Everything You Wanted to Know About Dragon*Con But Were Afraid To Ask

Bill Meeks writes for Bleeding Cool;

Hello, Bleeding Cool audience! I’m Bill Meeks and I’m going to be covering Dragon*Con for Bleeding Cool again this year… nifty, huh? Last year Bleeding Cool taught you how to stand in line, cosplay, self publish a superhero novel, and of course drain your balls.

This year is going to be better than ever thanks to a handful of folks who liked last year’s coverage enough to sponsor this year’s coverage via IndieGoGo. They helped me pay for accommodations at one of the host hotels where I’ll be setting up a futuristic command center to get all the Con goings-on out of downtown Atlanta and right into your eyeholes in a timely manner. I have some interviews with some fairly big names lined up, and of course I’ll bring you full coverage of the parade and the amazing costumes (or lack thereof).

Last year I gave attendees some tips based on personal experience, but this year I thought I’d go to an expert: Dan Carroll, long-time Media Relations Director for Dragon*Con and self-proclaimed ‘Pro-Bono Public Relations Hack to the geek and under-served entertainment markets.’

Bill Meeks: For the uninitiated… What is Dragon*Con?

Dan Carroll: Dragon*Con is the largest fan-run convention in the world focusing on gaming, comics, TV, film, music, literature, live performances and so, so much more. This year we are expecting over 50,000 attendees, nearly 400 celebrity guests, and will be presenting over 1600 hours of programming. We have also become well known internationally for our amazing costuming attendees, with an estimated 40% of the attendees in costume. These costumers have contributed to the success of the Dragon*Con Parade, which is now the biggest parade in the city of Atlanta. Dragon*Con is also distinct in that it is indeed a fully twenty four hour event for all four days with over night programming and parties… So, what’s is Dragon*Con? A lot of fun.

Bill Meeks: Are there any new rules/security measures this year that attendees should be aware of?

Dan Carroll: There are two significant security rules that attendees should know. The first is that the badge check that was so successful last year will be extended to the Hilton Hotel and the hours will be extended. The badge check ensures that hotel spaces are available to members, or badge holders. We have found the hotels work with us well to ensure that the open spaces are reserved for members.

The second rule is that Dragon*Con is asking that no actual weapons be carried during the convention. For the sake of our attendees, Dragon*Con has conferred with the hotels and local law enforcement and will be enforcing this policy. Only licensed law enforcement officers will be permitted to carry fire arms.

Bill Meeks: Bleeding Cool focuses on the Comics, TV, and Film aspects of Geekdom (although Brendon’s love of The Muppets threatens to trump all other coverage, and rightly so). What are the ‘can’t miss’ events this year for Bleeding Cool fans?

Dan Carroll: The large panels are always popular with the fans and this year we have some amazing headlining guests include two who are here for the first time. MacGuyer’s Richard Dean Anderson, also the star of Stargate SG-1 will be holding panels. From TV’s X-Files, Gillian Anderson will be attending. Stan Lee is returning. The comics guests are tremendous this year with Jim Starlin and Neal Adams returning along with nearly 100 other comic artists. For the TV buffs we have Adam West and Burt Ward, TV’s original Batman and Robin, as well as Bruce Boxlietner, famous for his role as Tron and Captain John Sheridan on Babylon 5. This is just the tip of the 400 celebrity guests that are attending!

Bill Meeks: Enough with the tips for the newbs. Dan,what are you personally most looking forward to at this year’s convention? I mean, you’ve been attending for years so I’d imagine you’re pretty hard to impress.

Dan Carroll: Possibly my biggest excitement this year is the new Puppetry Track. The Puppet Slam movement is growing and Dragon*Con’s first puppet slam last year turned many in line because the popularity of puppetry is so broad. Lead By Beau Brown, Carl of the Sci-Fi Janitors Bob and Carl, this track will delve into the history and theory and successes of puppetry as well as provide workshops on puppetry.

Bill Meeks: Well, it’s not The Muppets but it still sounds pretty cool. Okay, time for some hard journalism. Dragon*Con has avoided becoming a glorified Hollywood press conference like San Diego. It’s for geeks by geeks which is one of the reasons I love it. Is that a conscious effort on the part of the organizers?

Dan Carroll: While we appreciate that every convention has its own unique identity, Dragon*Con is primarily a hotel convention, and that sets the tone for the costuming and the party like atmosphere. With the expansion to five hotels in recent years the festival atmosphere is built into the structure of the show. We love our guests who come each year, but the real star of Dragon*Con is Dragon*Con’s members who are coming to see each other, as much as coming to see any specific star or programming.

Bill Meeks: Judiciously answered. Dan, you’ve been with the Con for a number of years. What’s the best costume you’ve ever seen?

Dan Carroll: First reaction is a 8-9 foot Galactus I saw in 2007. It was Kirby perfect and so well executed. In terms of quality, there is a great costumer named Danny from the UK who has an amazing Xenomorph (Alien) costume… A personal of favorite of mine is always any Jean Grey/Phoenix with gold legs and arms.

Bill Meeks: I love the Xenomorph costume guy! He gave me a hug once… so creepy.If there was one piece of advice you could personally give to every attendee what would it be?

Dan Carroll: Let me give you my five favorites:

Hydrate!

Hygiene!

Make a plan!

Be willing to change that plan if something cool comes up or you need to slow down!

Use the App! (Meek’s note: The Dragon*Con 2012 app is available for free on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices).

If you are attending Dragon*Con you probably know everything you need to you. If you aren’t attending the Con you probably already feel bad enough so I won’t rub it in, but I’ll do my best to make you feel like you’re there with my coverage from the Con next week. Check back here August 30-September 3 for articles, photos, videos, and a heaping helping of Geek love right here on Bleeding Cool.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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