Welcome to Conlandia, the mythical land of full-bore fandom that’s one crowdfund campaign away from being slightly less mythical.
The conception of Sonoman Chris Ginesi and Healdsburgian Mathew Carr, the web series (now in “beta”) explores the land of conventions, festivals and celebrations of geek culture, with an eye to culminating at the convention juggernaut, San Diego’s Comic-Con International, in 2015. Thus far, the twenty-something duo has captured footage at Santa Rosa’s Toy Con, Fit Expo in San Jose and are freshly returned from Star Trek Las Vegas.
Now, they’re embarking on one of the most challenging legs of their journey — to the land of fundraising. The Conlandians have launched a campaign on IndieGoGo to underwrite the production of the complete series so that they may soon come to a con near you.
They have less than 50 days to raise the $75,000 to complete the series, which will find them crisscrossing the nation and cavorting with hundreds of fans along the way.
Carr and Ginesi are confident they will make their goal. The early embrace of the convention community certainly buttressed their optimism. The funding tiers start at $1 (which will garner a mention of your name on the show) to co-executive producer position that can be had for a cool five grand. In between, of course, are numerous opportunities to contribute and participate.
“The Drunken Bingo and Postcard” is an instant classic that involves a “bottle of whiskey, a ping pong ball, a snorkel and a set of fake mustaches.” The soon-to-be-collectible incentive is a sly reference to the duo’s nicknames, “Bingo” and “Stash” (Ginesi boasts a well-groomed mustache — the origin of Carr’s nickname is uncertain).
“What we’re able to do by traveling around the country is participate in the culture and really become part of the community of fans who are truly giving these companies life,” says Ginesi, who scrapes the ceiling at a strapping six and half feet.
Their approach is already winning fans on the convention circuit who echo an emerging sentiment that conventions are increasingly overrun with marketing extravaganzas for large studio projects, instead of supporting the community whose patronage makes it all possible.
“The goal of Conlandia is to be cultural excavators and find all the elements that are being explored outside of traditional media,” says the bespectacled Carr, who is frequently seen inporkpie hat and effervesces contagious enthusiasm. “It’s not always about the A-list stars, it’s not about that huge picture of the Marvel universe, but the fans who support them with their time, dollars and affection. We get to meet these people on our journey and so far it’s been really inspiring.”
In Las Vegas, Carr and Ginesi proved so affable they were invited to participate in a wedding conducted in the same convention premises at which the couple had met the year before.
“I cried the entire time,” says Carr, who, with Ginesi, tracks their adventures at Conlandia.com. “It’s time to unite and bring together all of the fandoms that we all love so much. We’re gonna dig in, we’re gonna bring to you extensive coverage with all our favorite stars, people on the floor, cosplayers, you name it. We want you on this journey, so come with us, donate to our Indiegogo campaign, become a Conlandian!”