State of the Funny: 2013

Well, it’s that time … Dragon Con 2013 is almost upon us. It’s time to wash your kilts, clean your goggles and prepare your eyeballs for DragonConTV. Brian Richardson, our executive producer and  so-called “fearless leader”, has a few notes about this year’s video programming.

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How the heck did we come to this? Wookie costumes in my backyard? Green screens in my basement? Parking lots full of comic book characters?

Back in 2002, my friends Patrick and Lucas convinced me that making an intro for the Dragon Con Masquerade was a good idea. Eleven years later, that “good idea” has turned into an odd community of writers, actors, videographers and sci-fi fans. That word “community” is very important to me, and it’s often overlooked as the reason we work on DragonConTV.

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Yes, it’s silly. Making fun of the very things Dragon Con represents shouldn’t work as the basis for the video programming that people now see as a core part of the convention. For the volunteers at Dragon Con, it fits perfectly. We want to put on a show about what we love. Fandom can be pretty solitary, especially in the age before the internet. The personal connection at a convention makes all the difference.

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We pushed the “people who love a thing also love to make fun of it” button. Fans saw a few people do it at “their con” and they wanted to see more. Other people wanted to make more. So here we are, one of the many pieces of duct tape attached to this adhoc community.

We do cheap comedy. Very cheap.  Sometimes, we even do it well. Things like the bumpers are easier jokes (assuming the writing doesn’t suck) because they require a smaller crew. But the videos are way more fun … even if they’re low-budget.

I know my green screen footage is obviously green screen … that’s fine. I’ll work on making it better, but nobody really believes I have starships and office buildings in my basement. It’s fine for small jokes, but we’ve been getting bigger as the years go on. That’s been best reflected in our music videos.

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Back in January, I had an idea for a music video. Not a small video, not an easy video, not a video I could do in my basement. Something with actual production value (gasp). Technically, it’s a project I could do “on my own” … but what I could make wouldn’t be as good as what we could make. We’re going to premiere that video on Saturday, right before the From the Page to the Stage: Comic Book Pageant. It’s not the only thing we made this year, but it’s the thing I’m most proud of. Titan Games & Comics in Smyrna, GA let dozens of costumed fans take over their store for several nights so we could do silly things on camera.

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Thanks to my pesky day job, I didn’t do as much editing this year. It’s the year I act more like a writer and producer, watching other people take my ideas and shape them into something that wouldn’t exist if left to my own devices. And some of those people bring skills I don’t have to the table, so it’s better than what I would have done on my own. I feel like a proud father, or at least a weird uncle.

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So watch our little videos, laugh at the ones that might be funny and try to learn something when we sneak messages into our comedy. Remember that DragonConTV, like Dragon Con itself, exists because of what fans bring to the party. If you see us try to up the production value, it’s no accident … we think the fans are worth the effort.

In a related note, never forget I can derail this serious “thank you” post with a stupid picture.

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See, told you so. 😛

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