There’s an energy at some conventions that is invigorating, contagious, and simply awesome. Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo has it in spades, and no wonder. They had almost 100,000 people attend this year’s event. How cool is it to be telling people the week before that they can’t get in because it’s sold out? The non-geeks in my life had a look of shock on their faces when they thought they could just come down on the weekend to check it out. “In Calgary? I can’t get in?” Yes, that’s correct, welcome to the new Calgary. Make sure you get your tickets early next year.
Our company is in an interesting period right now and it was evident by the design of our booth, which physically differentiated the parts of our business. Although special effects (mechanical and make-up) are still a big part of what we offer, over the past few years we’ve taken some of our other skills and put them towards creating and producing our own stories, right now via film, but with more non-film to come. So while we did the popular special effects make-up demos at our booth, and showcased our make-up products from bloods to gelatin to bruise powder, we had a higher profile this year of our creative content side, namely that of Skeleton Girl, our first film, and Mary and The Looking Glass, our next film in our Twisted Tales for Demented Children anthology.
But I’m not writing this to talk about our creative content work (you can find more of that if you’re following our Twisted Tales blog), I’m here to talk about our more traditional Bleeding Art special effects and fabrication side that we also highlighted at the Expo. It’s been an interesting transition from first exhibiting at Comic Expo in 2011, to this year. We weren’t even charging for doing the special effects make-up demos the first year until on the Saturday another exhibitor said, “you’ve got to be charging for the work you’re doing”. I thought we’d just leave it to the following year but Leo said “no, we’re charging tomorrow (Sunday)”. Now, the special effects make-up demos are our biggest seller. Even though there are many more vendors offering SPFX make-up now, I keep seeing lots of repeats from years before (including Tim in the photos below from last year and this year).
We again did a couple of special effects make-up sessions – Amanda and Madison along with models Denise and Sheldon demonstrated some different products and techniques for using and applying special effects make-up, and Amanda had a standing room only crowd for a session on Special Effects Make-up on Animals. It’s a unique aspect to special effects make-up, and as the special effects providers to CBC TV’s Heartland series, it’s an opportunity to talk to people about some of the world-class, top notch work we’re doing right here in Calgary (which people are always surprised by – when is that going to change?!).
Comic Expo has been a great place for us to practice our craft, showcase our new products, network with other exhibitors and attendees, and have some great conversations with people. If you didn’t make it out this year, mark your calendar for next. If you did make it out, tell all your friends and colleagues about it. It’s one more awesome event in Calgary’s cultural and entertainment calendar that adds to the energy and attraction of a city worth visiting and living in.