Looking Back at Galacticon

I wanted to wait to write this blog post because I was very disappointed when I returned home from the Stephen King Dollar Baby festival at Galacticon. I am glad I waited, because I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus or rage about things that went wrong. Instead, here is a level look at the weekend that went wrong.

The Stephen King Dollar Baby film festival at Galacticon in Seattle was in the works for over a year. I met one of the organizers in Houston, which was both the last time that I hosted a dollar baby festival and the last Galacticon event. I put together a great number of Dollar Baby films and they also asked me to host another festival that they could make some money off of, this one with films by Dollar Baby filmmakers. I did my part.

In exchange, they paid my airfare, put me up in a nice hotel and gave me a table with the other invited guests.

I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening online, but maybe I should have. I got on the plane to head to Seattle and when I was at my layover in Los Angeles, my phone rang. I was informed that the convention could no longer afford my hotel room and they wondered if I could room with the organizer who put the convention together or pay for the room myself and let them “pay me back later” for it. I’m not stupid, so I agreed to room with someone else.

What I didn’t know until after I arrived was that the new room was not in the nice hotel with the rest of the invited guests but was in a small, roadside motel in a bad neighborhood. I bit my tongue because I then got online and saw what was happening and I knew that it wasn’t the fault of the man I was dealing with over the last year.

The person who was responsible for the main Battlestar Galactica guests had screwed up and ended up cancelling many of the guests from the new Battlestar show. Fans revolted, and although there were no refunds coming for the guests, many chose not to come and others warned people not to attend the event at all.

The guy who screwed up was fired and the guy I was working with busted his butt to make sure that the convention still went off as good as it could be. Many cancelled guests were invited back and some of them agreed to come. Sadly, one cast member named Aaron Douglas chose to have a pub run and convinced fans to skip the convention and come hang out with him for charity. Nice for the cause, but he screwed over all the vendors and the cast members who did show up. The guy I worked with made sure the convention was going strong and then collapsed, spending the next two days in the hospital.

So, I went to the first day of the convention, set up my booth and then spoke to the programming coordinator. She told me that she was informed the Dollar Baby film festival was cancelled. She then made a snide comment that I was really more of an exhibitor and not a true guest, but I got my table anyway. What I didn’t get was the Dollar Baby festival listed in the program, which meant it was dead in the water.

By the second day, I was moved from the portion of the convention with the rest of the guests to a table with the vendors, which might have been better for my placement if there had been any fans actually showing up. By the third day, I was ready to leave.

I sold three books, and the coolest part is that one of them was to Star Trek actor J.G. Hertzler, who gave me his card and was super cool talking to about the entire Dollar Baby process. I also met another indie author named EA Channon, who gave me some great advice about what can lead to success at conventions as a vendor.

I also shared as bus with some fantastic people, including the cast of Land of the Lost, Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, and Philip Paley. They were just the best people, and I am now known to them forever more as the “Crack Whore Motel Guy.”

A photo posted by Shawn Lealos (@sslealos) on

So, it was a bad experience and was very disappointing. But, there were positives to take from it and I am ready for the next experience. Keep your eyes out if you live in West Texas (specifically Midland and Odessa) for a possible next appearance for me with the Dollar Deal book.

Don’t think I am burying Galacticon. I just want Stephen King fans in Seattle who might have been interested in seeing the Dollar Baby films to know why that opportunity was squandered. Hopefully, I can make it up to you one day in the future.

That’s about it for now, but keep your eyes out here for some big news about the Stephen King Dollar Deal book coming at the end of September.

If you haven’t grabbed it yet, Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers is available on Amazon.com.

Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers