Convention Report: Kollision Con 2012
Kollision Con was once again the final show for me for the year, and what a show it was! Located in beautiful Pheasant Run in St Charles, IL, Kollision Con is a third year anime and comics show with some diverse guests, fun panels, and lots of cosplay. Kollision Con is a smaller show, so as a guest of the show there’s less pressure to sell sell sell and more opportunity to have fun. And that’s exactly what we did.
For those of you new to the site – welcome. To those of you returning – welcome back.
Now, without further delay, how did the weekend go for me?
Beth and I arrived early in the morning for a meeting with the hotel unrelated to the convention, and immediately after we set up our table for selling. Attendance was lighter on Friday, but I figured this would be the case (especially earlier in the day) since it was the day after Thanksgiving. However, that didn’t stop 500+ people from registering and picking up badges.
I was in Artist Alley next to my good friend Russell Lissau (Shrek, Strawberry Shortcake) and Gabriel Bautista (Albert the Alien, Elephantmen). As soon as we were set up, we had to run off to opening ceremonies to be introduced to the masses. There was a nice sized crowd in the audience, and it was nice to catch up with several of the other guests of the show. Not all of the guests were there yet (and some were sleeping, having arrived very early that morning and needing to perform a concert later that night), but that didn’t stop us from having a blast. I even did the Waltz with Samurai Dan.
Selling to an attendee
After a few hours of selling at the tables, we packed up a little early and went to Jambalaya (one of the many restaurants in the hotel) for some dinner. After that, we headed over to our Albert the Alien panel.
The panel had quite a few people in attendance, and Gabe and I gave our first-ever panel on our beloved character. We talked about his origins, how we created him, how he became a part of Reading with Pictures, and his future: an appearance in RWP v2, and his own webcomic series launching in 2013.
After the panel we retired back to Russell’s room for some whiskey, and then I went downstairs for what I thought was the 18+ improv – but turned out to be an improv training class.
I’ve never done improv officially before, but I have a lot of public speaking experience and I’ve done a lot of panels at conventions. And panels are part stand-up, part improv, and part rehearsed performance. Suffice it to say, I’m not afraid to get up in front of an audience and act like a buffoon.
So as soon as I walked in the door for the improv training class, the staffer running the panel immediately started volunteering me for every skit example. Since I had never done improv before, I was a little rusty in the beginning – however, the skits started to become more and more funny as we warmed up and got used to working with each other.
I had a lot of fun working with the group that night, and it was a great way to prep for the actual 18+ improv show the next night.
We got up early and headed down for breakfast. Russ and I had the buffet, and then went to set up the tables and sell. The day saw a lot of cosplayers running around the floor, several of which were interested in purchasing comics.
Gabe and I did some shop talk about comic projects, and Russ shares a preview of his RWP v2 story with finished art.
Around 6pm, we left the table and headed over to the restaurant for dinner again. After a quick bite we went to my room to set up the laptop for Gabe’s Digital Coloring panel, which had the strongest attendance for any of our panels that weekend.
Gabe did a great job showing off the basics of PhotoShop, and the process he uses to color the projects he works on. It was a great opportunity for me to see the man work, since we’ve done several projects together and have many more in the pipeline.
After Gabe’s panel was Russell’s Writing Horror Comics panel, followed by my Evening with Trevor Mueller panel.
After the panels, we ran downstairs for a quick drink and to relax a bit before the 18+ improv panel. Doug Walker (thatguywiththeglasses.com) was downstairs with his wife, so it was great to get to catch up with them before heading off into the improv.
The room was packed with people, and most of the guests (myself, Doug Walker, and Chris Patton) were involved in the panel. They also had a few of the staff included to help round out the group.
The improv was hilarious. I did several skits, including a “scraps” where you and another person pull out scraps of paper with words or phrases written on them from the audience, and you have to incorporate them into the skit.
My best event was good, bad, worst advice. The audience asks for advice, and one person gives good advice, the next person gives bad advice, and the last person gives worst advice. If the audience doesn’t feel like your answer is a strong fit, they boo you off, and we continue until through elimination there’s only one person left. I KILLED this event, since I can make crap up on the spot and make it sound totally legit. Plus, it helped that it was an 18+ show. When in doubt, say something foul and disgusting.
Another activity we did was a dating game scenario, where the audience suggests a condition your character has and one of the improvers has to guess it by asking questions – like a dating game. My character had to sing whenever he felt impotent. So whenever I was asked sex questions, or brought up something about intimacy myself, I had to start singing my answers. My favorite line was “Whenever it’s time for romance, I begin to question my performance.”
The final sketch I participated in was called last man standing. Everyone goes out and enacts a scene after the audience picks a location (in this case, a mini-golf course). At the end of the skit, a number is drawn and that person is removed from the skit – however, the remaining performers have to play your role. Eventually you have one person performing everyone’s role, and it’s pretty hilarious.
So Doug started off the skit by hitting the ball really hard and knocking someone out. I told him “this isn’t how you use a club,” and he proceeded to play off the unconscious player by whacking them a few times. Then I whacked Doug. Then someone whacked me. Basically, it turned into a skit of us hitting each other with invisible golf clubs. Hilarious.
The improv ended around 2am, and after thanking everyone for letting me participate I headed off to bed.
An early morning had us at the cafe for breakfast sandwiches. Russ, Gabe, Doug, and our ladies were all in attendance. It was nice to relax and chat a bit before the final day of the show.
Relaxing at the table
We headed to the floor for our final day of sales, which started off strong. Russ had a panel around noon for Writing Kids Comics, and then Gabe and I went to our Making Webcomics panel around 1:30pm. Kasey Williams, who did a backup story in the latest issue of Albert the Alien, also joined us for the panel. She just started her first webcomic series, so her insight was very helpful for the attendees. We had a good-sized group, and they were very interested in asking questions at the end of the panel.
After we finished the panel, it was time to pack up and head home.
This is the second year I was a guest at Kollision Con, and it continues to be a fun show with some great guests and involved attendees. A great way to end the convention season!