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What if...
Unlocking the power of stories
Stories. It’s about stories.

All the greatest tales ever told start with a simple notion…

“What if…?”

This simple, but expansive phrase was the breakthrough in one of the most important parts of the rebranding of the Hypericon event in Nashville, TN.

Having spent years identifying their concept as a “speculative fiction” convention, change was more than overdue to evolve this notion into language that added value, instead of detracting from it.  Such an esoteric academic phrase had overstayed its welcome. In workshopping the messaging, the core notion of “storytelling” was discovered. Boiling down the essence of speculative fiction results in the pure notion of premise-setting, by asking “what if…”

An exercise in copywriting as art

Arguably, the supporting copy adjacent to “What If” is equally or more important than the phrase itself. The art of the copy, to conjure text that is referential to great stories across centuries and mediums, was its own deeply creative endeavor. Once conceived, these statements would need to be composed visually, for a variety of applications, including static display, future animated adaptation, merchandise, business card backings and more.

Familiarity meets prophetic intuition

In 1977, Marvel comics inserted this phrase into the fandom universe with their brilliant series, What If?, which has been received with enormous positivity in its adaptation as a streaming series on Disney+. At the time the similar concept was adopted for Hypericon, it was a phrase that had been “out of service” in the realm of geek media and culture, making it a perfect callback while also an innovative and inspired breakthrough. Hypericon was able to do it “before it was cool” – or before it was cool again.

How many can you name?

the machines took over the world
a boy went to wizarding school
a halfling, a dwarf, an elf, a wizard
and a ring defeated an ancient evil
a spacestation talked back
the human race was from jupiter
it was a dark and stormy night
a child prodigy became a genocidal military genius
our machines violated the laws of robotics
books were outlawed in the future
there were no men or women on eighty-three worlds
nobody was left but a man and his dog
a banished queen became a mother of dragons
the ultimate answer to everything was 42
the animals governed the farm
one man returned individualism to society
a captain and his submarine journeyed around the world
there was a war against a zombie plague
there was such a thing as a tesseract
there was only one last unicorn

we’re going to need a bigger boat
our boys were off to fight the bugs
the districts defied the capitol
life found a way
a pig could talk
a bounty hunter was tracking androids
the boys ruled their island
a small-town fairy fell in love with a vampire
the martini was shaken, not stirred
there was a tiger on the boat
he ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti
from hell’s heart he stabbed
when someone says stop, or goes limp, the fight is over
the martians were defeated
by the humblest things put upon this earth
the maze is an experiment
a single grain of sand was all that remained of the land
as you wish means i love you
the wardrobe leads to a magical forest
victor became the cursed, cursed creator