Scott Thurman aims to bring goodies from outer space to the 817. The 3D artist and former video game designer offers the Galactic Swag Expo, a two-day science-fiction convention, back for the second time, now at the Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center in Arlington.
Before settling down in Fort Worth, Thurman worked for Electronic Arts on the Need for Speed video game series and on various projects with Microsoft Games Studio, Atari, and Cat Daddy Games, among other companies.
Thurman has been to multiple Electronic Entertainment Expos (E3s) and is now on a mission to create his own convention of space swag. “Studios would take us to E3s to demo our games and see all the cutting-edge technology advancements from all the developers and studios,” Thurman said. “The studios showing off their new game for that year would build giant props and theme out their booths like crazy. It was like a wonderland for the senses.”
Thurman’s take on an E3-style convention includes full-size replicas of the Millennium Falcon and Viper from Battlestar Galactica that attendees can interact with and photograph. There’s also an image of an interstellar fueling station, similar to a giant Buc-ee’s floating between galaxies somewhere, where travelers from all sectors of the universe can enjoy a day or two of checking out rocket ships, shopping, and doing some good old fashioned people watching.
Thurman describes his vision as an interactive museum with “lots of screen-used props and costumes from sci-fis like Alien, Ghost in the Shell, Robocop 2, Chronicles of Riddick, Batman & Robin, the 1966 Batman TV series, Battlestar Galactica, First Man, and several others.”
The second Swag Expo is set to launch with far fewer hiccups than the maiden voyage last year. Thanks to inclement weather and floods last September, Thurman found himself wading through more than just the pressure of running the first Swag Expo at Will Rogers Memorial Center. “We almost got washed away with all the rain, so I decided to try it in the summer instead to possibly avoid the rain again, but with all the rain we have been getting, you never know,” Thurman said.
Thurman wasn’t flying solo the first go-round. Now, however, he’s missing his copilot this time due to scheduling conflicts. “I was able to pull it off with help from my family,” he said. “My wife Tonya and son Eric have put up with me on edge since March.”
While he’s missing a partner, he still has help, especially in the social media department. Alicia Lane, a colleague’s wife, asked to pitch in last year because she said she’s passionate about science-fiction. Now she has greater responsibilities. “I love sci-fi,” she said. “I grew up watching X-Men, Star Wars, and more. I started working with Galactic Swag during the expo’s first year, doing only social media marketing. This year, I wanted to get a little more involved, so I assisted in venue search, date selection, pricing, and vendor signup.”
While Lane and Thurman were figuring out the logistics, a change of venue occurred. The Esports Stadium that opened in November expressed interest, and now Thurman hopes to put on an even bigger expo than he did last fall.
“I want to help foster the prop building community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” he said. “I want to recreate the experience I used to get while riding the tram at Universal Studios, where they would drive onto the backlots and show you the behind-the-scenes movie magic, stage props, and massive vehicles.”
Barring another weather disaster or exiting hyperspace in an asteroid field on their way to the Esports Stadium, Thurman and Lane are excited for the new venue and watching their event grow for years to come.
Galactic Swag Expo
Sat-Sun at Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center,a 1200 Ballpark Way, Arlington. $25-100.