COBRA 21st Infantry:
Dragon Con 2003 PSA's

"So you wanna make a Fan Film"
-Major Stratohead

Those of us in the 21st "Core" group had been discussing creating some sort of COBRA "Fan Films" pretty much since the flight back from Atlanta just after Dragon Con 2002.

Many ideas were lofted about, as well as exactly how we could manage to get the damn things made with no budget, little time, scarce resources, and zero profit potential. In blunt terms, we were mostly blowing smoke up dark body cavities. Don't get me wrong; we came up with a number of great ideas. I mean we are comprised of very talented and imaginative people. But even crappy "Fan Films" require a goodly amount of effort, and some sort of starting point.

That starting point came when I tagged along with Scat-Trap to a little weekend Comic Con, and we finally chanced to meet up with Kodiak.

As fortune would have it, Kodiak owns and operates his own Video Production Company, Kodiak Entertainment.  Mr. Kodiak, upon mentioning his business, offered the fatal phrase "... so if you guys ever want to make a fan film or something... "

Little did he know what he had signed on for.

This was in about Mid-July 2003. If we were to do anything for Dragon Con at the end of August, we'd have to bust ass. And Bust Ass is just what we did.

Meetings were had, scripts were written and re-written, technological skill sets were assessed, resources were cataloged, egos bruised, and brain cells deliberately killed off with death squad like efficiency. Early on we set Live Action Shorts on the backburner as just impossible within the timeframe, and we hit upon the crux of what you see presented here. A series of 30-60 second Pro-COBRA "Public Service Announcements" (PSA's) that we would somehow manage to get broadcast on DRAGON CON TV, a closed circuit broadcast run in the host hotels.

The entire creative process was a sort of rolling evolutionary one. Things never ended up "locked down" until the spots ended up on a VHS tape. Jokes were invented, restyled, and reordered throughout. We also ended up with tons more material than we had time to turn into a finished product (Our goal was 10-15 PSA's... we were able to complete 6). The upshot of this is we have many, many more gags eager, and ready to go for the next series.

The whole project was "finished" just under the wire; with Kodiak batching the PSA's out on a 90 minute VHS loop tape the afternoon before he drove to Atlanta.
Once we got to Dcon and got settled in, all that was left was to get the bastards actually on the air. Lucky for us, we somehow manage to amuse one of the nicest people on the planet, Joe Campbell, Big Head Honcho of Dragons Con Suite. Joe was kind enough to allow us to Premiere our handy work in the Con Suite to a large crowd of attendees, who I am certain were much more interested in the free hotdogs and soda... but y'know, whatever. From that point I went out on a 2-hour journey up and down several flights of stairs in an effort to get the tape on DconTV. I probably talked to about 20-30 different people before finally locating the man with the power to get our shit on the air. He seemed fairly happy to have the PSA's; hell, he didn't even demand bribery. I guess my mom was right; a little courtesy can go a long way.

As I understand it, the staff at DconTV initially stuck our 90 min. loop tape in the VCR and just let it run... the same 6 spots repeated for an hour and half. They also used them along with some of their own material at key broadcast times, such as The Costume Contest. Over the course of the convention, we were constantly overhearing people talking about the PSA's. We were even told that some people were hooking camcorders up to their TV's to record the spots, and even digitizing them on the fly to share with others. There could be no doubting it...



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