If you’re interested in a career in movies, books, or comics, or if you have a geeky business you’re looking to grow, San Diego Comic-Con is always a great opportunity. Meeting like-minded people and getting advice from industry professionals is the best way to progress in your geeky career.
Talking with podcasters, artists and other geeky entrepreneurs at my first Comic-Con is what inspired me to start The Entreprenerd Podcast. What geeky passion project are you looking for inspiration for?
Although SDCC was canceled this year, Comic-Con@Home is still hosting hundreds of virtual panels this week. Many of these panels provide a ton of education and opportunities for those looking to create a business or career around something they love. Here are all of the panels going on this week that can help you in your journey (including some independent “offsites” at the end).
While these are all virtual panels, there are still opportunities to network and meet people on a similar journey! Stay active on social media all week. Reach out to creators and panelists and let them know you appreciated their content. Whether it’s in-person or virtual, Comic-Con is still about community!
Building a Geek Brand: Surviving a Pandemic
Thursday 7/23, 10:00am PST
Do you dream of starting your company or brand inspired by your favorite pop culture passions? It’s hard enough to grow a start-up but even harder during a pandemic! Join industry professionals in the area of apparel, publication, and cosplay as they share about the challenges of starting a geek business, how to survive a pandemic, and how to contribute to Black Lives Matter. Tony B Kim (Hero Within) hosts this spirited and inspirational discussion along with panelists Linda Le (VampyBitMe Cosplay), Rachel Litfin (author), and Victor Dandridge (comic book creator).
Artist as Brand, Rise of the Artist Entrepreneur
Thursday 7/23, 3:00pm PST
Greg Spalenka (professional artist in publishing, film and higher education, Sandman, The Golden Compass, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), moderates a panel discussion on art career sustainability. Learn strategies on how to create income from your talent on your own terms. Panelists include Ciruelo (quintessential dragon artist, patrons include George Lucas, Christopher Paolini, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Steve Vai, MTG, Tor, Ballantine), Daniel & Dawna Davis (artist/designers of Steam Crow, publisher of monster themed items, books, prints, clothing and the Monster Rangers), Shiflett Brothers (award-winning sculptors of comic and original designs, Marvel, Oddworld: Abe’s Odysee, Verotik comics, Moore Creations), and Jacquelin de Leon (Illustrator, comic artist, DC Comics, artist entrepreneur, and influencer through Instagram and her Youtube channel).
Prototype and Game Pitches: Publishing Your Tabletop Game
Thursday 7/23, 3:00pm PST
Learn from tabletop game industry professionals as they share tips and experience on how to publish your tabletop game. From general best practices, how and where to pitch to publishers, and self-publishing advice. Find out how to get your game in front of a publisher. Panelists include Pat Marino (senior game designer at The Op Games), Jon Cohn (game designer at Bread and Circuses), Juliana Ariel (game designer at Wild Optimists), Eric Slauson (game designer at Slauson Designs), and Ariel Rubin (game designer at Wild Optimists).
Breaking Into Comics and Staying In!
Thursday 7/23, 5:00pm PST
Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt (Marvel, IDW), Comics Experience creators workshop director Bon Alimagno (Marvel), and artist Sanford Greene (Bitter Root) present an invaluable guide to breaking into the industry! You’re willing to do the work, but the world of comics is tough to crack into; join these pros as they break down the walls and offer practical advice that will jumpstart your career!
How To Thrive as an Indy Comics Creator Now!
Thursday 7/23, 6:00pm PST
Legendary indie comics creator Brian Pulido (creator/writer of Lady Death, Evil Ernie) has over 28 years in the game and has raised over four million dollars for comics via Crowdfunding in the last five years. Want to know how it is done? Pulido details his eight rules on how to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of indie comics. Get all the inside info on how to get ahead of the pack!
From Idea to Hired: Books, TV, Film, and Comics
Friday 7/24, 1:00pm PST
Agents, managers, and book editors come together to answer questions about how to take your writing career from the blank page to sold. They’ll answer questions about writing the breakout project, getting representation, what it takes to sell a book to film, industry scoop, and more. Moderated by Nathan Bransford (author of How to Write a Novel), this year’s panel features Quressa Robinson (Nelson Literary Agency), Holly Root (Root Literary Agency), DongWon Song (Howard Morhaim Literary Agency), and Lars Theriot (Industry Entertainment).
Get It On the Table: Designing Your Tabletop Game
Friday 7/24, 3:00pm PST
Come hear advice from veterans in the Tabletop Industry on how to design games, game design theory, where game design is headed, and what kinds of games people are making. Learn about game design in 2020 and what games are moving the industry forward. Panelists include Eric Lang (game director at CMON), Emerson Matsuuchi (game designer at Nazca Games), Kathleen Mercury (game designer), Sen-Foong Lim (game designer at Bamboozle Brothers), and Elisa Teague (freelance game designer, designer for Dungeons & Dragons).
How to Make a Comic From Start to Finish
Friday 7/24, 4:00pm PST
Wanna learn how to make a comic? Where to start? How panels work? What does one letter with? Does it need to be in color? And much, much more! Acclaimed industry pro Brian Haberlin (Spawn, Witchblade, Sonata, The Marked) will take you through the process using his Image Comics creations as examples and will touch on the whole process from soup to nuts! Join for a LIVE Q&A session after the panel. Details at https://www.instagram.com/brianhaberlinofficial/
Building Your Own Themyscira: Connecting With Other Geeky Bosses
Friday 7/24, 6:00pm PST
Jordan Dené Ellis (co-editor of The Sartorial Geek) hosts a round table discussion about best practices for networking and the importance of finding your community with Robyn Warren (owner, Geek Girl Strong), Matt Cox (playwright, Puffs and Kapow-i GoGo), Jazzlyn Stone (freelance comics marketer), and Rose Del Vecchio (co-owner, FanMail).
Finance For Creatives
Saturday 7/25, 11:00am PST
The Coronavirus outbreak has affected so many individuals and businesses financially in the creative industry. This panel will be discussing some of the financial, tax, and credit issues that creatives are experiencing, including resources of where to turn to for help and support. Panel guests include Sean Nisil (certified financial planner), Neil Narvaez (owner, Professional Tax Services, LLC), Eric Atilano (loan officer, C2 Financial), industry professionals Chris Neuhahn (5-time Emmy-award winning producer & animator), and Alonso Nunez (founder and art director, Little Fish Comic Book Studio). Moderated by Karen Martin (The Princess Project).
How to (Still) Be a Nerd For A Living
Saturday 7/25, 6:00pm PST
Have you built a business or career in the “nerdy” industry you love – but now that a global crisis has blindsided the world, you’re not sure what to do? You’re not alone! This evolution of our annual How To Be a Nerd For A Living panel will share advice (and plenty of real talk) from a variety of pop culture industry professionals about the changes they’re making for our current times. Panelists including Robyn Warren (founder of Geek Girl Strong), Valentine Barker (freelance illustrator and comic artist), Chris Sanchez (editor-in-chief of Mad Cave Studios), Jazzlyn Stone (freelance comics marketer and host), and Wendy Buske (co-founder of Nerd For A Living, Fictitious podcast) will discuss how they’re industries are evolving (sometimes day-to-day), where they are struggling, and what they’re doing to stay productive and plan as much as possible for future.
Comic-Con Film School
Sunday 7/26, 12:00pm PST
This is a nuts and bolts class on how to make a movie for very little money using available video hardware and software. Whether you’re shooting your first Fortnite fan film or that story about the leather-clad girl who hunts vampires, this course will take you from script to final product so that you too can enter your own movie into the CCI: IFF. Panelists for the class include Valerie Perez (producer/star of the Paula Peril series), Jack Conway (creative producer Next Generation Esports), Vera Vanguard (writer/producer/star of Breaking Barbi), Nick Murphy (writer/director of All Night Skate), Josh Perilo (creator/writer of Hindenburg), Sean Rourke (writer of Ballistica), and actors Megan Rees, Kelsey Walmer, and Bradley Upton.
Writing for TV: From First Draft to Getting Staffed
Sunday 7/26, 1:00pm PST
Moderator Spiro Skentzos (Arrow) along with Bob Goodman (Elementary), Niceole Levy (Cloak & Dagger), Jaime Paglia (Eureka), and Letitia Baylor (manager, scripted content, NBCUniversal Networks) discuss navigating the TV spec terrain–including beginner’s mistakes, what they look for in a writer and what it takes for you to write a killer spec that will stand above the crowd.
How to Create Your Own Novel: From First Idea to Publishing and What You Need to Sell Your Work Into TV and Film
Sunday 7/26, 3:00pm PST
The Winner Twins, Brittany and Brianna, multiple award-winning and national-bestselling science fiction and fantasy authors, will explain how to create your own novel step by step, from building your universe to overcoming writer’s block to the different paths to publishing. They will be joined by Todd McCaffrey (New York Times bestselling author, Dragonriders of Pern), Kevin J Anderson (New York Times bestselling author and publisher of Wordfire Press, The Saga of Seven Suns, The Star Wars Universe, The Dune Universe), and Rebecca Moesta (national-bestselling author, publisher and CEO of Wordfire Press, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Junior Jedi Knights, A Christmas to Remember). They will share their war stories, their writing secrets, and discuss their insights and advice on writing through the Covid-19 era.
Making A Living Being Creative
Sunday 7/26, 3:00pm PST
Screenwriter AC Bradley (Arrow, Trollhunters, and Disney+ upcoming What If?), storyboard artist Jess Cuffe (Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and HBO’s upcoming Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai), and freelance artist Lee Kohse (Star Wars, Voltron, Aliens) discuss the ins and outs of working full time as a creator, how they broke into the industry, what it’s like to work in the entertainment industry, and give advice to up and coming creatives. Moderated by Johnny Kolasinski (writer for ScreenRant and Podcaster for DISCO Trek, and Hi Everybody: A Bad Medicine Podcast).
Careers in Geek Fashion
Sunday 7/26, 4:00pm PST
Fans can express what they love and connect with most in pop culture through fashion now more than ever. From clothing to cosmetics, the industry expands every year and fans can be more than just consumers of it. Moderated by Lisa Granshaw (GeekFold, Backstage), panelists Rosa Menendez (Esports Makeup), Dan Madsen (Svaha), Jeff Trexler (Fashion Law Institute), and Dan Richard (DPI Promo, Bethesda Gear) will discuss different ways you can work in geek fashion, their career paths, how the current situation with the coronavirus has impacted the industry, and more.
Everyone’s a Critic: Being a Journalist in an Online Age
Sunday 7/26, 4:00pm PST
Panelists include Bill Watters (contributor, ScreenRant, SYFY Wire, Nerdbot), Mary Anne Butler (news editor, Nerdbot), Thomas Parham (professor of communication and media at Palm Beach Atlantic University), Alan Ng (editor-in-chief, FilmThreat), Bob “Movie Bob” Chipman (movie critic, The Escapist), and Alexandra August (contributor, CBR, ScreenRant). The past decade has seen an explosion in the scope of journalism-from the rise of citizen-journalism to blogging to vloggers, podcasters, and online-only news sources. This panel of writers and hosts will talk about the impact that 2020 has seen on film and streaming releases, impacts on fandom, and the companies that create them. Panelists will touch on recent releases and what they expect out of the upcoming months as people settle in and discover what the “new normal” might entail.
Full Time Creative Work On A Part Time Schedule
Sunday 7/26, 4:00pm PST
This panel is for any group with a goal. That claim may sound lofty, but there is a reason this panel has been lucky enough to be on San Diego Comic Convention’s schedule for 12 years. This panel is a unique approach of talking about vital, but base concepts which mean the covered topics can apply to any project size or scope in any media or anything in creative or geek culture from purely fun to high-end professional quality hobbies to profit-generating professional endeavors. How is the information that widely applicable? No matter what your project is there are always the challenges of time management, resource management, and communication. Anyone working on any of the following could use the information covered: comic books, TV/film, animation, podcasts, costuming/cosplay, fan groups, music, illustration. blogging, music, or webcomics. Just some of the topics covered in the panel this time are the need of working with others, sharing your dreams with a team, changing ways people remember you after you’ve met, tips on what is important when building your website, and what success means to you and your project or end goals for whatever your creativity is expressed as. The panelists are: Moderator Ron Coleman Ph.D. (molecular geneticist and comic writer) joins James Frye (manager editor for TheConGuy.com), Luke Cheeseman (director of media for TheConGuy.com), Sean Glumace (Adobe education leader, comic book letterer), Gene Turnbow (founder/station manager Krypton Radio), Dr. Renah Wolzinger, (owner Renzone Music), Topher Davila (art director for GeekdomWear.)
The Grind NEVER stops, not even during a quarantine
Sunday 7/26, 4:00pm PST
This is a panel video to get you energized and ready to rise and grind. There is no better time than now to get yourself in the best position to produce creative work. The pandemic is no excuse, it is actually the catalyst to work even harder. Bryan “Kaiser” Tillman, a long time panelist at San Diego Comic-Con, best known for his Proper Pitching and Promoting Yourself panel, is giving you tips on how to crush your time during this pandemic. Now’s the time to get to the grind and with these tips and tricks you will be well on your way to developing a fantastic project to show at Comic-Con 2021.
Just like the normal SDCC, there is plenty going on this week outside of the official Comic-Con@Home programming. Check out these panels/virtual cons/live streams going on this week:
Movers and Shakers Unlimited SDCC at Home
Host Brandon Troy is spending all week talking SDCC with creators, journalists, and industry members that are staples in the Comic-Con community. Brandon and guests talk about their SDCC experiences, working conventions, creating content and engaging with people during virtual cons, and the future of comic conventions moving forward. These live streams are going on all week so check out the full schedule on Facebook. You’ll see me talking with Brandon on Friday 7/24, at 9:00 am PST.
Nerds Unite Con
A collection of podcasters, streamers, and SDCC attendees felt the gap left by Comic-Con this year – especially from a community perspective. This network of podcasters from across North America is bringing panels, giveaways, games, artists, and much more from the realm of nerd culture. The inaugural Nerds Unite Con runs from July 22-26, a virtual con put on by fans for the fans! Check out their channel for the full schedule which is released daily. Here are some panels that stand out for the entreprenerd:
- Aspiring Artists Panel with Secondary Heroes, Thursday 7/23, 1:00pm PST
- Making a Toy w/ Funko with Geek Together, Thursday 7/23, 5:00pm PST
- How to Stream On Twitch with Valorandvellum and Guests, Friday 7/24, 2:00pm PST
What panels are you most looking forward to this week? Anything I missed that need to be added? Let me know on Twitter @UndertheCapes!