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Comic-Con Media Training: Stay Away From the Lights

Although I’m not getting down to Comic-Con until Friday, the preliminary coverage has provided another reminder to attendees that’s sometimes easy to forget in the mainstreaming of the San Diego convention — namely, that the broadcast media that show up are not your friends.

Sure, the convention has outgrown its roots and become a major marketing tool for movie studios and networks. The G4 channel will even televise the Lucasfilm session from the event — a first for the gathering, reflecting its status as the center of the pop-culture universe.

But let’s face it, interviewing grown men in a Harry Potter or Mr. Spock outfit is catnip for TV outlets — a classic summer freak show, especially now that the Michael Jackson story is cooling off. Even a local radio reporter on KNX in Los Angeles could be heard suppressing chortles Thursday as he interviewed convention-goers involved in role-playing games. (Of course, there’s also some visual attraction to presenting women in Princess Leia or green “Star Trek” slave girl garb, but the eye-candy aspect notwithstanding, they’re going to be portrayed as weirdos, too.)

As if to prove this point, the Huffington Post has already posted a Comic-Con slide show on its site, and while some of the shots are of stars like Johnny Depp, the majority focus on people in outlandish costumes.

So please, for your own sake as well as that of friends and family, if someone cheerfully shoves a microphone in your face, remember that they do not have your best interests at heart. Don’t engage them — or if you do, at least try to sound like you can differentiate fantasy from reality and have more than a few friends who aren’t imaginary. The image of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog interviewing “Star Wars” fans as they waited in line for the next movie remains a cautionary tale for everyone with the fan gene.

Folks pay big bucks for media training sessions, but as a sign of solidarity with fellow geeks, this first one is free.

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