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

Lost Girl S03E10 – Delinquents

lgAfter the middling affair of the Ceremony last week, I still think there are lots of layers that can be found in it, but it wasn’t my favorite episode of the season, Lost Girl brought in the heartbreak, the set-up and the guest cast and crew!

Scripted by Lost Girl’s creator Michelle Lovretta, directed by the awesome Gail Harvey (that’s two so far in the season for her, and I simply love how she shoots, her exteriors always look fantastic!), and guest starring two names very familiar to us, Linda Hamilton and Brittany Allen!!

The fae-of the-week can be taken or left, the most important thing in the episode is the forward momentum towards the season finale. There are characters moving around the board, a few revelations, and I’m sure a few broken hearts out there amongst the fans. For what it’s worth, I think this was totally the move to make with Bo’s (Anna Silk) and Lauren’s (Zoie Palmer) relationship. If everything was easy in the relationship, then it wouldn’t ring true, it makes it worth more if they have their ups and downs…

Bo and Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) go under cover at a camp for juvenile delinquents, Bo as a camp counselor (fulfilling yet another hot fantasy – the show is really good for that) and Kenzi as one of the JDs. Also amongst the camps attendees is Brittany Allen! YAY! (Fans of Canadian television may recall her from Bomb Girls, and the upcoming Dead Before Dawn 3D!)

lindaThe B-story this time around is the one advancing the season arc, Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten) meets up with Acacia (Linda Hamilton). We learn that the Wanderer wants Bo taken care of, and Acacia vouches for Tamsin to take care of it for him. There’s a brew involved which has one hair from someone Bo loves, two from someone she trusts, and three from her own head.

Through the course of the episode, after initially scoffing at it, Tamsin starts collecting the elements needed, she may not be firmly in the Dark Fae side of things any more, but after what happens to Acacia, she is determined to carry out the Wanderer’s plan.

Lost Girl - Season 3There’s some nice moments in the episode especially within the love triangle, as we realize Bo has changed through her Dawning, she’s warmer, more confident, at ease with her power, but just as human as the rest of us when she gets her heart-broken. Gail’s directing of the ‘break scene’ was dead on, Anna and Zoie inhabit their characters perfectly, and watching the relationship crumble, seeing Bo’s face crack like her heart… Tamsin’s revelation to Lauren about the kiss, and the exs Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) and Lauren drinking together in the Dal, commiserating together.

Gail Harvey has directed some of the most tender moments of the season so far, and is quickly becoming my favorite Lost Girl director. I hope she comes back for more!

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll see Acacia again. We know she may not be whole, but that doesn’t rule out her return…

We also know that Bo suspects that Tamsin may be up to something…

The finale is closing in, and I think this episode subtly upped the stakes and the Wanderer is yet to be revealed!

Lost Girl airs Sunday evenings on Showcase!

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Patch Town Set Visit

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In a destitute looking corner of Toronto (though it’s actually only about two blocks from my own apartment) a battered grey factory building stands defiant,  imposing itself against the chilling winter wind.  Inside it, however, a fantastic world is springing to life. A world that was first imagined by Craig Goodwill in his imaginative and charming short, Patch Town. Now, the delightful genre-defying short is making the transition to feature film.

patchThe highly acclaimed short, internationally recognized by the Toronto International Film Festival and Cannes, follows the journey of Jon (Rob Ramsay), an abandoned child, who leaves his factory work in an oppressive state and eluding the nefarious Yuri (Julian Richings) the evil Child-Catcher, to find the mother (Lisa Ray in the short, and Zoie Palmer in the feature film) who abandoned him.

Sue and I are welcomed to the set by the unit publicist, Juli Strader, who leads us through the chilly complex on a whirlwind tour of some of the brilliant sets, including some familiar looking places including jail sets from Norman Jewison’s The Hurricane and the classic Canadian series Street Legal. There are also some familiar faces behind the scenes that we know are hard at work, our friend Jeremy Doiron, who we worked with on the forthcoming Dead Before Dawn 3D, we get a few moments to chat with him before he has to rush off again. Though not in the building, we also know that our good friend, the writer and director of Sex After Kids, Jeremy Lalonde is serving as the film’s editor.

We bump into the film’s producers David Sparkes, a gregarious and chatty bloke with a fun sense of humor and an easy laugh, who welcomes us joyfully to the set.

We slip through a door, finding ourselves in Yuri’s State-like neo-gothic lair, a set filled with stuffed predators and scavengers like owls, foxes, antlers, cages, a rather creepy looking tea set, giant steamer trunks, and just off-center in the room, a  1950s looking medical device, perhaps an iron lung?

Craig Goodwill sits in the center seat of video village reviewing a shot, while the set buzzes with activity around him. Today, they are working on the climax of the film, and despite the pressures of keeping things on schedule, Craig keeps the set light and fun, it’s efficient but filled with lots of laughter.

yuriYuri, played with villainous aplomb by Julian Richings, struts the set is a long-tailed dark tuxedo, a wide-brimmed hat, and decidedly out of character, Julian has a wide smile on his face, easily dispelling the creepy image he so easily fosters in things like the television series Supernatural and the wonderful little horror film, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh. He wanders about, at ease, as the camera is repositioned for a series of close-ups on the folks he’s sharing the set with.

In the room’s center, surrounded by a sea of red, stands Rob Ramsay, Suresh John and Lost Girl’s Zoie Palmer are surrounded by a couple of workers, including Alan C. Peterson, who I recognize from Stargate: Atlantis, and Sue reminds me that he was also in the goofy Niagara Falls romp, Gravy Train (his eyes lit up delightedly when we mention that in our introductions, as we chat briefly about Niagara Falls, and the fun he had on the set). There are also a slew of Santas (Santi?) but don’t ask… wait for the film.

Zoie’s big, expressive eyes fill the screen in front of Craig as she’s untied by Suresh’s character Sly. Coats and blankets are offered to the cast, especially Zoie, clothed in a sleek red dress that offers nothing against the chill of the building.

Using this moment in the hurry up and wait game that is the staple of life on the set, Juli introduces us to Craig who welcomes us to the set, encourages us to look around, have fun, and enjoy the day.

btsSue and I grab a couple of crew seats in video village behind Craig, David and Matti Huhta, the script supervisor. The crew, cycle quickly through the dialogue, and the close-ups of each of the cast members, working at a lightning pace, but never moving on until Craig is happy.

Craig steps away, as the camera shifts position and set-ups, to grab a doughnut, but instead returns with an apple, munching on it as he chats with Guy Godfree his cinematographer, and Julian about what he wants in the next shot.

They reset for another shot, Zoie is in the middle-ground of the frame, tied to a chair, while Julian stands in the foreground, exuding a creeping evil as he looks off-camera, right towards Sue and I. It wasn’t off-putting at all…

Again, the takes come fast and furious.

Craig decides they need some reaction shots of the Santas, and as the camera slides over bearded faces, Suresh mugs each time the camera hits him, causing laughter in video village. He’s one of those actors who can crack anyone up, and then can switch it off and be completely professional at the drop of a hat, while the rest of us are still chuckling. His line, delivered countless times that day so far, remains fresh and funny each time he says it. He’s got a great comedic knack.

Craft services come around with some aromatic grilled sandwiches, and while some of the cast and crew munch, Rob comes over to say hi to us, he chats with us, and comes across as a gregarious, friendly guy who loves what he’s doing. We chat briefly about the short’s transition to feature, before he’s required to step back into character.

robDavid tells us about Craig’s pitch to him, the success of the original short, and some of the changes both he and Craig felt were needed to adapt it to a feature-length film. His stories are fun and engaging, laced with lots of laughs. He is rightly proud of the international success the short garnered, and is eager to see that he feature is deserving of the same recognition.

Matt Middleton, the film’s production designer also makes time to come over to chat to us, as we talk about the set we’re standing in, and the creepy animals mounted about the room. With a laugh he tells us about the amazing journey the film has taken, from the backyard discussion of it at a barbecue, to designs and sketches, to the short, to the canvas of a feature. Everyone who is involved with the project exerts not only affection for it, but an immense measure of pride; this is the little short that could.

As video village shifts to stay out of the frame, and eye-lines of the actors, Julian, who is being tended to by hair and make-up, comes over to say hello to us as well. After a round of handshakes, we tell him how much we loved his work on Supernatural and Rosalind Leigh, he’s gracious with his time, and we talk briefly about his work on the film. Much like the short, there are hints of a musical, and he confirms that this time around some of his lines are sung, we laugh and joke, and it’s so much fun to get a look at the man behind the actor.

Zoie keeps to herself, focusing her attention on the task before her, as she, like the rest of the actors around her, brings her game in each and every take, whether they are on camera or not. It has to be emotionally trying, as she’s pleading for the life of her child, played by Kayla Di Venere, who is placed in the iron lung, strapped down by Yuri and his henchmen, Kenny(Ken Hall), in each and every take.

craigSue and I, with Juli’s guidance wander off set to tour the rest of the sprawling building, which has been featured in tons of Canadian series, including the always popular Murdoch Mysteries, there’s a factory set and bar set created for Patch Town, dank prison cells, a deserted district attorney’s office, almost any location, or set that you could want to find or create could be discovered in this building, it’s brilliant!

It’s things like that which just re-establish my love for the things that go on behind the camera, how things are designed, how space is used, how things are created, and the sheer creative of those involved in bringing these projects to life.

Not wanting to impose on the shoot, we return to the set, as they change set-ups, and get ready to bid our farewell to the imaginative world of Patch Town, Rob, Suresh, and Craig join Sue and I for pictures, a round of handshakes and thanks are given on both sides.

After seeing the short, and being afforded this brief glance into the feature-length version seen over by so many people who are pouring their love and skill into it, I cannot wait to see the finished product.

Watch out for this one, I think you may be delightfully surprised!

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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 2

Sue and I checked in bright and early at the Media Desk for Day 2 of Fan Expo 2012. After such an awesome start yesterday we couldn’t wait to see where this day took us…

First off, we decided to prowl the floor, and take in the incredible deigns, sets, sketches and armatures of Disney’s Frankenweenie exhibit. It was fantastic! The level of detail and work that must go into each piece borders on the amazing and this one exhibit showed them all of perfectly.

From there, we decided to pick up our Stan Lee photo-op, which looks great. The photo department of Fan Expo has done an amazing job already so far, the turn around on pictures is incredibly short, and they look great! The photographers here are unsung heroes, and they do a brilliant job, and always make Sue and I look great, so thank you one and all for that.

One of the hallways is in the throes of joyous chaos, as a young fan in a red Darth Vader shirt, encounters a very familiar astromech droid, and the two end up chasing one another across the floor, all under the watchful eyes of mother, and the droid’s minder. It was a very cute moment.

We bump into our friend, and young filmmaker Phil Marinucci, who is fresh off a number of busy shoots, and is helping out at the Dead Before Dawn 3D booth. Keep an eye on this fellow, he’s going places!

After this, we decide to wander celebrity alley and check in with someone Sue is very fortunate to call an acquaintance the lovely Erin Gray. We had emailed her prior to approaching her so she knows we’re coming. She runs Heroes for Hire a organiztion that helps organize celebrity appearances at conventions, and as always she’s here repping some amazing people. We’re hoping to have chats with a number of them before the week is out.

We also got a chance to swing by the Anchor Bay booth and meet their PR rep Leah Visser, as well as her boss. Anchor Bay always does a great job on their releases and they have some wicked films heading our way. This year they have the folks from Brawler, and Little Bit Zombie on hand, and Sue and I are hoping we get a chance to get back and chat with them!

We decide to take a swing down Artist Alley, and discover an awesome little booth, called Geeky Pet, featuring art by Alana McCarthy. There are sketches and paintings of cats as various pop culture icons, and she also does commission work! That means she will create an image of your cat or dog as a character of your choice! The results are hilarious and a lot of fun! Check out her store on Etsy!

We pop in to have our pic taken with the very cool Jamie Bamber, who delightfully, introduced himself to each and every person as they joined him for the picture. He has a sharp and fun sense of humor, and seems like a genuinely nice guy.

As Sue and I take a breather, and gather our notes and thoughts, David Prowse is swept past us in the most awesome escort ever. He’s flanked by lots of stormtroopers, Tusken Raiders, Jawas, droids and his alter ego, the 501st is here in full effect!

As we sit and watch, I find myself waxing poetical…

The waves of people are tides, governed by the moons of their individual obsessions. The con’s currents flow all around us, and the deeper you go, the odder, or more interesting things can be.

Along the surface are the day passes, lugging about their autographed articles and photo-op tickets, occasionally stopping to gaze in wonder as they brush up against the other currents at play in these waters.

There’s the anime cosplayers who seem quite happy to meet and greet fellow cosplayers, find comics, and accessories for their intricate costumes, and hang out with one another for the weekend.

Then, the fans, these are the people who are here for the whole weekend, hoping to meet and chat with those people they are here to see, and today there are even more than yesterday, Tom Noonan, Joe Flannigan, John Barrowman (who has a killer smile, and cannot take a bad picture), James Marsters, Juliet Landau, William B. Davis, and Alan Tudyk.

Finally, if you dive deep enough, you find the avid collector. The ones looking for that Expo exclusive, those hard to find comics, or that much-needed collectible.

At 3:00, Sue and I join masses of fans for the CTV panel for Flashpoint. The room is packed, filled to the rafters, and all of us are delighted to be given a teaser scene from the new and final season. One of the series creators Mark Ellis, looks absolutely delighted when the entire room lets out a groan of disappointment as the scene cuts to black as it reaches it’s most tense moment.

All if forgiven though as Mark comes out, joined by his co-creator Stephanie Morgenstern, as well as series regulars David Paektau, Sergio DiZio and Olunike Adeliyi. The field questions tell funny story, and in one case the room erupts into laughter and applause, as a Japanese woman, saying she realizes the show is incredibly Canadian doesn’t always understand all the references, and could they please explain what a double double is, and what other Canadiana she may have missed.

From there, we follow them down to the CTV booth where they spend an hour signing for fans, and spare a few moments for each of them, but only a few as the line is incredibly HUGE. This show is a Canadian treasure, and people cherish it.

We have a great moment posing for a photo and introducing ourselves to JOHN CARPENTER!!!! Wow!!! Talk about your cool cats, this guy is The Cool Cat.

Checking in with Erin, we steal a little time and chat with Candyman – Tony Todd (watch for that podcast!) who is so much fun, completely grounded in who he is, but at the same time, so much larger than life. He was such a treat. Thank you for that.

At this point, the con is getting ready to wind down for the day, and we decide to check out the sneak peak of the new JJ Abrams series Revolution. Unfortunately, due to other commitments, we had to duck out at the bottom of the hour, before the presentation had even started.

But that’s ok.

We had a wonderful evening in the couple of some people that we are blessed to call friends, getting ready for the Lost Girl panel Saturday.

Saturday will undeniably be the busiest day of the con… What is your must see or do thing for the day?

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?

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