Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dragon Con 2015: American Sci-Fi and Fantasy Media Track Director Interview

For my last pre-con post I spoke with Kelley, director of the American Sci-Fi and Fantasy Media track.They've got a huge amount of programming this year, and there's sure to be something you're in to. Make sure to check out their schedule on the official app. You'll be busy even if you only hit their panels.

How long have you personally and professionally been associated with Dragon Con?

I've been affiliated with DragonCon for 18 years at this point.  This is
my 5th year as the track director for my track.  I was one of those silly
people that went for only one year and started to volunteer.  Since then I
really encourage everyone to just attend for a couple years before they
start volunteering as there are still things I've never seen at DragonCon
even after all these years!

How does the American Sci-Fi and Fantasy Media track differ from the American Sci-Fi Classics track (besides the obvious use of the word "classics")?

The AmSF/Fantasy Media track is kind of like the home base for media
tracks. We cover everything anyone else... doesn't!  Generally we end up
with most space SF, hence we have panels on Killjoys and Dark Matter this
year. However we also have some more traditional material like Arrow and
Flash. We'll be covering a lot of the superheroes this year. We have
panels on the Marvel Media Universe and the DC one as well as show
specific ones.  We also cover bigger shows like Once upon a time and
little shows like Haven.  We also have a lot of the soso history based
pieces like Black Sails, DaVinci's Demons, and Outlander.

What are your biggest influences and/or favorites in sci-fi and fantasy?

My own biggest influences? Well there are many... I grew up a reading SF
person until... Star Wars. Then I jumped in.  I published a fanzine, and
went to my first con, and well then on to costuming etc.  This stuff has
always been a part of my life. I went to school for film and video and was
able to pay the bills but never managed to make it happen.  I have always
been fascinated with not only the shows but encouraging others, whether
its other fans or shows by developing that dialogue.  Making it ok to be
odd and different. When I started in this stuff, girl fans were rare and
while I never accused of being a fake geek, I knew it was odd. Thankfully
things have changed and we're not in what has to be a golden age of geeky
media! It's amazing!

So what does your track have lined up for us this year?

This year we are really expecting to have a fantastic time. We've got some
great guests from Arrow, Flash, Once upon a Time, Game of Thrones, and
Continuum and one of the largest gatherings of cast from Battlestar
Galactica, including Grace Park. She hasn't done any fan conventions
except SDCC before this.

Now those are the guest panels, plus we have some awesome fan panels, and
I really encourage people to check out the fan tracks.  Go sit in on a
discussion on your favorite show!  We have three special events this year.
 We're starting early on Thursday night with the Geek Sing along, all
those tunes from Supernatural, Galavant, the Guild, Big Bang Theory, etc.
Along with the Classics folks pulling in some fun stuff from longer ago!

Then Friday night we have the Scifi Drive In Heckle Along. We've done this
for a few years. Its kind of an MST3K treatment of some truly horrible
movies. This year we're showing StarCrash!  A Star Wars copy cat movie
from the late 70's that has Caroline Munro and David Hasselhoff.  That's
always a lot of silly fun.

Sunday night we have the Gameshow of Thrones!  Season 4!  It's a silly
combination of show trivia and silly games with 'so called' celebrity
judges. It's always a bit crazy since points are given for 'style' a well
as actual accomplishments and answers.

What or who are you most excited about this year?

What am I looking forward to the most this year? Well its still but I'm
looking forward to seeing my DragonCon family. All the fans and volunteers
that I only get to see there.  They are an amazing bunch, and I always try
to show the celebrities that DragonCon is a little different than most
cons. We're friendly and inclusive and all about hanging out with each
other.  I am looking forward though to Stephen Amell as I have to admit I
really admire him and his efforts on behalf of charity and his work.

Like I said, they've got a lot going on. You can take a closer look on their facebook page here or their official site here. See you all this weekend. Don't forget about the Needless Things meet-up Sunday at 8pm by the Hilton pool. Ryan Schweck has already told people to come tell me I'm wrong about Hawkeye, but feel free to stop by and tell me what else I'm wrong about. 

-Beth

Beth got her start writing for a site called Movie Criticism for the Retarded (which has been revived as dorkdroppings.com. Check it out sometime), but was pulled out of an early retirement to write for Needless Things. When she isn't writing she plays video games and watches bad horror movies while eagerly awaiting the zombie apocalypse. She may try to save her husband and/or their cats, but luckily hasn't had to make those tough decisions yet.

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