The 2003 Secret Dragon*Con Project, revealed!

I can finally give you the answer to the question which I'm sure was bothering none of you: "What was Amy's super-secret dragon*con graphic design project that she worked on for all of August?" I held off making these photos available until after dragon*con was in full swing, hoping that no one who was meant to be surprised would be unduly surprised by visiting

The two largest events at dragon*con are the Dawn contest and the Masquerade. The former is essentially a fantasy-themed beauty pageant, and the latter is one of the largest and best costume contests I've ever seen. The problem is that the popularity of these two contests—especially the Masquerade—continues to grow each year. This year, to alleviate a crowd-control situation that was veering over into fire-code-violation territory, the Masquerade has been moved to the nearby Atlanta Civic Center.

We're aware that the Civic Center only seats about 5,000 people, and that we're going to have a capacity crowd for it,as well as Dawn, which will still be held in the Hyatt. In both cases, people will show up very early in order to secure the best seats.

After the success of last year's pregame show, which was thrown together in less than 24 hours, we decided to do something more elaborate (and time-consuming) this year. Brian and I quickly latched on to the idea of treating the event like a screening at a movie theatre. Prior to the feature presentation, we'd have around a half-hour of cheesy local ads, both stills and live-action, just like what you'd see in a theatre.

Except that every ad you'd see would be a spoof of something sci-fi. We knew that we were catering to the group of people most likely to get any bizarre or obscure in-joke related to a sci-fi series/book/movie, so we decided to aim for the cheap seats. Nothing sacred.

Most of the ideas for slides were tossed out in less than two hours, while Brian and Suzan and Jeff and I were all sprawled in Brian & Suzan's living room. By the time Jeff and I got home at the end of the weekend, I had a full list of graphics to work on, and not even the tiniest clue of how much research was ahead of me.

As I began, I started to realize that I had to be as authentic as possible in every way. The type of people who would get these in-jokes would also appreciate it even more if things like phrasing and fonts were correct. Or, perhaps I should say it this way: they probably wouldn't notice if I got them right, but they'd certainly notice if I got them wrong.

Thus began the research. Fonts for TV shows. Fonts from book covers. Fonts from movie titles. Photos. Wallpapers that I could cut down into usable photos. The seamy, steamy, and disturbing world of fandom was suddenly at my doorstep. The kind of person who posted fonts and wallpapers of his/her favorite show was usually also the type to write slash fiction, post the pictures from their photo-ops with their favorite characters, or go even further.

Possibly the strangest fan site I saw provided morphed photos to provide ideas of what the children of a particular set of actors would look like. When I realized what the photos were, I closed my browser and walked away for several hours. It was just a little too smarmy.

It took a few weeks of ... well, let's not go into how many hours it took ... heavy work, but I finished my portion of the pregame show, and finished it early. I was responsible for still slides and the logos for various live-action shots. In the meantime, Patrick was working on the introduction video for the Masquerade, and Brian was responsible for live-action commercials.

It all seems to have evened out in the end.

I'm writing this the night before we leave for 'con, with my belongings placed in neat rows on the guest bed, waiting to be packed into containers for the trip to Atlanta. At the point I wrote this entry, fewer than fifteen people have seen these slides, but they all assure me that what we have here is the basis of a pregame show that won't be forgotten anytime soon. (Especially since the con-goers have no idea that this pregame show even exists.) I am timing this entry to appear on around the time that the Dawn contest begins on Saturday. If you're reading this on Saturday, you might not be at 'con, but you're getting a little taste of what the conventioneers are seeing tonight.

With that said, I present to you my portion of the 2003 dragon*con Masquerade/Dawn pregame show. I've set it up in slideshow format. There are 69 slides, so if you're wanting to see it all, it's going to take a while. Do, please, leave me comments/laughs/etc. - it'll be interesting to hear how a non-dragon*con audience reacts to these images.

[slideshow removed in 2008, c'mon, it was up for five years, give me a break]



Why didn't I think to say, "Make the Death Star Realty number be 404-555-1138?" I'm a moron. And I'm proud to be partly responsible for the HAL 9000 quote. I knew my fandom would come in handy one of these years. Can I boo Suzan for LOTR-min? LOL STEPHEN AS EVIL SCIENTIST 0WN5!!! The quality is excellent.

That is just wonderful. You did an excellent job! Next year, I'm going to have to come to Dragon*Con, that's all there is to it. :)

Well, I got two of the Harry Potter ones and then one of the LotR's ones, the one about hobbit hair and NADs. Other than that, I didn't really understand anything, but I did enjoy looking at all 69 of the slides. :)

hey thats a pretty cool idea :)

I really enjoyed your slides at the Masquarade. I was trying to describe them to friends, but found I couldn't remember them very well. How about some ads for Brain nutrition supplements. Or was there one in there, kinda? Anyway, thanks for posting them here. Mine is the only website which I have found yet that has posted photos from Dragon*Con 2003. I've posted over 1000 photos. Check it out. Thanks.

LOVE the slide show, must do it again next year! Briliant! Injured myself laughing so hard! Am going to have to show co-workers tomorrow!

Don't worry folks, the videos that went along with the slides will soon follow.

Oh ... and Amy's work was so good that pics are already floating about on the web ...

You have to go to page 8 & 9 to see the slides :) No Jack Sparrow pic on that site, though!

Thanks to you and all the other techies for a stellar job! I arrived at the Masquerade just in time for Duck Dodgers, so it was a real treat to stumble across the slides I'd missed here. Thanks!

OMG, these rock the house. Brilliant! A standing ovation!