Comic Con 2011: Apes, Twilight, Torchwood, An Actor Talks Candidly

Zennie Abraham / Zennie62
Zennie Abraham / Zennie62

Comic Con 2011 (coverage here sponsored by Tout.com) is not only in full swing…

Check out the CNET Base Station at 5th and Harbor in San Diego….

…but an image of this 42nd version is unfolding: and it’s this: the floor talk wasn’t about The Rise of Planet Of The Apes, everyone’s sick of “Twilight.”

In any form.

Yes, there were thousands of fans who slept overnight to see the cast of Twilight: Breaking Dawn. But afterward there was no talk about the panel around the Comic Con floor. It mirrored what this young woman said to me late Wednesday night:

Aside from the fact that this is her eighth Comic Con, and that it’s still very crowded, she said one thing that everyone agrees with: there’s too much Twilight. That’s bad for the movie’s producers, because it means they milked this franchised to the point where some of even its fans are openly tired of it. Time to give Twilight a rest. A lot of energy has turned to the BBC series Torchwood: Miracle Day.

“Torchwood,” the name given previous Dr. Who scripts so people would not figure out what they were, features John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Mekhi Phifer, Alexa Havins Bill Pullman and writer Jane Espenson, at Comic Con. It’s about a “global conspiracy” to change the human race.

The “Torchwood” event panel planners were smart enough to give fans masks that look like they’re from Friday The 13th. That alone was enough to start Comic Con buzz a day before Torchwood’s second event (and massively long line for) Torchwood: Miracle Day panel at 10 AM.

This blogger will be at the William Shatner panel. It’s Shatnerpalooza.

An Actor Talks Comic Con, Hollywood, New Media

As my body doesn’t do well with heat and crowds, we (myself and my friend who’s helping me) sought refuge in the Starbucks inside the San Diego Convention Center. While she left to go get “some real food” since the Starbucks people forgot to put up a sign stating they had sandwiches, a gentleman asked if he would sit down, and I said “yes.”

After a time of silence, we started talking about Comic Con, and that led to this blockbuster video interview. The man’s name is Victor McCay. Mr. McCay has played a number of characters, most recently “Frank Baron” on Harry’s Law on NBC. He was in The Ring, has played in a number of David Kelley-produced shows, and just finished the Ben Affleck-directed movie Argo, a true-story about a CIA man named Tony Mendez who created a fake Hollywood production to get six Americans who were in hiding out of Iran.

Victor has visited Comic Con every year since 2003, and says that it has become more of an industry event. “I don’t remember it being so much about movies and TV,” until five years ago. But Victor says, while that started in 2007, today’s Comic Con is much more about the TV and movie industry than ever before. To the degree this may bother comic book purists, McCay says that given the success of comic books to screen, to name one of the developments, the movie industry’s involvement in Comic Con is “not likely to change soon.”

But there is a problem beyond Comic Con, and McCay says it has to do with the emergence of reality TV. It’s taking jobs away from Hollywood actors because it’s cheaper to make a reality TV show and stick “real people” in it.

He also says that conditions for actors and writers in Hollywood are “worse” since the Writer’s Strike, and “the Actor’s Strike that never happened.” Basically Victor says it’s harder to “make a decent living” as an actor today.

Hollywood, he says (and I have noted on previous occasions) still hasn’t figured out New Media. Victor says that it’s hard for many actors to determine how to gain residual value from online video presentations. I offered that YouTube and other platforms offer some avenue, but what he means is can it become a DVD, or sold on other platforms.

He understands that some actors, like Lisa Kudrow, have seen their online video shows become TV shows on, in her case, The Showtime Network, but it’s still not the norm. It’s also a coin flip, chance-taking effort to McCay, who calls himself an “old school” industry actor. “New Media contracts are not favorable to the people who produce them, they’re favorable to the studios and producers,” McCay says.

Basically, what he means is this: the more complex the movie production, the more people you have to pay. You have to pay actors, set designers, and so on.

If you spent $100,000 to make an online video movie, you’re lucky to get $1,000 from the effort over the next month online, from traffic to the video. And if you have sponsors who’ve paid up to $100,000, you’ve got to make sure the video gets enough traffic to justify the sponsor’s payment. That’s a tall order, too.

Now, let’s says the video costs nothing more than the purchase of a video camcorder, and travel expenses, and maybe other incidentals, and the total is $600. So, you made $400 profit over that month, and if the traffic improves, you will make even more on top of that over the next year.

But that’s not enough to pay for a full, line movie production.

See the problem?

Victors says that while it’s not advantageous to expect to make money in this way, it “can be a way in to” the entertainment industry. A person, like Fred, or a number of YouTube stars, the latest being Rebecca Black, can become TV stars overnight because of online video. But the bottom line is, it’s helping to wreck Hollywood as we know it.

Follow me on Tout and on Twitter for Comic Con.

Stay tuned.

About the Author

Zennie Abraham
Zennie Abraham | Zennie Abraham or "Zennie62" is the founder of Zennie62Media which consists of zennie62blog.com and a multimedia blog news aggregator and video network, and 78-blog network, with social media and content development services and consulting. Zennie is a pioneer video blogger, YouTube Partner, social media practitioner, game developer, and pundit. Note: news aggregator content does not reflect the personal views of Mr. Abraham.

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