Anyone who follows me on twitter is probably aware that I recently joined a group of post production professionals that produce a podcast called Going Postal Show. First and foremost, I am currently an editor that works in broadcast television, but we all need to have a little fun side project, right? So the criteria to be a part of the podcast: have a passion about production and post production, love movies, be comfortable around tech talk and of course, be a geek. I guess I qualified.
A portion of the podcast is about pop culture. Other than the celebrity scandals and gossip, what pop culture means to me is the modern mediums of storytelling: movies, television, comic books, comic artwork, the list goes on…
Of course, all this talk about pop culture is leading to one event: San Diego Comic Con.
I attend Comic Con every year and a couple of times I worked as an editor for G4’s coverage of comic con. I was a swag bag carrying geek by day and working in the production trucks next to the convention center by night (see first blog entry).
This year was a little different. My podcast colleagues and I decided that since I was going to Comic Con anyway, I should get some coverage for a comic con special of the show. I had never actually field produced anything before except for a couple of sit down interviews with some editors who were friends, so it was a little daunting. Luckily, I had observed producers that I have worked with as an editor for years. This was going to be my chance to create something from scratch that was my vision.
So the question is: How do I cover comic con in a well rounded way that is related to the production/post production industry?
I selected a few topics that I was interested in. I am a huge fan of the comics released by Zenescope Entertainment, and I discovered that they actually have an origin in screenplays and are currently doing work for several production studios. They were perfect to include in the podcast and since I was very familiar with their comics, I had already done most of the research. I also really wanted to run the zombie obstacle course, The Walking Dead Escape, and I discovered that KNB FX, the masters of makeup behind several big television shows and features, were going to be doing the zombie makeup for the obstacle course.
Then there were the exclusive panels for the next big film and tv projects. I was also surprised to learn that Adobe would be attending as well and were presenting a panel about Photoshop.
I sent out some polite emails to the companies that I wanted to cover and I managed to get press passes for certain events and granted interviews with the Co-Creator of Zenescope and one of the Project Managers of Photoshop.
Now people have complimented me by saying I have the mind of a producer when I am cutting projects in the edit room, but I have never actually had to produce/direct in the field. I was pretty much winging it the entire time I was at Comic Con. I prepared questions for my Adobe and Zenescope Interviews, but had no idea what I would be getting at The Walking Dead Escape. I almost wasn’t allowed into the make-up area and when I did manage to gain access, I was not guaranteed an interview with anyone. So I improvised. I recorded the Zombie Training Course that happened every 10 minutes. I did some interviews with some of the “Zombies,” many of whom were nervous about being recorded. The make-up artists were extremely busy, so during one of the breaks, I just walked up to the artist who seemed to be the most approachable and asked him for an interview. He said yes and gave me a fantastic interview. I have a history with doing special effects make-up at a haunted house years ago, and I pulled from this knowledge in order to formulate my questions on the fly.
I also recorded the panels that I attended by holding my arm up into the air the entire panel and hoping that my Zoom H4N was recording the audio coming out of the auditorium speakers.
I finished off my field producing with some Man On The Street Interviews with people who were waiting in the massively long Hall H line.
So now what?
Oh yeah, I still needed to edit all of my coverage together in some form that was entertaining, informative and coherent.
I’m used to asking someone else what their vision is and to pull their selects, but cutting down my coverage was all on me. So I started out by making a list of everything I had. Then I made an outline by re-ordering the list and grouping elements together to make segments. I had an idea of how long I wanted each interview to be and what the good content was, so I created a segment order based on my memory. It ended up something like this:
Adobe - 2-3 minutes
Walking Dead Escape - 8-10 minutes
Zenescope - 10-12 minutes
The Panel Recordings - Agents of SHIELD, Once Upon a Time
Hall H Line - Doctor Who and Supernatural Fans
I structured the entire segment to have a slow build up of content (Adobe talked about techniques specific to comic art) to the pinnacle of information (Zenescope, which was actually a two person interview and was very in depth about all aspects of the company and its process) and then I wound the segment down with some fun pop culture sections that contained behind of the scenes tidbits (Panels) and fan reactions (Hall H Line). I weaved in Voiceover, sound ups and music to tie everything together.
The storytelling knowledge that I have attained as an editor in addition to observing producers and directors for years helped me create this Comic Con segment for the podcast. With no network executives to answer to, I produced and edited together something that I would want to hear and it ended up being exactly what I wanted it to be.
The Comic Con Special Episode of Going Postal Show is available on iTunes, Stitcher and www.goingpostalshow.com