Crypticon 2014: You Never Know Who You Will Run Into
written by Conrad Wrobel (@conradwrobel)
One of the premier joys of attending conventions is meeting likeminded individuals. Networking is a task of both business and pleasure; and with an event as charismatic as Crypticon Seattle, the crowd was a never-ending sea of interesting. While covering the convention, I took every opportunity to interview those around me. Follow me down the page to see who I ran into on my weekend extravaganza adventure!
Between panels on Friday I met comic-book artist Alexius Poorman, who decided the best introduction is a sketch of yours truly! Poorman attended Crypticon to promote ThunderFrog Studios which recently published The Charitable Anthology, Vol. 3, a 134-page collection of original comics contributed by industry professionals, up-and-coming local talent, and independent filmmakers-- including the official sequel to PNW cult classic The Gamers. With an estimated $40,000 worth of volunteer work and material behind the pages, the anthology was released at Emerald City Comicon this year, with all proceeds going to Seattle Children's Hospital. Poorman could be seen sketching throughout the weekend, his work bringing smiles to many of the attendees faces.
Following the screening and panel of STILL: The Web Series, I had a chance to meet the special effects team behind the scifi/horror phenomena. At a glance, one would not think these young filmmakers are the digital backbone to the series, though their youth simply makes their work all the more impressive. Although the three are all in their early 20's, they have been working together for almost 4 years in visual effects, having jumped into the film industry straight out of high school. Currently, they are the editing and visual effects team behind Lane & Russell, an off-the-wall bowling film shot in Kentucky. Keep your eye out for the trio in future Crypticons, I have a feeling they will be back.
Following the annual Crypticon Seattle Makeup Contest, I caught up with contestant Tiphfennie Lunk. She has been eyeing the contest since 2010 and finally had the opportunity to enter this year, "I really liked the critiques in the moment-- hearing what you're doing right. The positive feedback kept me going to the end, where I received even more good tips in the final review." Lunk works as a special effects artist and actor at the Georgetown Morgue Haunted House, volunteers in the Seattle Zombie Walk, and challenges herself with creating entirely edible makeup recipes. "It's delicious AND it looks awesome! I like working with silicon because it's such a flexible material, but you can't put it in your mouth, which is limiting. Especially for zombies..."
During the contest, I met members of The Blue Mouseketeers from Friday night's Rocky Horror Show, Ebe and Crystal Fornes of Tacoma. The couple has been with the troupe for 8 years, attending Crypticon for 3, but only just performed at the convention for the first time. So I guess they can take the V's off their foreheads now. #RockyHorrorReference
According to Ebe, the show did amazingly well, with only a few empty seats in the house. "A lot of them didn't come specifically for Rocky, but it turned out to be better than their first experience at the show" said Crystal. The troupe brought 60 party-bags (items the audience use in participation with the Rocky Horror Show-- such as toast, playing cards, newspaper, etc) and they all got used at the performance. If you missed their show, you can join them at the Blue Mouse Theatre every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at midnight.
One of the final highlights of Saturday was visiting Ten Thirty One (TTO) Productions, which came up from California to promote and hold auditions for their upcoming Great Horror Campout in Seattle and Portland. Creative Director Justin Meyer and Producer Randi Stuart have taken their interactive horror experience on the road after appearing on Shark Tank and receiving the biggest deal in the show's history. After their L.A. Hayride event attracted up to 70,000 visitors over 17 nights, they hope to bring the experience to fans in the PNW. "We put a focus back in creatures and creature-acting, in folklore and legends rather than just zombies, "explained Meyer. "Nothing is scarier than a seven and a half foot tall Big Foot crashing out of the woods!" TTO is offering a 12-hour overnight experience in a very interactive campsite. "From 8 p-m to 8 a-m, you are involving in complete immersion. Its horrifying, but safe," said Stuart. "The only problem is finding a shower when it's all over."
The evening truly began with the official after-hours party for the 21+ crowd. Beats were pumping in the blacklit Biohazard, where everyone enjoyed $1-drinks and the inevitable result of a really good time. #WhitePeopleDancing...
Another fun aspect was you never knew who you would run into or what you might see. The following night they hosted an energetic game of musical chairs... the lapdance version. The Biohazard Party is a popular repeat-attraction at Crypticon, where everyone can wind down or get down after a long day of fandom. #MonsterMash
This year, one of the main mixers at the bar was Venom Energy, a tasty beverage brought to us by sponsor Dr.Pepper/Seven Up that gets you pumped up like Bane. Company sales representative Brent Page explained the labor of love it has been to cover the convention for the last seven years, "There's a lot of personal investment in it because the convention is so humbling and fun. Every year the guest list further improves the ambience-- Doug [Jones] and Camden [Toy] are some of the sweetest most genuine people you've ever met. I get emotional about it because I pour my heart into it.... We've put a quarter-million dollars into the convention over the years. Personally and professionally, I hang my hat upon it with pride."
Recently, Page helped with a fundraiser for the Music Booster Program for First Creek Middle School, and is involved in Nightmare at Beaver Lake in Sammamish and Haunted Tacoma at Freighthouse Square, Tacoma. "We get a very responsive and receptive audience; the giving over the years has fostered mutual support and love." If you received a free beverage during the convention, you know who to thank. #DrinksOnTheHouse / #GetDownFromThere
As much fun as the weekend was, all good things must come to an end. However, on the way out I ran into author, panelist, and vendor Mark Rahner of Vampirella, Army of Darkness/Re-Animator, and the Seattle Times. Rahner has been attending Crypticon for years, "This is the [convention] I always look forward to and always enjoy. Counterintuitive to what most people think, horror people are some of the nicest you'll meet. Seattle is a hub of geek culture and it's nice to see horror being rep'd. It has always been a passion of mine." Usually Rahner comes to Crypticon to present a video, "I'm hoping to kick some as with a good project for next year. Last year I did a Rod Serling spoof that was really fun, and I'd like to top it."
I think Rahner described the Crypticon persona best-- horror people are definitely some of the nicest I've ever met. The whole convention was a pleasant, fun, enthusiastic experience peppered with some of the spiciest walkers of life. I cannot stress how awesome it was to have a conversation with everyone listed above, as well as the many more that sadly opted out of official interviews. That being said, it was all time well spent.
Crypticon is a haven for horror fans, artists, and performers, so join in the fun and let your freak flag fly! I sincerely hope that during your next convention experience, you stop to smell the roses, taste the fake blood, and converse with the fascinating fans around you. Truly, you never know who you will run into, or what wonderful experiences you may have getting to know them.