Despite record rainfall (as much as four inches in some areas), mudslides, sinkholes and ferocious gusts of wind, the first ever Comic Creator Conference (C3) was held yesterday and, from where I sat, it was a huge success. And strangely, the bad weather and some quick thinking are what helped pull it off.
The event was planned as a networking event with informational panels on agents, foreign rights, partnerships, branding, and so on. Several of the panelists couldn’t make it to Long Beach from LA because of the floods, and the planned host, Jeremy Atkins, was stuck in Phoenix when his flight was canceled (although he did make a heroic 7 hour drive to get to the event before it wrapped up.) Although a good number of people had signed up, only about half could make it in the rain. So C3 organizers called an audible…instead of three tracks of one hour panels, all the panels that could be held would be condensed down to 20-25 minutes and held in the main ballroom.
That turned out to be an amazing way to present information with a somewhat expanded “Ted Talk” format. I’ve been to just about every one of these kinds of industry events over the last decade or so and as you all know….an hour can be a long time. At the shorter length there was no time to get boring or bored and hands were still up with questions at the end of every session. Lion Forge’s Beth Scorzato, who was conscripted to host the event, kept everything moving in a brisk and friendly way, you could leave if you needed a break, and the informal feeling kept things relaxed.
Also the questions from the creators who attended were great. The people who did show up were engaged and had sharp, detailed questions about contracts, using social media and so on.
Presentations I saw included Joe Illidge’s keynote which called on comics to use their creative power become a true meritocracy where everyone gets a chance; John Nee and Illidge talking about cross platform appeal (or transmedia as it was once known); Dean Haspiel, Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder, Mark Waid and Russell Nohelty talking about partnerships (Reeder: the key ingredient is trust; Haspiel: “communication”) and Top Cow’s Matt Hawkins giving a whirlwind tour of the world of foreign rights, complete with numbers and samples. At the end all the panelists got on stage and did a Q&A with great questions from the audience.
Suffice to say that I learned a lot from this event. It was damp and stormy but that added to the camaraderie. I believe they taped all the sessions and hopefully they will be put online at some point.
Speaking of stormy…earlier in the day I decided to go for a walk and get a manicure and hit up Vons. Suffice to say that by the time I crawled back to the hotel, I was soaked to the bone, and I’d had to negotiate my way back through palm fronds crashing into the sidewalks, six-inch puddles and massive gusts of wind. Drama! But I survived and my nails look good.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.