3.24.2009

My Lunacon panelist experience

I attended two days of Lunacon this past weekend, Friday and Saturday, and for a regional SF convention it was pretty good. Also, this was the first time I was a program participant, which meant talking on panels about my experience and opinions on different things.


I had been meaning to participate in panels for a long time, afterall, as a wandering editor I've been attending panels for years now, both at comics and science fiction & fantasy conventions. I figured, aside from being a lifelong fan, I also have years of professional editorial experience to back up my opinions.

Friday was easy enough for me, I wasn't on a panel, but went up with pal Peter Brett as he was a panelist and it was good to pick up my badge a day early as well as get the lay of the land within the hotel (anyone who knows me, knows I'm not the best with remembering directions, there's no internal map in my head).

Saturday started for me with a 10 AM panel called: Working Without a Net: Personal and Financial Planning for Creative Professionals. I was the rookie on this panel, but well steeped in what it is like to be a freelance editor as that is what I've been doing for the past almost 2 years. My comments added to the overall discussion as mainly things were discussed for writers, and I added to that from the prospective of an editor. The ice was officially broken, I was now a panel participant. There was a few hour break before my next panels so I roamed the con for a while.

My 2 PM panel was: The Year in Comics. As a lifelong comics fan and former comics buyer for SFBC, I held my own contributing to the fine panel. We covered lots from the mega-crossovers to the future of digital comics. I lastly brought up the recent trend of publishers putting out nice collections of classic comic strip material - and was pleasantly surprised to hear--on the panel--that a second volume of Fletcher Hanks material is being released by Fantagraphics, called, You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! by Fletcher Hanks and Paul Karasik. See, even I learned something new. It was a fun panel (it's always fun to talk comics).
Then at 3 PM I had to run to my next panel, affectionately named: What the *$&% Happened to M. Night Shyamalan? This sounded too good to pass up. I was on the panel with people who were more steeped in motion picture lore than I, but I could talk M. Night with the next guy. It was fun, and we all lamented on how difficult it was to follow up the pure genius that was The Sixth Sense. We finished with hopeful, if not fearful, anticipation of his next film, due in 2010, an adaptation of a fantasy-based Nick' TV series.

After a few more hours of wandering around and a lunch with some friends, I was gearing up for my last panel of the day at 7 PM, of which I was the moderator: Writing Combat Scenes in SF. Although I was nervous and started off as a low talker, the panel just took off with great conversation and audience participation talking about all the realistic details to focus on when writing combat scenes. We were all in the presence of greatness with Eric Flint telling stories, sharing conversations he had with David Drake, and making it quite easy for me and our other panelists to have a solid conversation about writing combat.

My other co-panelists, James D. Ross, writer of the Radiation Angels books, also got really involved in the discussion, and I got the chance to chat with him a few times over the weekend. Also, author Mike McPhail, rounded out our panel, and gave great examples of how the details make up such an integral part of describing the reality of warfare.

Overall it was a great weekend, and this Combat panel really made the weekend for me. Thanks to Lunacon for including me in the program participation. I'm sure I'll be back next year.

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