Nostalgia Fest 2017 Recap

This article was written in April 2017

This past weekend brought the Philadelphia area Nostalgia Fest, a 2-day convention featuring movie & TV stars from the 80s & 90s. On top of the celebrities in attendance were lots of vendors, food trucks, a live band and plenty of people dressed in their raddest retro gear and cosplay. The event, held at Fisher’s Tudor House in Bensalem, PA, brought older and newer fans together to re-live the trends of the 80s & 90s in a super fun way.

The celebrities in attendance: Gary Busey, Jake Busey, Tia Carrere, Vanessa Angel, Dustin Diamond, Michael Winslow, Chris Owen, Corbin Bernsen, Donald Gibb, Gedde Watanabe were all extremely nice and friendly. They took the time to sign autographs, take photos and chat with the fans in attendance.

My co-host Bill Tozzi and I, along with “Toxic” Mike Francolino, Brian “Fishman” Fish, DJ Ruban & Greg “Gory” Kerrigan from Toxic Radio all helped to man the Toxic Radio tent. We had music playing on our speakers and even had a prize wheel for fans to spin to win prizes on our table. While walking around the venue, Bill and I were able to chat with most of the celebrities, getting some pictures, station IDs and interviews.

I got to interview Tia Carrere early in the day at the Toxic Radio tent and she was such a sweet lady. She seemed relly excited to be there interacting with the fans. We also got to chat at length with Donald Gibb, Vanessa Angel, Michael Winslow, and Chris Owen.

When I say we chatted at length with Chris Owen, I truly mean AT LENGTH. If I hadn’t pulled Bill away from Chris’s table he might still be there talking to him as I write this. Chris was such a cool guy to talk to and really seemed to enjoy talking with us. We recorded a really fun interview with him that you can check out here.

All in all, the day was a blast. Getting to mingle with stars that I grew up watching was such a cool experience and it was great that they were all so happy to be there with us as well (except for Gary Busey).

However, the event as a whole was a failure due to behind the scenes circumstances. We talked about the failures of the convention during an episode of The Cinescape Podcast, so I won’t go further into detail in this post. Don’t expect to see this event ever again.

Sean’s Experience at the Logan Press Junket

This article was written in February 2017

A few weeks ago, I came across a contest on ScreenRant.com that was offering one lucky fan the chance to come to New York City to see the new Logan film. But that’s not all; the winner would also be able to attend the press junket to interview Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman. I entered the contest, not thinking too much of it. I’ve entered plenty of contests before with little luck, though I did get to see an early screening of Captain America: Civil War thanks to Collider.com.

     Anyway, a week goes by, and, to be honest, I had completely forgotten about the contest altogether. I was on my way to work when I was rear-ended on the highway. My car was totaled and I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Thankfully, with no serious injuries, I was released a few hours later. On my way home, I received an e-mail from a gentleman named Rob Keyes. Rob notified me that I had been chosen as the winner of Screen Rant’s contest, much to my shock and initial disbelief.

 

     I quickly replied back to Rob, asking if the e-mail was legit. Rob confirmed that it was and that I’d been chosen as the winner. I could not believe it. After the morning I was having with my accident, my luck had taken a complete 180. The next few days were very sore ones as I recovered from my accident, but the sheer thought of being able to meet and interview Hugh Jackman had lifted my spirits. I began composing questions to ask Hugh during the interview. I was able to get my travel arrangements nailed down, thanks to an awesome girl named Molly, from Fox. The initial plan was for me to fly to New York, but as I live outside of Philadelphia, a short train ride would suffice.

Day 1

     After a week that felt like an eternity, the anticipation at its peak, the day finally arrived. My wife dropped me off at the train station and I was on my way. After a 90-minute train ride and a pain in the butt time trying to get a cab, I arrived at the beautiful NoMo Soho Hotel in New York City. I had just enough time to get checked in and order a quick bite to eat from room service. After scarfing down my burger, I was back downstairs to meet Rob and head a few blocks over to the Crosby Street Theatre for the screening. 

     As I got into the elevator to head down to the lobby, Steve “Frosty” Weintraub from Collider was standing in there. I had previously met Steve at the ‘Civil War’ screening last year, as he ran the event and held a Q&A session with directors Joe & Anthony Russo. I found Rob and we headed to the theatre. As we got to the main lobby, I began to recognize various bloggers and internet personalitie like: Grae Drake from Rotten Tomatoes, Eliot Dewberry & Ricky Hayberg from The ETC Show, Scott Mantz from Access Hollywood, and Dan Casey from Nerdist. Because I’ve been following sites and shows that people like these appear on or write for, seeing them in person was, to me, like seeing a celebrity. 

     The film started, and while I won’t write about the details here, was good. The film followed with a reception in the bar area where we all got to mingle and talk. I was able to get a picture with Scott Mantz and chat with him for a few minutes. No sooner did I say hello and introduce myself to him did he immediately jump right into a conversation with me like we had been old friends. Seriously, he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. After an eventful day & night, Rob and I headed back toward the hotel. When I got back to the room, I began typing up this post and editing some video that I shot as well. I did my best to document as much of my experience as I could to share out with friends, family and fans of my show, The Cinescape Podcast. As awesome as this first night had been, the next day was sure to be even better.

Day 2

     After waking up and ordering a nice breakfast, I found out that my interview wouldn’t be until after 1:00 PM, so I spent a few hours working on some videos and other news topics for The Cinescape. Finally, I walked over to the Crosby Street Theatre to meet Rob, where a nice buffet spread was laid out for us. I talked more with Scott Mantz, as I found out he’s originally from the same area I live. He also gave me his business card and agreed to call in to my show sometime. I also got to chat with Eliot Dewberry and Ricky Hayberg from ETC as well as Dan Casey from Nerdist and Steve Weintraub from Collider for a bit. 

     Rob and I were called upstairs to wait for our turn to the interview room. I watched Eliot and Ricky continue their “feud” with Scott and even made eye contact with Sir Patrick Stewart right before he got onto an elevator. I just narrowly missed my chance for a photo-op! After 15-20 minutes, it was my turn. Staff prepped me for what to expect as I entered a room full of lights, cameras and, well…action! There stood Hugh Jackman, smiling, greeting me. For a second I felt like I was hallucinating.

     I sat down for the interview, star struck, hoping to not mess anything up. A quick joke from Hugh loosened me up and I fired back with a joke of my own. I asked him when to expect Kate & Leopold 2, which he laughed at and said that his wife would like for that one to happen. I got the chance to ask a few more questions and Hugh answered them in turn, seeming genuinely interested in everything I had to ask him. I can’t tell you how nice of a guy he was. It would be so easy for him to turn his nose up in the air and think that he’s above all of the “common folk” like myself and the other people there, but he was awesome. He was charming and funny and made me feel comfortable during the few precious minutes I had with him. The minutes seemed to fly by at light speed, and just like that, my interview with Hugh was over. He did tell me that this was absolutely the last time he’d be playing Wolverine, and it sounded like he meant it. Another handshake and I was back out the door.

     Rob and I collected the video disks from our interviews, as he had also interviewed Patrick Stewart, director James Mangold and villain of the film Boyd Holbrook earlier in the day. Back downstairs, we chatted for a few more minutes before the cab I called for arrived to take me back to Penn Station. Fox also gave everyone in attendance books with artwork from the film: beautiful black and white images taken by photographers from the film as well as James Mangold himself. The photos had been released periodically online as promotional material for the movie. As I finish up this article from the train, I take back with me not only physical souvenirs and photographs, but once in a lifetime memories that I will cherish forever. This whole event has deepened my passion for wanting to get into the entertainment business and I made some really good contacts and connections that could prove fruitful in the future. I hope you have enjoyed sharing my experience from the pictures, videos, and posts I’ve shared. A major thank you to Rob Keyes, Screen Rant, Molly Doherty and Fox for this amazing opportunity. Rob, you were so awesome to hang out with and I enjoyed our conversations on movies, TV and hockey as well. Thanks for sharing in this all with me.

Movie Marketing Overload

The goal of marketing a movie is to get as many people in the theatre as possible. I get it. Understandable. Successful film studios strategically market their films nowadays as early as a year from release, and the results speak for themselves. With blockbuster films in the super hero genre leading the way in box office dollars, we are being flooded with trailers, tv spots, product integration and online viral marketing, and frankly, I am beginning to get annoyed.

     Take, for instance, Captain America: Civil War. This is my MOST ANTICIPATED movie of 2016. I am itching to see it and have had my tickets for weeks. I can’t stress enough how excited I am to see it. Marvel/Disney has began showing press and advanced special screenings to critics and fans alike, and the buzz around how great this movie is leaves me salivating.

     My problem with the marketing scheme for this movie is that we have been getting so many tv spots and trailers that it feels like we’ve seen about half of the movie already. It seems like everyday for the past 2 weeks there is some kind of new promotion for the movie, and while I want to get my hands on everything I can regarding this film, I haven’t been watching them. Enough is enough. Everybody knows this movie is coming out.

     The same thing happened in 2014 with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The marketing push for that movie saturated the market so badly that I feel it began to turn people off from actually seeing it, or started to annoy them enough that they went into the movie with negativity because of how much they were being shown. It’s like watching a tv show and seeing the same commercials over and over again. When I keep seeing the same commercial enough, I make it a point to stay away from that product strictly out of annoyance.

     Again, I understand the need to market the hell out of an upcoming movie, trying to make as much money on that specific property that the studio can. But when do they say “Ok, we’ve shown them enough, let’s let up a bit”? That line is being blurred and we are constantly bombarded with trailers that have 5 seconds of new footage, mixed in with clips we’ve seen 4 or 5 times already.

     

Deadpool had an incredible marketing strategy, in that the studio marketed the film in a way to crossed traditional methods, heavily focusing on online clips and short pieces, while still having trailers and tv spots, but a no point did I feel like I was being beaten over the head with ads for that movie.

     I am not a marketing strategist, I don’t work for a public relations firm or film studio, but I have to think that there are better ways to market films than to release a new clip for the same film every day for 2 weeks leading up to the film’s release. End rant.

     I want to hear YOUR opinions on film marketing. Are you ok with getting so many clips and trailers for a movie you’re excited about? Or do you think the “less is more” strategy can still be effective?

Movie Theatre Etiquette

Have you ever been in a theatre and had a bad experience? I know I have, and I’m going to talk about this very topic.

Enter scene: it’s the advanced screening of X-Men: Days of Future Past the night before premiere night. My friends and I have had tickets for weeks. Since 2008’s Iron Man we have steadily seen the advanced screenings of all major superhero films. t’s 9:00. Walking in, there’s a baby stroller in the aisle. Already not good. We sit down and the movie starts.

During the first act, there are a group of what I assume were kids or teenagers a few rows back talking. I let it go, but am beginning to get annoyed. Fast forward a little bit and the talking is still happening and the baby (assumedly from the empty stroller) is crying. My blood pressure is climbing. I can’t take it anymore and decide to say something to the talkers. My wife is now getting mad at me because I said something to them.

Although the movie was really good, my theatre experience was ruined by the distractions and I left the theatre angry. What kind of a-hole talks loudly during a movie? And who brings an infant to a late movie? I still can’t fathom why people do the things they do in theatres, but it’s ridiculous. People these days have no respect for one another. When I go to see a movie and pay the prices I do, I expect a dark theatre with no distractions. Shut your mouth, stay in your seat, turn your phone off and find a babysitter. Don’t ruin everyone else’s time because your a self-centered jerk. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

Game of Thrones vs A Song of Ice and Fire

A few years ago, I was introduced to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series as well as HBO’s Game of Thrones. My group of friends and my girlfriend at the time (now my fiance) were very into it and after being lost in their conversations, I checked out the show and picked up the first book.

I quickly became enamored with the World of Ice and Fire and was given the rest of the books for Christmas. Thanks, babe 🙂 Anyway, by mid-March of the new year, I had finished the entire book series and was completely caught up on the show. I was hooked. I tried to get my hands on everything GoT and ASOIAF related.

After reading the book series, trying to read books of other genres became a bit tough for me. As an avid reader, I’ve always branched out on my book genres, but finishing A Dance With Dragons left a hole in me that reading other titles just didn’t fill. I decided that I would give the series a second go-around and delved back into Westeros, Essos, and everywhere else George took me. It’s amazing how much I had missed during my first read-through. My second reading really put me further into that world from all of the things I was now picking up on. I had began reading theory-crafting forums online and talking theories with Crystal, my wife and other friends. I was obsessed!

In 2014, the World of Ice and Fire compendium book came out and was gorgeous. The pictures are beautiful and the information was flooring. I had also picked up comics on The Tales of Dunk and Egg, a compilation of short stories George had written set 100 years before the currently timeline during the reign of Targaryens over Westeros. A later compilation book, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms was released, giving me that missing 3rd novella story I couldn’t find.

For the first 3 seasons of Game of Thrones, despite some changes from book to show, the storylines were pretty close. Characters mainly retained the same traits and plots with minor changes here or there. But season 4 started to change the path of the show story. Characters were absent from their book locations, plots were twisted and characters were killed off unexpectedly. Season 5 further veered off the tracks, as things were now completely different.

I don’t want to come across as a “book snob”, but I had a much greater appreciation for the books compared to the show, and my fiance and I really began to dislike the show and eventually stopped watching. Season 5 was boycotted on our TV and season 6 won’t be thought about. We don’t want to be spoiled on what could happen in the next book The Winds of Winter (whenever the hell it gets released). If you still enjoy the show, that’s good for you. 

Myself and millions of “Thronies” everywhere anxiously await the release of TWoW, let’s get it done, George!