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?

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Wizard World Toronto Comic Con – Sue’s Thoughts

I’m just gonna put this out there right off the bat: I go to cons a lot. As often as financially possible, really. For the past several years, conventions and film festivals have kind of been my thing. And collecting things – prop replicas, toys and the like. Yep…I am a big nerd. More or less proud of it, too. ;)
When Wizard World brought their event to Toronto for the first time, I was on board before they even arrived. I was excited for something a little new and different to hit the city, and this one seemed to have a nice mix of classic guests and guests from more current things, with some wrestlers and reality TV stars thrown into the mix. It was the first convention that I could attend that brought me the lovely and talented Erin Gray as an actual guest – usually when I get to see her, it’s because she is working behind the scenes through her company, Heroes For Hire. I met Erin several years ago at an event in California, and now kind of consider her to be more of a friend, but the chance to do all the geeky things with her – like photo ops and autographs – while she was an actual guest was far too much fun for me to pass up!
So yeah, I’m a fan of the Wizard World events, and bought my pass for this one right around the time they announced that Sean Maher was coming, I believe! I would have been going, anyway (even without the Mind Reels table involvement), but I think Sean was the first announcement that solidified my ticket purchase!

Anyway, this year would prove to be an extra interesting one, simply because we got a table to help advertise our blog/podcast, and hopefully spread a little word-of-mouth promoting for some of our other favourite projects, as well. We had some Guidestones stuff, some Dyke Master 3000 stuff (and Dyke Master herself was there on the Sunday), we had advertising for both of my books (Carving The Light and Ebon Black and the Seven Dryads), and pics from several of our interviews, including those with the cast of Lost Girl and Bomb Girls. Just a bunch of things to show what we’re all about, and help pimp the stuff we love.

Because I had purchased my ticket before we got passes for the table, however, I was determined to enjoy as much of the event as I could, while letting others man the table more often than I was. On paper, Saturday was going to be a mostly photo op-filled day, while Sunday I planned to enjoy more Q&A’s and such. The only switch-up was that Paul Wesley (Vampire Diaries) was only there on the Saturday, so I needed to basically stalk his handsome self if I was going to get a chance to see him much at all. And because we were planning to interview our fave Last Starfighter duo on Saturday, we hoped to surprise them with an official photo op on the Sunday, once we all knew one another a little better. Basically, I went into the weekend with everything all mapped out for myself, ready to go.
And yadda yadda yadda – best laid plans, and all that – cons tend to take on a life of their own once they get rolling. So really, while I SORT OF stuck to my plan – a lot of things I wanted didn’t happen (ie every single Q&A on the Sunday) and even more things I hadn’t expected DID happen (ie The Edge…good grief, more on that shortly). I’ve learned over the years to just go with the flow and see where it takes me, and this event was a whole new kind of animal, once we got our table set up and access to the con floor ahead of doors open each day.
So, let’s see. Saturday once we got settled, I noticed that I could see where Paul Wesley would be sitting from where *I* was sitting, and that alone made me kinda giddy. I tried to get an idea of where everything was before the doors opened and people started arriving for the day. I always like to know where the guests are, where the photo booth is, where the panel rooms are, etc. Oh, and what kind of food will be offered, even though I know I should be avoiding it all together – and usually do. I just like to know where the smells will be once I get hungry. ;)
I also had to find where Phil Ortiz would be setting up to ‘Simpsonize’ people, because I really wanted to try and get that done first thing Sunday morning, if I could. I always like to take a quick walk through before the floor gets too crowded, just to get the lay of the land. I was happy to be in the North Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, too. I know the South Building is bigger, and therefore better for larger events, but my first con experience was in the North Building, and it always feels a little like home to me now, being there. There’s just somthing about riding the escalators up to the convention floor that is exciting – I had to stop and just stare for a minute the first time I went up there, and always feel that nervous/excited pounding of my heart every time I ride up and get my first glimpse of all the geeky treasures that await me that day; stretching out before me like a sea of promise and hope.
See? I’m not just a nerd – I’m a nerd who writes! ;)
First up on the official Sue Plan docket was a couple of photo ops with my lovely Firefly boy, Sean Maher. One pic is never enough…I really should have stretched them out for both days, but still…did two shots, right in a row, which was awesome, regardless.

Tim and I went to introduce ourselves to Lance Guest and Catherine Mary Stewart, so they’d have faces to put to the names and recognize us when it came time to interview them. They were both wonderful right from the start, and we officially got even more excited to do the interview after that first quick meeting. They both really took their time with each fan – and with us – which is always very nice to see. I like when things aren’t rushed. Except sometimes when I am far back in line, of course!

I had two more duo photo ops that day – one with Paul Wesley and Torey DeVitto from Vampire Diaries (has there ever been a more aesthetically-pleasing couple, I ask you?), and one with our fave Quantum Leap pair, Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. Both had huge line-ups, and passed in kind of a blur, but while Paul and Torey were friendly and beautiful, it was the Quantum Leap moment that sort of took my breath away…more after the fact than during, though. You see, I realized suddenly why I hadn’t been nervous for that one, and it was because I was standing with my arm around someone I knew very well – Dr. Sam Beckett. He’d spent years inside my livingroom, after all, and I’d gone on countless journeys with him and Al (oh, there’s Al now, on the other side of Tim!), so it felt completely natural to me, standing there. And for his part, Scott was SO open and gracious and…just…SAM – I didn’t even realize what had happened until after it was over. So crazy. In an awesome way, that is. :)

I didn’t get to see the whole of Paul and Torey’s Q&A, but I loved what I did see. Both of them were goofy and fun, they joked around a lot. I took a lot of blurry pictures from the back of the room, and was happy to note that the questions for each of them seemed to be pretty balanced. I hate when there are two people on the stage and only one gets asked all the questions. In a way, that little interaction made me like the show even more than I already do – I got to see the actors behind the characters, and feel somehow more connected to it all. Or something.
Our interview with Lance and Catherine went better than we could have hoped. Oh, we were interrupted a few times, and we went back and forth between them for awhile, until they were able to pull their chairs together and chat about everything together more, but all the wee hiccups made the whole thing even more fun, I think. We were laughing so much, and watching them joke around together was just delightful. You could see their genuine friendship and enjoyment of one another, and Tim and I both just kept cracking up at how fun they were. So awesome…I can’t wait to hear that podcast again once it goes up!

And then, finally, there was The Edge. Adam Copeland, known the world over as WWE superstar The Edge, and known to me as the mysterious and super-cool Dwight on Haven. I thought he was pretty good-looking with the long hair. Gave him a scruffy manly look. But holy monkeys, is he ever beautiful with short hair! As soon as I saw him, I decided a photo op with him had to happen. I didn’t care that he was only there for the day, or that his line-up was huge, or that I was one of the only people who wanted to talk to him because of his acting career, rather than his wrestling one. I was going to have that handsome creature put his arm around me and smile if it was the last thing I ever did. And so it was:

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I later spot the dude wandering the con floor, checking things out. Tim and I were alone at the table at that point, and I told Tim that if The Edge wandered our way, we had to give him our card and tell him we were Haven fans, and tell him that we interviewed Lucas Bryant and that we’d love to talk to him even by phone sometime before season 3, too.

And by “we” in all that, I meant Tim. Clearly, because I’d apparently lost the ability to speak temporarily once the man drew closer. After he’d had his little fun, Tim finally did hail him, and he came over and shook our hands and remembered that I’d told him I loved him in Haven and he took our card, said Lucas was an idiot and that’s why they get along so well and … I don’t really remember much more than that. I know I said stuff…yeah. It’s kinda a blur. In a great way. :)

Sunday didn’t go at all as planned, either, but I did manage to get myself Simpsonized, and Dyke Master arrived to attract attention in her sparkly gold shorts, so that was a ridiculous amount of fun. The Phil Ortiz line took up the first couple of hours of my day, but totally worth it:

Besides, we were all kept entertained by the presence of Toronto Batman, who had a booth right next door. :)
Watching Dyke Master work the room was really more fun than should be allowed. She pulled attention to her like moths to a flaming rainbow unicorn, and I loved every moment I got to spend watching. You really have to check out her comic/blog/Twitter/Etsy store, etc. She’s awesome, she skated through her first con experience like a champ, and I am very proud and honoured to know her. :)

I skipped every Q&A I’d planned on seeing on Sunday, but I spent a lot more time at the Mind Reels table, and had a great time getting pics taken with Lance and Catherine when they had a few minutes to spare.

First of all, you have to understand how much this pair meant to us when we watched Last Starfighter growing up. Catherine Mary Stewart was this really beautiful girl who seemed like such a natural, genuine sweetheart – and she is. Not only is she a delight to be around, but she’s actually more beautiful now than ever. Lance Guest was this really good-looking, sweet guy, who always seemed to be an incredibly intelligent, grounded, well-spoken dude – and he is. His eyes are somehow bluer than I remembered them, he’s taller than I anticipated, and the fact that we didn’t seem to annoy him with our…us-ness…was one of the happiest surprises I think I’ve ever had! The two of them together pretty much made our whole weekend, really. DEFINITELY a highlight!
So yeah, going back to their table the day after our interview and getting to giggle with them through a few casual shots for the podcast, and then having the official group shot taken as my last trip through the Wizard World photo booth for the weekend – all of that was like icing on an already amazing cake.

While we’re on the subject of photos, actually, I want to issue a quick shout-out to the folks working the photo booth this weekend. They were fun yet professional, and had even the largest lines running smoothly and quickly all weekend long. That ability to not only capture a person’s convention experience, but to also enhance it, is often overlooked, and I will always take a moment to thank the photographers, etc who I feel have done a good job for me in the brief time we’ve had together. It was my first experience with Celeb Photo Ops, but I truly hope it won’t be my last. They really were great!
What else? The Blue Jays won, Tim and I got awesome hot dogs and such from the street meat carts outside, and because Sunday was a slower day, we were able to pack up and leave a little bit earlier than initially planned – so we hit Silver Snail for a few more comics before heading home.
What can I say? We’re nerds – it’s how we roll. :)