Horrorhound Cincinnati 2017 marks over 10 years of road life for me. My first con was in 2006. I printed up 80 copies of my first feature film DREAM REAPER and took it to a small show in northern Ohio with an attendance of maybe 150 people over three days.
We sold 7 movies. Mostly to other vendors who felt sorry for me because I brought 10 actors with me to celebrate the release of my first film. We were all cramped around a single six foot table.
We had a magic show in the corner. We dressed a guy up like the Pumpkin Monster. We traveled in two trucks and rented two hotel rooms. I don’t think our sales even covered our gas money.
The upside was, the con was so slow, we were able to get Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman to do the video introduction to the movie. (Which meant that the 80 copies I’d already pressed up were useless because I needed to re-burn the DVD with the Troma intro.)
A lot has changed in these 11 years. Everything has changed.
But the one thing that remains constant is that horror fans still love horror conventions. And all these many years later, I’m still out here. Lloyd Kaufman is still out here. He’s still slanging Troma films.
I made the switch from feature films to fiction in 2012 and now, five years later, I can set up a small table, only bring one guy to help work the booth (big shout out to READING TO STRANGERS co-host Jeremy Daniels who sold more gay jesus chap books this weekend than ANYONE thought possible!), and sell as many copies of my novels as I BROUGHT of my first film to that first show.
That’s what’s supposed to happen, right? You do something long enough, you stay humble and you pay your dues and then you become successful at it.
When I think of all of the adventures my friends and I have had over the years, all the great people and crazy people we’ve met on the road over the years, I can’t help but smile. This is a crazy, stressful, maddening, but ultimately fulfilling life.
I really truly can’t think of another lifestyle I’d be more content living. I get to write anything my imagination can dream up and then I get go out on the road with my best friends and put those insane stories into the hands of my fans and give them a small portal into the mind of a mad man.
The last few months have been especially challenging. As I’ve broken away from the toxic writing community that seems totally happy playing gossip games on facebook rather than chasing success and adventure, I wondered how I would be received by the horror fans at large on the midwest con circuit.
Would they side with the full time drama queens on social media and ghost me like they never knew me? Would they start drama of their own over my non-PC social and political views?
Of course not. They treated me exactly the same way they always have. With smiles and open hearts. Like family. The Strangeheads don’t give a single fuck about online drama. In fact, NO ONE does outside of the tiny little circle of wannabe writers who start it.
Think about it, I signed almost the same amount of books in three days as the actual amount of people in the shitty little gossip communities who try to drag me down to their level.
When you’re at a con and you hear Iron Maiden playing in the distance, rest assured you’re about to stumble upon the green and purple world of Strangeville, full of drunk weirdos who all look vaguely like the ugly headed Kevin Strange leering down on you from the table banner behind us.
Come buy some books, gang. There’s a decade worth of stories in them. And don’t believe what you hear on the internet. They’re just jealous they don’t live here.