First day down, and a lot of stuff has already transpired. Nick has been hard at work editing on his iPad to deliver the first vlog of our travels to you guys; entitled ‘Day 1 – No Sleep Til Indy’, it’s a short burst of a video that contains a lot of highlights (or low lights, really) of our journey into the States, and though it misses quite a lot in the connecting fight area, as well as the actual journey into Indianapolis, it’s a fun way to watch two friends grow increasingly exhausted over the course of 16+ hours. Which, incidentally, is the only reason why we are missing footage in the first place – the sheer exhaustion caused by travelling so consistently, as well as having run ins with passport control (which I wrote about yesterday) led to Nick’s weary eyes to droop, rather than readily capture footage for these vlogs.
We got to the Convention Centre early yesterday, after having a cab fall into our laps. Having attempted to traverse the murky workings of the Uber app in a different country, neither of us having any experience with the app in the first place, led to a messy affair in which Nick thought he had accidentally ordered two cabs. Turns out he had ordered none. In the time it took us to figure that out however a cab had pulled up out front of the hotel where we were waiting. A short conversation later and we had managed to wrangle a discounted deal of $16 to get us to the Convention Centre, rather than the Uber quoted $18-30. Deal, dude.
This cab driver would turn out to be one of the nicer people we had met since landing within the Land of the Free, engaging us in friendly conversation and recommending a nearby diner, Indy’s, as a place to indulge in some guilty, oil soaked, breakfasty goodness. We talked about the Convention a little, and soon the conversation turned to our attempt to use the Uber app, something that the guy was quite passionately opinionated on, stating how Uber was currently unmonitored in the States, apparently not having any real checking procedures in place to guarantee good drivers, etc, unlike the process of being a legally registered cab driver, where annual checks are as extensive as they are mandatory. Taking his diatribe with a bag of salt, he let’s us off outside the convention with a good natured farewell.
Getting there so early allowed us an opportunity to explore the immediate surrounding area, taking in a very narrow version of what Indianapolis had to offer, which included Starbucks. A lot of Starbucks. I’m not sure what other coffee chains exist within the USA, the UK seemingly being spoilt for choice, but I do know one thing: they seem to like Starbucks. A lot. And so I was forced to do what I normally don’t back home: I had Starbucks, and was promptly confused when told that they don’t put milk into their Americanos, the concept of a “skinny white Americano” seemingly wasted on them.
The panels themselves were an interesting experience. I’ve never been on a panel before, and it wasn’t long until I felt somewhat out of my depth with it. Thankfully, I was able to fall back on cracking jokes and telling stories, whilst my fellow panelist, Matt Conn (@mattconn), helmed the first discussion: Film Distribution and Promotion.
If it wasn’t for Matt, the first panel would have fallen apart into tattered shambles. For some reason we were without a moderator, and so the panel didn’t get underway in any official capacity until about 15 minutes after its start time. Always a good way to start something like this, I’m sure. The crowd were forgiving and quickly became involved in the discussion, off of Matt’s suggestion; a Hail Mary thought that really made the panel an open discussion amongst us all, saving us from the weighty responsibility of carrying it between the two of us with no moderation or guidance. It helped that he had such an interesting project to promote and talk about, especially in comparison to First Date’s light hearted, punk rock aesthetic.
Taken from the provided synopsis in the Gen Con guide, Matt’s movie, ‘Gaming In Color’, is a documentary exploring the story of the queer gaming community, ‘gaymer’ culture and events, and the rise of LGBT themes in video games.
Undeniably heavier than my (b)romantic comedy, set against a suburban London backdrop. Mine had dick jokes though. Although, thinking about it, GIC may do too…
The second panel, ‘Life on Set – Shooting Your Film, Without Getting Shot’ had a lot more participants on the panel, and a moderator to keep things flowing and on track! The panel consisted of a great bunch of guys, all of whom had a lot of experience to show and stories to tell. I had mine set and ready, but, due to the amount of participants, found myself less a part of it than I thought I would be. Not that I minded, some of the stories they had to share were great, and I enjoyed the experience of it all. The oddest moment came when I name dropped, of all things, Postman Pat, thinking there would be a cultural connection there; a mutual reference point. Nope. Turns out that, although Thomas the Tank Engine had managed to cross the pond, poor old Postman Pat remains, forever, stuck in England.
I look forward to scoping some of the movies over the next few days, a lot of them going down on Saturday, including First Date – showing at 7pm in the Short Film Comedy block, #plugplugplug.
On that note, it was amazing to open up the official Gen Con guide book and see this staring back at me from inside: