Saturday 9pm - late: The fun continues into the night at the STAPLE! after-party — Fistful of Live Art! Head downtown to Club Deville at 900 Red River for live art by Jim Mahfood, Dave Crosland and the first ever Live Art Battle Royale(I may update this post later with scans, if I decide that helps and doesn't hurt the independents I'm trying to support.)
between local Austin Living Artists and members of the San Antonio Artslam Crew! Music will be provided by 3Deep and admission is FREE!
I went to STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo today, as a sort of unofficial kickoff for my month o' insanity. I'm glad I did.
I went to the original STAPLE! in 2005, and just realized a missed last year's show because of Oscar and Independent Spirit Award parties. So, for those folks I told today I've been coming to STAPLE! since it started, I, uh, haven't been.
To summarize, I go to STAPLE! because (A) I'm a comic book junkie, (B) I like to support independent artists (comic or otherwise), (C) I enjoy meeting and building new relationships with like-minded creative folks, and (D) I'm looking for additional voice work with the kinds of people with whom I'd like to work, doing the kinds of projects on which I'd like to work. Oh, and (E) to pick up free swag; which turned out to be a miserable failure today. But I did buy a bunch of awesome stuff (which goes back to (A) and (B); and feeds into (C); and possibly buys people for (D); who knows).
First stop: Independent Animation panel
The expo started at 10 a.m., but I decided to wait to start the show with the 1 p.m. Independent Animation panel -- which rocked.
The panel consisted of Aaron Romo of Squirrelworks (dude's bio seems to be down), Evan Cagle (whose personal site also seems to be down, but I've linked to the AnimWatch interview with him), and Lance "Fever" Myers (whose Website is up! Whoot!).
(There was a fourth guy on the panel, but I got there late and missed his introduction, plus he said nothing for the 1.5 hours.)
Cagle and Myers both worked on A Scanner Darkly in Austin, and I met two or three other guys throughout the day who did the same.
I saw clips of everyone's stuff (including Cagle's "secret animated project that few have seen"), asked questions, and got some insight into the different tools and methodologies being used by these top-notch creative folks.
(As an aside, Flash is wicked underused; and did Adobe buy everyone I used to use?)
Cagle's trailers for "Honey" and his secret project (I'm not sure the title's public, so I won't slip it here) were amazingly polished ("Honey" almost gave me a Grave of the Fireflies vibe, and superSecretRoboActionAdventureProjectGo! was space-opera stunning (in one place hitting me almost with a mythic feel from an anime that's currently escaping me).
Romo's stuff is great, and aside from his mad animator skillz, he almost stole the show with just his humor and having fun, to which the stick-in-the-mud audience didn't laugh enough (except me, which irritated the large gentleman sitting next to me, but he left early; I think to shower).
Myers's stuff I found fascinating in a (polished) Adult Swim kind of way. Be sure to check his entries out on the Super Deluxe Website and vote for his stuff (and, if you're like me, expect to spend a loooot of time on the site). I also got to see "Subsidized Fate" in its entirety.
When I look at Myers's site (especially things like his storyboard-to-render comparisons, I feel very silly with my stick figure storyboards for my own "Project X". Not that I'll stop.
Then I got to hang out and chat briefly each with Romo, Cagle, and Myers (sounds like a law firm). I talked longest to Myers in particular, because I knew at least a half dozen people credited in his films.
Touring the expo:
(I'm going to miss someone, so I apologize in advance.)
While 2005 was a good experience for me, this year had far fewer, "I-don't-belong-here, I'm-not-one-of-them" kinds of moments. I also was only guilted into buying one piece of crap, and all the other stuff I bought is stuff I genuinely want to check out.
First, thanks to Austin Books & Comics for sponsoring, and congrats to the new Rogues Gallery Comics and Games (what was Dragon's Lair Round Rock) -- that's exciting stuff.
Then, it was a quick run past the United Fanzine Organization's table (I met Jason DeGroot years ago, and he just keeps on keeping on), picked up a ton of sampler stuff, and got a great Captain America sketch (just for me) from Vo, who used to do comics, and doesn't anymore, but should.
(And Captain America rocks, so Schnee can just shove it.)
I met artist Brock Rizy, and bought his previous Emily Edison comic. Rizy's stuff looks stylized and polished, and I like the premise of the upcoming iBIKE_GANG!, which is going to blend animation and live action this fall (a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit). Sure, they say they've already cast everyone, but they still got a copy of my demo.
I met writer/artist Rob Osborne, mainly because the first page of his sketch book is of WWII Captain America (yeah, there's a theme; deal with it). But I ended up hanging around to talk to Rob because he's ridiculously engaging -- great listener, personable, neat guy, and talented. And I bought his sketch book. Then I hung out and off from the table to watch him talk with folks. Good vibe.
Then it was off to talk (probably longer than they wanted) to Chris Moujaes, Leila Moujaes, and Aaron Romo (again) over at SquirrelWorks. I met them a couple of years ago, have been a fan since, and wanted to pick up recent copies of their stuff. They rewarded me with some slick sketches. They're opening a new studio (congrats!) and are great, pleasant folks with whom to chat.
I picked up some stuff from Kirk Chavarria, (I dig the look of Sprocket!!), including a marketing gimmick he had that I really like. It's like something I do, but in a different way; a way I told him I might steal.
Finally, I met Paul Adam, whose super-detailed, high production quality work screamed "Concept Artist" before I even looked at his business card. I picked up his sketch book, and he generously drafted a nice, serious, Captain America pencil sketch.
Those are the highlights (which makes it worse for anyone I missed, I know), and a great way to spend a quick Saturday afternoon. I made sure to thank the organizers before I bailed
I may write about the different things I read from the expo on my "I'm Reading" blog.
Though the after party started a few minutes ago (and is free), I'm not going.
I'm just now building relationships with people in the comic book industry, so for me to go to the party would be that relationship without sincerity networking that I gave up years ago (because I realized I was getting too good at it).
But if you get this on Saturday night, you can head downtown for the "9 'til late" party (see details at the top of this post).