Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Nasfic 2007


I have emerged unscathed from another flying excursion, and have many tales to tell.

Jean Lorrah and I arrived in Collinsville, IL (near St. Louis, MO) the day before Nasfic ( check nasfic.org for current and future nasfics) where we both had jammed panel schedules.

So before the con we spent a good ten hours discussing the framework for one of our projects in terms of what is going on in this world right now.

This time, Nasfic was held in a Holliday Inn near (but not very near) a convention center surrounded by motels clustered at a big Interstate intersection.

In early August in Illinois it was not fun to be walking from hotel to convention center. (triple digit daytime temps, heavy humidity)

To get from Convention center to Holliday Inn (which also had programming in it) you had to use a set of stairs up to a foot bridge over a dry wash, then down more stairs down. The con website hadn't mentioned the stairs, nor did the online info about our Hotel mention there were no ground floor rooms -- and no elevator to bring suitcases up to the room.

All the hotels were booked solid -- there were no alternatives. We ended up in a smoking room (my clothes came home STINKING-REEKING) because that was half the number of stairs than the room we thought we'd booked (the kind of motel room you back your car up to the door!) But it was actually closer to the convention center than the Holliday Inn!

If you couldn't climb the stairs to go from Convention Center to Holiday Inn, you had to circle around on the service roads connecting the hotels -- no sidewalks and much farther.

Failing that, you had to use a car (Jean had driven in, so we could!). There were no restaurants that were easy access for someone in a wheel chair or scooter. These details were not evident in the convention materials.

Fortunately, both Jean and I made our way around without too much real trouble, but others weren't so lucky. This was not a good place to hold a Nasfic, but the convention workers were energetic whirlwinds getting everything done.

Jean and I had talked ourselves nearly hoarse by the time the convention opened on Thursday.

Then we discovered almost none of the panel rooms had microphones, but they did have good sound deadening walls and very cold air. After every panel, we could hardly wait to get outside to warm up.

One of the most well known of the Sime~Gen fans, Kaires, who runs the simegen.com/simecenter/ section as well as simegen.com/sgfandom/ called us when Registration opened on Thursday. We were sitting in our room -- plotting, of course.

Kaires turned up at most of our panels, too, but she was everywhere wearing the starred-cross and our S~G T-shirts.

Thursday evening, we went to dinner with Linnea Sinclair (I finally got to meet her!) and two of her friends who are also writers and in the mundane world, extremely formidable individuals. Linnea is as impressive in person as she is when writing. We traded life stories, and I learned a lot about how to live well.

By early Friday, there were about 2,000 people at the con. The halls seemed much, much fuller on Saturday and Sunday but I didn't get a final total of those in attendance. There was a large gaming track, too.

Most panels were sparsely attended, but I always counted more in the audience than on the panel, and the audiences were alert and involved in the topics.

A memorable highlight was being on panels with Linnea. She has the knack of expressing things in a way that student writers can understand.

When we had time between panels and waiting for the next panel we were on, Jean and I visited the video room.

One time we sat in on part of an Anime showing of a thing called Lucky Star (which has nothing to do with the novel series). It was about several young Japanese girls suffering through the summer and dragging themselves through English courses. Their real passion in life was anime songs, not school. That room was almost empty.

I accidentally ran into Marc Zicree whom I've known for years (he and I were on several panels at Lunacons -- at that time he had worked on Sliders and other Sci Fi Channel projects). So he told me about his screening at this convention of a unique project, a new Star Trek episode done as a STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES (see http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/ -- they have all about the new episode at the top of their page)

So Jean and I made a point of finding the right video room to see Marc Zicree's new Star Trek episode, "World Enough, And Time," starring GEORGE TAKEI.

THAT time, the video room was standing-room-only. They brought in extra chairs, and still there were people sitting on the floor against the walls. When it was over, the room had to empty kinda the way an airplane does!

This episdoe is made with the group of actors who have been putting up the ongoing voyages of the Enterprise on the web for years. Marc connected them with a script that would have been an episode of the broadcast Original series, an episode that would have added dimension to the Sulu character, and so Marc got George Takei connected to the project.

Marc used his production facilities and enlisted lots of volunteer labor while he sent the actors to actor camp where they sweated to master new skill levels. The result is this ultra-low budget production that has polish and style gallore. (you gotta see this thing!)

August 28th, there will be a big premier and breaking news for this Star Trek project. Meanwhile, watch zicree.com and http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/ for updates.

Later, we saw a trailer created by Richard Hatch -- a lot of famous Battlestar Galactica (the re-imagined one) scenes but with behind-the-scene glimpses showing how the music was created and added. Richard Hatch spoke at length about how this and other TV shows are put together. See http://www.richardhatch.com/ for more about who he is and what he's been doing lately.

We dropped buttons, flyers, and temporary tattoos related to Sime~Gen at the EPIC table (the organization of professional e-book writers) -- and later, when I checked back, I found that some people had been asking for me. Later, we met Linnea at the broaduniverse.com table and she asked us to join.

When Jean picked up the left-over flyers and buttons -- there weren't many left!
I spoke to several authors who had been with the now closed Meisha Merlin publishing company. We all have such similar stories to tell!

Jean Lorrah and I did a short podcast for "Fear The Boot" RPG podcasters who were doing a special series on Nasfic more than for gamers though gaming was big at this convention. We talked about the various things people can find on simegen.com, from Intimate Adventure to writing lessons, and more about the future of the fiction delivery system. ( http://www.feartheboot.com/ )

I found a table where they were selling NEW Blakes' Seven episodes made for RADIO broadcast - sound only. Wow. It is unbelievable what is being done with all these media. I gave them a flyer of my vampire story that was broadcast as a radio episode.

Jean had driven in, so she brought her laptop with video player in it.

I brought a DVD of Lady Magdalene's (a very low budget film starring Nichelle Nichols) (which I like a lot, but that doesn't make me uncritcal) a film just finishing lab work and now seeking theater release. See more on that at the bottom of the index page for 2007 in my review column -- http://www.simegen.com/reviews/rereadablebooks/

So Wednesday night, before the con, we watched Lady Magdalene's.

Jean and I discussed that film, contrasted and compared it to the Lucky Star Anime episode, and a DVD film which was low-budget and made by and for gamers which Jean found at another sales table at the con.

So our discussions toward the end were contrasting and comparing a host of low budget video projects with widely varying production values and script qualities.

For us, this was a weekend of heavy immersion in the visual side of story-telling. For others, this convention was all about books -- and very interestingly, was less hostile to SF-Romance than I've ever seen before.

Live Long and Prosper,
Jacqueline Lichtenberg

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the report! Sure wish I could have been there to pick your and Linnea's brains.