What’s it actually like to be a Hypable writer at SDCC? Read our daily diary. The con kicked off on Thursday with some insights from major movie composers and boundary pushing showrunners. Plus, how do press rooms work?
In addition to exhaustive San Diego Comic-Con coverage of all your favorite fandoms, this year Hypable is also bringing you a blow-by-blow blog from each day of SDCC from the perspective of one of our writers. Get a personal, insider’s point of view of how we at Hypable pull off the craziest week of our year and what we do in all the moments that we’re not bringing you breaking news. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot of lining up.
SDCC Day One: Thursday 21 July
For my first panel of the day, I chose to attend the 4th Annual Musical Anatomy of a Superhero in the Indigo Ballroom, which was at that point an easy walk-in. This event featured several famed composers who work in TV and film – specifically action and superhero scores – who gathered to discuss their craft and most recent projects. Panelists included John Powell (How To Train Your Dragon,) Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy,) John Ottman (X-Men: Apocalypse,) Blake Neely (Supergirl,) and Tom Holkenborg (Deadpool.) Clips were shown and each composer deconstructed the sound behind the particular scene they worked on – for example, Neely explained how, when working on the Supergirl and The Flash crossover episode, when Barry and Kara meet, he took the bass line from the Supergirl score to ground the piece because it’s set in that world, and then layered Barry’s theme on top, as the “invading” party. Some choice quotes included Powell revealing that his theme for Jason Bourne was inspired by Matt Damon’s ass — more specifically, the speed and rhythm that he walked — and Holkenborg pitching his idea for the Deadpool score as “I found something that sounds like Miami Vice vs the Beastie Boys but on acid.”
Next, I headed over to Conival, the free off-site event hosted by Felicia Day’s Geek and Sundry in a corner of Petco Park. Security was tighter at Petco than at the actual convention (no open water bottles, no camera tripods or cosplay weapons, walk-through metal detectors) but the Conival space is a cute little summer camp set-up with opportunities to try digital archery and laser tag. They also have a couple of stages for guest appearances – their main stage is set into the stadium stands, using the amphitheater seats for the audience, and it was to this area I was heading to see a mini-panel by the cast of Preacher, due to the fact that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to attend their Hall H panel on Friday. If you’re ever desperate for Comic-Con but can’t get your hands on a ticket, you could almost make a full weekend out of the off-site experiences, including tons of panels from official SDCC guests. Joe Gilgun, Ruth Negga and Graham McTavish appeared and had a fun 20 minute Q and A, in what was a much more lively and intimate experience than your standard SDCC panel.
At 1:00pm, I met up with Karen at the Hilton Bayfront to attend the press room for Teen Wolf. We finalized our questions and checked in, joining around 20 other journalists participating in round tables – where a cast member come sits with a group and answers questions in a mini-press conference – and quite a few full camera crew setups who conduct one-on-one interviews along the press line. We were joined by executive producer Jeff Davis and stars Tyler Posey, Holland Roden, Dylan Sprayberry, Khylin Rhambo and Cody Christian, but it was hard to get a lot of solid answers out of them because this particular press room took place before their actual Ballroom 20 panel, so there’s no new footage or news to elaborate on at round tables – and of course, their panel contained some pretty big news. All the same, it was a fun time, and the fact that we’d tried the virtual reality experience at the MTV booth meant that we were able to at least ask some questions about what their new villains, the Ghost Riders, can do.
On our way out of Bayfront, we quickly walked through the Comic-Con HQ enclave, another off-site with its own stage, promoting the new Comic-Con HQ channel. They’re signing people up to the subscription service and broadcasting live from the con all weekend, including more guest interviews on their own stage. When we went through, they had Adam Savage of Mythbusters and were about to show a robot battle. The con also provides a press room for writers to work quietly on their coverage during the course of the day, so we stopped off there and installed ourselves at a desk in there to start writing up notes from our interviews immediately, appreciating the free wifi and snacks provided.
We then got out our panel passes and headed into Ballroom 20 for Teen Wolf’s actual panel, which kicked off with a first-look trailer at season 6 revealing that Stiles will be erased by the Ghost Riders and forgotten by everyone, which was our prediction after learning what the villains do. After the cast was introduced, Jeff delivered the news that they’d decided to end the show at 100 episodes, at the end of season 6B. Hypable has provided exhaustive coverage of the news that came out of the panel, but on a personal level, it was a heavy experience. As soon as Jeff started his sentence about the show reaching 100 episodes, I knew in my gut what was coming, and for me, the vibe of the room went pretty dead after that. I was at the final Hannibal panel at last year’s con — an event fans KNEW was the last-ever one (at least for now) coming in, and that environment was emotional, but ultimately joyful. Although the cast kept hyping this last-ever Teen Wolf experience at SDCC as a reason to celebrate, it really was more of a downer — though the energy did come up a bit when J.R. Bourne and the newly instated Ian Bohen crashed the panel dressed as Ghost Riders.
Directly after Teen Wolf, I crossed the Sails Pavilion to get to room 6A, where Nerdist’s Alicia Lutes was hosting a panel called “The Boundary Pushers” with Steven Moffat (Sherlock, Doctor Who) and American Gods showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. This was, frankly, one of the best panels I have ever seen, despite Moffat having stressed me out in the past. The conversation touched on the worries of violence being more acceptable than sensuality in media, on fan fiction — something Fuller 100% endorses (“It feels like peers,” he stated) and Moffat said is 100% healthy, and that his own shows are also fan fiction. A lot of the attendees were Fannibals, and it was a chance for Fuller to talk about the freedom he had when creating his beloved cancelled cannibal show — he even brought along a Hannibal doll, which is to be released by Threezero. He also mentioned some tidbits about American Gods, including the potential for bodily function black comedy surrounding the living dead woman Laura Moon, a concept he’s wanted to explore since Pushing Daisies but was deemed inappropriate.
The showrunners also spoke forcefully about the need to normalize gay characters, especially for children, and about how you cannot be too clever for an audience — Moffat admitted that if something falls flat or confuses fans, it’s because they as writers got it wrong, not because it’s too clever for the audience to understand. All in all, it was an incredibly interesting and validating talk. The panelists signed autographs and took photos with fans at the front of the room at the end, and spirits were high.
After spending a few more hours writing up Teen Wolf press notes (and this diary entry) in my hotel, I headed out again to a late night podcast recording of Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, one of Kevin Smith’s regular podcasts, which started as a way to help his longtime collaborator Jason Mewes stay clean after several failed attempts at rehab for substance addiction. I’ve been a Kevin Smith fan for around 15 years, and Karen is a brand new one, so it was my pleasure to take her along and see this event together. That included some reminiscing about Comic-Cons past, the planning of the Mallards TV show, and their regular show segments of Mewes telling a weird sex story, counting his days of sobriety, and reading a journal entry from his time in rehab.
Like Karen recently discovered, Smith is an incredibly socially conscious and intelligent man, despite his toilet humor — and a favorite moment had to be, when talking about meeting John Bradley, his explanation that Samwell Tarly is his Game of Thrones Patronus — he casually but firmly stated that he doesn’t say spirit animal because he has no right to as a non-Native American.
After getting trapped behind a locked door on our way out, we ended up tumbling out into the street right as Smith and Mewes were leaving, and had a very nice conversation. The Gaslamp District is full of events like this during the convention — it is an opportunity for celebrity guests to run their own events and feed off the massive crowd in town, and so it was awesome to see Smith, an SDCC staple for the past 20 years, in his element.
“A Day In The Life at SDCC” will be published for each day of the convention on Hypable, in addition to our usual SDCC coverage.
Wednesday – Preview Night
Thursday – Day One
Friday – Day Two
Saturday – Day Three
Sunday – Day Four