Home Behind The Curtain The State Of The Union (12th May 2015)

profile pic - leonard (edited, large)“Ooh, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, I hope I remember how they work. Hi there, everybody!

This is just a quick post to give you a heads-up on what’s been happening in my world, what preparations I’ve been making for San Diego Comic-Con 2015 and what I really need to do to make An Englishman In San Diego a valuable resource for you guys during this years event. 

I suppose the big news for me to share is: I WILL BE ATTENDING SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON AS PRESS, FOR THE FIRST TIME, IN JULY 2015!

This is exciting stuff for me and I’m thrilled that I will be making the journey to San Diego this year in an official reporting capacity, not just a guy with an over-abundance of tweets under his belt. I’m going to be joined by Neil Williamson, a SDCC UK Attendee comrade who will be helping me out to cover the ground the best we can, either by supporting my own efforts around the con by providing IT know-how, uploading content, editing posts and generally being my right-hand man but also sourcing content himself, filming panels, reporting on con updates and the like. Between the pair of us, I think we can bring you a lot of interesting coverage of SDCC 2015 and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

However, there’s still so much to do to prepare for the event and so much to cover 

Which leads me on to the first big point of this State Of The Union: Stocking The Armoury

To do what I want to do, at UK and International conventions, to bring you the best coverage that I can, takes some proper equipment. I can only do so much with the domestic equipment to hand – my iPhone (getting a bit overburdened with data and video), my iPad Mini (with a paltry 16Gb capacity, filled to the brim already), a selfie stick and this beast of a laptop of which I not entirely convinced of its stability.

To the end of providing you with the coverage I feel you deserve, I’ve made up a shopping list of things I think I’d need to get this journalism thing I’m embarking on right and I think I don’t actually need that much. But that’s not why I mention it.

I’ve come to realise I need a fair amount of materials to do this website right – equipment; resources; content storage and curating; writers, webmasters and editors, both here at home and the UK; photographers; remote hangout hosts, etc, – and that takes funding. I’m not going to tell how much I’ve calculated I need because that’s not the question I’m asking: what I’d like to know is, if I asked, would you support me on my endeavours?

More specifically, if I set up a Kickstarter/Patreon campaign, would you feel the site worth putting any money in? Have I proven that An Englishman In San Diego is a going concern and that, for all my hiccups, I’m doing my absolute best to keep the most interesting and compelling web content flowing that would justify you throwing some coins in the well?

I’m not doing it yet, I’m just trying to work out if anyone would willingly give me any money to keep this bird in the air. We are still wa-aaaaaay away from things like reward tiers, relax. Just floating the idea out there so see if it’ll swim. My first port of call will be ringing around and trying for corporate sponsorship but I’m keeping all options option at the moment.

The next big bulletpoint of this SOTU ties in with all that: Manpower.

I put a request post out there some time ago for people who might be interested in using AEISD as a platform for experience or simply somewhere they would like to get their names out there in the nerdosphere. I got some initial first contacts but, as time went on, the novelty wore off and they faded away into the ether. I don;t know nif it was a case of me not being a strong enough editor to keep them motivated and have them keep producing for the site – if that was the case, then that’s something I need to work on – but I still need contributors to keep content flowing. I’ve got the materials coming in, I just need willing bodies to take those materials and put them on the site in a way that I, and they, can be happy to show our friends and not be ashamed.

Do you think that could be you? I know I definitely looking for Comics Reviewers so they will always be welcome but I’m also looking for people interested in Collectibles And Exclusives, Television And Films and Video Games. I’m looking for people to keep myself and Neil informed when news that you think we should be covering shows up. I’m looking for volunteers heading out to San Diego, willing to jump in on our Periscope account and record panels and cosplay and art demos and signings. Hell, I’m especially looking for someone who finds signings, conventions and festivals fascinating enough that they’d be willing to keep the Artist Signings/Appearance Calendar updated. Any help would be appreciated, big or small.

Would you be interested? Do you somebody who might be? Spread the word, encourage them to get in touch. I’d love to hear from them.

Which leads me on to point #3: I guess this One-Man Band needs to make an apology – I haven’t been playing the tunes as loud as usual, I’ll admit.

If you’re a regular visitor to this site (first and foremost, THANK YOU SO MUCH!, you have no idea how much that means that you keep coming back, I really appreciate it), you may have noticed a decided drop in output quantity for the last couple of weeks. This has been to a whole slew of events: a confluence, if you will. (I love that word, I understand why Shaun Marshall likes it so much. But I digress.)

Basically, it’s been a combination of being a one-man band, striving to keep all of this going single-handedly and a bunch of technical issues beyond my control, starting with a WordPress server that stubbornly refused to post my articles, something that’s been going on since my trip down to the Capital to attend London Super Comic Con, back in March. I had such an amazing time at the ExCel, meeting some amazing people and getting the opportunity to see it all at the generosity of the organisers who gave me one of my first Press Badges to attend this event. 

However, it was a month later when I discovered that, along with a whole host of posts and unbeknownst to me, the coverage that I’d typed up – including a gallery of rather tasty pics that I had taken – for LSCC, had not been posted at all: I’d just assumed and moved on to the next topic in my feed. Around twenty posts didn’t go up and it’s only recently that I’ve realised that it wasn’t the case. I must have come across so rude and ignorant. To the Press Office and the wonderful boys and girls of London Super Comic Con, I’m incredibly sorry and I’ll do my best to do a look back at the weekend shorty. Bear with me.

I’ve managed to sort out these bugs with my hosting supplier and I’m doing my best to work through replacing a number of the missing posts – well, the ones that you might still interesting, now that the corpse has gone cold on a couple of the stories – but that’s where Technical Issue #2 has reared it ugly head: a crappy laptop which froze and locked up at the slightest mention of hefty processing requirements. Or, for that matter, basic processing requirements.

This has meant that I’ve run behind with posting a couple of recent articles, all backing up from the beginning of last week (4th May 2015). I’ve recently been able to retire the POS to a dark, unforgiving space under the stairs as I’ve located a reasonable replacement for my HP HDX 9000 21″ powerhouse, second-hand on eBay. It’s working so far and it’s so cool to be back, working on a proper screen that I can multi-task on and that I’m not having to squint to see if the mouse pointer is still doing what it’s supposed to be doing instead of just hanging there, dormant on my screen.

So, just to say, I’m playing a quite considerable amount of catch-up: bear with me. Hopefully, in the next week or so, I should have everything back up to speed so we can concentrate on the final stretch. It hasn’t all be frustrations and hardships over the last few months so, then, to the plus points I can call on.


1. The Talkin’ Comic-Con: A Cup O’ Tea Hangouts

I have been so thrilled at how well these have been received, both as a live show on a Sunday but also as audio podcasts, it’s been gratifying that so many have found them useful, entertaining, informative – that’s awesome. We’re going to keep them going every Sunday between now and SDCC so, please, do keep tuning in and of course keep spreading the word so more can join us for these round table affairs. Hopefully, we’ve got some surprises coming up that you’ll really enjoy – watch this space.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank those that have supported us with prize giveaways on the Hangouts, from Universal Pictures who provided some great Ex_Machina merch, to the Baker Street Babes for giving away some tickets to their amazing SherlockeDCC party last weekend. I would especially like to thank Dark Bunny Tees for jumping in and giving away tees, hoodies and promo codes when I asked and pestered – I haven’t done so recently because I didn’t want to come across as taking the piss. They really have just given away stock and been incredibly generous to us, whenever I’ve dropped Alex and the team a line, they always delivered. I only hope that we can continue to have a great relationship with them in the future, fingers crossed – without them, this last run of Hangouts wouldn’t have been the fun and the success they were.

2. The Englishman In San Diego vlogs

They’re coming back for a six-week run. They’re the first things I ever did online as ‘An Englishman…’, I enjoy doing them and I can’t wait to start them back up again. Not a clue what I’m going to talk about but, hey, that’s never stopped me before.

3. The SDCC UK Attendees Group

We’ve grown from strength to strength and, with our brand new Ian Churchill artwork on our chest, I look forward to introducing a whole new batch of SDCC first-timers to my favourite nerd holiday. I’m convinced they’ll get the bug as badly as the rest of us have.

4. The SDCC Online Community

Off the back of the Hangouts, the number of people I’ve met online that embrace the Comic-Con online culture with optimism, community and passion, has grown substantially. There’s even been talk of a SDCC Bloggers meetup this year – I have NO idea when all of us will have the time to come together and make it happen but I’m looking forward to giving it a try!

And, of course, I have to give praise to my existing collection of online friends – indeed, those I consider my family. I’m not going to list them all here, at the risk of leaving somebody out, but you all know who you are and you really should be aware that that I love you for being there and doing what you do. (Yes, even you, Jeremy, believe it or not.)

5. *************************** !!!

Right, something exciting I absolutely can’t talk about yet but, if it comes off, could be quite the highlight of my San Diego this year. Seriously, the second I find out its happening, you WILL know because I’ll be shouting it from the gorram rooftops. Sacrifice a bucket of fresh KFC for me and chant me a summons from the underworld, the next chance you get.

6. The UK Cons and the People I’ve Met

Thought Bubble, The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival, MCM Expo, London Super Comic Con… they all have been amazing events in their own special ways and I’ve been incredibly grateful that, when I’ve introduced myself (rather naively and cheekily) as a journalist, the organisers and press officers haven’t just laughed me out of the door – indeed, a couple of these events have even allowed me run of the show, LSCC and MCM Expo in particular, for which I am incredibly grateful. I just hope that I can continue to support these events as AEISD grows – I feel in doing so, I’m completely fulfilling my reason for starting the site in the first place.

Speaking of being incredibly supportive, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Joel Meadows, the editor-in-chief of Tripwire Magazine, a comics and pop culture publications which has, in recent months, translated over to a brand new digital website. Joel has been a professional journalist for many years and he has been incredibly generous with his time and patience, giving me invaluable advice on how I should conduct myself as a fledgling website myself – I only hope I can implement a tenth of the faith he has shown in me. Thank you so much, Joel. (In return, I’ve helped the guy out with the first steps of Tripwire Online – any hiccups on that site, it’s all me, I’m afraid. Just another thing to keep me awake at night…)


I’m certain there’s more I’ve forgotten to say but this post is a start and I’m certain there will be plenty of chances for me to rectify this over the coming weeks – honestly, even I’m going to get sick of the sound of my own voice, even if you haven’t yourselves already. Remember, Alyssa, just keep making the ‘time out’ signal, I’m certain I’ll start taking the hint one of these days!

THIS ENGLISHMAN’S JOURNEY SO FAR IS ONLY THE BEGINNING…”

Leonard Sultana

Ready for bed, 12th May 2015

 

 

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