Lost Girl Set Visit

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It’s a dark and dreary day as Sue and I make our way across the cityscape of Toronto, heading to the west side so that we can plunge into the mysterious, and enchanting world of the Fae.

Showcase has invited us to the set of Lost Girl!

We’re very eager to have a look, as we feared we would miss out this year, in fact we know that they are shooting episode 12 of a 13 episode season on this very day.

Arriving at our destination, a rather nondescript building we’d had the privilege to visit before for the Lost Girl Finale pre-show taping, we’re greeted by the unit publicist, Cynthia, who warns us, rather explicitly, that not only do we have to sit on this post until episode 9 of season 4 airs, we are actually not allowed to take any pictures, secrecy is paramount!!! We actually notice photocopied signs plastered everywhere reminding cast and crew that they shouldn’t be posting anything on social media.

They take their storylines seriously here.

Cynthia leads us from the front offices through a door, and suddenly we are in a completely different world, there is a brand new set that we only get glimpses of that is completely bathed in white… I peek in, but we’re bustled by it quickly, and deposited in familiar surroundings, even if we’d never set foot there before.

We’re in the clubhouse, Bo and Kenzi’s place. It’s not lit, but despite that, it doesn’t feel eerie and dark, it feels welcoming and comforting… I know this place.

Cynthia leaves us so that we can get set up for our interviews, we’re allowed to shoot video for those, just not allowed to shoot the hot (camera-ready) sets or post anything that may reveal anything about the new season.

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Instead, Sue and I wander about Bo’s place. We lounge on the couch, leaf through the amazing collection of books that production designers and props teams have filled the room with, the vending machine in the corner, theres is a work station just next to the kitchen area that is littered in a variety of mobile phones, blackberries… it looks like E.T.’s work station when he’s assembling his communicator.

There are piles of games, cds and movies piled on the mantelpiece below the television, but I don’t get a long enough moment to take a look at what music and games keeps Kenzi busy when she’s not onscreen.

It’s odd, everything looks so solid and real, but don’t lean against a wall or pillar, or look through the wrong door, because the illusion will be shattered.

If it’s possible, being on the set, everything looks cozier than it appears on television. That couch is so incredibly comfortable, it’s a wonder that none of the cast fall asleep in there. So comfy!!

We take a peek through one of the clubhouse’s doors, step through it, and in through another one, and we find ourselves in a desolate and barren Police Station. It seems so empty, there’s no activity, no people, but there are plenty of files… And if you ever get a look at it, you’ll find that almost all of it is about Kenzi! A whole police department devoted to Kenzi’s criminal activities!! There’s also a wicked looking BMW motorcycle parked in the interrogation room… is it for the show? Can we touch it? No one seems to have an answer…

We get a chance to say hello to Production Designer Ian Brock before we are whisked back towards the white-drenched set, I can make out rippled walls with flourescent light tubes running at wait height along its length… But we can’t quite make out what is going on there.

It’s always fascinating watching the reality of creating fantasy, bringing the Fae world to life. Like other sets we’ve been to, the sets are incredibly detailed, which not only creates the world of the show for the fans, but there is so much that viewers won’t see, and you know that they are there for the actors, and because people love designing things for projects they enjoy working on.

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We’re joined by Stephanie from Geek Chic Elite for the day, and we all jot down our notes, and trade stories as we Cynthia takes us through the menagerie of sets.

We find ourselves stumbling into Bo’s bedroom, lush and gorgeous, and is it getting warm in here?

From there we’re led around and behind sets until we find ourselves in Trick’s Lair. It’s a cozy little nook, that is filled with lots of comfortable spaces that would just be perfect for curling up with a book and a cuppa, and forget the problems that mythological creatures are causing in the city.

We wander into the Dal, and update the picture Sue and I took their previous, and check the chalk board to see what is written on it this time, while crew movie efficiently through the surrounding areas to set up for the next shot. As we belly up to the bar briefly, Cynthia reveals some of the names that we can expect to see this season, but reiterates that we can’t share. We happily remind everyone we meet, that as a rule Sue and I don’t do spoilers, I’d prefer the surprise. I don’t mind knowing a certain actor is coming in to be on the show, but don’t tell me anything about their character or storyline. I’d rather watch and learn.

We wander back towards the studio entrance, as a friend wants to say hi. We pop into the writers’ room, and there is our friend, and Lost Girl showrunner Emily Andras, who greets with smiles and hugs, revealing that she and her fellow writers are just finishing up the prep on 4.13.

We hang out and chat for a while, as I just revel in the sensation that the words, the peoples, and the worlds of Lost Girl are created in this room, and right out that innocuous looking door, all of those things change from ideas on a page to a version of reality. That is just a cool feeling that I hope no one who works in a writers’ room loses.

Stepping back out on to the set floor, we see a group of chairs clustered together, and a couple of familiar faces waving at us, as we stride over happily to greet them.

Anna Silk embraces me, while Casey Hudecki gives Sue a huge bear hug. Then we swap. It strikes me that we haven’t seen either of these two women in a long time! We hadn’t seen Casey nor Anna since we last chatted with them on our show, but within moments we’re catching up like old friends, we talk about Sam, our mutual friends and our collection of pets.

Anna pulls out her iphone to share lots of pics of little Sam, who really is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen, nor have I ever met one who smiles so much and so readily.

Everyone is called away for blocking and prep for the next scene, so we settle into their seats for a moment before working our way around when rehearsals are done. We pause long enough to see Anna, Seth Cooperman, and get introduced to little Sam, who seems to be taking very nicely to set life, thank you very much.

We head back to the clubhouse so that the cast can shoot their next scene, and we can all get ready for our interviews. Settling onto one of the chairs, the clubhouse has begun to feel like home, and it’s amazing how welcoming and at ease one feels there.

We wait until Cynthia lets us know that our first interview is ready, and we head back over to the police precinct…. The newly introduced, but much talked about Wanderer. Kyle Schmidt!

Sue and I have been fans of Kyle’s for a while as he constantly works with our friends April Mullen and Tim Doiron for their films, and he reveals that between days shooting Lost Girl, he’s actually traveling back and forth from Niagara Falls to work on their new movie. And amazingly, there wasn’t a single scheduling conflict!! Afterwards, a couple of the crew comment how cool it is that we’re conducting interviews as video-selfies, admittedly they don’t always look amazing, but they do tend to be fun!

Check out our chat with him here, as our video-selfies continue!

After our brief chat with Kyle, we get to settle in and catch up with Anna for a few minutes, which was nice, because we don’t see her nearly as much as we would like to…

Then right before lunch was called, we got to catch up with Paul Amos, who as we’ve seen, has a lot going on this season…

During lunch, which was amazingly good, we all chat and laugh, Paul Amos joins us for a meal, and then our friend Tanya Lemke arrives, as she was in the neighborhood and knew we would be on set today. The lunch room has been decorated since Sue and I were last here, and there are Lost Girl posters and pictures for various episodes encircling the room.

After lunch, we only have one more interview left on our docket, we finally will be given a chance to chat with Ksenia Solo!

In the interim, while they do make-up, block, rehearse and shoot, we adjourn back to the police precinct where Cynthia tells us about her time as an investigative journalist, and she has some amazing stories, and then we all start swapping our own ghost stories, or friend of a friend stories. It seems we all have spooky stuff that happens to us.

Secrecy abounds on this set. Whether it be sets, characters or plot points.

The refrain for the day is “You didn’t hear that,” followed by a stern yet friendly glare, reminding us to keep the secrets we learn. Of course, neither Sue nor I would want to ruin any of the show’s revelations before they air…

As we sit and wait, people pass by to and from sets, every time Anna happens by, she slows down to give us a hearty wave and a smile.

Eventually, the motorcycle is claimed, apparently it’s not part of the show… Kris Holden-Ried wanders in, gives Sue a big hug, I get a joyous handshake, and he reveals that the bike is in fact his. We chat for a few minutes catching up with one another, before he wheels the gorgeous vehicle out of the studios.

Finally, opportunity presents itself, and a gracious and very friendly Ksenia Solo joins us, thanking us profusely for waiting around for her. We, of course are delighted, and what better way to end our day on the Lost Girl set than with one of the few cast members we haven’t spoken to coming on our show…

And like that our day ends, we wandered through the sets one more time, looking, marvelling, wondering… then we pass through the door into the front offices and the world of Fae, populated by friends and acquaintances, is left behind.

We bid our farewells to Cynthia, thanking her for the millionth time that day, swap contact info with Stephanie, and then make for the TTC and the reality of our own magical lives…

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Dead Before Dawn 3D – April Mullen

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Last night, at select theatres across Canada, the zemons arrived!  Half zombie, half demon, this new brand of terror has slowly but surely been taking the world by storm, and last night, it was our turn.  A homecoming, if you will, since the halfbreeds were essentially created right here in Canada – in Niagara Falls, Ontario, to be precise – by the creative comedic team of April Mullen and Tim Doiron.

Dead Before Dawn 3D marks the 3rd feature film venture for the pair (and they are almost done shooting film #4 as I write this), and Tim and I are fortunate enough to count them as friends from back in the days of their grassroots indie first film, Rock, Paper, Scissors: The Way Of The Tosser.  As such, we were invited to be extras in this much larger production, and wound up being able to shoot overnight in a school football field in Niagara Falls, to witness first hand some sweet zemon-y action for ourselves!

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Jump ahead to last night, in a well-attended though not full theatre in downtown Toronto, as we settled in with our 3D glasses to see “our” film on the big screen, the way it was meant to be seen.  Dead Before Dawn has the distinction of being the first live action 3D film to come out of Canada.  It was shot in 3D using 2 cameras on a giant rig that I sort of fell in love with, and while it would have been easy to play to typical 3D gimmicks like having stuff flying off the screen at the viewers all night, Mullen and Doiron went instead for a more immersive effect, and it shows.  Right from the start, you forget you are even watching a 3D film, and instead feel like you’re standing in the same room as the characters on the screen, surrounded by all of the same objects in space.  Each frame of film is used to pull the viewer in and make them a part of the overall experience, rather than push them out by throwing things at them throughout the movie.

That's Tim in the bottom right corner!

That’s Tim in the bottom right corner!

Dead Before Dawn follows the shy and somewhat jumpy Casper Galloway (Devon Bostick), who lives with his widowed mother (Ellen Dubin), and harbors a not-so-secret crush on pretty cheerleader, Lucy (Martha MacIsaac).  When Casper and his friends accidentally unleash an ancient curse, the zombie demon (aka zemon) hoardes quickly begin to ravage the town, and it’s up to them to stop it!  In addition to Bostick, MacIsaac, Dubin, Mullen and Doiron, the cast includes an incredible range of talent, including Christopher Lloyd, Brandon Jay McLaren, Brittany Allen, Kevin McDonald, Kyle Schmid, and Rossif Sutherland.  Together, our ragtag team has until dawn to reverse the curse, as they race through the night in a bloody Winnebago and using whatever makeshift weapons can be found along the way.

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This film is great campy fun, with hilarious one-liners and quick little throwaways that had the audience laughing from start to finish.  Gramps’ Occult Barn serves as a rich backdrop to many of the scenes, and in 3D there is just never reason to stop looking at every inch of the screen.  There is very little gore, some incredibly creative death scenes, and shots that serve to crank up either the tension or the comedy – and often both – depending on what is required.  Mullen and Doiron continue to make an outstanding team, and I really can’t wait to see what they come up with next!!!

Check out the trailer, and buy it on DVD or Blu-Ray today!!!

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Bomb Girls – Don’t Let Go

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On every occasion, Tim does the heartfelt and wonderfully-worded write-ups to each of our our beloved Bomb Girls episodes.  So close to the end, now, I feel it is only proper that he should also do the final two posts of the series.  However, upon learning yesterday that our girls will not see a Season 3, I’ve found I can’t sit quietly by and let my own love for the show and the people who created it for us go unspoken.  or…unwritten, as it were.  I know I won’t be able to capture everything I want to put into words with this one post – which will likely mean that I’ll write another later on – but it is my intention to at least give voice to my passion for the series, and pray that all of our communal efforts don’t go completely unnoticed.

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It seems silly now, looking back.  When I first started seeing commercials for Bomb Girls, I was intrigued by its premise, and I was excited that Meg Tilly was involved.  I also wanted to support Ms Brittany Allen, because she also stars in Dead Before Dawn 3D – the latest film from our good friends, Tim Doiron and April Mullen.  But the point is, I settled in to watch that first night with very little going on in terms of expectation.  So I was mildly surprised to find myself immersed so completely in a different time, with characters who were so beautiful and so fully realized that, by the time Vera got hooked, so was I.  My hand was over my mouth in horror, my eyes much wider than usual, and I knew from that moment that I wasn’t going anywhere.  These were my girls, and I loved them already.

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Flashforward to the end of season 1 – and I was walking around with a sick knot in my stomach leading into the finale.  We hadn’t heard yet whether there would be a second season, or not, and I could not breathe.  I couldn’t fathom a world without these amazing women, and I didn’t know how I was even going to watch the season finale without knowing that there would be more the following year.  Luckily, I didn’t have to.  Word of a double-sized season two spread like wildfire, and I smiled and wept my way through the finale, as proud of those girls as if they’d been my own family.  Because that’s how they feel – like family.

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Tim and I were blessed enough to have been able to interview Charlotte in person (poor girl was running a fever and sinking into her mug of hot tea that night, but what a trooper for coming out, anyway), as well as Jodi and Ali over the phone.  But when we got to speak with Meg via phone, as well, just in time for the finale – well it was more than a dream come true.  Like everything about this show, it was more than either of us could have ever hoped for, and I went home that night feeling like I’d actually gotten to know myself a little better, just through listening to Meg’s thoughts on a number of issues.  Incredible lady, that one.

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So the end of season 1 was pretty victorious, all in all, and we settled in to wait patiently for season two’s inevitable return to VicMu. I’m not going to go into everything that happened in the meantime – suffice it to say, Tim and I both grew even closer to not only the show and its characters, but also to the amazing folks behind the scenes (and in front of the cameras) who bring the world to life for us each and every week.  I’m even following the Ajax Bomb Girls on Facebook.  It’s all just a part of me now.

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Which is why I can’t quietly just say goodbye.  I couldn’t even sleep last night.  I feel like I’d be letting my girls down – not because the show hasn’t been renewed, but because I haven’t done all I could to hold onto it.  Because I haven’t fought for it.  Because I haven’t said the words, “Don’t let go.”

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So here’s us, crying out on Twitter and on Facebook and anywhere and everywhere – all around the world, asking for someone, somewhere, to help us hold on.  Bring back another season.  Bring back a shorter season.  Bring a miniseries.  Put it on Netflix.  Embark on a Kickstarter campaign.  Something.  Anything.  Just please don’t let go.  Not of them.  And not of us.

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I’ve known fan outcry to work in the past, and already we’re at least getting a two-hour movie to close off the series.  Which is fantastic, but I still feel like it’s not really enough.  The war is not even over yet, let alone all of the upheaval that comes when the men return and the women are told to go back home.  What will become of Betty’s dream of owning a home?  Will Gladys continue to run her own affairs after the war?  Will Kate marry Ivan and break Betty’s heart all the more?  Will Vera and Marco stop pushing one another away and start making pretty babies already?  Will Lorna and Bob’s boys make it home safe, and will they enjoy their happily ever after as a married couple (omgIwassohappytoseeBoblastnight)?  Will our ladies remain close to one another, or drift away into separate lives when all is said and done?  Will WE ever see them again – see ourselves in their stories again?  Please – don’t let go.

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There is a site that’s holding everything together in one place, to make it easier to find, and to keep us all connected.  Please go sign up and then sign any and every petition you can find (so far I’ve signed this one and this one).  Contact Global at the links below and let them know you need more Bomb Girls in your diet. Be repetitive.  Be persistent.  Be polite.  Be courteous.  And be strong.  Because that’s how they would do it.  Spread the love.

And don’t let go.

Save Bomb Girls

Happy 1st Birthday for The Mind Reels!

When I was younger, physically and chronologically, not mentally, I often thought about talking and working with people in the entertainment industry. I also thought about being a starship captain like James T. Kirk or walking with dinosaurs, but hey, one dream at a time.

Growing up, I was not necessarily an outsider, but I was often on the fringes of my school groups, I wasn’t necessarily the ‘weird kid’, I was just interested in different things. They liked the movie where such and such happened. I may have liked the same film, but I was always more interested in how the such and such happened on the big screen, the story behind the story. And that’s what I wanted to do with my life, maybe write, maybe direct, maybe even act!

Life, as it tends to, got in the way, and I found myself manning the counter of two of the bigger names in home video rentals, and watched the transition from VHS to DVD, and DVD to Blu-Ray.

It wasn’t til last year, as my 40th Birthday leaned threateningly over the horizon, that someone dear to my heart (you know who you are) pushed and nudged me, insisting I do something with my love of film, television and pop culture. I toyed with the idea as I crawled into bed that night, and just as I was drifting to sleep, my eyes snapped open, and I turned the lights back on, jotting down a title on the notepad I keep next to my bed. ‘The Mind Reels.’ I liked it. It worked. And it worked on a couple of levels. Brilliant I thought.

The next morning, I ran the idea past one of my best friends, Sue, and convinced her (it didn’t take a lot) to partner up with me on this idea. I sought out the advice of where the best place was to start up a blog, and got some advice on podcasting from my friend Ryan, and boom.

Within 24 hours, The Mind Reels had been created.

And now here we are.

1 year later.

And what a year this has been, this blog and our podcast, has taken off beyond any of the dreams I had for the first year. I’ve met some amazing people, some I’m lucky enough now to call my friends, seen tons of movies and TV. I do need to do a little more in the book department (I’m constantly reading – I just never make a post about them, I’ll see about changing that) and yet for all that we’re constantly expanding.

We’ve covered film festivals (thank you Hot Docs! WorldWide Short Film Festival, Toronto After Dark Summer Nights), we’ve covered conventions (Niagara Fall Comic Con, Wizard World Toronto Comic Con, and Fan Expo!) we’ve been to screenings, set visits (Sex After Kids, Pete Winning & The Pirates) and then, there’s the podcasts!

We’re now featured on the internet channel Smithee.TV and Sue and I are constantly looking at one another with dumbstruck looks on our faces… how did this happen?

Our friend Ryan, whose own website is brilliant, gave me all kinds of advice on podcasts, and then after that very important screening of The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard, which we did to support our love of Lost Girl, and it’s cast members Zoie Palmer and Kris Holden-Ried who were both in it, the world of interviews opened up to us thanks to one man… Jeremy LaLonde.

We took a chance, and contacted him and asked him if there was any conceivable way that he would meet us for an interview.

And he surprised us both when he said yes.

I mean, we were shocked! I mean honestly… who were we? Just a couple of people who were interested in films, admittedly I had written a raving review of Paul Shepard (SUCH A GOOD MOVIE!!!).

But Jeremy, one of the people I know count myself lucky to call a friend, told us that in most cases, interviews would be ours for the asking. You just have to find the right route, the right contacts, and network. This year has seen a lot of that.

And look how it’s paid off for us, what a guest list we’ve had… IN OUR FIRST YEAR!!! Jeremy LaLonde, Beth Beard, Christine Horne, Katie Boland, Anna Silk, Rick Howland, Nadia Bassett, Tanya Lemke, Jodi Anne Balfour, Victor Webster, Ali Liebert, Mary Krohnert, Charlotte Hegele, KC Collins, Natasha Eloi, Emily Schooley, Sandra DaCosta, Devon Bostick, Tim Doiron, April Mullen, Amanda Brugel, Mary Krohnert, Anthony Grani, Kate Hewlett, Tony Amendola, Miracle Laurie, Robert O’Reilly, JG Hertzler, Huse Madhavji, Paul Amos, Stacie Mistysyn, Sean Cisterna, Supinder Wraich, Dan Fox, Jay Ferguson, Lucas Bryant, Casey Hudecki, Nina Conti, Ryan Goldhar, Lance Guest, Catherine Mary Stewart, Sylvia Caminer, Melanie Lentz-Janney, Clay Peterson, Michael Harmon, Michael MacLennan, Adrienne Mitchell, Janis Lundman, Rebecca Sandulak, Tanis Rideout, Simon Racioppa, Tony Todd, Jamie Bamber, Daniska Esterhazy, Bruce Sweeney, Chloe Rose, Seth Cooperman, Ashley Hirt, Rebecca Gibson, Kiowa Gordon and Meg Tilly.

HOLY CRAP!

Thank you, each and every one of you! You have made such a huge impact on myself and Sue, you’ve come on our show, you’ve made us feel like friends and family, and you’ve spread the enjoyment you’ve had with us to others.

And THIS has just been our first year doing interviews and podcasts!

Now we’ve moved into our full studio, soon to be podcasting live and our guest list seems to be growing, and we’ve got so many amazing things in the works, familiar faces and friends will be back, as will new and amazing guests. Who would you like to see come on the show? I have a dream list that I am constantly updating, and I’m really starting to dream big! I’d love to chat with Steven Moffat, or Steven Spielberg! I’d love to kick back and laugh and have a chinwag with Tom Hanks! But you know what?

I wouldn’t change a thing about any of the interviews we’ve had. Every single one of them has been FANTASTIC, and I truly believe that once they realized we weren’t your usual interview, they all had a great time, and just relaxed and opened up.

In fact, that is my favorite moment in each and every interview, the point that I constantly bring up with Sue in our post-interview talk… I love when each and every guest reaches that relaxation point and just chats to us. They openly relax, we’ve got them to relax by talking about something like their favourite movie, and then we’re just chatting and laughing with one another. That is always my favourite part.

Everybody does interviews, we’ve always been more interested in having a conversation.

It’s literally been a whirlwind, and Sue and I are right there in the center of it. It’s been amazing!

And people read our posts, people listen to our interviews!

That still amazes us, and from the bottom of our hearts, I thank each and every one of you. You read what we write, you retweet it, you respond to it, you tweet us your thoughts about what we’ve shared, you’ve helped us chase down interviews, and we’ve been lucky enough to meet some of you in person.

We have been so fortunate with the people who have come to our website.

So, with my eyes a little teary as I write this…

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

And for me personally, Thank you for letting me do what I’ve always wanted to do, and letting me know that I’m not wasting my time with it.

As we move into our second year, I have high hopes, aspirations and dreams for what’s to come for The Mind Reels, and I know it’s not going to be easy, we’re going to have to work at it, to make it be all that it can! To push ourselves, to chase down leads on stories and interviews. It’s really hard work, but it’s paying off, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it. Because I do.

I’m looking forward to many more birthday celebrations for The Mind Reels, looking back on what we’ve done, and going boldly forward to our next goals, challenges, and oh, all those amazing people we get to meet.

Fan Expo Edition!

So Fan Expo is over for another year, sigh.

Oh well. Sue and I had a great time, and had some wonderful chats, and there are chats we missed out on that we’re still trying to run down, as well as more still to come, but this week, we have an amalgam of interviews over the course of our weekend.

On this edition you will find quick little chats with some amazing people… Amazingly funny, and brilliantly charming… Candyman himself, Tony Todd! Continuum Series Creator – Simon Barry! The creator of one of our favorite websites – check her eBay store out – Jackie from Baby’s First Boo! Star of Battlestar Galactica, and Band of Brothers – Jamie Bamber! And then we catch up with our friends Tim Doiron and April Mullen from the upcoming Dead Before Dawn 3D, and their star, the hilarious, and endlessly entertaining actor from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series – Devon Bostick!

It’s a lot of fun, and has a little of the hustle and the bustle that is the convention (which is why they tend to be really short) but hopefully you’ll enjoy them.

So join us on the floor of the Metro Toronto Convention Center as we bring you the Fan Expo Edition!.

Fan Expo Day 4

Somehow, Day 4 of Fan Expo has come and gone – and it’s all over for another year.

Wow.

It’s been an amazing weekend, and each day just seemed to hold the bar or raise it in terms of awesomeness.

This morning should have been a sign! Sue and I checked in at the Media Desk and finally got to meet someone I’ve tweeted and emailed to on a regular basis, Adrienne Kakoullis, from Holmes Creative Communication. She was so excited to see Sue and I that it completely blew us away, and built up our enthusiasm for the day.

We slipped downstairs and staked out a spot in the quickly forming line for the Gillian Anderson Q&A for 1:30, yes it was barely 10, but we knew the line would form quick.

Sue and I would rotate out, and I ran down to pick up our photo-ops. It was there that I got to speak with Steven Hodges and ‘Emily Expo’ who run the Calgary Expo, and oversaw, what, for Sue and I were incredibly smooth and quick-moving lines, and a fantastic turnaround on photo pick-ups. I also learned why some of the lines were held-up at various times, and I won’t get into the details, but I will tell you, it was not the fault of the organizers, fans or the guests.

While Sue waited in the queue, I raced up to the Showcase booth with Faenonymous, and was lucky enough to have a moment to chat with the series creator of Continuum, Simon Barry. So watch for that in our Fan Expo compilation podcast.

I spell Sue from her wait in line, and she goes off to cover the Dead Before Dawn 3D panel – featuring Tim Doiron, April Mullen, Devon Bostick, Christopher Lloyd, and then to Sue’s delight - Max Topplin who was also in an episode of the why-aren’t-you-watching-it-it’s-so-good show Haven!

Who when we chatted to him later at the Dead Before Dawn 3D booth he was simply delighted to learn that we watched and knew him from Haven. So delighted in fact that he had to pull Sue into a big hug.

Sue was enraptured with Gillan’s talk, and said that it was everything she wanted it to be, she was funny, charming and told great stories, which caused Sue to spend lots of time with tears of laughter streaming from her face.

While Sue was otherwise engaged, I prowled the floor and had an awesome chat with the cast and crew of Little Bit Zombie including Kristopher Turner (currently appearing on Saving Hope – we’ll see if we can’t get him back for a longer chat), Crystal Lowe, Shawn Roberts, and the film’s director, who fellow blogger Kirk Haviland, and I chatted to together.

It sounds like a fun little movie, which I missed in its theatrical run, but do plan to track down a copy in the near future.

I also swung by Baby’s First Boo, and chatted with Jackie, listen for her on the Expo podcast, and check out her store on Etsy and eBay, there are so many geeky things there!

Then to top it off, thanks to Erin Gray, I got to have a quick chat with the incredibly fun and charming Jamie Bamber from Battlestar Galactica and Band of Brothers! We’ve also learned that his sister is in town shooting on the new Showcase series Copper, which premiered this weekend.

We swung by the Dead Before Dawn 3D booth to say hello to Devon Bostick and our friends, before we prowled the floor and touched base with some other folks, that we hope to bring to you via podcast in the near future including the director of The Last Will & Testament of Rosalind Leigh. We first saw the poster art for it on Thursday, and THAT is what sold me on hanging around to watch the trailer play on their display. This movie looks incredibly creepy, and I’m really looking forward to it!

And to finish the day, we joined our last photo-op line, and got to pose with Christopher Lloyd and the Back To The Future DeLorean! Sue asked him if he could glare at the camera, which he and Sue did, while I crack a big goofy grin – leaving us all to wonder, how I’d changed the timeline and why was it so shocking?!

I’ve seen on the Fan Expo event page on Facebook that already people have found things to complain about. That’s too bad, cause Sue and I had a great time, and while there may have been a few minor issues, this for us, was the smoothest running con yet. They got more things right than they did wrong, but as we’ve seen in the world of fandom, some people aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about and aren’t constantly getting their way.

Sue and I met some amazing people this year, caught up with some old friends, made some brilliant new ones.

Thank you Fan Expo, it was a great weekend.

We’ll see you next year!

Fan Expo Day 3

Saturdays can be tough at Fan Expo if you aren’t ready and prepared. Sue and I find that the real key to Saturdays is try to stay out of everyone’s way – stay off the floor as much as you can and enjoy the Q&As and photo ops.

Pick one thing you need and want to do that day, and count everything else as a bonus.

For us today, as well as our friends from France, Audrey and Marilyn, the one thing that HAD to be done is the Lost Girl panel with the show’s cast, Anna Silk, Ksenia Solo, Rick Howland, KC Collins, Kris Holden-Ried and Ksenia Solo. We scored our front row seats and then got to revel in the arrivals of fellow geeks and fans. We got to catch up with our friend Faenonymous, as well as meet fans from around Ontario, Canada and Stateside. It was a lot of fun!

The Q&A itself was fun, and introduced with a gag reel from Season 2. Last year, they were in a good-sized room on the 700 level, which they filled. This year, they put them in Hall G, the biggest event hall in the convention center, and they filled it to the rafters!

They delighted the crowd with their repartee, taking the mickey out of KC about being a ladies man, and taking pics of the crowd, and the sign Audrey and Marilyn had made for them.

It was a lot of fun, and you can tell that this group of actors really enjoy working together and have fostered this sense of family off-screen as well.

These are wonderful folks, who love their fans, and make as much time for them as they can.

Post panel, we slip over to the green room, for a chat and pics with the cast, as they meet and greet a couple of select fans. They spare us a few minutes, but we know they have to get ready for the enormous line forming in their autograph queue, so we clear out fairly quick.

From there, anything else we get that day is a bonus.

We jostle our way through crowds, chasing down interviews, including scoring one with our good friends Tim Doiron and April Mullen, along with the star of their new movie Dead Before Dawn 3D, Devon Bostick (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). This is Devon’s first convention, and he seems eager and excited for the day.

He is also deadpan funny, and a very good guy. He makes time for every single person who comes up to see him, and each one of them is delighted to see him.

The other thing I am hoping to see that day, as well as hit the autograph line, is the Continuum panel! Our previous guest Victor Webster, is joined by Eric Knudsen, Simon Barry and, oh man, Rachel Nichols (who is just as stunning in person)…

Sue and I get to say hi to Victor in person, and with the word that they’ve just been given a greenlight on season 2, hopes are rekindled, that perhaps we’ll be able to score a chat with Rachel as well.

We duck into a stream of photo-ops, Sue has one with the Boondock Saints – Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery, while I hold our spot for a pic with Alan Tudyk.

We introduce ourselves to him, and a short while later, when we’re in Gillian Anderson’s queue, he sees us, and says, hi, slaps me on the shoulder and tells me how good it was to meet us. It was a nice little moment, and really just added to all the cool things that were already happening that day.

We finish Gillian’s photo-op, and realize that this is it for the day for us.

The always entertaining Masquerade is queuing up, and the plethora of amazing costumes from different genres, styles and interpretations are so much fun to see.

Today, fans filled the convention center to capacity, and met some of their favorite celebrities, artists, and directors. We met some old friends, made some new ones, and at its heart that, to me is what these conventions are about. Finding those shared moments, with a new friend or Expo guest. It’s then, that the whole convention can be transcended from just an incredible weekend to an unforgettable weekend.

I also want to take this moment to sing the praises of the photography crew working for the Expo. Things got a little wacky this afternoon with the Boondock Saints photos, and they were taking longer than expected to get sorted, simply because they were taking the boys were taking their time with their fans.

Despite falling behind, within the hour, their schedule was back on track and the lines were moving smoothly, and quickly again.

I can’t give enough praise to them this year. Nice work!

Tomorrow is the final day…

So what do you have on the go?

Fan Expo Day 1

Thomas Sullivan the Cat, thought 6:30 was plenty of time for a sleep in this morning and made sure I was up in lots of time to greet my favourite time of year – Fan Expo!!!

So after a quick prep, making sure I had everything I had, I hit the TTC.

I was off to meet up with two friends, Audrey and Marilyn, who had come all the way from France to meet the cast of one of their favourite shows… Lost Girl (I’m sure Saturday still seems kind of far away to them right now) and to enjoy Toronto, and this wonderful gathering of geeks and talent!

Making sure they were safe and secure in their line, I set to work documenting the day, and helping some friends get their booth set up.

The floor is abuzz with activity as exhibitors and guests prepare for what may be called battle. They are the armies of Helm’s Deep watching the army of geeks (of which I proudly count myself one) massing, knowing that there are four days of intense costumes, wacky awesomness and sheer fun coming their way before Gandalf rides over the hill with the Rohirrim.

Outside a ribbon-cutting ceremony is underway with the original Incredible Hulk himself Lou Ferrigno. This simply helps to build the excitement of an already giddy crowd.

Inside, a literal stillness seems to settle over the giant room when a disembodied voice announces that the Expo is two hours from ‘Doors Open.’ Even now, as final displays are settled into place the Metro Center’s maintenance crew is spiriting away garbage bins and checking with booth attendants that everything is going smoothly. Carpets are laid (that is not a metaphor), signs are positioned and you can see the full shape of the convention starting to form up. You can see a glimmer of the incredible event that is going to occur when exhibitors and guests meet those wonderful people waiting outside in the afternoon sun.

At the one hour mark, they’ve started letting people into the building to begin queuing up outside the sets of double doors that line the northern room of the wall. They’ve picked up their passes, tightened their wrist bands into place, Premium pass holders are checking the loot in their annual Fan Expo bag.

On the floor, the stillness has given way to organized chaos as people rush to finish  before the seemingly imminent toll of 2 o’clock. Final stock items are put out, wires taped down, prep speeches given to teams… you can feel the positive wave of energy building up in the room now, starting in your feet, sweeping up your legs, and nestling in your stomach as excitement.

And then…

It begins.

The floodgates burst, and people start to pour in, sparsely at first, but then more and more, filling the aisles, there’s laughter at a joke, delight in finding something unexpected or much-needed, it’s a fun and jovial atmosphere.

And it’s the sign of the beginning of a great weekend!

Right off the bat, a couple fo the con’s guests have already arrived, despite the fact that it’s a Thursday afternoon, and are already signing. Lou Ferrigno is smiling and greeting his fans, while Sean Patrick Flannery (Boondock Saints, Young Indiana Jones) is throwing his arms around a fan and posing for a casual picture. Both of them seem to be having a truly enjoyable time, meeting and greeting those fans who have already raced to meet them, lining up, jostling one another nervously as they wait for their moment to say hi.

Sue and I begin a leisurely meander through the displays, the comics, the toys, oh the toys!! There are some giant video game displays, and people are already lining up for their turn on the controllers, and even I know a lot of these games look awesome, though I’ll be honest, I’m waiting for Lego Lord of the Rings, and Lego Avengers!

We see friends and familiar faces everywhere, stopping frequently to say hi, trade stories, catching up.

We swing by the Toronto After Dark booth, and chat with our friend, Adam Lopez. He’s announcing the first 10 films of the film festival and they sound like winners! Make sure you swing by their booth to check out their program!

There’s also a wonderful little booth that first caught our attention at another convention, Baby’s First Boo. This is a great little booth, there are blankets, and shirts, and bags, not all of them for infants, made from bed spreads, sleeping bags, linens, and they all share a common theme, they are either sci-fi or horror. There are some fantastic and retro looking items at this booth.

We slip in to a presentation, and I hope this is the only misstep we make this weekend. The Warner Brothers Pictures Preview. Sorry Warner, but you dropped the ball on this. The room started out packed to the rafters, cause everyone in it thought we’d be seeing teasers and trailers for titles coming out later this year, or next (like say, the Man of Steel teaser), what we got was 5 trailers, on a loop, 3 of which were titles that had already been released. The room cleared out pretty quick.

Along the Southern wall, nestled between the brilliant Frankenweenie exhibit, and an equally awesome Lego display, featuring a lego Gandalf and Bilbo, a Hulk, and a Batman is a white, blood-smeared Ford camper.

It is here, that the director and members of the cast of the film Dead Before Dawn 3D have taken up residence for the weekend. It’s great to see our friends Tim Doiron and April Mullen again, and honestly, I love watching the movie trailer over and over again, because I’m in it! But in all honesty, this film looks so good, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. Make sure you check their booth out over the weekend as Devon Bostick will be on hand for an autograph session.

Sue and I also made use of one of the new innovations of this year’s Expo, a booth where you can buy all your photo ops in one go, without having to wait through multiple guests’ lines. Nice work. And remember folks, there is one in celebrity alley, but there’s also one out in the hall next to the Fan Expo premiums table, and those lines were moving incredibly smoothly!

From there, we went to see our first celebrity Q&A session of the Expo, the darling Julie Benz. Here is an actress, who is gracious, self-effacing, wonderfully friendly, and incredibly funny. She shared some wonderful stories and anecdotes, including one about her second test for her role on Dexter that had the room in stitches. She also spoke about the presence of strong female characters in genre film and television. She’s a true delight, and I love that we have her for the whole weekend. (Sue and I are gonna see about a quick chat with her…)

Then, as the evening was getting ready to wrap up, Sue and I lined up for our last event of the evening… our photo op with the man who IS Marvel comics (and I don’t mean Tony Stark), the one, the only, the legend… Stan Lee.

Once again there had been some changes in the processing of the lines and, while there was a bit of an assembly line feel to it, it worked, because Stan’s line was huge. That line FLEW!!! Great work to the photographers, who, sadly, I’ve still to get their first names, we see them every year, and I tend to think that they’ve started to recognize me and Sue (I think we’re pretty jovial and friendly with everyone, and like to share our moment with people, to recognize them for the effort they put in – and this group of photographers hasn’t done us wrong yet).

We do a last round of the floor, and as the lights switch to dim, we join the waves of happy geeks heading for the exits, knowing, and reveling in the fact that we still have three more days of this…

What’s been your favorite part so far?

Fan Expo 2012

Here it is August 2012! And it’s almost Fan Expo time, my favorite time of year!

The Mind Reels, just shy of it’s 1 year birthday, coming up in October (can you believe it?!) has been invited to attend this year’s Fan Expo and cover it as Media. Sue and I are delighted.

I’ve gone to this event every year since I moved to Toronto, so in other words, this will be my 4th. But I love it, it’s amazing geekry, and I’ve seen improvements each year, as the people at Hobbystar tweak listen to what those attending say, and strive to make it a better experience each and every time.

If it’s possible, the event seems to be getting bigger each year as well, more guests, more big names, more events, and more fun.

I currently can’t tell you who I’m most excited to meet and chat with… .Horror Meister John Carpenter, director of The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, Halloween, and Escape From New York… Rachel Nichols from Continuum (anyone who’s read my blog knows there’s a bit of a crush thing happening there)… the amazing Gillilan Anderson… The Boondock Saints – Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery… Amanda Tapping from Stargate SG-1 and Sanctuary… our friends the cast of Lost Girl… the man, the legend – STAN LEE!!! … the amazing cast and crew of Dead Before Dawn 3D (did you know Sue and I have a cameo in this?) starring Devon Bostick, Christopher Lloyd, Tim Doiron and April Mullen… the only Captain Jack who matters Torchwood’s John Barrowman, the voice of Fry from Futurama, Billy West and that has barely scratched the surface!!!

It’s going to be an amazing ride, and our twitter feed and Facebook pages will be seeing constant photo and status updates, as well as daily articles. And who knows? We may have an interview or two to share with you as well.

If you’re in T.O. or even close to it and consider yourself a geek, this is the place to be next weekend, and you can still get tickets! Just click the Fan Expo link on the right side of our page, and it will take you right to the site!

If you are going, make sure you tweet at us, and track us down and say hi!

We’re looking forward to a fantastic weekend.

Who are you most excited to see? Which events are must-see for you?

Trailer: Dead Before Dawn 3D

Mere months before we officially became the Mind Reels, Tim and I had the pleasure of spending a night on the set of the newest film from Team Wango, Dead Before Dawn 3D.
It’s Canada’s First live action 3D film, and is helmed by the first woman to undertake such a task, our lovely friend, April Mullen. Written by the hilariously talented Tim Doiron, and starring the likes of Devon Bostick and Christopher Lloyd, this horror comedy adventure is one you won’t want to miss! AND, you’ll get to see Tim and I make our feature film debut – in 3D!!!

For more, check out the official website, and join us in the launch of the film’s official trailer today – Friday the 13th!!!
Enjoy, and beware, for the zemons are coming!!!!

Dead Before Dawn 3D Official Trailer