Comic Conventions, A new venue for indie film, television & art


The changing evolving world of the Comic Convention is not just a place for comic books anymore. Film screenings are now part of the reason to go to these shows.  “San Diego Comic Con” & “New York Comic Con “are the holy grail of these conventions. It was at these comic conventions that George Lucas first promoted Star Wars to build a fan base.  New Comic Convention now provided a new venue for Independent Creatives to showcase & promote their films and shows. Creative artists & designers are heading to comic conventions to book booths to introduce new creative products from 3D Printing to 3D Games. It is a new place for independent film & television as screenings at the conventions turns out to be a great deal when you can have an audience of up to 100,000 people to screen your material, introduce developed characters or show something finished that will draw fans for independent distribution. Times have changed at the Comic Convention as fans can help build success for new fresh ideas. These conventions also provide a new venue for independent film & television creators as they can promote their intellectual properties on the show floor while having their films screened at the conventions. Unlike film festival audiences these fans are passionate about being a loyal fan. These fans will stand by your new ideas that spread like wildfire on social media. The power of fandoms can’t be denied, recently when Jared Padalecki made a statement in jest about Justin Bieber, Mr. Bieber was not happy about the remark, and asked his fans not to watch the show “Supernatural” (Jared is on the show.). The fans of the “Supernatural” created a campaign on social media to get all the fans & fans of other genre shows to watch the next episode of “Supernatural”.  When the episode aired it had a huge bump in audience making it one of the most watched episodes of the franchise….

“Stan Lee’s Comikaze Con” had their first show in 2011 as the first and only large-scale, multimedia pop culture convention. I recently attended “Comikaze Con 2014”.  The show was filled with a wide variety of fans of all kinds of pop media. “Comikaze Con” was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles this year. The attendees for this Con have increased 25% every year. 2013 there were 55,000 fans. Comikaze entertained the fans while providing an inside look at new independent creative projects.  Since motion picture studios haven’t set up huge booths at the convention, the focus is on local talent. What people sometimes misunderstand is that it is not just about comic books anymore. All kinds of creative ideas & art are seen here.  Howie Mandel was on the Main Stage talking about his new show.  Panels featured actors from shows like “Game of Thrones”,  “Battlestar Galactica”, and “True Blood”.  Celebrities like Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones, John Wick), Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica, 2 Guns), Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones, Star Wars Episode VII), Stephen Moyer (True Blood, Priest) & John Barrowman (Torchwood, Arrow, Zero Dark Thirty) were some of the guests on the panels. A new indie TV show called “Nobility” had a screening on the Hot Topic Main Stage while promoting their new show in a booth on the show floor. It was packed. I met a young man who was promoting his children’s art for a stepping-stone to development for a television show.  New fans surrounded his booth.  You did see the usual suspects as comic book, fantasy, anime and science fiction fans dressed in their cos-play outfits supporting their favorite films & shows.

A week later I attended “Designer Con” 2014 at Pasadena Convention Center. Designer Con is an annual art and design convention that has inspired new faces in the creative community to introduce their creative ideas. Collectible toys, designer goods, and underground pop culture & art can be found everywhere at “Designer Con”. What is cool about this show is many of these designers are film professionals who promote their collectible toys to introduce and build an audience for their characters that help them to pitch their creative ideas to Motion Picture studios, Television Networks and Producers. I talked to a few creative who had development projects set up, and this venue helped launch interest in their brand.

I think as a filmmakers, television show creators, and intellectual property creators thinking forward into the future, these Comic Conventions are becoming a place to showcase new ideas to a large audience that is capable through social media at promoting new ideas without the restrictions of typical entertainment channels. This is a new place to show independent film and television projects. These conventions offer a direct link to the fans that help build the foundation of the audience with a fierce loyalty that is unmatched in any other venue.  It is time to look at Comic Conventions with a serious respect. Comic Conventions are not just a venue for just comics anymore; they are becoming a new venue for all creatives.


About Author

Akiko Ashley

Akiko Ashley is Founder and Partner in Luminetik Studios in Santa Monica California. Akiko has worked in the entertainment industry for over 30 years in video games, music, and film (producer, VFX producer, and animation production). Luminetik has done a full CG short based on their own IP ahead of it's time in "Kuriocity" with two female leads in 2007. Luminetik has worked done VFX for motion pictures, television, & commercials including a set of Superbowl Commercials for Arm & Hammer starring Jason Giambi. Akiko helped Luminetik become one of the first sponsors of DV Expo in NYC. Akiko has been a strategic advisor to Architosh magazine for 10 years and has been on the Advisory Board of Keyframe Magazine and HDRI Magazine. Akiko has been a speaker at SIGGRAPH, and did speaking engagements at Art Institute for for IGDA. Currently Akiko is freelance producer, and freelance editor and writer for young adult books, comics and magazines. In addition she is a photographer capturing candid moments of celebrities and other well known personalities.

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