It’s been a while since Atlanta has had the pleasure of hosting a Horror con . Thanks to the great people at http://www.fromdusktillcon.com/ We’ve got an awesome con on the way March 9th-11th! Below is an interview with one of the con promoters…enjoy.
I LOVE living in Atlanta. Know why? Because of conventions like this one! I recently contacted a promoter of Days of the Dead about becoming a vendor. Well, one thing led to another and he graciously agreed to take the time to give me the inside scoop on this very popular convention. So without any further delay, I’d like to introduce you, the fans of deadburiedandback.com to Adolfo Dorta of fromdusktillcon.com.
Adolfo, Thanks in advance for taking time out of your obvious hectic schedule to do this interview.
JF: To begin, can you give us a little background on how the DAYS OF THE DEAD convention came to be?
AD: Originally, DAYS OF THE DEAD was going to be the mid west expansion show for one of the long established horror conventions on the east coast (which I am not at liberty to name) and early on they approached From Dusk Till Con about sponsoring a costume contest or film festival for that show. A few months later, the original promoter who owned the branding for the east coast convention changed his mind and dropped out, though the hotel and location were already secured and contracts were signed. Rick and I were offered the opportunity to take a partnership role and I was asked to become the face of what went on to become DAYS OF THE DEAD. We though about it for a few weeks, but as huge horror fans who go to about 4-7 horror conventions a year, it was an offer we simply couldn’t refuse.
JF: So, what was the turn out like in Indianapolis at the premier of Days of the Dead?
AD: It was actually much, much better than we expected it would be – good enough to warrant a second year and an expansion into a new city. It’s always a gamble with first year shows and you never really know what you’re gonna get in terms of a crowd. I’ve seen some great first year shows with incredible line ups inexplicably flop and not come back for a second year, but that obviously wasn’t the case with us. We’re all incredibly thankful that the horror convention scene was able to recognize the passion and honesty behind what we were trying to do and came out as such a force to support us.
JF: OK, a two part question. I really like the fromdusktillcon website. How long has fromdusktillcon.com been around and what are your goals over the next year or so?
AD : FROM DUSK TILL CON actually celebrated its 2 year anniversary this past Halloween. It started as a hobby between Rick Lara and myself as a way for horror convention fans from across the country to have a central place to go and discuss shows in their regions, make friends with similar interests, and just swap stories. It’s a general policy of individual conventions’ forums that you can’t discuss other shows on their boards and most will ban you for doing such (or ban you if your opinion of their convention is anything but filled with praise – FROM DUSK TILL CON is a central place where everyone can operate on an equal playing field and all fans are welcome. Moving forward, we would like for FDTC to continue doing what it has done from the beginning and provide that open, bias-free forum for fans of all shows, as well as continue to grow as it has done tremendously since its inception.
JF: There are several major cities near Indiana. Whose idea was it to bring the convention to Atlanta?
AD: Our good friend CiIRCUS ENVY, who is also acting as official MC for DAYS OF THE DEAD II in Atlanta, approached us with the idea that Atlanta would make an excellent city to do an expansion show in on account of their thriving horror culture. You’ve got tons of people doing great things in that region, like LUKE GODFREY with Chamber of Horrors and SHANE MORTON with Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse – from film screenings, to themed events, and haunted attractions. There’s such an enthusiastic horror subculture in Atlanta just waiting to be tapped into and they’ve been waiting for a good horror convention for a long, long time. Being originally from Florida, I also have quite a few friends that live in Georgia and in the Florida pan handle who I called for advice and the overwhelming consensus was that the region was long over due for something like DAYS OF THE DEAD to come in and act as a compliment to a scene that has already been there for many years.
JF: Adolfo, what TV shows or films inspired you to say “Yeah, I wanna do this for a living!”
AD: As mentioned before, for Rick and myself this opportunity sort of just fell in our laps and wasn’t planned. But as far as what drives us and inspires us to make DAYS OF THE DEAD a unique convention experience geared towards horror fans, I would credit the influence of the 80’s horror explosion that provided so much frightful curiosity to us as growing up in the VHS era. True horror fans are a unique breed, and while other kids on the playground were pretending to be their favorite athlete in the big game we were all pretending to be Freddys and Jasons and reenacting scenes from whatever horror flick we managed to covertly watch the night before, long after our parents had told us to go to bed. We were Monster Kids from birth, the kind where every day is Halloween and horror movies are every day entertainment. For any true horror fan, this kind of stuff is your religion, race, creed, etc. Given the same opportunity, I think any one else as passionate as we are about the genre would do the same.
JF : Speaking of the Horror subculture, more and more Indie films are being made. Depending on whom you ask there seems to be a growing market for them. Look at the recent THE DEVIL INSIDE. Rumor has it was made for around a million and it’s grossed over 40. Are the audiences getting what they paid for?
AD : I haven’t scene The Devil Inside, so I can’t comment as to whether it was good or bad, but as with everything mileage can very. Paranormal Activity is another example of a film that was made on a small budget and went on to see phenomenal success, both critically and financially, however, I didn’t particularly care for it myself. I did greatly enjoy others such as Insidious, Inside, [Rec], and The Loved Ones, to name a few. There are even such great films by up and coming working class directors like Joshua Hull’s BEVERLY LANE and Zack Parker’s SCALENE that show the future for the genre is very bright.
JF: I see fromdusktillcon has partnered up with Jabb Pictures. Can you tell us a little more about them?
AD: Jabb Pictures is one of the biggest supporters of indie film on the horror convention scene and have revolutionized things with their series, The Collective, which showcases 10 indie film makers doing 10 short films in one compilation. We are proud to have DAYS OF THE DEAD officially premiering each one of the next three volumes in The Collective at our three conventions in 2012. Moreover, The Collective: Volume 4 will debut at our Indianapolis show in July and feature strictly filmmakers from the state of Indiana, while The Collective: Volume 5 will debut at our Chicago show and will feature filmmakers from Illinois.
JF: An economy question. I’m sure you’ve attended many conventions. Have you seen a rise or decline in Horror cons?
AD: Definitely a rise. A few years ago you had just a handful of shows operating sparsely across the United States – now a days it seems as if there are a half a dozen horror related event happening every month and just about every region of the United States now has a horror convention catering to fans in the area. The business driven folks will argue that more shows will serve to water down the horror convention scene in general, but as with everything the cream rises to the top and the conventions that constantly strive to bring in the best guests and provide the best fan experience will continue to grow and prosper. For fans, nothing bad can come from having more choices and in more areas. It’s certainly a very exciting time in the horror convention scene.
JF: OK, last question. Conventions are a monumental undertaking to say the least. Who do you want to give Kudos to for making the DAYS OF THE DEAD possible?
AD: Thanking everyone who has helped us out since the beginning would be an exercise in futility as we have gotten so much love from so many different people that I would be sure to leave someone out. I do want to give a mention to my two partners BILL PHILPUTT of Re-Evolution Management and RICK LARA, who I already mentioned is a co-founder in From Dusk Till Con, as well as MICHAEL DELLE who does much of our web work. When combined with these three talented gentlemen, the four of us form the monstrosity of a force behind DAYS OF THE DEAD – almost like a convention Voltron. But aside from the hands behind the scenes, I can’t give enough credit to all of our friends, family and fans that make up what we call “The Infected” – the ravenous following that has helped spread our grass roots convention into a nationwide plague. It’s unbelievable how well received DAYS OF THE DEAD has been in for a new convention and we can’t be more gracious for that each and every day of this so far exciting ride.
Adolfo, Thanks again for spending time with us at deadburiednadback.com. I’m looking forward to the convention and I wish you incredible success with this one and all your future cons!