15 July, 2009

The Amazing Meeting

This past weekend I – Kennedy – went to Las Vegas to attend the Amazing Meeting, the world's biggest critical thinking event.

It was a perfect place to test the film amongst a small group made up of a very specific demographic group that would be interested in "Beast...."

When I arrived at the hotel I was given my room number – 2012. I actually thought that was a joke. In a sense it was. 2012 really was my room number, and I exploited it over the weekend.

For those of you not 'in' on the joke... the doomsday fear-mongering surrounding the end of the Mayan calendar is a current light-weight skeptical subject. The Mayan calendar ends (resets to 'zero' in fact) in 2012. It's pretty silly really. Phil Plait gave a discussion on the astronomical connections to 2012 fears on the 3rd day of the conference.

Upon looking at the schedule for the conference I immediately selected that first night as the best time for a sneak preview. (The film is still not done. Temp audio and incomplete effects are still in place.) I figured that if we started by 8:30 we'd be done around the same time as the magic show, so people could easily go from the screening to the bar. Room 2012 was a number no skeptic would forget.

I pushed the film on Twitter with TAM7 hashtags a few times in the afternoon, and then face to face at the reception and again to the group that gathered for the Canadian Contingent Meet-up.

We squeezed about as many people into the room as could actually be comfortable for 90 minutes, and let fly.

It's such a relief that it was a success. Lots of laughs. While I hope everyone enjoys this film, outside of my immediate friends and family, the people I most want to like it is the scientific community. And while this isn't precisely the scientific community, there is a HUGE amount of overlap. There was a bit of chatter on Twitter about it afterwards, that made me feel awesome.

Bill Prady – creator of the Big Bang Theory – was the keynote speaker for the conference. He has validated for me that comedies about scientists are totally viable. Jennifer Ouellette also spoke on Friday about the Science and Entertainment Exchange – which facilitates the consultation for film and TV writers with scientists. This was all very cool for me.

In the end I walked away from the conference with two radio interviews on my horizon. The first was yesterday with Radio Freethinkers (July 14, 2009 – episode 17) and the second will be in several weeks time on Skeptically Speaking.

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