Comic-Con 2016: Day Four

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm

I can’t believe it’s the last day of Comic-Con, but in part that is because I am too exhausted to muster the energy to think about it. More coming, including pictures of some of my favorite costumes, but for now, some of what I did today:

Got my picture taken in a Walking Dead crashed plane, being attacked by zombies,

Copyright 2016 Nell Minow
Copyright 2016 Nell Minow

Attended a panel led by my dear friends the Winner Twins, Brittany and Brianna Winner, award-winning novelists whose first book was published when they were twelve. They were joined by Graeme Manson (co-creator, executive producer, and showrunner of Orphan Black), Richard Hatch (Captain Apollo/Tom Zarek of Battlestar Galactica, author of the bestselling Battlestar Galactica book series), and Stephen Glickman (comedy writer, producer, star of Big Time Rush, Workaholics), who all provided great advice and inspiration for those hoping to write novels or screenplays.

Watched the world premiere of a new animated film for children called “Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year,” with young versions of Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, and more having adventures and making friends at a school for superheroes.

 

Heard women who write and illustrated the underground Wimmen’s Commix of late 1960’s-70’s tell their stories.

Participated in the Starship Smackdown, a Comic-Con tradition that combines two of the event’s most appealing themes — stunning mastery of pop culture minutiae and a sense of humor about it. Participants from the world of sci-fi and one actual scientist get together to debate which is the greatest fictional starship of them all. (It usually comes down to the Enterprise and the Millennium Falcon.) And it is enormous fun.

These and other SDCC panels will be available on the new Comic-Con streaming service.

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Comic-Con 2013: Jeff Bridges, The Black Panel, Godzilla, the Winner Twins, and Irwin Keyes

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Comic-Con is all about the new and surprising, but I’ve come to look forward to some things that I especially enjoy every year. One is The Black Panel, and this year was one of the best, with Comic-Con’s best panel moderator (they should call him an “immoderator”), Michael Davis. “showcases those who are doing notable work in film, TV, comics, music, etc. The secondary focus (just as, if not more important) is to reach out to as many young creators of color (and all young creators who strive for a way in) and give them access to those who have made a contribution. It’s been mentioned above but bears repeating, Black culture IS young culture.” Wayne Brady, Orlando Jones, John Jennings, David Walker, Tatiana El-Khouri, and others talked about their pet projects and their reactions to and interactions with the mainstream media.  One theme that came through even more strongly than usual this year — do not wait for anyone to give you permission (or money).  Tell your story and create your art.

keyesI always enjoy catching up with character actor Irwin Keyes, who has appeared in everything from “The Jeffersons” (six episodes) to films by the Coen Brothers and Rob Zombie. This year, he demonstrated his “horror laugh” and posed for a picture with me.


It is always a blast to hear about upcoming films, especially in the smaller press conferences rather than the cavernous Hall H. Sandra Bullock and director Alfonso Cuarón told us about “Gravity,” a stunning new film about two astronauts who are cut loose in space when their space station explodes.  Bryan Cranston Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, and director Gareth Edwards talked about the challenges of green screen acting and balancing the spectacle and the story in their remake of “Godzilla.”  And Jeff Bridges read a passage from The Gulag Archipelago to tell us what inspired him to join the cast of a sword and sorcery epic called “Seventh Son.”

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

seventh sonWe also heard about the prequel to “300,” “Rise of an Empire,” with a script co-written the original’s director, Zach Snyder.  Noam Murro took over directing duties, bringing back Rodrigo Santoro and adding newcomers Eva Green and Sullivan Stapleton.  This one will keep “the DNA” of the original but will focus on naval battles.  Green told us she was relieved not to be playing “the love interest or a boring girlfriend” in her first full-on action role.

And I always love catching up with my friends Brianna and Brittany Winner.  They are 18 now, terrifically imaginative writers with many exciting projects.  They ran a writing workshop that was tremendously inspiring and very informative.  And just plain fun.  winner twins

 

 

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Festivals

Comic-Con: Catching Up with the Winner Twins

Posted on July 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm

One of my favorite moments at Comic-Con each year is my chance to catch up with the brilliant and beautiful Winner twins, Brianna and Brittney, whose astonishing mastery of story and vocabulary has produced an extraordinary body of work.  The mirror image identical twins published the first volume of their science fiction series at age 11 and now travel to schools to encourage other young writers.  This year, they conducted a panel for would-be writers and I was very impressed with their advice on everything from getting started (it works best if you start from the end!), working with a partner (they use a pen as a “speaking stick” to make sure they both get a chance to talk), overcoming writer’s block, and finding an objective but constructive third party to provide feedback.  I especially liked their emphasis on the fun of writing, which is, as they reminded the group, the reason to do it.  I highly recommend their booklet on how to write.  And their Strand series is a great book for tweens and teens, and even for adults.

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The Winner Twins at Comic-Con

Posted on July 25, 2010 at 11:38 am

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I was thrilled to have a chance to catch up with Brittany and Brianna Winner, now 15, to hear about their Strand book series, their school appearances, and their dream of making their story into a movie. One of the highlights of Comic-Con for them was meeting Christopher Paolini, author of the best-selling Eragon series.

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Comic-Con 2009: Interview with the Winner Twins

Posted on July 26, 2009 at 11:56 pm

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One of the highlights of Comic-Con was the time I spent with Brianna and Brittany Winner, 14-year-old identical twins who are cuter than a box of kittens and more fun, too.

When the girls were in fourth grade, they became discouraged because their learning disabilities made reading and writing difficult. They told their parents they thought they were stupid. But their parents knew that the girls were exceptionally intelligent and imaginative. Their father suggested something almost unimaginable — that the girls who found reading and writing such a challenge should write a novel. Once they completed the first chapter, they were excited to see what would happen next and had the confidence to finish the book. They have since finished a sequel, a comic book supplement, and a soundtrack CD. And they say that the best part has been the way it has brought their family closer together and given them an opportunity to speak to more than 45,000 students about overcoming challenges and achieving their dreams.

The books are about a “super-hero with no super-powers,” a brilliant scientist who discovers that accelerated evolution is producing predators who are about to put the entire human race at risk. He uses science to develop tools to help him understand and defeat the creatures. The books ae vivid and exciting, grounded in reality (it opens at the White House), rich in fantasy, but focused on character. The girls say that they want them to be fun to write so that they will be fun to read. They sometimes disagree with each other about what to write, but say that it is only temporary and makes the books better. They bring a creative energy to everything they do, including two books (so far), a comic book, a CD, and even their attire and the strings of pearls in their hair.

The girls are bright, creative, and enthusiastic, but what makes spending time with them so much fun is their endearing curiosity and courtesy. They are fully engaged in everything that goes on around them and deeply committed to helping others through their new non-profit and their work to encourage other kids. As exciting as their book series is, the next installment I am most looking forward to is what they will do next.

To arrange for the twins to make a no-charge visit to your school or other group, contact Ilene at 714.396.7685 or at ilene@strandprophecy.com.

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