The Geek Gig: Consetta Parker (Part 2)

Last week, Consetta Parker dazzled us with her publicity know-how and showed us some Star Wars enthusiasm that could rival that of a poor college student finding out about Ikea.  Today, I'm finishing up this interview by focusing on this talented lady on a more personal level.  Did you know Consetta is married to a Stormtrooper?  You will soon.

How did you become a geek or develop what geekiness was already there?  Summarize your geek conversion/growing-up story.  
I believe I was pre-disposed to follow the path of a geek and my family sensed it, too. ;)  I remember overhearing my grandma telling my mom she was “worried” about me when I was about three years old.  It may have had something to do with the fact she had bought me a really expensive baby doll as a gift and I was terrified of it (not the reaction she was hoping for).  As soon as the adults looked away I ran outside and buried it in the field behind our house so it wouldn’t “get me” while I was sleeping. I adored my grandma more than anything but she always tried to get me to play with dolls and “girl” stuff.  She finally gave up this attempt by the time I was 10 and began giving me stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes for me to “rescue” and toys like Nerf Guns and trading cards. :)
Our family didn’t have a lot of money so we didn’t go on vacations or out much… but we were happy and that’s all that mattered!  I had an aunt and uncle that used to offer to take us all to the movies once in a while as a treat and it was a really BIG deal for us to get to go out and do something -- and I loved the movies.  But one summer day in 1977 my mom yelled out to me as I played in the field behind our house and said, “Would you like to go see that Star Wars movie with Aunt Lucille and Uncle Clifford?!” – That was a true turning point for me.  I was 6 years old and my life forever changed as I sat mesmerized for two hours watching Star Wars.  My true inner geek began to blossom and my love for Star Wars grew stronger the entire time I was growing up.  By the time I was about 10 years old I had some major goals set for myself: 1) work in movies somehow so I could learn how Star Wars Magic was made, 2) work in radio so I could be a DJ and run my own Star Wars soundtrack-only radio station, 3) someday meet Han Solo, 4) save as many animals as I could, 5) find a boy who loved Star Wars as much as I did.  These goals set me on a journey that guided me my entire life and into adulthood and I never lost hope that dreams do come true. :)
How did you meet your husband and how were you proposed to?
Consetta and Garet
(Picture copyright Consetta Parker)
My trooper and I met on May 4, 2005, at 9 a.m. on the back porch of the main house at Skywalker Ranch.  Over the course of our first year together we had often talked about that morning and had discussed the fact that we should re-enact that morning each May 4. One year later, on the morning of on May 4, 2006, Garet asked me to meet him outside on the back porch of our house at 9 a.m.  He also suggested I wear the same clothes I had worn the morning in 2005. I remembered exactly what I had worn so it didn’t take me long to get dressed and memories washed over me as I did. It had been a cold, rainy morning in 2005 and I was having total “chick” moments that day trying to figure out what to wear knowing I was going to get all wet and most likely look like a wet rat all day -- ha!  As I walked outside on that beautiful sunny day in 2006 (total opposite of the rainy May 4 the year before), I looked down and saw a small piece of carpet on the concrete.  I then heard a familiar sound…the clanking of Stormtrooper armor walking towards me (exactly what I had heard the year before).  I looked to my right and saw my trooper, in his full armor, walk around the corner of our house and towards me. He then got down on one knee, using the piece of carpet I had seen on the concrete to protect his knee and armor.  As tears swelled up in my eyes, I saw him hold up a ring box.  He opened it up and I saw a big, beautiful, silver Stormtrooper head ring as I heard the words, “Consetta, will you marry me?”  Without hesitation “yes” sprung from my lips, he slipped the giant stormtrooper ring on my finger (it didn’t come in my size and it didn’t matter -- it was perfect), and I embraced my trooper.  A knowing washed over me that I’ll never forget.  I knew I was exactly where I should be and I was truly happy. I had never been so sure of anything in my entire life.
Besides Star Wars, what are some of your other geeky obsessions or hobbies? 
I adore E.T., I’m a huge Buffy fan, and Spike was and always will be my favorite!  It’s funny because when I was little I was quite the loyalist to Star Wars!  I felt I was doing something wrong if I watched any other sci-fi movie or show so I remained pure to Star Wars (ha!), so now in my so-called adulthood I’ve discovered and embraced many things and enjoy them all… such as BSGStar TrekTrue BloodWolverine, and I love HALLOWEEN so I love scary movies!  I’m a Michael Myers girl though.  Jason is ok, but was just never my thing.  ;)  I also run a stuffed animal rescue (and a Star Wars toy rescue) -- it’s kind of like the island of misfit plush toys.  I’ve always loved animals so when I was little I used to get really upset when I’d see another kid looking at stuffed animals then throw them back on the shelf or worse just drop them on the floor.  So now, if I witness this happening or find a stuffed animal on the floor of any store I immediately want to give it a good home (I realize I have issues but I’m ok with that-ha!).  I can’t stand the thought of homeless animals... real or plush!  I also love & collect Hello Kitty… a lot (see that whole animal theme continuing here?!).
How can you integrate nerdiness into everyday life without people thinking it's "lame?"
The answer is simple yet not easy.  You can’t worry about it.  Everyone is different.  You won’t always agree or like every single person you meet and vice versa, but we can all learn from each other and be more accepting. If you get consumed with what everyone else is thinking you’ll go crazy.  Take the blinders off and see the whole view.  It’s amazing what you can see without losing sight of who you are. 
Consetta with an Athena Studios Vader.
(Picture copyright Consetta Parker)

Thank you, Consetta, for sharing a peek into the Star Wars working world and your geeky personal life, as well!


CCI Christian Protests = Nothing Accomplished

In case you missed it, I wrote a post this past weekend for The Grizzly Bomb about how the Christian protests at Comic-Con are essentially pointless.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  Enjoy!

Christians never cease to baffle me.

When I read about the Westboro Baptist Church’s protest of Comic-Con International, I had to make sure that I did not turn around and punch a hole in the wall.  Then I had to laugh maniacally at their antics.  Then I just had to shake my head.


The Geek Gig: Consetta Parker (Part 1)

Over the last few months, I've connected with some phenomenal people on Twitter who accept my geekiness because they too are geeks.  I've also discovered that many of these people integrate their geek natures into their professional lives, or already work directly in this industry; as such, it seemed fitting to try to connect with as many of them as possible over time and interview them about their careers and lives.

The first interview you all have the pleasure of reading (and I had conducting) is about the lovely, positive, and seemingly ever-cheerful Consetta Parker.  A fellow geek gal, Consetta has had her foot in the Star Wars world for years as the media consultant for Rancho Obi-Wan and a publicist for Star Wars acting talent.  She has a lot to tell about the experience, with just as much passion as one would expect from a fan girl.  Part 1 of this interview reveals her professional side, and Part 2 which will be posted next week will contain some personal sketches, including how she met her very own Stormtrooper husband!

(Note: I have chosen to keep all of Consetta's answers despite their length because I believe they honestly reflect her as a person, and cutting would do her and you all an injustice.)

Consetta with Star Wars author Steve Sansweet.
(Picture copyright Consetta Parker)

Why did you decide to become a publicist, and how were you able to get your foot in the geek publicist world?
I became a publicist by total and complete accident! And thank goodness! I’ll try to give you a brief run down/time line and how it all came together. ;)  My passion for animal welfare landed me a position at a local humane society after I graduated college.  Because of my education in communications they put me into the position of handling public relations and humane education.  I ended up doing regular TV and radio guest spots promoting the shelter and featuring our “pet of the week!”  One of the local radio stations liked the way I sounded on air and ended up offering me a position to co-host the morning show so I was working two jobs for awhile (with animals and in radio, 2 of my goals [in life]!); my work in radio got me a job offer in a larger market and I moved to Cincinnati to work for a bigger radio station and have more responsibility.  I did on-air work, promotions, and voice work.  In radio promotions we did a lot of advance screenings of movies and I learned of a company that worked with all the major studios and handled studio publicity and promotions for various markets in the Midwest.  I had no idea there was such a company and I got really excited!  I thought you had to live in Hollywood to work in the entertainment industry. ;)  So then my journey led me to work for this company and I handled several studios including Dreamworks, MGM, and Miramax, and supervised others like Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount, and Sony. While working here I had the absolute privilege and joy of meeting Harrison Ford during a press junket in NYC. He was perfect. I finally met Han Solo (dream come true). My work in the Midwest for the studios landed me an opportunity to move to LA and work for a larger company that worked directly with studios like Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and Focus Features for LA publicity and promotions.  While working in LA, a random conversation and meeting on a Friday afternoon led me to be working at Skywalker Ranch the following Monday to work the press junket for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith... it was a dream come true and it was the most amazing experience. I felt I’d finally “made it” to my ultimate goal. I was blissfully happy and loved being the go-to person for the press if they had any random Star Wars questions or just wanted to talk about Star Wars!  I had no idea what was about to happen at lead me towards the geeky side of publicity… doors began opening and more and more of my goals started becoming a reality. 
Consetta with James Arnold Taylor
(Picture copyright of Consetta Parker)
What's the most unique geeky thing you've stumbled across or experienced in your publicist job? 
I’ve been so fortunate to have many amazing experiences over the years.  Obviously, meeting a stormtrooper while working a press junket at Skywalker Ranch is undoubtedly galactic tops for me since I married him! Ha! But as I mentioned earlier, I got to meet Harrison Ford (twice actually -- and yes, he remembered me which made my life feel more complete), I also got to walk Billy Dee Williams down a red carpet for a movie premiere in LA which was an unexpected delight, and I’ve got to meet and work with various Star Wars talent over the years working media events and that’s how I met my current clients (and dear friends) James Arnold Taylor and Catherine Taber! It was a random conversation with them that actually inspired me to start my own publicity company.
What's your favorite thing about being involved in the Star Wars universe?  
Star Wars led me to the love of my life… so sharing the joy and love of Star Wars with my trooper is truly a gift I’ll always treasure. :)
Who is your geek role model, your professional role model, or are they one in the same?  Why? 
As corny as it may sound I’d have to say when I was little one of my role models was undoubtedly Princess Leia.  I wanted to be like her -- she was strong and a leader, she got to kiss Han, she had a Wookiee friend etc… She inspired me. :)  I also always looked up to my parents and I still do. They were always there for me and supported me every step of the way. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of my folks. I cannot thank them enough for all they have done. I truly believe I have the best Mom and Dad in the galaxy! As far as a professional role model I’d have to say all the strong women in the entertainment industry I’ve had the privilege of working with and knowing. It’s a very tough industry and you’ve got to work hard and continually prove yourself. If I ever felt overwhelmed or unsure of myself I’d simply look to the women around me pushing through and it inspired me to keep going. I developed a strength over the years I never knew I had in me and I will forever be grateful for that.
Do you find that the professional world in general is becoming more accepting of geek culture?  
In general, yes, I do. I remember being on conference calls and in meetings with various studios years ago brainstorming for sci-fi films and hearing the confused or negative “tone” in some voices. Obviously, I was always excited to work on these types of films and enjoyed feeling more “tuned in” and trying to come up with ideas that would be fun for “us” -- those of us that “got it.” Over the years I have noticed the tone has changed and I believe the studios and media outlets understand the geek culture better.  Some may not necessarily  like it, but there is more of an acceptance and motivation to appeal to the geek masses. I also feel movement has also been a double-edged sword. You can see it now in regard to events like San Diego Comic-Con.  Major studios jumped in full swing and have had a massive presence at Comic-Con over the last several years (much to the dislike of many in feeling Hollywood was trying to take over). I remember thinking, “Ok, this is good, but they’re kind of preaching to the choir here.  We are the target demographic.  We don’t need much convincing to go see the sci-fi summer blockbusters.” Tons of money has been put into Comic-Con by the studios and during the convention the response is normally huge and positive. So whenever there is a summer box office failure in major studio productions of sci-fi, action, and superhero films, the tone slips back into thinking we are not the numbers or masses they thought. I think we’re in an interesting time right now as far as trying to find a middle ground and observing the learning curve in that geek culture is so much more than any ONE convention or event.
Filming for Star Wars: Rise of the Consultants.
(Picture copyright Consetta Parker)
Do you have any upcoming projects you'd like to share?  I've heard hints of SyFy... :) 
There are various things on the horizon indeed! I am beyond excited to be going with James Arnold Taylor (JAT) and working with him at Star Wars Celebration 6 this August.  JAT is the main stage host so he’ll be working non-stop and we’re working on plans and scheduling now… I think SW fans will be very happy at C6! ;)  My trooper and I also just worked on and filmed for a new reality show… I can’t give too many details YET, but I can tell you it involves Star Wars (guess that’s not much of a surprise, huh?). I suppose I could give another little hint: SyFy. ;) It was an amazing experience and we are still recovering from it all.  The entire film crew was wonderful and I’ve made not only new professional contacts but also personal ones. I have come to terms with that fact I’ll most likely come across looking completely ridiculous… and I’m ok with that. When I was younger I used to be afraid to be who I was and I lost myself for awhile. I never wanted to forget or pretend to be anyone other than who I was again so I decided to just go all in and let my geek flag fly!  So if people want to poke fun or think I’m a total spaz then I accept that 100% and have no regrets. Life is too short to worry about what everyone thinks… at some point you have to let it go and just be. :)
If you could give one piece of advice to developing professionals in the geek world, what would it be? 
Follow your passion, believe in yourself, and your dreams will come true.  I know it may sound simple or lame but I believe it with all my heart. So many things in life distract us or throw us off course. We end up settling, feeling too old, giving up, or losing hope. It may take a very long time and you may feel lost at times. Remember to look up and forward… not down and back.   Believe in who you are and what you want to achieve. There is always magic in the air and dreams DO come true every day.
And remember, the Force will be with you… always. :)

Be sure to come back next week to catch Part 2 of Consetta's interview to find out how her Trooper proposed to her, armor and all!


Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Live-Action Trailer

He's back...

As if Comic-Con wasn’t exciting enough, Microsoft and 343 Industries released the official trailer for their upcoming digital web series, 
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.  It.  Is.  Epic.

View the trailer and read my reaction here!


Female Gamers are People, Too.

Yeah, a lot of us react like this.

I don't know if you know this, but female gamers are kind of a big deal.

To be more precise, female gamers are a big deal because they have recently been the center of attention for many large news stories in the video game and popular culture industries. Why? Because they are being sexually bullied and harassed by people who apparently find fulfillment in such mean-spirited actions. Do you remember when you got pushed off the swing in elementary school, and then called names in high school, and then betrayed by your boy/girlfriend in college? The harassment against female gamers is like all of these situations rolled into one, except female gamers tend to never see their bullies face-to-face.

For recent examples of harassment and what we can do about it, read the rest of my article over at Grizzly Bomb.


Maleficent Is on Her Way...

Creepy and cool, all at the same time.

Those of us who grew up with the classic Disney films have had the joy (or maybe sorrow?) of seeing these stories turned into live-action flicks over the past several years.  Quite possibly the best part of these remakes was the portrayal of the villains.  Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil in the 1996 version of 
101 Dalmatians, for example, made me decide I’d much rather work for the cynical, harsh editor Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.  Also, Charlize Theron’s recent evil queen in Snow White & the Huntsman sparked in me a new appreciation for a villain I had otherwise thought rather shallow. Now it’s time to make way for some visible horns.

Read the rest of my post over at The Grizzly Bomb!


My Geeked Up Life: Best. Barbies. Ever.

Even though I was a geeky girl who played with dinosaurs and action figures, there were those days I still pulled out my model horses or even my Barbies.  I never thought much about the way the Barbies looked, though nowadays I find it absolutely atrocious how anatomically incorrect they are, which is why I will not allow my future daughters to obsess over them.  However, I am seriously willing to put aside all skepticism about Mattel's misrepresentation of the female body when I see these bad-ass beauties:

Empress of the Aliens, indeed.

Goddess of the Galaxy, no questions asked.

One glance is all I needed - I want these dolls.  Like something out of a Lady Gaga closet, these Barbies' out-of-this-world wardrobes make me forget their unrealistic figures.  Just imagine the cosplay possibilities here!  These dolls outfits could provide hours of crafting entertainment.   The outfits also remind me of Katy Perry's different styles in her "E.T." music video, all of which are already on my costuming to-make list.  Too bad I still haven't purchased my very belated Christmas gift of a sewing machine.

The dolls are listed on the Barbie Collector website, but are both sold out (I can see why).  You can view more images for each doll on their pages:

Did you recently find a geeky toy you simply can't wait to own?  Share it with me!