Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Recovering from Monster-Mania 24!!

Recovering from Monster-Mania 24!!

Wow!! That should probably be the headline because I'm still trying to recover from probably the greatest convention experience I've ever had. Dave Hagan and family went above and beyond for their 10th Anniversary return to Cherry Hill, NJ. I had high expectations but this weekend surpassed anything I was thinking.

Ok, lets talk about the con...

So, Friday, my Wife, Kim and I arrive at the Crowne Plaza and start the set up process. The only disappointing part of the weekend, was the freak snow storm we had while unloading. It was a nuisance more than anything. We set up the booth...laid out of copies of No Clowning Around with care, hoping that rabid horror fans would soon be there.

As always, I tried to see as many of my friends I've made over the years and make business contacts. I treat Monster-Mania as a business trip, seriously. I make contacts, set up deals and try to plan out other events for the remainder of the year. 

I was glad the buzz for the hometown premier was already great. Friday was off to a great start and then things got even better. Dave calls me and says that he wants me to host the Q&A's on Saturday. I have been fortunate enough to host a majority of Q&A's at the Hunt Valley Monster-Mania for the last few years but this would be my first year in Cherry Hill....needless to say, I was thrilled. Dave had a killer line up plus, I knew I would try to sit next to Danielle Harris and make best friends with Tyler Labine (mission accomplished on both...well, kind of..haha). The crowd size was already big, but I knew Saturday would be even bigger. Kim and I cut Friday a little short, leaving at 9pm to head to Steve Corino's wedding...which was awesome on every level...I'm sure we will fill everyone in within a few weeks on the return of the XOCPodcast.

Saturday came super quick...and super early. Kim and I wanted to get to the hotel early because we knew parking would be an issue. For those that complain, parking is always a pain, wherever you go...ever try getting out of a Phillies game? Anyways...Saturday was already looking promising and it didn't let us down. At 1pm, we had the No Clowning Around hometown premier and we promoted it to everyone that walked by. We made sure we handed out flyers, talked and pushed. Was I nervous? Of course..no one wants to walk in and see 6 people sitting there. I'm happy to report that the room was 75-80% full...too us, a HUGE success. We had a very good Q&A, lots of questions and laughs, plus we were able to promote upcoming projects. 

I was able to run back to the table for about an hour to sell some dvd's but then I rushed back to host the Q&A's...I was hosting from 3pm-8pm on Saturday. I had so much fun. The Men Who Played Jason never disappoint. I think I've done Q&A's with them 2 or 3 times and Steve Dash is always a shit stirrer..always laughing my ass off. Being able to talk with so many talented people is always a pleasure. I absolutely take advantage of it..using it as an opportunity to pick their brain and learn some things. 

Personally, I always think the best Q&A's are the one on one's. The one on one for me this time around was Tyler Labine, from Reaper and Tucker and Dale vs Evil fame. I'm a huge fan of his work, especially his ability to walk the line between sarcasm but still be extremely likable. It's such a tough balancing act on television. Listening to  his set stories from Tucker and Dale, plus hearing his disappointment when Invasion got cancelled was all great. The pace of the Q&A's are based on the audience and the guest. If they all want to talk, it's so awesome and a learning experience....this was a great example. He was awesome to talk with and if you ask me...we are probably best pals now.

Saturday night, Dave, Doug (Dave's son), Hotel Brian and Myself were hosts and judges of the costume contest. Man, talk about amazing costumes and effort...this was a legit contest. The crowd was packed and rowdy...we all loved it. We had zombies, clowns, sexy chicks and some serious inventive costumes. It was two hours of craziness...I HOPE Dave brings this back again.

Yorkies Auction and my new Clown Head :)
On to Sunday....ahhhhh.....man, another full day ahead...Kim and I make our way downstairs from our hotel room and eat plenty of bacon..haha...couldn't help it. We hit our table for about two hours before we head upstair for the Yorkies auction. This event is always my highlight of Monster-Mania...seriously. I have been the auctioneer for a few years now and it's grown and grown and...grown. It's an absolute pleasure to help a great cause, I love it. We raised over $3,400 this time around and it's all due to YOU. The con goers who come, donate and bid so freely and you're all so caring. If there was ever anyone who wanted to question Horror fans hearts, invite them up for this...it's amazing. I actually grabbed that clown head on the table. I love this part of the weekend.

Up next was the Sinister Short Film Festival and again, I loved this. I'm so passionate about Independent Filmmaking and this is a huge step for any filmmaker..to show your work, be judged...it's tough. I had a blast watching everyone's work. Everyone should be proud...the film that won was titled "Outhouse" and it would have been my choice. It was a throwback to 80's VHS, even having some tracking issues...great touch.

So, there you have it...Monster-Mania in a nutshell. Hopefully we see you in August. 

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