San Diego Comic Con 2015 Panelists

San Diego Comic Con 2015 Panel – How to be a Nerd for a Living

In Animation, Comics, Live Panels, Podcast, TV & Film by Nerd For A Living0 Comments

San Diego Comic Con 2015 Panelists

We just returned from the joyous madness of San Diego Comic-Con. For us, SDCC produced a number of personal and professional highlights. Perhaps our favorite part of the show, though, was our “How to be a Nerd for a Living” panel on Saturday, July 11th. We assembled six of our favorite podcast guests to discuss their careers and how they came to be “nerds for a living”. The result is an informative, entertaining conversation with a group of accomplished, driven professionals that should motivate and inspire any career nerd.

How to be a Nerd for a Living: Careers in Nerd Culture – Recorded Live at San Diego Comic-Con

San Diego Comic Con Panelists

Many people dream of working in pop-culture entertainment related industries, but most are not sure of how, where, or when to start.

Recorded live at San Diego Comic-Con International 2015, this speaker panel of professional “Nerds for a Living” discuss their careers in animation, film, comics, special effects makeup, costume design, and voice acting.

Our guests offer actionable, realistic career advice and personal anecdotes that may provide the advantage needed for those trying to “break in”. Topics include education/training, resources and communities, networking, industry “realities” (i.e. time commitment, job relocation, etc.), and tactics to use or avoid when seeking out a job in your dream industry.

Featuring guest speakers:

  • Kristin M. Burke – Costume Designer, Sleepy Hollow, Insidious (1 & 2)
  • Lee Joyner – Makeup Artist & Sculpter; Director of Admissions, Cinema Makeup School
  • Zach Lipovsky – Director, Dead Rising: Watchtower, Tasmanian Devils
  • Hal Lublin – Voice Actor, Thrilling Adventure Hour, Welcome to Night Vale
  • Sarah Marino – Animation Artist, Book of Life, Shimmer & Shine
  • Andy Schmidt – Founder, Comics Experience; Former editor for Marvel & IDW

Moderated by N4AL’s Wendy Buske, the panel concludes with a short audience Q&A session. (Please note that the panel room didn’t have mics for the attendees with questions. We weren’t able to capture audio of their questions, but you can hear the panelists’ responses. The context of the questions should become clear in the discussion.)

Many thanks to Andy, Sarah, Hal, Zach, Lee, and Kristin for participating and giving our SDCC audience a great panel experience!

Click here to download the podcast.


Guest Speaker Bios


Kristin M. Burke

Kristin M. Burke

Professional costume designer and author Kristin M. Burke recently finished a two season run on the popular Fox television series Sleepy Hollow. And though that show has exposed her work to a broad new television audience, she’s better known for a resume of over 50 films, including The Conjuring, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Insidious (1 & 2), Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, Sex Drive, Crazy, Bring it On Again and many, many more.

Kristin is the co-author of Costuming for Film: the Art and the Craft, a college-level textbook on the ins and outs of designing costumes for films. This book is also intended to reach industry professionals looking to broaden their understanding about the role of costumes in the collaborative medium of film.

Her second book, Going Hollywood: How to Get Started, Keep Going, and Not Turn into a Sleaze, is in use at film schools and universities in 7 countries.

Follow Kristin M. Burke

Listen to the N4AL Podcast interview with Kristen.


Lee Joyner

Lee Joyner

Lee Joyner has been involved in the concept and creature creation business since 1990, yet his soul has been in the business since 730 A.D.​ Crossing genres, Lee has worked with notables such as Guillermo del Toro, Alice Cooper, Disney and Nickelodeon, as well as television classics such as Stargate SG:1 and Star Trek: Voyager. He has been a lifelong fan of H.P. Lovecraft since the age of 10, crediting his eldritch lore for inspiring his love for all things strange and unusual, and not to mention his predilection for ill-fated expeditions.

Lee is the director of admissions at Cinema Makeup School, one of the top makeup schools in the entertainment industry.

He recently worked on the upcoming third Star Trek film (Star Trek Beyond). Lee created the showcase cosplay Apocalypse for Wonder Con and Comic-Con 2014. His art was featured in Sandy Collora’s book, The Art of Creature and Character Design.

Follow Lee Joyner & Cinema Makeup School

Listen to the N4AL Podcast interview with Lee.


Zach Lipovsky

Zach Lipovsky

Film director Zach Lipovsky started his career as a child actor. In those early years, he starred in many Canadian films and television shows, and then began creating his own home movies. He combined his acting and filmmaking experience with his natural skills in vfx and post production to create visually stunning films.

Crazy Late, his winning short for the 2005 Crazy 8’s, pushed him forward in the worldwide search for up and coming filmmakers for the television show On the Lot, produced by Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett. Zach was the only Canadian to make it to the top 18, beating out 12,000 filmmakers. While finishing 5th on the show, Zach’s talents gained the attention of Hollywood. He acquired LA Representation and began directing commercials.

In late 2012, Zach directed his first feature length movie Tasmanian Devils, a SyFy monster movie. He then helped produce Afflicted, the Canadian found-footage film released in 2014 by Sony and CBS. He later directed the reboot of the Leprechaun franchise for Lionsgate and WWE Studios.

Zach’s latest directorial effort, Dead Rising: Watchtower, adapts the zombie video game franchise Dead Rising. The Legendary Pictures release is available exclusively on video-on-demand service Crackle. The film stars Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory, Virginia Madsen, and Dennis Haysbert, plus the hilarious Rob Riggle.

In his spare time Zach also runs Reel Apps, the software company behind Shot Lister, the leading digital shot listing app on the App store.

Follow Zach Lipovsky

Listen to the N4AL Podcast interview with Zach.


Hal Lublin

Hal Lublin

A member of the WorkJuice Players, Hal Lublin is a core cast member of the acclaimed Thrilling Adventure Hour, a stage show and podcast in the style of old time radio.

Hal is also known for the role of “Steve Carlsberg” on the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale.

His voice over work runs the gamut from animated films and television programs to radio shows and video games for CBS, Happy Madison, Disney, JibJab, Wired and more. Hal is also the co-host of the We Got This with Mark and Hal podcast, with actor Mark Gagliardi.

Trained in voiceover technique and voice-matching, Hal has an extensive background in improv and sketch comedy with The Groundlings, Second City, and more. A Cum Laude graduate of Syracuse University, Hal also works in marketing, with a background in Social Media, Permission-Based Marketing and Online Community Building.

Follow Hal Lublin

Listen to the N4AL Podcast interview with Hal.


Sarah Marino

Sarah Marino

Sarah Marino is an illustrator and animation artist. She currently works as a character designer and background painter at Nickelodeon Animation Studios, on the upcoming cartoon series Shimmer and Shine.

Her work was recently seen on the big screen, as she was a visual development artist on the stunning animated feature film Book of Life from Reel FX. Sarah’s painted art appears both in the film and a number of the promotional materials and product tie-ins.

Sarah graduated from Ringling College of Art + Design, where she received a BFA in Illustration. Along with her career in animation, she is also a freelance illustrator, primarily producing art for children’s books.

Follow Sarah Marino

Listen to the N4AL Podcast interview with Sarah.


Andy Schmidt

Andy Schmidt

Andy Schmidt, former Senior Editor at IDW Publishing, former editor at Marvel Comics, and writer of such comics as 5 Days to Die and Challenger Deep, launched Comics Experience for people who want to make comics, people who want to work in the comics industry, and those who just want to know more about the fantastic medium of comics.

During his nearly six years at Marvel Comics, Andy edited such popular comic books as X-Men, X-Factor, Alias, Secret War, and the Annihilation saga. As an assistant and associate editor, he worked on nearly every major character in the Marvel canon, from Spider-Man to the Avengers and Fantastic Four.

He was also the Senior Editor at IDW Publishing, in charge of such popular franchises as G.I. Joe and Transformers. Additionally, he still found the time to write for Boom Studios, IDW, and others, as well as writing an authoritative, Eagle Award-winning book about making comics: The Insider’s Guide to Creating Comics and Graphic Novels, published by Impact Books.

Andy is currently the President and Publisher of Comics Experience, as well as a successful comics, video game, and prose writer.

Follow Andy Schmidt & Comics Experience

Listen to the N4AL Podcast interview with Andy.

This production included music from audionautix.com.

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