Liberty Tunes in Again for Sonic-Con

Sonic-Con is a convention that serves one goal: helping people make connections in the audio entertainment industry. Sonic-Con Executive Director Chris Nelson ensured that this event is for anyone looking for a way to break into the industry whether the student is interested in acting, writing, producing or anything else.

Sonic-Con was first suggested to Nelson by one of his writing partners, and he was intrigued by the idea of a convention for those interested in audio entertainment. To Nelson’s surprise, he discovered that there was nothing like Sonic-Con in the United States. Realizing that a lack of events of this kind was problematic for people new to audio entertainment, Nelson decided to do something about it.

“We wanted to try helping people launch themselves into the audio industry,” Nelson said. “So, I did a little research. I contacted a few special guests, such as Katie Leigh from ‘Adventures in Odyssey’ and James Arnold Taylor from ‘Clone Wars,’ and they were very interested in coming that first year. That’s kind of how it started. We were going to launch in spring of 2020, but ultimately the pandemic shut it down that week.”

The sudden shutdown of the event was a huge setback, but Nelson refused to let that stop Sonic-Con entirely. In October 2020, Nelson succeeded in hosting the first Sonic-Con at Liberty University.

“We re-upped; we were able to have about 170 people attend from all over the country,” Nelson said. “Primarily, our special guests included Katie Leigh and Phil Lollar from ‘Adventures in Odyssey.’”

The event was incredibly successful. Many students were able to learn more about the audio entertainment industry, and several even gained employment from the convention. After witnessing the many large and small successes of the first Sonic-Con, Nelson decided that a second Sonic-Con was in order.

With this upcoming second Sonic-Con, Nelson hopes to help even more students fulfill their ambitions to enter the industry. The event will be held Oct. 22-24.

This year’s Sonic-Con is set to have several live performances and classes taught by industry professionals. There will also be opportunities to audition for new audio productions.

Nelson described some of the Sonic-Con events as unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences for students.

“To be able to see characters from Animaniacs performed alongside the Liberty Symphony Orchestra, to be able to see people engaged in what they do — that performance is never coming to central Virginia again,” Nelson said.

Nelson said that Butch Hartman from Nickelodeon and Katie Leigh of ‘Adventures in Odyssey’ will also be present at Sonic-Con.

He also urged students to take advantage of the exhibition hall, which operates like a miniature career fair. The exhibition hall will host representatives highlighting audio series, looking to educate people about the audio entertainment industry and seeking to hire interns and employees. According to Nelson, Sonic-Con is an extensive and rare networking opportunity that students will not find anywhere else.

While event passes are required to participate in Sonic-Con, Nelson believes students should treat this as a career investment rather than just another expense.

“Seize the opportunities that are afforded to you here at the university,” Nelson said. “If you don’t have the whole weekend, we have single day passes. Take advantage of our special promo codes. We’re trying to remove any obstacles that would keep people from attending.” 

If you are interested in attending this event, use the promo code LU50 to get 50% off the weekend passes, single day passes and concert tickets. From Oct. 18 to Oct. 23, students can also use the code SONIC80 to get 80% off on tickets to Animaniacs in Concert, scheduled for Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. in the Center for Music and the Worship Arts Concert Hall.

Brown is a feature writer. Follow her on Twitter at @A_Brown0.

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