So, I wasn't really at San Diego to be saddled up with promo cards or glimpse celebrities. I had my list of people to see and products to locate and I didn't make space for the Hollywood side of the business.
But...it's not as though I was against wandering the floors. I only ever passed the video/movie/tv booths on my way to a comic booth, but I spent a fair amount of time walking through the comic book areas, looking around aimlessly.
That's how Peter Briggs caught my eye. He grabbed me with a question: "Did you like Hellboy?" referring to the 2004 motion picture. In fact, I did like that movie a lot. "Well, I wrote it." was his response. So I moved in and started talking to him, telling him how I appreciated the movie, especially as I hadn't read any Hellboy comics prior to the film.
Briggs was there to promote his upcoming film Mortis Rex and had a numbered supply of promotional posters to hand out. He autographed it as he passed it to me; he did the same for everyone who stopped for a poster. But, here's the thing: he stopped to talk with me first and asked questions about me, rather than making a hard sell for his picture. I was especially floored when he asked "Michael, have you ever thought about writing for the movies?"
A lot of talent at conventions find the daily grind overwhelming; some keep to themselves and have to be drawn out by their visitors. Many squeeze in work during their convention time, especially the artists. Some have so many priorities that they don't have time to chat, they need to move on. I appreciate that (I've worked the other side of the table after all), but the convention encounters I recall most fondly are those from lively, animated guests. By engaging me as a person, Briggs ensured that I would remember the encounter; by learning about me and personalizing his autograph, he made his promotional poster into an item I treasure. I enjoyed my brief time with Briggs so much that I returned the following day with my cousin so that he could collect a poster.
I found that Briggs actually has an interesting resume, made up of screenplays with natural appeal to the "geek" crowd. Unfortunately, with the exception of Hellboy his scripts (Aliens vs. Predator, Judge Dredd, Highlander: The Source) were not the final drafts; some of them were jettisoned entirely. If Hellboy is typical of his strengths as a writer, then it's certainly a pity.
It's also good to know that Mortis Rex is on its way. What's it about? Well, if I tell you it's about Roman soldiers fighting giant monsters you should know if it's up your alley or not. Check out the website.