Around 9am on Saturday, September 19th we arrived at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Bethesda, MD at the 2015 Small Press Expo. We were there to film our subjects doing what they do - interviewing as many comic book creators, artists and producers as possible out of the hundreds that come to this event every year. For two consecutive days our subjects sat at their makeshift production center from the opening of the Ballroom doors 'til the closing announcement booms over the PA, taking advantage of every possible minute to conduct as many interviews as possible to help this community of creators have their voices hard. The reward? They get to enjoy being around and talking to the same creative types that brought them to this event for the first time 20 years ago.
Neither of our subjects would ever stray far from their setup, out of fear of missing an opportunity to help one of their collective family members promote their works. We witnessed them as not only the interviewers but also dedicated fans, living off of McDonalds alone and managing to keep their energy and enthusiasm up for each and every interviewee that took the plunge, stepping into their showcase. *Bonus for us: their dedication meant our gear always had a trusted security guard, allowing us to move more quickly between shots and gear changes.
All of these potential interviews were made possible by the staff of the Small Press Expo, who tirelessly dedicate their time to help independent artists and publishers promote their products. We found that our subjects were in themselves a microcosm of the SPX itself; maybe that is why they have become such iconic figures within the community as they embarked on their 5th year of interviews.
We really had a lot to do in a little amount of time. The Expo was enormous and full of eye-catching imagery in any direction you looked. Way too many options. It was important for us to capture the scale of the backdrop to our subjects's interviews, both to show how crazy it was for these vendors to get away from their booths and make time for the interviews, and also to simply let the viewing audience understand what was happening immediately around our subjects' interview segments.
Another goal we had was to capture the other side of things, and film people's various takes on what both our subjects and PSX itself means to this community. We were luck enough to find some vendors who gave us some of their time for our interviews. We also walked around the vent using our best stealth techniques to capture it happening without drawing much attention to the tripod and boom mic pointed at people - but at some point someone always laughed when they noticed what was hovering above. Editing. We ended up speaking to many vendors, some on film and some just as we were checking out ideas for shots, and every single person we spoke with was exceptionally nice.
When we left on Sunday, exhausted from the 2 days of shooting, we were surprised by how seemingly easy it had been for us to get the amount of footage we did in the time allotted - much more footage than we had been expecting. We feel that we owe it all to the vendors and staff of the Small Press Expo for being so accommodating. And the Marriott staff was pretty awesome as well. They didn't have to, but they helped us get all of our gear to or from the loading dock anytime we needed.
We're in the editing stages now, and once completed we hope the piece does a good job of portraying our subjects honestly and also that it might get someone interested in the unique and special event event that is the Small Press Expo.
With that being said, it's back to editing. So much footage. Ridiculously way too much footage.
PS, we are going to leave a little teaser below that we cut for SPX to use on their FaceBook page to promote the show. We hope you enjoy!