FANGASM Boss Regina Carpinelli Talks Upcoming Comikaze Expo
In recent years, the SyFy network has been known for one thing, the made-for-TV movie. The outrageousness of Syfy originals like Sharknado, Stonehenge Apocalypse and Piranhaconda have made the films cult-classics, allowing many to live forever in cable television clip show reruns. Recently, the network has developed a number of reality series: Face Off, Heroes of Cosplay and Fangasm are responsible for successfully expanding the scope of Syfy channel programing.
Recently, this writer was given the opportunity to sit down and talk with one of the stars of Fangasm, as well as the co-creator of Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, Regina Carpinelli. The highly successful, multi-talented entrepreneur opened up about Fangasm, the incredible success of the still fairly new Comikaze Expo, and their recent partnership deal with Diamond Comic Distribution.
Can you speak a little about the genesis of the idea for Fangasm as a television series? How did the series come to be?
(Fangasm) was all accidental. It was originally a completely different show. As it was changing, (the production company) wanted to have a real nerd to consult on it. They liked my team and changed the entire show and pitched it to SyFy.
What do you hope the audience takes away from Fangasm?
No matter who you are, you can do whatever you want to do. I started Comikaze with 10,000 dollars… you can do great things. (Also), geeks are like everyone else. People have problems.
Watching the first few episodes of Fangasm, the creative team’s desire to depict the interns as real people with relatable thoughts and feelings becomes immediately apparent. In the series pilot, the cast shares a surprisingly tender moment as they learn the story behind fellow intern Andrew’s personal passion for Star Trek. In this moment of surprising intimacy and vulnerability between the cast, these reality show performers suddenly become real humans with whom we can identify; they are not simply the generic reality show archetypes so unfortunately common in network television.
The creators behind Fangasm have managed to create a reality series exploring the nerd community while avoiding the temptation to exploit them. The vastly different interns represent different factions of geekdom, thus demonstrating that like any community, no two geeks are the same.
There are so many monumentally different fandoms in popular culture. Are there any fandoms you consider yourself a member of?
I personally don’t like Star Trek… I really love Magic: The Gathering. I’ve been playing since I was a kid. (We) get together every week and play. I love movies, especially bad, pop culture B-movies. I’m a big John Waters fan. I love Doctor Who. I’m a big nerf gun enthusiast.
In Fangasm, the team of seven interns work under Regina Carpinelli to coordinate and learn the day to day operations for the upcoming Comikaze Expo. The Los Angeles area comic book convention was first held in 2011, and after attracting a record setting 35,000 attendees in their first year, the Expo has continued growing at an astounding rate.
Can you speak about your initial hopes and expectations when planning the Expo? How did you go about laying the groundwork?
(Comikaze Expo) started out with 35,000 attendees. When we first started, it was hard. (To me) it wasn’t about making a convention, I wanted something that had great content, but we had to be family friendly and affordable. (Our) show came from an honest place. It (resulted from) hard work and people believing in me. I’m very proud and humbled about what I’ve built.
Your work organizing the Expo has been incredible. What advice about networking and self-marketing do you have for those looking to increase their exposure as content creators?
It is really about being passionate and getting (your work) out there… Maybe you have to make fliers and pass those out at every convention. The worst thing someone will do is say no, and you’re going to get a lot of rejection. (Speaking) with Todd McFarlane, (he) had 300 people say no before that one yes…Take constructive criticism and learn from your mistakes; don’t let it get you down. Social media is a powerful tool.
In an exciting and ground-breaking piece of news, it was announced last week that the Comikaze Expo had finalized a partnership with Diamond Comic Distributors. While the move is largely unprecedented, it will provide substantial benefits to the Expo in the coming years. As the largest comic book distributor in the country, the company has substantial ties across the industry, and will be able to provide the ever expanding pop-culture Expo with wide-ranging comic related programming.
This year, Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo is scheduled to take place between November 1 and November 3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Numerous high profile guests like Bruce Campbell, LeVar Burton and Edward James Olmos are scheduled to attend. Check out the Expo’s website for more information. New episodes of Fangasm air Tuesdays on the Syfy network. Full episodes are available for online streaming through the show’s Syfy website.