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Event Director Ryan Scott Weber Talks New Jersey Horror Con

Taking Place September 21-23 in Atlantic City

Having personally known Ryan Scott Weber in the past, I can say with great certainty that he is a horror buff and an encyclopedia of Blockbuster knowledge. So, what does a man with that kind of knowledge do with his talent? Start a horror convention and film festival, of course. Ryan Scott Weber is the man behind New Jersey Horror Con, a one of a kind meet-and-greet experience that truly offers the best guest-lists in the Tri-State area. With his own event becoming a sell-out stand-out, Ryan wants to pay respects to his past and present, and speaks on his inspiration for starting New Jersey Horror Con. He says, “I love the other conventions. They are amazing, and I look up to Kevin Clement for what he has created with Chiller Theatre. Since I was 17, I’ve been going to conventions and planning many events and concerts, and now I’m 38. I decided to put my convention together to combine what I know and to provide indie films with a place to show in New Jersey. That’s what makes us stand-out. That’s the heart of the show. We’re doing this from the heart, not for the money. I love horror movies. I’m an attendee to other conventions and I’ve been a guest and vendor. I know what people experience at a show. I thought it was a great idea to combine indie films and the convention feel of New Jersey.”

I can’t fathom the magnitude of planning an event as big as New Jersey Horror Con, which sees thousands of horror fans during every three-day event. And so much more goes into the event than seeing celebrities and screening movies. I had to ask Ryan Scott Weber about the planning process that goes on behind-the-scenes. The former Cash Romeo drummer explains, “I start planning the next event the day after or the day before the Sunday venue concludes. I like to have a date in mind before the current show ends, so people coming to our current one know when to look for us next. From there, it takes an army, for sure. I treat the con crew like a film crew, and they’re both very important. I surround myself with the best possible people for the job. We have a really great group right now, and they all work hard, and without them – these shows wouldn’t happen. I would say about 20 to 25 people are in the personal New Jersey Horror Con army. I book all the celebrities myself and I select the vendors, many of whom I’ve known from shows since I started vending in 2010.”

Speaking of Weber’s film-making credits, he’s directed four feature films, two short films and a four season web-series. From this resume, he’s worked with Rocky Horror Picture Show‘s Patricia Quinn, Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, Back to the Future‘s Jeffrey Weissman, Dark Shadow’s Sharon Smyth and The Crazies‘ Lynn Lowry. Still, meeting any celebrity, let alone those within our favorite genre, can be a daunting occasion. I still get nervous even doing phone interviews. Whether working on a movie or booking them for a show, Weber embraces the once (or twice) in a lifetime experience. He laughs, “I’m never nervous. Some stars say yes, some say no. I had over 300 emails with Crispin Glover (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter) to get him to come to New Jersey Horror Con. Meeting John Waters was incredible. He is a great guy, and we talked about film-making for a good 45 minutes. I have met a lot of celebrities in the past, before the convention, and that has helped me out now because, after a while, you realize how much they are just like you. They’re all great people.” And when it comes to guests he’s hoping to nab in the future, Ryan is quick to pinpoint, “Mel Brooks and Robert Englund. Mel Brooks is hard to get because he’s 92, and Robert Englund – I’ve tried to get him many times, but our schedules never match up. Hopefully in the future!”

With conventions and festivals growing in popularity, it’s important now more than ever to make sure every event is a worthwhile experience to drive ticket sales through the roof. Though New Jersey Horror Con is the new convention on the block, Ryan remains optimistic that his event will withstand the test of time. More-so, he’s confident in its ability to deliver a killer experience every time. As the leader behind the three-day extravaganza, it’s also a safe bet to say that Mr. Weber enjoys his time as event director. He gushes, “I love seeing people enjoy and embrace each other. I have seen people cry at our show after meeting their favorite celebrity, and I’ve seen families cry because they had such a great time. I have seen film-makers networking and then working together on projects. Two of my crew members have even started a relationship together. That’s been some of the best moments of this journey. It makes the whole thing worth it, the hard work with it.” Capping off our interview, I asked the film producer if making new features is off the table since he’s devoting so much time to his convention. He clarifies, “It will never be out of the picture. I will direct, write, produce and edit as long as I’m able to. It’s in my blood! I have a new feature film written, as well as two shorts, and the next season of ‘Zombies Incorporated.’ I just have to find the time and the funds to make it happen. In the meantime, come to New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival on September 21 – 23, and have a good time!”

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Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)