Continuing my Comic-Con report:
Saturday, Tara and I got a start only about 10 minutes later than we’d intended – leaving with my brother and niece still sleeping – but I left them a note with directions to the Wild Animal Park and a note to let the dog out of his kennel when they got up.
We got to the convention center in good time, but were further back in the Ballroom 20 queue than we’d been on Friday. But, based on last year’s position I was confident we’d be in the room for the first panel. About 9:15 I could see that the room was being loaded, but we continued to mostly wait until nearly 9:40. We were still outside at 10:00, but got in to the room well before the panel actually started – i.e. it started late.
Our first and only big panel of the day was for Chuck. Once it started, we got the usual batch of clips from the last season, ending with the season ending cliff-hanger. The video then teased a bit about a major character announcement, and made it – by showing a clip of Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2. She will be playing the titular character’s mother this coming season.
Then there was a silly video that started with a message from the current crop of bad guys which eventually got cut off by two of the characters from the show (in character) and finally ended with a video from Jefster – who are also characters in the show. So, it was well past 10:15 or 10:20 when the cast finally made it out on stage.
The panel went quite well through the moderators’ set questions – there were two moderators. We got some good discussion and the expected ribbing of Adam Baldwin about his continuing popularity from his role in Firefly and Serenity. But when it came time for audience questions it turned out that the panel was out of time. For some reason only 45 minutes had been scheduled, but that information had not gotten to either the moderators or the studio or show runners (who would have severally cut the pre-panel show if they’d known). This whole problem was also aggravated by the con not getting the room opened on time and the panel starting late.
After the panel, Tara and I ventured down to the exhibition hall for a while, before heading over to Subway for lunch. Subway was another, more serious, disappointment. On the day that could be their busiest – since Subway has been a major sponsor of Chuck, both in advertising and product placement – they were not really prepared for the crowd. They did have pre-made sandwiches, but that isn’t what we want. But the people working the line were not competent. They could not ask questions clearly – and were constantly mixing up my sandwich and the somewhat similar sandwich of the person behind me in line. On top of that, there was no seating (this is a tiny store) so we had to walk all the way back to the convention center to eat.
After that, we returned to the exhibition hall. Twice we got caught in the traffic jam and one-way aisle around the Warner Brothers booth where the cast of Chuck was doing a signing, but did manage to do a fair amount of browsing.
We later headed upstairs to see if we could get in line for the later panel slot covering both Eureka and Warehouse 13. Instead we were able to get into the room fairly early in a panel on cartoon voices with a number of people whose names I didn’t recognize - but most of whose voices, in some case several, I did. As a major part of the panel they did a cold table read of a script for a 10-15 minute adaption of “Cinderella” complete with a Puerto Rican Cinderella and Droop Dog (voiced by his originator Chuck McCann) as the prince. This, naturally, left the audience in the aslies.
After that were the back to back panels on the two TV shows. Again we got some good background of both shows, including confirmation that the changes seen at the beginning of this season’s Eureka are permanent and that – in spite of two different actors from Eureka playing characters during the first season of Warehouse 13, the shows are in the same universe and there will be some crossovers.
After (or perhaps before) we worked our way down to the fan table area, talking to a few people we know, and some we don’t, and then headed back into the exhibition hall for a final look around. We decided that it wasn’t worth trying to see the Mythbusters panel, since we knew there were people already camping out in the room when we left, and headed home.
When we got home, by brother and niece weren’t there, so Tara and I decided to head out to get dinner at one of our favorite places nearby – which was a place we mentioned on the way home from dinner the night before. Not too surprisingly when we got there we found my brother and niece already there, so they joined us and we shared dinner then headed home.
On Sunday we all got up about the same time, and left in our separate ways – my brother and niece for a church near San Diego State and then to the airport. We got to the con a bit later than the start of our 10:00 panel with the Christian Comic Arts Association, but still heard most of a good discussion that focused on how God can work through questionable people – a discussion inspired by how Buzz Dixon reacted to R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis.
After the panel, Tara and I headed into The Gaslamp for lunch, returning to spend one last pass through the exhibition hall – resulting in Tara not buying a print she debated about, and then me buying two larger prints almost on the spur of the moment - prints which now need to be framed and placed. (One of these will probably end up at work instead of at home)
We then headed upstairs and watched the replay of the masquerade with occasional insite from the director. Again, the masquerade was very good. There were a couple of sketches that went over my head due to no references, and one that had me torn – part of me was laughing at it and another part was cringing at the shear fannish cheek. (The bit in question started with Bill and Ted emerging from the Tardis and ended with Donna Noble being revealed to be currently actually Sam Becket when Al appeared – The Tenth Doctor, Doc Brown and Marty McFly also made appearances. And THEN they all performed “The Time Warp.”) We also enjoyed the winning (IIRC) entry “Viva Las Villains.”
After that, we headed home.
I do have a few pieces of feedback I’d like to send out. Some to Comic-Con, and some to other agencies, including the MTS.
One thing that strikes me about the masquerade, which was all but confirmed by the director, is that there is NO tech rehearsal. This results in problems for the tech crew – most noticeably the video director and camera operators and the follow-spot operators who are all trying to figure out where to be completely on the fly. This made it so that good shots were something to be commented on, not expected, during the replay.
I know that there are major logistical issues behind this lack of a tech rehersal – it would probably have to happen entirely somewhere between 10:00pm Friday and 10:00am on Saturday, making for a long day for the crew and the entrants. But it would improve the show – and might actually make for a better experience for the participants.
Overall, we both had a good time and are looking forward to returning next year. Since we already have our memberships, we better.
(FWIW we MIGHT have spare bed space available if anyone would want to go next year. But, you better get your memberships soon: they sold out in October last year – and the one days didn’t last much longer.)