When Alan Tudyk took his idea for a comedy series about the world of sci-fi conventions to TV production companies, he was surprised when they wanted to mock the fans. One TV exec said, “You’re not going to be able to fund the show on the backs of those weird convention nerds,” Tudyk told me before their panel at Comic Con.
“There were some people who didn’t understand this was a love letter to the fans,” Nathan Fillion added. “They didn’t honor the fans, they didn’t respect the fans.”
So they took the idea straight to the fans, raising over $3 million from Indiegogo, the third largest funding effort for a film on any platform.
“After the crowdfunding, when someone helps make a dream come true, you feel indebted to them for the rest of your life,” Tudyk said. “And I will be. We already are. For everything. They’ve shaped our lives in such a major way. Beyond that we spent two months making Serenity, that they resurrected Firefly and helped us make a movie.”
The show is very loosely based on Tudyk’s experiences at sci-fi conventions in the wake of Firefly’s cancelation. Fillion plays a huge action star in contrast to Tudyk’s struggling actor.
At the panel, hosted by Chris Hardwick, Tudyk and Fillion were joined onstage with many of the series’ special guests, a who’s who of convention fan favorites from Felicia Day to Wil Wheaton to Tricia Helfer. It was the first time a web series had taken over the main Hall H, and the room was packed. The audience was treated to (and joined in with) a lovefest for Tudyk’s vision. They also got to see Harwick serenading Wheaton with “Stand By Me” and a proposal from one of the crew to the other, who can now be married back home in the Carolinas.
The panel marked the first time the Con Man trailer was played in public, and it’s now available here: