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Derek's Soapbox

Star Wars Celebration IV casts a long shadow

Well, Star Wars Celebration IV was something else. Something else indeed. I think it ate something like three weeks of my life, leaving me with just blurred memories of stormtroopers, long lines, and chocolate milk chug-offs to show for it.


I have to admit that I was very surprised by how much being there on site and seeing everyone’s intense passion for the show (and the amazing costumes) really rekindled my own interest in the franchise. I’ll be honest, episodes 1 through 3 (and the video games and the novels and the comic books and…) aren’t really for me – they’re for my little brother. I’m more a fan of the older movies that had a wider appeal – they were kewl and awesome when you were a kid but you still love ‘em just as much when you got older (but didn’t necessarily grow up). As I was walking the halls trying to put out fires, however, it wasn’t long before I really wanted to sit down and watch ‘em all again.


Very simply, lightsabers and stormtroopers are some of the coolest things ever and stuff like the Darh Vader Helmet Exhibit clearly demonstrated just how far Star Wars permeates modern culture.


So yeah, I enjoyed myself. It was super crazy insane most of the time (two words from Friday night: “security risk”) but I ended up having a blast. It was all worth it just for the chance to hang out with my volunteers. I wish we had more shows throughout the year so I’d have more excuses to work with them…


But now it’s back to Indy. With a vengeance.


Usually we are busy with Indy, tear our hair out on that show, then come back to the office and have to turn right around and jump into So Cal without much time for a break. Coming off Celebration IV is kind of like that, but instead of a smaller, lighter show we’ve got the biggest Indy ever (40th anniversary anyone?).


Working on Celebration IV unfortunately ate up time and pushed back timelines for a lot of Indy projects so we’re trying to work as fast as we can to catch up. The big priorities right now are program guide content and event placement. Both of those need to get done realsoonnow before we’ll have attention for anything else like late event submissions or some of the specialized programs we’re experimenting with this year, such as Wednesday night gaming. There are going to be a lot of 12-14 hour days in my future for the next few weeks at least.


Program guide content is a challenge for a lot of the programs I’m directly responsible for because unlike most of Gen Con the anime and films (and eGames) aren’t all run by other groups, companies and individuals. The central core of those programs has to be set up and managed directly by us (or another group, such as how Hades Pro handled it for us in the past) and the big SWCIV happened right in the middle of when all that juggling was supposed to happen. It’s the need to try to coordinate the whole schedule of events that’s making it hard to put together the program guide content for anime this year and the film track simply hasn’t gotten the attention I wanted at all this whole year. I still need to revise the film contest timeline and details.


This means that pretty much all our (or at least my) attentions are going to be focused on those two goals: program guide & event placement. Events that were submitted late and haven’t been approved yet will have to wait a bit before being addressed and everyone who is curious about where their events will be should get an answer on that before long. We’re workin’ on it.


That’s probably enough for now – hopefully I’ll have some more new concrete anime & film news for everyone by the end of this week. Stay tuned.


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About Derek Guder

I'm an Event Programming Manager here at Gen Con. My pet projects are the anime & flim events, as well as eGame fun-time, but I also supervise overall gaming event (submission, placement badges, etc.).

I've been going to Gen Con for years as a GM for Eden Studios, running demos of WitchCraft and All Flesh Must Be Eaten that I'd written with "Derek the Elder" and the "Man in the Chicken Coat." It was great sitting down with a bunch of strangers, handing them pre-generated characters (each with their own hosts of secrets) and then sitting back to watch the chaos ensue. Ah, those were the days...

I got into convention work at Anime Boston. I was one of the founding members and with a small group of other dedicated fans, we were able to pull off a wildly successful event: in our first year we have almost 4000 attendees show up and had to close registration and turn people away on Saturday morning, mid-way through the convention.

Ever since then I've loved working at a convention. I almost can't even go to a con anymore unless I'm working in one capacity or another - I just don't know what to do with myself.

So now I'm out in Seattle, but I'm an East Coast boy through-and-through. I grew up all over New England and went to school at Boston University. Seattle's beautiful scenery and weather (c'mon, that ain't rain, it's just a damn light misting) still seems a little unnatural. Where's the snow? The humidity? The sudden drops in temperature? Well, maybe I only actually miss the snow.

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