SDCC Day 5

Posted on July 22, 2019 at 12:08 am

Copyright Playstack 2019
It went so fast!  Today started with a demo of the new Dr. Who VR game. The first time I tried VR at Comic-Con they made the most of the ghostly images that was all they could produce by making the story fit those pictures.  This game is many, many leaps forward, as the doctor (voice of the 13th doctor from the series, Jodie Whittaker) is missing but has left some clues and a way to McGuyver a communications device. I was not a good player in part because I am a terrible gamer but in part because I was enjoying the level of detail and wanted to look at everything. Developed by immersive entertainment studio Maze Theory, led by former Activision and PlayStation veterans, Doctor Who: The Edge Of Time will launch on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, HTC Vive and Vive Cosmos in September 2019.

I also attended a panel on time travel in science fiction, featuring legendary authors Larry Niven, Greg Bear, and David Brin. They agreed the primary motivation for time travel is “make it didn’t happen.” Niven said the lesson to be learned from time travel stories: “Don’t waste your lives just wishing.”

I made it into the legendary Hall H (Comic-Con’s biggest venue) for the “Mayans” session. Comic-Con attendees got an exclusive look at the first 15 minutes of the show’s second season, which includes an ultra-violent shoot-out. The actors said they treasure the opportunity to work together, and to have a chance to take often-stereotyped characters and give them depth and complexity.

And then the annual conclusion, the “Starship Smackdown,” where a group of very funny sci fi nerds debate which is the greatest fictional spaceship of all time with a combination of intense knowledge of minutiae and a very silly sense of humor (which is pretty much the theme of Comic-Con). There’s always a lot of spirited argument, but the winner is usually the Enterprise or the Millennium Falcon. They know their stuff.

I’ll be posting links to some of my writing elsewhere, so stay tuned for more.

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SDCC Day 4

Posted on July 21, 2019 at 2:05 am

I met with specialists in computer animation — stay tuned for the full interviews. I especially enjoyed speaking to Richard Dorton, a motion capture actor who likes to say, “If you’ve played a video game, you’ve killed me.”

I didn’t make it into “The Good Place” panel–the line extended almost back to Los Angeles–but that made it possible for me to go to a session that is always one of the highlights of SDCC , the Quick Draw, with Disney animator Floyd Norman, MAD’s Sergio Aragonés,  and Scott Shaw responding to all kinds of very silly suggestions about what to draw, each trying to outdo the other. Original “Not Ready for Prime Time” SNL star Laraine Newman showed up to play a word game and it was delightful. The following panel was cartoon voice actors, and Newman, who does a lot of voice roles, most recently in “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” stayed on for that.  The best part was that when they told stories the panelists slipped in and out of many different voices.

Leslie Combemale’s annual “Women Rocking Hollywood” panel, with women producers and directors, is always one of my favorites, and more will be coming on that later. It was very heartening to hear how many projects these woman are working on, from “Queen Sugar,” to “Walking Dead” to an upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic with Jennifer Hudson, the choice of Franklin herself.

The best part of Comic-Con every year is the costume competition, called the Masquerade, celebrating its 45th anniversary. This one was one of the best, with spectacular entries covering iconic figures from “Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, the Avengers, and James Bond.

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Comic-Con 2019: 50th Anniversary!

Posted on July 18, 2019 at 12:23 am

Fifty years ago, a bunch of comic book fans got together to swap comics and stories and now it is a world-class extravaganza encompassing every possible category of what they call the lively arts. Television, movies, games, books, and, still comics — everything with an element of fantasy or science fiction and plenty that is just plain entertaining. Television comedy favorites are here: Superstore, The Good Place, Seinfeld, Brooklyn 99. Upcoming shows like Pennyworth (the backstory of Batman’s Alfred character) and The Dark Crystal.

This afternoon, I visited the FutureTech Live demonstration of amazing technology, including Focals by North, eyeglasses with a holographic display of your appointments and apps, VR technology to simulate a forklift for training purposes, the KOOV robotics and coding kids that let kids build all kinds of fabulous toys while learning STEM skills, a stunning tour of the galaxy from the University of California at San Diego Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, and an astonishing 3D VR art creation program from Deploy XR. I saw glow in the dark and LED-lit temporary tattoos from Sprite Lights.

More coming, including cosplayers and interviews. Stay tuned.

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