There’s no experience quite like Comic-Con in San Diego. The swag, the cosplayers, the long lines… It’s no wonder people plan their lives around buying their tickets. For many, it’s an annual pilgrimage.
This year, our man on the floor was Peter Gulsvig. He’s a recent Classical Animation grad currently working at Bento Box Entertainment and his student film, Don’t Be Nervous, screened at the con. Here’s his firsthand report!
By Peter Gulsvig
Graduate (2011), Classical Animation
I definitely picked the right industry to go into. People may be buying fewer houses and cars, but the craving for games, movies, and cartoons is stronger than ever!
From the moment I entered the main floor of the festival, I knew I was home. To my left were giant life-sized promotional statues for The Hobbit. To my right, a large woodland set filled with zombies to build buzz for the upcoming season of The Walking Dead. Of course, the costumes… Some good, some unbelievable. (Unbelievably bad and good.)
My focus was immediately drawn by a flash of green. A tear came to my eye and a spring to my step. THE NINJA TURTLES. The bright welcoming green. The brilliant shine of their weapons. I pushed my father out of the way (he was my honoured guest!) and moved as fast as my 27-year-old body could carry me, crushing several Ewoks and a man dressed in a cardboard Transformers costume.
I patiently waited while my hands quivered in anticipation. My four brothers were busy taking pictures with a group clad in perfect Power Ranger replica costumes. Five minutes passed and the cameras were still snapping. These cosplayers refused to leave, intoxicated by the flash of cameras, reveling in the attention, and ignoring all of the children (and one adult man) the chance to meet their heroes.
“GIVE EVERYONE ELSE A TURN!” I screamed as I threw my Big Bang Theory Comic-Con Bag at the Pink Ranger (I was eager to get rid of it. I would have much rather been handed one with Man of Steel or Pacific Rim bags.) The turtles left. We hates the Power Rangers, we hates them forever…
The screening [of Don't Be Nervous] went very well. The space was large and the audience was eager. I was fortunate enough to have time at the end of the screening to speak about the film and elaborate on the process of writing and developing the story along with the characters. I was sure to mention the excellent instructors of Vancouver Film School and how the program was perfect preparation for my current job as an animator.
The icing on the cake was being able to attend the Adult Swim after party aboard the USS Midway. A helicopter flew in the band Metalocalypse and their performance was followed up by the wonderful Girl Talk, of whom now I am a giant fan! I was able to have a few beers with the creators of my favourite shows.
The experience was unforgettable. Being able to attend as a working animator and as a filmmaker was a dream come true. The longer I work in animation the more astounded I become at how small the world of cartoons is. The degree of separation between animators, producers, and show creators is often only one or two people. I still cannot get over that I know animators working on shows being advertised at Comic-Con, and that I also have the privilege to work with some of the most talented people in the industry.
I was thrilled to see Tim Burton and meet SpongeBob‘s Tom Kenny and Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but none of these added up to the pride of having my dad with me, and having him see his son who has a full time job in animation showing his movie at Comic-Con.
Oh, and I was able to catch up with Donny and Mikey!