Back from GMX Vol. 4

It’s now a month since Geek Media Expo’s latest GMX Vol. 4 hit the Middle Tennessee area. On October 26-28, 2012, we overran the Cool Springs Conference Center and Franklin Marriott Hotel with almost 2,000 pop culture and tech enthusiasts.

It always feels weird to write a retrospective for the cons I work for – MTAC/GMX. For one, I don’t need to do this to state critiques or criticisms. I can just go straight to the source – the other staffers I work with. For two, I actually don’t see much of cons when I’m working. I’m either running around everywhere or staying put in one spot, concentrated at my task at hand. For this year’s GMX, that task was Media Relations.

Despite overseeing media relations from a managerial role before, this is my first time directly running the operation. I ended up enjoying a good bit of it, with interacting with our press and guests and listening in on interviews. Also saves me some time in listening to all the follow-up coverage.

Panoramic view of the GMX Media Suite

It helps that GMX and the Marriott provided an amazing room by letting us use their concierge lounge for the weekend. A wide, open space with plenty of seating, a mini-fridge with drinks, and my own personal work desk. There are some aspects to the room that make it a good set up for interviews and press conferences too, which I hope to better utilize next year if I’m fortunate enough to be in the same room. It proved rough when we had to do multiple guest interviews at the same time, an issue I hope to fix next year with better scheduling and some other tricks.

Back to the actual convention though, the few events I did get to see went really well. Especially Geek Slam, the second year of GMX pitting costumed characters against each other in a battle of (usually hilarious) insults. This year, as with last, my friend Kirk Griffin won as Star Trek: TNG’s Data, laying down the dry, monotone smackdown against the likes to Mario and J Jonah Jameson. GMX filmed the Geek Slam event, and the opening bout between Mario and Sonic is already up on their YouTube channel (watch below).

And that showcases GMX embracing what I see as its greatest potential – production. It’s Geek MEDIA Expo, and GMX is coming up to the plate. In addition to the well-edited recap videos like the ones above, GMX also produced a fun fan parody of Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” song and video, this time featuring plenty of geeky references and GMX Vol. 4’s signature gold color.

Even with being in my home Nashville area, GMX still provides an opportunity for me to see a lot of friends I don’t during the rest of the year. Case in point are Jamie Lovett and Nick Gore – friends from my college days – who have done great comic panels for GMX since the first one in 2009. I got to sit in on their DC New 52 panel, which was a good catch up since I’d fallen off of most of those titles. These guys are far better at critically viewing comics and their creators than I am. Be sure to check out their new comics podcasts at soundcloud.com/pixelsandpanels.

Also an impressive site was the Apparition Abolishers’ “Dr. Torque’s Traveling Exposition of Curious Contraptions and Fantastical Oddities” room. The Apparition Abolishers are a local group of costumers, artists, prop-makers, and performers that tend to focus on steampunk. They had a similar room at last year’s GMX Vol. 3, which I was unable to check out. This year, I corrected that. The room was made up like a sideshow attraction from the turn of the 19th-to-20th century, with caged chupacabra and mermaids, as well as various steampunk and era-appropriate props on display. There was even a mustache-shaped seesaw and a giant robot called H.A.R.O.L.D.E. you could climb into for photo ops.

Someone let me pilot a giant robot. This may have been a bad idea.

I only ran one panel this year, which was moderating our annual Geek Journalism panel. This year’s panel consisted of Star Wars Blog and Huffington Post’s Bryan Young, local newspaper Lebanon Democrat’s Alexander Alea, and Chainsaw Buffet’s John Robbins. It was a late-night panel, but it went pretty well. Each year is always different on this panel with a rotating group of panelists and different questions for the audience. It’s always one I enjoy really watching as I step back and let the entire panel go at it.

To wrap, this year was a fun year. I enjoyed my work. I enjoyed what I got to see. I enjoyed seeing my friends. As far as recommending, it’s a no brainer. GMX is a great show, and I wouldn’t still work with it if I didn’t have fun. It’s a weekend-long party in geekery, and I can’t recommend it enough. Next year, mark November 1-3, 2013 on your calendar for GMX Vol. 5.

If YOU went to GMX, give some feedback with the GMX Vol. 4 Survey (click here). You could win a free pass to next year.

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