Follow Friday – Geeks in Wales

Posted by Chrissey - 3rd July 2015

Last week at Cardiff Comic Expo, The Great Escape met Geeksin Wales!

Geeks in Wales“Geeksin Wales is a hyperlocal blog that shines a spotlight on the
growing geek culture in Wales.”

Having started in May of this year, they are still very much in their infancy but growing fast! If you’re interested in geeky stuff like board games, comics, cosplay, films this is a great blog to follow.

They cover events and projects happening in Wales in their “What’s On” segment (see what they’re showcasing for July!), along with interviews, articles, and more. You’ll be able to find insider gossip on TV shows filmed in Cardiff, including Dr Who and Sherlock, and you can find out about indie creators and projects.

Although we at The Great Escape are mainly across the Bristol channel in England, we love to support what’s going on in Wales. We’re really looking forward to following Geeksin Wales.

You can follow Geeksin Wales on Twitter (@geeksinwales) or Facebook (/geeksinwales).


Events News – July 2015

Posted by Rich - 29th June 2015

Welcome to July’s edition of TGE’s guide to things happening in the world of indie films, fiction, comics and the arts.

Film Festivals

Loch Ness Film Festival

The Loch Ness Film Festival, Inverness (24th-26th July 2015) – a multi-location, multi-genre film festival happening in venues around the illustrious home of Nessie. There is also a full line-up of events and talks happening around the festival too.

Roots to Shoots Film Festival, Coventry
(8th July 2015) – Roots to Shoots returns in July offering a selection of local, national and international short films. Highlights so far include some vintage Oscar nominated shorts, a rediscovered gem from 1986 and ‘Predator: Dark Ages’, a fan film directed by James Bushe.

East End Film FestivalEast End Film Festival, London (1st-12th July 2015) – The annual multi-platform festival is back, presenting a rich and diverse programme of international premieres, industry masterclasses, free pop-up screenings and immersive live events. Happening in cinemas across the east of London.

 


Comic Events

Glasgow Comic Con, CCA Glasgow (4th-5th July 2015) – Billed as ‘Scotland’s Comic Book Festival’, GCC hopes to be the biggest event yet with a packed schedule covering all genres and publishers… including Dundee’s DC Thomson!

HorrorCon 2015 RotherhamHorrorCon 2015, Rotherham (11th-12th July 2015) –  HorrorCon is a convention born from passionate horror fans wanting to get together and celebrate their love of the
horrific, macabre & grotesque. Mark Adams and Matt Warner of Hellbound Media will be there, too!

London Film & Comic Con, Olympia (17th-19th July 2015) – Showmasters are once again bringing their star-studded film and comic expo to the captial for three days of the ultimate in geekdom, including appearances from big names in film, TV, comics and books.

MCM Manchester Comic ConMCM Manchester Comic Con (25th-26th July 2015) – Back once again invading the GMEX and featuring loads of dealers, the Comic Village, talks, eSports guest appearances and of course, plenty of cosplay, this one is sure to be the best yet!

 


Book and Writing Festivals

Frome Festival 2015Words @ Frome Festival, Somerset (3rd-12th July 2015) – Part of the larger Frome Festival which runs across the town, there are several literary workshops, readings and tours running throughout the event, alongside the hundreds of other things to do.

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate (16th-19th July 2015) – The 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, is once more, a murderously good line-up. Now in its 13th year, the festival has achieved international acclaim for the programming, organisation and atmosphere, ranking as one of the top three literary festivals in the UK by The Guardian.

Niddfest 2015 - Celebrating Nature in WritingNiddfest 2015, Upper Nidderdale, Yorkshire (24th-26th July) – Celebrating nature in writing, NiddFest is a unique, new, family friendly festival, offering a weekend of talks and outside events for nature lovers of all ages. NiddFest’s patron is the UK’s poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

Latitude 2015, Southwold, Suffolk (16th-19th July) – Celebrating it’s 10th year, and known primarily for being a source of great live music, lesser known is the amazing literary and poetry events that take place throughout the 3-day event, which draws in some of the finest names in poetry and literature. Even more surprisingly, tickets are still available so you still have an opportunity if you haven’t already booked!

 

Keep an eye out on the site next Monday, where we’ll tell you what’s coming up in the world of The Great Escape over the coming month!


Announcing the Winner of our Flash Fiction Competition

Posted by Chrissey - 27th June 2015

A big thank you to all the writers who took part in our writing competition this June. The quality of the entries we received was very high indeed which made judging very difficult.

In the end we chose our favourite story to feature on The Great Escape on National Flash Fiction day. The story we felt fitted in well with The Great Escape’s site ethos of genre fiction and escapism.

So congratulations to Tom Burd for his entry Big Arm which you can now read in our Fiction section.

Big Arm by Tom Burd - title banner

We’d also like to make a special mention of Anna Nazarova-Evans, whose two beautifully written stories about Armenian refugees totally blew us away. While we didn’t feel that The Great Escape was the right place for Anna’s stories, we’re quite sure they will find a good home somewhere!

We’ll be at Cardiff Independent Comic Expo today, where Chrissey will be getting into the National Flash Fiction Day spirit writing spontaneous original stories on postcards! If you’re at the convention, come and challenge her to write something for you.

You can find out about other NFFD events happening around the country on the National Flash Fiction Day website.


Follow Friday – Creative Commission

Posted by Rich - 26th June 2015

Creative CommissionCreative Commission is a ‘creative briefs’ service that connects content commissioners with creative talent across video, photography, design and digital content and media production, covering both the UK and the US.

They were founded in April last year, and yet have quickly become one of the go-to names for creators and commissioners alike.

The Creative Commission process is simple. Companies and individuals looking for creatives create a project brief that publicly goes up on the site along with the project’s value (often with the exact client hidden from view, to give all projects a chance). Creators can then go onto the site and identify projects appeal to them, apply to the briefs and then provide a proposal by the closing date.

Also, creatives can produce a portfolio of their past work on the site, so that commissioners can head-hunt the best fit for their projects if need be.

It’s a fantastic and well-designed system, and offers a simple and elegant way to hunt down both new talent and exciting project opportunities. The list of past projects covers some big names, with recent examples including Ed Sheeran, Capital FM, Jimmy Page and Lomography Magazine.

For more information about Creative Commission and the projects currently available on offer, check out their website, creative-commission.com, follow them on Facebook ( /creativecommission ) and on Twitter ( @ctvcom ).


Follow Friday – The Moth

Posted by Rich - 19th June 2015

The Moth Radio Hour cover artThis week, our Follow Friday goes out to The Moth, a not-for-profit organisation devoted to ‘the art and craft of storytelling‘.

They have been running for 23 years, and since then have become one of the best organisations for public events where real-world stories get told by real people.

The Moth run two types of events: Mainstage, an invite-only event where five storytellers get to tell their tales; and StorySLAM: regular open-mic night events where people get up and tell their stories – the best story wins.

Both types of events run throughout the year across the world, and full details of upcoming events are available on their website.

There are a few simple rules for telling a story at a Moth event: the story has to be real, it has to relate to you, it has to be within the theme of the evening, and you aren’t allowed cue-cards. These simple rules give every story a feeling of passion, wonder, empathy and more as each story plays out in the 10-or-so minutes they are allowed to recount their tale.

The best stories go on to form the content of public radio show The Moth Radio Hour as well as featuring on their YouTube channel, on their excellent podcast and on their website’s story archive.

A classic story that epitomises The Moth is Ophira Eisenberg’s tale of the aftermath of a car accident when she was young:

However, this isn’t the only story to have moved, as week after week stories come along that tell of both the high-notes and the low of life, from a person recounting their feelings after being stabbed by a gang initiate to the story of Michael Massimino breaking the Hubble Space Telescope whilst trying to repair it.

The Moth isn’t just about public events, though. They also run numerous community and education programs bringing storytelling and public-speaking workshops to kids and adults alike across the US.

You can find out more about The Moth on their website, themoth.org, as well as checking out the show archive on PRX and their podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud.


Interview with Mike Allwood – Cardiff Independent Comic Expo

Posted by Chrissey - 17th June 2015

Cardiff Independent Comic Expo - 27th June 2015Cardiff Independent Comic Expo is coming up on Saturday 27th June at the Masonic Hall in Cardiff. With less than 10 days to go, TGE’s Chrissey Harrison cornered organiser Mike Allwood for an interview about the event.

Chrissey Harrison: Hi Mike, thanks for joining us.

Cardiff Expo has been running for a few years now. What made you decide to start a comic Expo in Cardiff?

Mike Allwood: Cardiff was going to have a Comic Convention I think 5 or 6 years ago but plans fell through and I was in Cardiff on a work related trip and thought, what a great buzz in this City. I contacted Iz McAuliffe (who has co-produced all my Cardiff Shows brilliantly I may add) who I had I recall met at Bristol the year before, and, knowing a lot of the local creators from my Bristol days, the plans formed.

CH: How has the Expo evolved since you started it?

MA: Well, it grew in the first 3 years as we took more and more space in the Mercure Hotel. We added more tangents with Film and Horror, which lead to, 2 years ago, SCARdiff being a spin off run by Wayne Simmons. That ran a 2nd Convention last year.

EXpo EXclusive comic for Cardiff Expo

Cover art for the EXpo EXclusive comic produced for specially for Cardiff Expo 2015

CH: What’s the philosophy behind Cardiff Expo?

MA: Promoting Welsh Small Press and the creators behind the books they produce. The promotion of the UK Small Press has always been at the forefront of my shows since Comics 99 in Bristol when I had a small press area in front of DC (who used to do the Bristol Expo).

The quality of the local talent is, I think, without peer. Check the website, Small Press are around 80% of the space at the show and for the 1st 100 fans who purchased tickets, are getting an EXpo EXclusive 64 page comic of all new material that was assembled for us. A thank you to Ana Catris for her work on that project and all the creators who came on board to make that possible
….my thanks to them all!!

CH: You took a break in 2014. Why was that?

MA: The Mercure Hotel was a great venue but after a major refurb the price for hire became sight to behold! As I have said, I like to have a high Small Press presence and that would have meant a tripling of the table hire for them and that was just wrong. The ticket prices would have risen and again I am running a ticket for a fiver with under 12’s free with an adult ticket holder.

Also a change of my “day job” meant I was back to working full time, and producing a show to the standard I like to see meant I just did not have the spare time to, as my wife says, over indulging my hobby!

CH: Is that why the Expo now has a new venue at Cardiff Masonic Hall? 

MA: Yes. We wanted to run again but the venue was an issue. However Wayne had moved SCARdiff there for the 2nd Horror Con and it was superb! They have been quite wonderful in supporting the show. Getting a venue who want to run your event is key… trust me!

CH: The Masonic Hall is more a series of smaller rooms rather than a big open space? Do you think this set up works well for the Expo?

MA: Well the 3 rooms are all on the 1st floor and next to each other with the landing, which is under the control shall we say, the 501 Garrison. We are mixing the exhibitors so as to give a good cross section in the 2 rooms, and the bar is there!

The Ground floor lobby is the Dealers Room in effect and the talks / screening room is ground floor.

Remember the Bristol Expo was hosted in 2 venues! so if it rained….

CH: Yes, that was entertaining. Having everything under one roof is definitely a plus!

There are always lots of interesting panels and events happening at the Expo. What are you excited about on this year’s programme?

MA: Iz McAuliffe does all the real work on the show and again she has put together a superb mix if panels. The 1st showing of the “Black Room” is an EXpo EXclusive from Chris Lynch and Terry Cooper (sorry but I love an EXpo EXclusive and we have 7 this time I recall. I’ve always tried to add something that you can only get at my shows, a print or EXpo Launch).

I expect Small Press, Doctor Who and 2000AD will be showcased, along with another short screening.

CH: What do you recommend guests check out in the dealer rooms this year?

MA: Everything! The mix is, I think, one of the best we have done. We have Cake as well! C’mon, be honest, what not to like?

One aspect I am really pleased with is number of female creators that we have, from EXpo loyalty Card Holder Kat Nicholson with Silicon Heart to one or two newbies who are debuting at the show.

CH: Cardiff Expo in 2012 was one of our first ever conventions. We’ve always enjoyed the positive and welcoming atmosphere there.

Cardiff Expo 2012

A photo op with The Doctor at Cardiff Expo 2012

CH: What’s your favourite memory from previous years at the Expo?

MA: To many to name! The overall memory is the great buzz that the show has and I hope continues to have for while yet!

CH: A lot of cosplayers dress up for the Expo. What’s the best cosplay costume you’ve seen there?

MA: Oh c’mon!
…. you may as well ask who is my favourite daughter! There have been so many awesome cosplays and the quality and standard just keeps getting better!

This year we’re trying something a little different with the Cosplay, in that rather than have a formal competition, all the exhibitors will have some “COOL COSPLAY” vouchers which they can give to whoever they think is a cool cosplayer. When they’ve collected 6 vouchers they can exchange them for a KRACKERS goodie bag at the Expo reception desk!

CH: Have you ever dressed up for the event? Will you be going in costume this year?

MA: That is no and no! I will again be sporting my Wolverine tie!

CH: I’m not sure I’ve ever caught sight of your Wolverine tie. I will have to keep an eye open for that!

So, what’s in store for Cardiff Comic Expo in the future? Will there be a CICE 2016?

MA: Well as long as the city wants a show that dedicates itself to the Welsh Creators and their superb talent I am a willing conduit! And what a great excuse to visit the City!

CH: Do you think you’ll be sticking with the Masonic Hall as a venue?

MA: Can’t think of any reason why I would change, as I said SCARdiff found it ticks all the boxes and as I said, keeping the cost down for the creators is a MAJOR factor.

They are the heartbeat of my shows

CH: Are there new things you’d like to add for future events?

MA: Always open to new ideas! But, my own remit will always be core to what I do and have done this year.

CH: How big is the team that runs Cardiff Expo? Do you find you work well together?

MA: Small is good! Iz does sooo much work and is used to the way I work…. which is not easy!

The old saying of there are two ways to work, my way or the wrong way! That’s not totally true. I’m always delighted to hear from anyone with a idea!

I am a long time Comic fan and love the medium and the shows I produce are the type I want to go to.

CH: I think that must be why so many people enjoy them! So I guess we’d better wrap up. Before we let you go, we should cover the important bits.

Where can guests get tickets for the Expo?

MA: On the website ONLY until the 21st then, IF we have a capacity, we will have a limited number on the door but not until we have gotten the pre-sales into the venue.

CH: So you heard it! Make sure you pre-book to ensure you don’t miss out! Finally, how can people find out more about what’s happening at the Expo?

MA: The website is up to date and the Facebook page will be updated right up to the Thursday night.

CH: Thanks so much for joining us, Mike. We’re sure that 2015 is going to be the best year yet! We’ll look forward to seeing you around the Expo in just over a week!

Just to remind everyone…

The Expo takes place on Saturday 27th June at the Masonic Hall in Cardiff. Doors open at 10:00 for earlybird ticket holder and 10:30 for general admission.

Ticket’s are £5 and under 12s get in free with an adult ticket holder. Buy Now.

See you all there!


Monthly Mention #4

Posted by Chrissey - 15th June 2015

There’s lot of new projects happening and new releases coming out in the world of films, fiction and comics. Here’s five which we chose to highlight this month:


Now Funding on Indigogo – The House of Screaming Death

From the award winning team who brought you Checking In (WINNER Best British Film 2014 – London Film Awards) comes House of Screaming Death, an anthology horror film which celebrates classic British horror.

The House of Screaming Death is a very special horror anthology that celebrates the bloody best of British horror films. Their intention is to make a feature length horror film that pays homage to the classics and then promote it across the globe in as many festivals as humanly (and in-humanly) possible.

The team are currently raising funds via Indigogo and need all the support they can get. Visit their fundraising page.


Congratulations to Tara Normal: Season of Evil

The second Tara Normal graphic novel from creator Howie Noel successfully reached its funding target on Kickstarter earlier this month! Tara Normal - graphic novels from Howie Noel

In this continuation of the story, Tara Normal must deal with the fallout of her fight with the devil in Book 1 and solve the mystery of Charlton; the new star of the TV show Ghost Soldiers. Charlton possesses supernatural powers that allow him to resurrect the dead which would cause quite the population problem in her home town Little Salem.

You can get hold of the first part of the story at Taranormal.com or Comixology.


Update – Cirque du Mort – Now Available!

Last month we featured Anastasia Catris and her new gothic horror comic series Cirque du Mort which is now available to buy! You can order your copy via Ana’s Store or get a digital copy for Kindle via Amazon.

Cirque Du Mort, tells gruesome tales about the cast of a haunted circus – each story being told from the perspective of one of the cursed troupe who are treading the boards for one reason or another.


The Heir to the North by Steven Poore - book coverComing Soon – The Heir to the North by Steven Poore

Old soldier Baum and heroic warrior Meredith seek to defeat Malessar and his foul curse. Conscripted into their quest, young Cassia quickly realises she could make her name as a storyteller by witnessing such an epic confrontation. But neither of her companions are quite as they appear, and the truth lies deep within stories Cassia has not yet heard.

We’re excited about this new epic fantasy, which will be published by Kristell Ink/Grimbold Books later in 2015, so add it to your to-read list. You can find out more about Steven, his books, and his reckless attempt to listen to and review every Dr Who audio play released by Big Finish, on his website.


Just Announced – Cardiff Expo Events Schedule

Coming up in a couple of week’s time is Cardiff Independent Comic Expo. The events schedule for the expo has just been anounced and looks really exciting. It features panel discussions on 2000AD, Dr Who, and indie comics, and two film screenings: Frame of Mind and The Black Room.

Check out the CICE website for more details.

This Wednesday we’ll also be inviting expo organiser Mike Allwood to join us for an interview here on The Great Escape, so make sure you check back for that.


Follow Friday – Redshirt Films

Posted by Rich - 12th June 2015

Redshirt FilmsIt’s about time we mentioned some of our favourite filmmakers; Redshirt Films!

Jamie McKeller and his film company are based in York, in the north of England, where they have been producing videos since 2010. Their productions include hilarious mockumentary web series I Am Tim Helsing: Monster Hunter, table top gaming comedy Nights at the Round Table Star Trek parody The Away Mission and many hilarious shorts.

Their most recent sketch piece is a heart rending look at the personal life of Phil Tippett – Dinosaur Supervisor. It follows Phil as he tries to rebuild his life after becoming the subject of the recently popular meme (based on the credits from Jurassic Park).

You can find all of Redshirt Films’ videos on YouTube and Dailymotion. We highly recommend binging on I Am Tim, which is very close to our monster hunting hearts. They have a whole bunch of new titles in production, including How To Kill MonstersHenchGirl4Hire, Zombie Force and Dude Quest, so subscribe now so you don’t miss out on release day.

For updates and more you can follow Redshirt Films on Twitter (@redshirtjamie) and Facebook (/redshirtfilms), or check out their website, redshirtfilms.com.


Announcing our Flash Fiction Competition!

Posted by Chrissey - 8th June 2015

Flash fiction is the art of telling short, powerful stories. In celebration of National Flash Fiction Day on the 27th June, we’re inviting writers to share their flash fiction with us.

The Great Escape features genre fiction, with an emphasis on escapism. Other than this, there is no specific theme or special requirements for this competition; we want to hear the stories you want to tell.

Visit our Competitions Page for more information and full terms and conditions.

The Great Escape Flash Fiction Competition - For National Flash Fiction Day


Follow Friday – Critique Circle

Posted by Chrissey - 5th June 2015

Critique CircleCritique Circle is an Icelandic based site where writers can share work for feedback. The site works on a credits system to ensure reciprocity. Each time someone provides a critique of another writer’s work they earn a credit which they can then spend on submitting their own work.

There are many different writer’s groups and forums out there, but it is often difficult to find somewhere where you know you’ll get the feedback you need. Unlike other sites like Absolute Write or the NaNoWriMo forums, where existing writer communities provide a place to exchange feedback, Critique Circle started as a place to exchange feedback and grew into a community.

The site has expanded over the years since it started way back in 2003 and now includes loads of extra features, such as writing and submission tracking tools, forum and community blog.

The main action takes place on the site itself, but you can connect with them on Twitter (@CritiqueCircle) or Facebook (/critiquecircle)