Coverage of events, like NYCC and MangaNext, at Sketchy Details

High Tech Halloween on a Low Tech Budget (The Haunting Ground #6)

Last night was the debut of my new panel High Tech Halloween on a Low Tech Budget. It went really well. People slowly filed in and turned it into a fantastic discussion about various haunting techniques and philosophies. I filmed a few minutes before the panel, so that starting conversation was longer but the quality wasn’t great.

This is what I love about the haunting community. We love learning new things. We love helping each other. And we’re not judgmental. I had to make that clear. I might haunt on a budget, but that doesn’t mean I have a problem with people who have the resources to funnel $1000′s into their haunt each year. There’s no wrong way to haunt.

The big disappointment is that the panel actually continued about 15 minutes past the video ending time. My DSLR apparently only records video for 30 minutes at a time, so it cut off 30 minutes into the recording. We discussed weather, tombstones, and using online resources to trade/gift theme-specific props.

The Haunting Ground #5: This Club is a Haunted House

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why my writing has been so sporadic this month. I had to get all my haunt stuff together to put on the annual traffic-stopping show on Halloween night. A daytime guided tour, followed by the premiere of the official 2013 haunt video, and the aftermath of a yard haunt.

Chiller Theatre Expo: The Jaws Museum

At the Chiller Theatre Expo in Parsippany, NJ this past weekend, the world’s largest collection of Jaws memorabilia came to the show for the first time ever. The collection is rarely exhibited in public at all. I knew I had to check it out. It’s a big part of why I even went to the show at all. Number one reason was the art contest. Number two reason was I knew too many artists/vendors not to go hang out with them for the day when they were in the area. And number three was the Jaws museum.

Chris Kiszka has been collecting Jaws props for a long time. Not just replicas or window cards, but actual props that were used on set. He even has one of the head puppets used for shooting close-ups of the shark attacks.

Protected in a thick glass case and displayed like a permanent museum exhibition, the Jaws Museum experience was quite impressive. The display cases and head were lined up on the back wall, flanked by the stars who could make it to the convention for a signing. It was quite a production that was jam packed from about 12PM until I left around 6PM. I was lucky I walked in as soon as I could (issues finding anyone who could help me find the art contest registration while I fought cold feet, more on that in a much larger post).

NYCC 2013: The Grandeur of a Con Gallery

nycc2013rfidcrowd 300x169 NYCC 2013: The Grandeur of a Con Gallery

A long line to get in breaks up real quick with only official visitors [click for full]

New York Comic Con 2013 really was all about excess in the best way possible. People at all levels put on spectacle for the enjoyment of everyone who entered the Jacob K. Javitz Center in NYC. The big companies erected larger booths than ever. The smaller vendors almost all had some big showpiece to draw traffic in the crowd. Countless companies paid for huge billboards all over the show floor. Tickets were sold out most days. And even the cosplayers went bigger than in past years. Literally. I couldn’t fight through the crowds to get to all the stilt-work cosplayers or tall men and women in platform boots towering over booth signage.

Here’s a gallery of all the amazing sites from NYCC 2013. I have a lot of content coming up, so I removed any images that will be more useful later on.

Click through to get to the gallery, then click on any photo to get started.

Slipstream #10: Genre @NYCC + #NYCCSwag Winners

New York Comic Con was a great experience last weekend. That massive convention has never been that organized before and it’s only going to get better. Reed Pop Entertainment just needed a run through to get the hitches out of their new RFID system (and, you know, not hijack people’s Twitter accounts with spam messages about how amazing NYCC is) and it’s going to make a big difference.

The new episode of Slipstream is up. I take a look at my five favorite pulp culture/genre happenings at the convention. From an unbelievable booth to some stunning small scale artwork, horror, sci-fi, and fantasy were represented well at NYCC 2013. Also, the winners of the #NYCCSwag contest are announced, as well. Click through for all the behind the scenes details.

The NYCC Cosplay Experience: Putting It Out There

futuramafrysource 172x300 The NYCC Cosplay Experience: Putting It Out There

Fry from Futurama is a simple cosplay (except for the wig) [click for full]

I normally have some anxiety issues when I go to a convention. I am not good with crowds and do not like to be touched at all. You would think that someone like me would not want to draw extra attention at a massive event like New York Comic Con.

You’d be wrong. I’ve really grown to love the challenge and community of cosplay. I’d like to have a signature costume that people know me for. I also prefer to have multiple costumes instead of one costume for an entire weekend. That’s the OCD kicking in. I don’t like the idea of people thinking I don’t change my clothes every day.

This year, I set out to do three new costumes but got derailed by illness. Wander from Wander Over Yonder got replaced with an updated Fry from Futurama costume. That was Sunday. Friday was Wilson from the indie survival horror game Don’t Starve and Saturday was Chris from the web series Bravest Warriors. Both were brand new costumes.

New York Comic Con 2013: A New Hope with New Technology

nycc2013rfidcrowd 300x169 New York Comic Con 2013: A New Hope with New Technology

A long line to get in breaks up real quick with only official visitors [click for full]

I wouldn’t have recognized New York Comic Con if it weren’t for all if the bold, graphic, street art-style signage all over the Jacob K. Javitz Center. Gone is the bizarre basement holding pen for early arrivals. The chaos over where, exactly, to go is gone, too. What’s left is a large convention that made a huge technology investment that is paying off big dividends.

This is the first year that NYCC has RFID badges. Instead of anyone with a badge that looked remotely like the actual badge getting in, you have to scan your badge at the entrance. You put the metallic sticker up to the volunteer’s iPad and it quickly scans to make sure your badge is valid. You register the badge before you show up and you check out whenever you leave.

The only downside is a longer wait for general admission. Sorry, fan pass holders, you will be queuing up for quite some time. It’s worth it.

Slipstream #9: NYCC Swag Giveaway

The new episode of Slipstream is a contest announcement, good people. I am giving away at least two large flat rate priority mail boxes of swag from NYCC and other conventions. I have signed books and convention exclusive merch. I have art, toys, games, clothing, posters, and convention exclusive material taking up way too much space in my house and I’d rather see it go to a loving home.

Watch the video, then click through for all the contest details.


Two new columns up at other sites today.

First, it’s the first Thursday of the month. That means Foreign Chops is up. Check out all the great links on films from Spain.

Foreign Chops #15: Spain

Second, my weekly horror review column is up at Man, I Love Films. I took a look at Stake Land and loved what I saw.

Horror Thursday: Stake Land

Did you check out the new episode of Slipstream: The Pulp Culture Vlog yet? Why not?

Slipstream 4: Highlights from ConnectiCon ’13

I have a lot of ConnectiCon 2013 coverage to put up on the site still. Everything got a little sidetracked with the demands of teaching a brand new show I had no knowledge of at the summer camp and I’m just catching up.

To start off the second wave of ConnectiCon coverage, I put together Slipstream 4: Highlights from ConnectiCon ’13. What better convention to cover for the first time on the pulp culture vlog than one that bills itself as a massively multi-genre convention? Watch the episode, then click through for behind the scenes gossip and some extra content that didn’t make the cut.

Geek Creation Show: Come See My High Tech Halloween Panel

I am very excited to announce that I will be presenting a panel/workshop during the first ever Geek Creation Show in Piscataway, NJ. It’s called “High Tech Halloween on a Low Tech Budget” and it’s going to be a lot of fun. In 45 minutes, I’m going to run you through my biggest cost-saving tricks to create a home haunt or Halloween party with a lot of wow factor.

geekcreationshowusable Geek Creation Show: Come See My High Tech Halloween Panel

The Geek Creation Show is a brand new convention about living a better geeky life. The entire event is inspired by the spirit and legacy of Nikola Tesla. All proceeds from the convention will be donated to the Tesla Museum and Science Center at Wardenclyffe. My fellow panelists and I were encouraged to submit panels/workshops that could help our fellow geeks learn something new or refine their awesome geeky skills.

ConnectiCon 2013: Cosplay

connecticon2013cosplayresized08 150x150 ConnectiCon 2013: CosplayConnectiCon 2013 had a ton of cosplay that I wish I got to photograph. At least half the people who attended were cosplaying on Saturday and Sunday. The vibe of the place was so friendly and the convention was so packed that I had to settle for a lot of “I love your [insert character here] cosplay” shouts of appreciation rather than quick photos.

I have a really simple set of rules for photographing cosplay at conventions that I try not to break.

#1: Consent

ConnectiCon 2013: Something for Everyone Without Losing Anyone

connecticon2013introsign 150x150 ConnectiCon 2013: Something for Everyone Without Losing AnyoneThere’s a truism connected to working in or exploring the entertainment industry. For all the positive feedback and experiences you may have, one bad experience or comment can ruin your mindset for a long time. That kind of experience cuts like a knife, making you think that everything you experience from that point on will be that bad or worse.

This definitely holds true for conventions. I’ve been terrified that every event, con, screening, etc. I’ve gone to since AnimeNEXT will be a colossal disaster that puts me off real world fan culture for good.

connecticon2013introatmosphere 300x169 ConnectiCon 2013: Something for Everyone Without Losing Anyone


After teaching theater all day, I’m driving straight to Hartford, CT for Connecticon 2013. I’ll be able to walk the show a little bit after checking into a hotel, but unfortunately I will not be able to post directly to this website until Sunday night. I had to IP lock it because I’m one of the targets of that WordPress attack that started two months ago.

Basically, someone’s programmed bots to spam WordPress log-ins to either destroy the site by correctly guessing the log-in or crash it due to server overload. I shut it off a month ago and had to call to have my hosting restored after reapplying the ban through the back end.

I’m going to attempt to post by e-mail throughout the weekend, but I don’t know if it will work.

You can follow all the ConnectiCon 2013 coverage at my Twitter and my Facebook page.