Let your Nerd Flag Fly

posted Jul 31, 2011, 12:32 PM by Steve N Bradford
I was lucky enough to go to Otakon (well, only for one day) this year and I snapped a few pictures.  For those of you who do not know what it is, it is an anime convention.  One of the largest of its kind, as I understand something like 25,000+ people attend it each year in Baltimore.  It is much like other conventions, its got screenings and panel discussions and workshops and of course, people who come in costume.

These costumes are serious business folks.  Sure, some people have stuff that is little more than what you would pick up at a Halloween store in November, and many people don't dress up at all.  But some of these costumes really are very impressive.  But what is more impressive is how unabashed everyone is while they are there.  These are people who absolutely love something and they are gathering by the thousands to celebrate it together.  They are being whoever they want (even if just for a weekend) and it doesn't matter what barriers there are like the magic isn't real or that the character they love is a different gender.  They are just going out there doing what they like and everyone around them understands and accepts it.  Its really absolutely fantastic in every way.  That is really what inspired me to post this.

Over the past few months while I have been making short films I have been trying to do what I thought people would like.  Doing competitions and gearing my film to that audience.  I think some of what has come out of it has been pretty good, there is also some which does not do much for me.  Now, there is a very valid argument that if you want to make it in the film business you should be making things with your audience in mind.  Target it to an age demographic and a specific niche market.  Of course there is nothing wrong with making something that you can market and sell.  This is the hope right?  That someone will want to buy that film you made and give you gobs of money and hire you to work on more films with a bigger budget.

That idea has led me down the wrong path for a bit, and the people at Otakon helped point that out to me.  They know who they are and what they are doing, and they were proud and happy about it.  No one was embarrassed to be checking out and mangas or to be dressed as pokemon.  They thought it rocked.  Because well.  It does.  Sure its not entirely my thing, but it is their thing.  And you should never be subverting what you like thinking its going to get you farther.

I have not been making the films that would really excite me.  I am a comic book / sci fi / fantasy guy.  Sure I like other stuff too, but that is what gets me excited and into the movie theater.  I should be doing the same right?  The lesson is really just to let your Nerd Flag fly.  Embrace the things you like and make those, you ARE the niche market.  Why not serve yourself before trying to serve the public at large.  Thus, as a result of this anime inspired soul searching my next movie (which I am suffering from partial writer's block at the moment, and hence putting up blog entries) will be a big goofy Sci Fi Comedy.  Go nerds.

This guy knows what I am talkin' 'bout