Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dragon Con—Log Supplemental II—CNN

Dragon Con was held in Atlanta. I so wanted to stay in one of the three main con hotels, but I was shut out. I ended up booking in the Omni Hotel. It happens to adjoin CNN headquarters.

They have tours for a reasonable price, so I signed up for one. But first, here’s what part of their food court looks like. Yes, they own the Cartoon Network.

Each bear is about the size of a person on all fours

Not only is that the CNN globe, but that’s a narrow escalator leading up to it. It’s the longest open-air escalator in the country. And that’s what we took to start the tour.

The tour truly was behind-the-scenes. We saw the set for Headline News—CNN owns HLN. The regular morning anchor wasn’t there; it was the weekend host. She wasn’t on camera at the moment, so she waved at us through thick glass. She chatted with the guy in charge of the robocams—huge cameras that moved by remote control.

We were not allowed to take any pictures inside, so we were free to gaze down from a balcony at their newsroom. It looked like any open-air office with cubicles, but with large monitors. Our guide pointed out which desks covered foreign news. They receive news feeds from all over the world and decide what to put on the air.

A particular news studio was incredibly cramped. It showcased smaller segments for CNN, like their medical show. Our guide explained how one man operated all the lights in this studio. I think it was over seventy.

This clip gives you an idea of how cramped some of their studios are. If you don’t like one side or the other of the politics involved, just watch with the sound off.

So this brings me to a short segment from my science fiction novel, Alpha Shift. It’s a minor detail, but one producer operates all the cameras. Knowing that one man runs a multitude of cameras in the present day gives me affirmation. Here, the producer comes out in the open because she wants to meet a celebrity. Is it a good idea?


Terrence ignored the baritone reply and linked his hardcel to the monitor in the corridor to the left, through which Halak had entered. The four assistants from the shuttle loitered there—by coincidence, the same number as their remaining bridge crew: security guard, tech specialist, makeup artist, and producer. The producer—who looked insect-like with her headset, eyepiece, and large microphone stem—normally was back in the control room behind the cameras, using voice commands to operate them and give them signals, but was so eager to meet Halak that she had emerged and was operating the cameras by remote control.

Something strategic. The four assistants had gradually shifted so each one was behind or beside one of their crew.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Dragon Con—Log Supplemental I

Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia, is billed as the largest science fiction/fantasy/gaming/comics convention in the world. I went there for the first time. Also, believe it or not, I used Uber for the first time. I never had need of it before, but it’s much cheaper than those airport shuttles.

I had planned out just about every hour of my stay there in great (but not neurotic) detail on a Word document. But I concentrated so much on summoning Uber correctly, I walked out the door and left all my schedule and all my notepaper behind—including my two no. 2 ½ pencils!

But I did make it to the SeaTac Airport. No, this was not the plane I flew, but a marvelous display of a real plane inside the airport.

I had enough of my schedule memorized, and Dragon Con had sent me a link to their massive program list, so after some feverish work I managed to recreate my schedule using a notepad from the hotel store and a hotel pen.

Sample Page - click to enlarge

The convention was so gigantic, it completely booked three massive hotels, as well as having events at a couple of other hotels and other buildings. Here is a beautiful piece of art in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

The lobbies were jammed. You might see people in costume, or just some lone figure amidst the bustle.

On a similar theme, here’s a stormtrooper and son.

Sometimes a child will have political differences from his father, but that’s okay. 

I saw Harley Quinn there.

A girl needs to get some coffee, right?

Also, Leeloo from The Fifth Element.

They were both dressed for the heat, which was in the upper 80s or 90 degrees, with a good amount of humidity. Because of that, I didn’t stand around for the Dragon Con Parade. But the police were out in force to make sure everyone had a safe time.

They seemed highly amused by the all the cosplayers.

Inside, I confess I didn’t expect to see these gentlemen.

You might decipher from my hand-written schedule that one of the people I wanted to see was John Hemry, who writes by the pen name of Jack Campbell. He’s my favorite author, and I’ve spoken to him at a number of Worldcons. Since I haven’t seen him in a couple of years, I didn’t expect him to recognize me. But though I sat several rows back from where he was speaking on a panel, he spotted me in the audience and waved to me.

For such an accomplished author, he’s a friendly guy and very approachable. You might check out his latest series, The Genesis Fleet.

[Permission granted to use any photo on this post, so long as it is labeled “Photo by Mark Murata”]

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Dragon Con—Writers Conference II

I forgot to mention in my previous postabout the writers conferencethat Jody Lynn Nye brought in professionals to give us expert opinion about the real world of writing.

First was Anne Sowards, an editor at Ace Books. I met her several years ago at a Worldcon. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of her, since it would be outré to take pictures during the conference.

We also had Lucienne Diver, an agent at the Knight Agency. I do have a picture of her from a Worldcon in 2011.

We also had S.M. Stirling speak. Because of an alternate history he’s written, he was quite the expert on Theodore Roosevelt, regaling us with interesting trivia.

All in all, this was a series of experts who were able to answer our questions about this most quirky of careers.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dragon Con—Writers Conference

Dragon Con in Atlanta is billed as the largest science fiction/fantasy convention in the country. The main reason I went was to attend a two-day writers conference hosted by Jody Lynn Nye, a writer I respect. I took along a copy of The Monster Hunter Files for her to autograph. It’s a collection of short stories, and she wrote one of the entries, though this version of the cover doesn’t show her name.

Ms. Nye ran the conference in the traditional style: We had each submitted about the first twenty-five pages of a novel, or a short story. We each wrote down our critiques, either as summary statements or notes on pages. Then one aspiring writer would sit quietly while the other twenty students read or stated from memory their critiques. Then Ms. Nye would give her more extended critique.

This is a very enlightening method. Having to come up with honest critiques of the other writers sharpens one’s own game. And listening to the others helps to crystalize certain thoughts. Ms. Nye gave very detailed critiques of some of us that had a better a chance of getting published, and I think that was her way of pushing us through the last mile.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...