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.

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NFCC – Batmobile & Tim and April

Last weekend Sue and I got to go to Niagara Falls to cover the wonderful Comic Con that was put on there. We had a great time, and if you haven’t seen all the pics, take a look at our Facebook page, or check out our Comic Con post from earlier in the week.

I took a few minutes to chat with Roger about his and Andrew Murray’s Batmobile! Which is awesome! And we chatted with our dear friends Tim Doiron and April Mullen, about the day, Rock Paper Scissors: Way of the Tosser, Cannes, trailers, and a release date here in Canada for Dead Before Dawn 3D!!

So take a quick break, this is a short one, and join us for NFCC – Batmobile & Tim and April.

Niagara Falls Comic Con!!

Yesterday was a brilliant day! (Even getting up at 4am to get it underway.)

Sue and I headed to Niagara Falls for their comic con in their brand new Scotiabank Convention Center. Chris Dabrowski Co-Owner of the show, who handles the celebrity bookings, as well as the PR & Marketing for the event kindly set us up with a media pass for the day, which we put to use documenting the day and chatting to a great many people.

What follows will be a photo journey through our day, as well as talking about some of the fantastic people we met.

This young Han Solo on the left won the awesome award as far as Sue and I were concerned. We saw him waiting in line with his parents, and practically ambushed them when they came in to take his pic. At some point through the day, they came across one of the original Kenner Millennium Falcon’s which he promptly carried around with him for the remainder of the day.

Also present, are the always awesome 501st, the stormtrooper legion comprised of fans who craft and upkeep their outfits, and do some fantastic charity work!

The fan turn out for the event was fantastic, there was always a steady line of people coming in, and all of them seemed to be having a brilliant time.

The exhibitor tables were a lot of fun, and we found a number of them we loved, as well as some fantastic artists!

One of them, which we will be following eagerly, as they have told us a web presence is imminent, is The Gift Crypt. At this table, there were hand crafted gothic items, as well as some homemade candies and chocolate, chocolate skulls, mints, and an amazing assortment of goodies. I highly recommend watching for this site when it pops up so keep your eyes open! If you would like to get in touch with them before hand their email is thegiftcrypt@gmail.com .

There were tons of collectibles, ranging from the pre-loved to brand new goodies, and they were all fairly, and amazingly priced, actually some of the best prices I’ve seen at a convention, and will probably be the baseline I use from now on when shopping at a convention.

I chatted with a number of comic book exhibitors, the wonderful gents from Pulp Comics in Niagara Falls itself, as well as Paradise Comics, Mostly Comics. Every single vendor I chatted with was eager, professional, knew their products incredibly well, and some of them were happily surprised by how busy the event turned out to be, some of them selling out of the inventory of certain titles that brought today, Batman Hush was incredibly popular! (I found a couple of Iron Man hardcover graphic novels for insanely cheap prices – 50% off the US cover price!! How sweet is that?!?! As well as an IDW Star Trek comic I was missing from my collection!)

One of the best things about conventions are the costumes, especially when people throw their imagination into it. You can’t help but wonder what happened to poor Robin and his sweetie in the pic to the left, but it looks awesome!

The Joker made a wicked appearance, and sadly, promptly made a baby cry. I’d say that’s perfectly in character for that fella.

There was a Rainbow Brite accompanied by a Strawberry Shortcake, there were at least 3 Tony Stark-types, and that isn’t including me with my new Tony-inspired goatee and shorter hair.

The security was maintained by roving clone troopers (not true, security there was awesome, and not a single untoward incident happened all day) of which there was a surprising number.

There also characters I thought I would never see in real life, like Bartman!

We also chatted with a number of artists, and I got a nice little print from Chris DeLara that I need to get a frame for (along with other pieces I’ve purchased over the years).

We found time to chat with artist Steve McGinnis, who recently made the leap from producing children’s art to horror art, and had one of his prints for sale that showed the bridge between them, a wicked picture of a little girl offering a lollipop to a bloodied, weapon-wielding Jason from the Friday the 13th series. You can check out his site here which he’s told us he’s going to update with a variety of his other pieces as well. If something strikes your fancy, I’m sure you’ll be able to order it through his site.

Oftentimes at a con, as much as I am having a great time, I am always reminded of the jostling masses surrounding me all intent on doing their own thing, and while the floor was constantly packed (the Bret Hart line was insane! I have never seen so many golden belts slung over shoulders in my life!) everyone was friendly, polite, eager to talk, and always more than happy to pose for a pic, or take a pic for you if you asked.

Wandering through Artists’ Alley, we chatted with the likes of Ty Templeton, Dave Ross, Mike Hogue and Ken Lashley who created this awesome Star Wars print…

Each one of the artists were exceedingly gracious with their time, chatting happily with each of their visitors, offering advice, opinions, and talking about some of their favorite characters and pieces.

The celebrity signing area, played host to a number of familiar faces and names, including the brilliant Robert Picardo, who talked with his fans in a Q&A as well as fielded questions at his table as he signed Star Trek: Voyager and Stargate memorabilia.

The man is erudite, well-read and charming, smiling and chatting with everyone.

Burt Ward, Robin from the original Batman TV Series was under a slew of fans, laughing, talking and sharing memories with a seemingly unending line!

The celebrity area was constantly busy much to the delight of the fans, and the lines moved smoothly, each fan waiting for their moment, but never intruding on the time of the person before or behind them.

Little Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl on the Walking Dead, seemed to be having a great time, and towards the end of the day found time to sit in the Back To The Future DeLorean that was on site.  It’s tough at that age to be the center of so much attention, but young Riggs handled it well, and always seemed to be ready for more.

Also on hand was a bearded Dustin Diamond, best known for Screech from Saved By The Bell. Every time I saw him he was laughing or very engaged in talking amiably with the scores of folk who came to see him.

Throughout the course of the day, there were photo ops with the guests in front of green-screens to drop you into high-school, a horde of zombies, the bat-cave or a wrestling ring depending on the guest. There were also Q&As through the day, as well as a screening of Niagara Falls home town girl, and fan favorite April Mullen and Tim Doiron’s film Rock, Paper, Scissors: Way of the Tosser.

There was also a VIP screening of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface), and members of the cast.

The man’s a big teddy bear, and seems more appropriate to take on the role of Santa Claus as opposed to the terrifying cannibalistic killer he portrayed.

He and his cast mates, were across from the MacabreCon table that had arranged for them to be there, and were a great bunch of guys, including a clutch of filmmakers who are working on a feature film entitled Android Re-Enactment, have a look at their site here.

And long before there was a show called Jackass, there was another guy doing all kinds of crazy stunts and almost killing himself doing stunts and broadcasting them in the Southern Ontario area, that would be none other than Ralph Zavadil, known to his fans as Cap’n Video.

This guy’s energy was insane, he was rockin’ and rollin’ with each and every person who came to his booth. He was loud, boisterous, and a lot of fun for each of his fans.

Sue and I spent the day in close proximity to the Cap’n as we chatted and helped our dear friends April and Tim, promoting their two previous films, Rock, Paper, Scissors and Gravy Train, while talking about their upcoming film (which Sue and I have cameos in) Dead Before Dawn 3D!!

They were aided by various members of the Mullen clan (and you’ve never met a bunch of nicer people, EVER) and a young, up and coming filmmaker in his own right, Phil Marinucci. Watch for his name, cause I’m willing to bet we’ll hear more from him, and somewhere in the near future we’ll be having him on our show.

And speaking of our show, we’ll have a brief one up where we have a chat with one of the exhibitors on site… he and his friend constructed and maintain their very own 1966 era Batmobile. It’s perfect in every detail, and looks awesome!!!

So make sure you listen to that!

We also chatted with out dear friends April & Tim, who, let’s face it, along with Jeremy LaLonde need to be regulars on our show. All three of them are passionate filmmakers and dear friends.

At the end of the day, Sue and I were ready to head back to Toronto… so we commandeered the Delorean and a hover board…

We’d like to extend our thanks to Chris, and all the folks who made that con possible, it was fun, busy, and one of the smoothest run cons I’ve been to yet! We’ll be back for sure! Thanks for having us!

(Check out the rest of our pics on our Facebook page!)

Niagara Falls Comic Con

Sue and I are on our way to the Niagara Falls Comic Con this morning.

We both stayed up way too late last night to see Prometheus (more on that soon), and had to rouse ourselves at 4 in the morning. Did you know it’s still dark then?

We met up at the local bus station and are making our way westward!

We’re both looking forward to a fun day in Niagara surrounded by geekery and friends old and new.

And YOU still have time to buy your tickets!

They are available at the door for $20, and it looks like a great way to spend the day in Niagara.

We’ll  have full coverage through the day with our Twitter updates and pics, so make sure you follow us for all the updates!

If you’re going, make sure you find Sue and I (if in doubt check with our awesome friends April Mullen and Tim Doiron!) and say hi!!

I’m looking forward to chatting with some of the guests, I’m looking at you Robert Picardo! And possibly hunting down some missing issues from my comic collection (I only collect 2 titles nowadays so it shouldn’t be too expensive :D).

Stay tuned, and we’ll hope to see you!

Niagara Falls Comic Con!!

In just over three weeks, Sue and I will be making a visit to Niagara Falls to attend and cover the Niagara Falls Comic Con! We’re both looking forward to this day trip, seeing some old friends, familiar faces, and meeting some new folks!

The event is scheduled for June 9th at the Scotiabank Convention Center, Hall C on Stanley Avenue. General admission tickets are available on the website for $15 as well as at the door. You can also trick out your membership as you see fit by adding in Q&As, photo-ops and autographs. I kind of like this idea, you only pay for what you actually plan on doing, hence the lower ticket price.

I’m not a wrestling fan, but there’s  a WWE Legends Q&A Session and screening of Classic Matches which features Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & “The Genius” Lanny Poffo!

These special event tickets, there is also one with Burt Ward (Robin), which includes a screening of the original Batman movie, and a Q&A with Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager and the Stargate franchise) are $20 per, but instead of including these in the admission ticket, you can pick or choose if you want to add them.

The photo-ops being presented are kind of unique as well. We’re all familiar with green-screen (which means don’t wear your Green Lantern shirt in the pics!!) in this case they are putting you on the bridge of Voyager with the Doctor (Robert Picardo), racing from zombies with Walking Dead’s Carl (Chandler Riggs), in the Batcave with Burt Ward, in Bayside High School with Screech (Dustin Diamond) or in the ring with the Dream Team, Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake & Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine! These photo-ops which sound very fun, I know Sue and I will probably be getting a couple are only $20!

For the horror fan, there is the Ultimate Texas Chainsaw Massacre VIP package that includes a photo-op with Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns and Teri McMinn, an after-party as well as a Q&A with them, and a screening of the film! NOT BAD! This is put on by MacabreCon in conjunction with the Comic Con.

On top of that you have Artist Alley, vendors, displays and the geniuses behind the upcoming Dead Before Dawn 3D (currently in Cannes!) April Mullen and Tim Doiron!

We’re looking forward to meeting as many of these folks as we can, chatting with them, and hopefully getting a quick podcast chat out of them, as well as chronicling the con for you.

But if you can, head on out to it, show your support, and have a good time…

I plan on doing some comic shopping, other geek stuff, and snapping lots of pics to document the event, and plaster all over our posts about it!

We hope to see you there! There’s still time to buy your ticket!!! Don’t miss out! Check them out here!

Comic Con: Episode IV A Fan’s Hope

I wanted to see this movie since I first heard about it but misses the chance when it premiered last August at the Toronto International Film Festival.
A lot of people I know saw it and liked it, and I love a good con, so would it live up to the hype?

I like Morgan Spurlock, director of Super Size Me, Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden, and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,

So as I sat in a near empty theater (I am the one and only as Chesney Hawkes would say), which is probably more a reflection of the fact that it’s mid-week and The Avengers is kicking ass and taking names at the box-office than a comment on the film, I wondered if my appreciation for Spurlock’s work would continue. His films are always entertaining but are always out to make a point.

How would fandom look through his skewering lens? Would I still be laughing and a fan of his work at the end of the film?

I quite enjoyed it in all honesty, though it doesn’t really take shots at any of my fandoms. It follows a couple of aspiring artists who want to illustrate comics, one of the lone surviving retailers of comics at a COMIC convention (that started in 1970 as just that, not the pop culture Mecca it is today), a costume designer and their appearance at the annual masquerade and finally a geek couple who met at the previous year’s con and the young fella proposes during Kevin Smith’s Q&A.

I won’t lie, I very much want to see Comic Con, and probably more than once. For now, I’m happy to embrace the cons that happen here in Toronto – they were my first real conventions, and I treasure so many of the memories I have of them.

I did like that Spurlock didn’t go into this film wanting to show anything more than the Con, the people it draws, and the sharing of geekery. He made a fun film, that follows some of the dreams of a few of the 100,000+ people who make the jaunt to Comic Con each year. There were laughs, head-shaking, and smiles as I watched people who resemble so many of the people I know, follow their dreams of what they want Comic Con to be.

Coming, for me, in the midst of con season – we’re covering the Niagara Falls Comic Con in a few weeks (watch for us!!) and of course the towering 4 day Fan Expo in August, this film simply made me revel in my geekdom, and I’m happy to see that Spurlock treated it with the respect it truly deserves.

And now… I can’t wait to find those back issue comics I need, and those photo-ops I want.

Will we see you there?

The Con is Over – What Now??!!

So Wizard World Comic Con is now behind us… What will Sue and I do next to get our geek fix?

We’re going to Niagara Falls on June 9th!

I’ve going on a press pass and will have a chance to chat with the guests and wander about and document the entire convention.

Thank you to everyone at The Niagara Falls Comic Con for extending this pass to The Mind Reels.

It’ll be our third con of the season, and both Sue and I are looking forward to the trip down to Niagara for the day.

We’ll be delighted to see our dear friends April Mullen and Tim Doiron again, and hopefully get some news on the forthcoming Canadian release of Dead Before Dawn 3D.

April of course grew up in Niagara Falls, and will no doubt be a huge draw for the Con.

There are also more guests I’m looking forward to having time to chat with, Burt Ward, the Robin from the iconic Batman series of the 60s is going to be there, also bringing the original Batmobile with him! COOL!!!

But it gets better, the uber-cool DeLorean from the Back To The Future films will be there!

The world famous 501st Stormtrooper legion will be there, which means, as always, awesome pics with the forces of evil!!

Robert Picardo, of Star Trek:Voyager, and Stargate; Atlantis will also be on hand, and I’m sincerely hoping that I have a chance to chat with him.  I love watching a show or movie and see him show up on screen.

I think he’d be a smart, fun, and entertaining interview.

We’ll see what happens there.

There are also a number of wrestling guests on hand as well some , horror names like Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, and little Carl(Chandler Riggs) from The Walking Dead.

There’s also a games section, so it sounds like all the bases will be covered  for Niagara fans, as well as those who are making the trip!

It looks like it’s going to ramp up to be a pretty interesting day, and we’ll be talking about it more as it gets closer… so stay tuned!!

And hey… are you going?