I have returned (and more importantly recovered) from Dragon*Con. As usual, I came back with a much heavier suitcase and a much lighter wallet. The good news is, I not only stayed within budget, I even made it home with some money to spare.
But enough about finance stuff. I want to talk about Dragon*Con.
First off, I met Jaime Paglia. For the ungeeky among us, he wrote Eureka, the best science fiction show that SyFy ever cancelled in order to show more wrestling. The show was smart, had strong relatable characters, truly funny moments, and struck the perfect balance between science and fiction for seven years. The man is truly talented, and I want to be just like him.
Naturally, I was a nervous wreck while I stood in line to meet him. When it got to be my turn, I took a deep breath and calmly asked him to sign my jacket.
(No, that’s not a typo. I was dressed as an autograph book, and I was collecting signatures on my jacket. I’ve been doing this for three years now, and it’s still just as amusing to see the odd looks as it was the first time.)
Mr. Paglia didn’t bat an eye at my strange request. Apparently when you write a show about worm holes and strong force amplifiers, someone asking you to sign a white scrub jacket seems quite normal. As he signed, I somehow convinced myself to speak. (This is a problem with me. I plan out what to say, and then freeze in the moment. I do this with non-celebrities too). I told him that I wanted to be a writer like him. He smiled and asked me the best question I think I’ve ever heard:
“That’s good. What are you doing about that?”
All the writers reading this probably get the magnanimity of that question. For those that don’t, here’s the thing. People talk about wanting to be a writer all the time. They talk about what would make a good book, or how they wish they had the time to write a book, or even how they once tried to write a book but never finished it. Comparatively few people actually sit down and write. For those of us who do, it’s not because we have more time than others or more creativity, it’s because the words will literally turn us insane if we don’t get them out of our heads and onto the page.
So, Jaime Paglia’s question was essentially, “I see you have a dream. Do you have a plan to make it come true?”
Why yes, Mr. Paglia, yes I do.
I told him that a friend and I have been developing two web series (serieses? seriesi?). He nodded his approval while his handler talked about her friends who are getting their SAG accreditation from web series work. To make a short story shorter, I ended up walking away from the table with a signature on my jacket and a verbal encouragement from Jaime Paglia to pursue my writing.
Oh, and this.
After I collected myself a bit (and posted that picture as the cover photo on my facebook), I dressed two children up as Borg.
Then, I met Felicia Day.
Ok, I’m good now. Back to the point.
Felicia Day is a pioneer of web series, and totally and completely one of my heroes. She proved that you can make anything happen if you are inventive and passionate enough, and turned a tiny idea that no television company wanted to hear into an internet revolution. I managed to tell her about my web series company and how she inspired its creation, and she wished me luck and said that she’d be excited to see what we come up with.
I tweeted that to my business partner, who I believe promptly had a panic attack somewhere in England. Sorry, James.
Overall it was an excellent Dragon*Con. I came home with 1 new t-shirt, 2 new card games, 5 new books, 11 new autographs, and 17 new buttons (yes, I collect buttons. They’re cheap, easy to store, and last forever). Not once did I get looked down upon for being a girl, or asked to prove my “geek credentials.” I was just another fan in a costume heading to the same panels and trying to remember to eat.
Now it’s back to real life for me. The new full-time job starts Monday. I’ve cut my hours at retail job to weekends and then only as needed (because those free video games are hard to give up), and I’m looking forward to having weekday evenings to do some more writing.
This is good, because it is definitely time to start saving for next Dragon*Con.