Storytelling Across Media Panels Highlight Comic-con Museum

San Diego Comic Convention recently presented SAM: Storytelling Across Media, a one-day symposium for aspiring writers, artists, and professionals interested in the art of storytelling. Held at the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park, the half-day symposium hosted a series of talks about how to tell a story in various media, including comics, books, gaming, movies, and more. It explored the similarities and differences in telling stories through different media and focused on the craft of telling a story through creator lectures. The topics included:

AI: Can it Tell a Better Story? Or to put it more bluntly, can AI tell stories as well as a human? Does AI pose a threat to writers? Are there any benefits that AI offers? Is there something inherently human in the act of storytelling? Beth Accomando (KPBS Cinema Junkie and co-founder of Film Geeks SD) moderated a discussion that addressed these issues head-on. Panelists included Pete Shaner (writer-director of Lover’s Knot and Nicolas) and William Nericcio (author, writer/creator of Mextasy, and professor of English and comparative literature at San Diego State University).

The next panel addressed the controversial topic of Storytelling in a Time of Book Banning. What happens when you tell stories others don’t want told? To mark Banned Books Week, Rosie Knight, award-winning journalist and podcast host, joined by Ryka Aoki (author, Light from Uncommon Stars), Naz Kutub (author, The Loophole), Foz Meadows (A Strange and Stubborn Endurance), and Kiersten White (author, Mister Magic) to discuss the impact that a rise in book banning and censorship have had on creativity, publishing, readership, diversity and inclusion.

A Storytelling in Education panel followed. Storytelling has been essential in preserving history and passing down cultural traditions since the dawn of humanity. In modern times, narrative art along with a sprinkle of magic and a dash of popular culture—remains crucial in how we learn and connect. Panelists Dr. Matthew Atherton (associate professor of social sciences, CSUSM), Dr. Virginia Loh Hagan (children’s book author), and Chris Ryall (CCO, Syzygy Publishing) shared their experiences in world-building for audience exploration. The panel was moderated by Moni Barrette (2023 Eisner judge).

Next up was Storytelling with writer/artist Sina Grace. From slice-of-life indie books to sweeping superhero books, Sina Grace has spent over 15 years working in comics.  He spent a decade freelancing after editing The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s imprint of books at Skybound. Grace celebrated what he learned from writing and drawing a young adult Superman graphic novel with readers. Sina provided an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at how the comics are made–from initial idea to hitting “approved” at the printer.

This was followed by Storytelling in Music presented by Impact24 PR and Incandescent Entertainment. The panel explored the dynamic relationship between music, sound, and storytelling in film and television with industry experts and their creative partners. Composers, sound designers, and other music pros offered unique insights into the captivating world of sonic storytelling of different genres in film and television, from family content, to comedy, dramas, and beyond. Panelists included re-recording mixer Kate Finan of Boom Box Post (Pupstruction) I composer Greg Nicolett (Pupstruction), director/editor Sean Olson (Camp Hideout), sound designer Andres Boulton (Camp Hideout), producer Jiarui Guo, and composer Pancho Burgos.

Storytelling In Comics came next. Underscoring how the comics medium is unlike any other, panelists included Jim Thompson (comics historian, Eisner Awards judge 2021), Alonso Nunez (executive director of Little Fish Comic Book Studio, Eisner Awards judge 2021), Claudia Dominguez (creator of More Than Money by Amatl Comix/SDSU Press), Lonnie Millsap (cartoonist for The New Yorker, creator of bacön) and Jessica Tseang (international comics historian, and Eisner Awards 2022 judge. The industry pros discussed the critical components of perfecting storytelling through the sequential art medium.

Last but least was Telling a Story Through Game Design. Moderated by game composer, Weston Gardner, expert game designers Jon Cohn, Kami Mandell, and Nate Murray shared how the story of a game can be driven forward with mechanics, narrative hooks, and more.

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