coming to a blog near you!

Caption This: Comic-Con Flashback Edition!

Found this on the ‘net the other day. Yep, that’s me and Kevin, sitting alongside the one and only Wil Wheaton for a Star Trek panel at Comic-Con in San Diego back in 2008. The panel focused on how Trek was continuing to provide new stories in book, comic, and game form, all while we were waiting for the next movie. Judging from our expressions, I likely was saying something to the audience that only I found amusing, while Wil and Kevin talked about something way cooler.

(For those wondering? Yes, Wil Wheaton was and is a very cool dude.)

So, your mission–should you choose to accept it–is to tell the rest of us what you think I was saying here, because I sure as Hell don’t remember.

Go.