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Canadian Filmmaker Makes First Trip To Comic-Con

Short film ‘Dead Hearts’ to screen Thursday

Canadian Filmmaker Makes First Trip To Comic-Con

Comic-Con kicked off it’s 46th year in San Diego Wednesday with preview night. I spent the evening with a Canadian filmmaker who was making his first visit to Comic-Con. What a blast!

Comic-Con kicked off it’s 46th year in San Diego Wednesday with preview night. I spent the evening with a Canadian filmmaker who was making his first visit to Comic-Con. What a blast!

I have been attending Comic-Con for more than three decades and sometimes that can make me jaded. Don't get me wrong. I love the pop culture convention and it's the only place where I feel normal and totally at home.

But there's nothing like attending the event with a "virgin." I think veteran Con goers should take a kid or a first-timer with them every few years to refresh their memory about what makes the convention such fun.

Stephen W. Martin is a Canadian filmmaker who is showing his short "Dead Hearts" in the Comic-Con International Film Festival Thursday, and last night he was jumping up and down like a 12-year-old and grabbing my arm to repeatedly exclaim, "This is crazy!"

"This is my first time at this big a Con," Martin said. "I go to Seattle but this is like a thousand Seattles in one place. I’ve always wanted to be here so it’s crazy, I’m unbelievably excited. Yeah. Ooooh!"

The first thing he tried to do was get in a Hasbro line to be ticketed for Comic-Con exclusives that he and his friends wanted. He got in line as a groundswell of attendees assaulted the booth, but he made it in.

Photo caption: Stephen W. Martin holds up his "golden ticket" allowing him to get in line fo...

Photo by Beth Accomando

Stephen W. Martin holds up his "golden ticket" allowing him to get in line for Hasbro exclusives.

"Weee! I have a ticket! That was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through, imagine a Disney line but on steroids and on crack. It was crazy," he said.

Sadly, Martin was not able to purchase any of the exclusives he had waited an hour in line for but consoled himself with a Stormtrooper action figure.

He was so cheerful and excited about the whole process that it was infectious.

The lines for exclusives were huge last night with many people buying items and immediately selling them for much more than they had paid.

It made me a little sad to see a young boy exit the booth and explain to a woman that he had just sold the exclusive item he had bought for $50. She congratulated him on his salesmanship but I prefer seeing kids going through those lines to get an item that they desperately want to possess for themselves, not as a business strategy to pay for their Comic-Con badges.

But Martin's enthusiasm for all things Comic-Con — including lines that yielded no victories — was great fun. He left the convention determined to return early in the morning to try again.

Photo caption: Filmmaker Stephen W. Martin proudly shows off his Mondo "Jaws" poster that he...

Photo by Beth Accomando

Filmmaker Stephen W. Martin proudly shows off his Mondo "Jaws" poster that he successfully purchased. He was not so lucky at the Hasbro booth.

Walking the floor with Martin, I did notice something of a change in the booths.

The buzz word for booths this year seems to be "activations," they are not booths but activations that engage people with photo ops, or walk throughs, or chances to make videos to share on social media. There have always been booths doing this, but this year they seem to be upping the ante and more booths seem to be offering more interactive experiences as opposed to swag to take home. MTV has a rather bloody one for Scream the TV series and over at the Ash Vs. The Evil Dead booth you can pick up a foam chainsaw after visiting Ash’s trailer.

Martin was most obsessed with getting in line as soon as possible for the "Star Wars" panel on Friday. But attendees might also want to check out "The Doctor Who" panel Thursday that will feature actor Peter Capaldi, making his first Comic-Con appearance (a friend of mine spotted him on Fifth Avenue). Also on Thursday, Her Universe will hold its second fashion show, which features fan-created geek fashions.

Comic-Con runs through Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center and at various satellite venues.

"Dead Hearts" screens Thursday at 1:55 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom D, Manchester Grand Hyatt.

Check back for a video of Martin's first night at Comic-Con.

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