My post-Comic-Con report, part four
by Keith McDuffee, posted Aug 22nd 2008 10:21AM
(Check out part three of this four-part report)
Tired of hearing about Comic-Con? Figured all the talk was over? Sorry to disappoint you, but due to an untimely vacation (vacation untimely? Wha...how?) and a bit of reflection on my first trip to the big 'Con, I was able to get this last bit complete for you.
The Sci Fi / Entertainment Weekly Party
Man did it feel good to have gone to my last panel. I had much sympathy for Rich, who had another nearly-full day ahead of him on Sunday. So, we went out to finally get a decent meal at an actual restaurant downtown before we had to head off to the party. We had no idea at all what to expect from the party -- would there be food? Free booze? Who would be there?
Gallery: SciFi Party - Comic-Con 2008
We got to the hotel where the party was being held, and already the lobby was filled with stars of the shows we saw at the 'Con. As we were checking our bags at the front desk, Richard Dean Anderson was in front of us. The impressive Christopher Judge of SG1 was hanging out with a few other cast members, I think grabbing a smoke. Hey, there'd be some stars here after all.
We checked in with the guest list upstairs and headed in. To our right, a red carpet with more of the Continuum and Atlantis stars lining up for photos: Amanda Tapping, Ben Browder, Michael Shanks, Robert Picardo, Beau Bridges. There were about 20 people from the press lined up waiting to take quotes and pictures. Man, this was the real thing. Cool.
I headed over to the other end of the carpet, pretty much unprepared for any in-depth interviews. Rich had a recorder and a camera -- that was about it. We figured that since this was a Sci Fi party (we did not know EW was involved yet), we'd see a few of these Stargate folks and that was it. Boy were we wrong. Next came some Battlestar Galactica folks: James Callis, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, Tricia Helfer. OK, that was it -- time do do something.
I grabbed Rich's recorder and motioned to Maureen (the person I knew helping run the carpet) that I'd like to speak with Tricia Helfer. And that's just what I did.
Shortly after that meeting, Nathan Fillion happened by my spot and I got to ask him a few things regarding the direct-to-Internet approach to Dr. Horrible (I'll get to that later). One of the first things I noted about him is that he is a lot taller in person than he looks on screen -- he said he gets that a lot. Before he had to take off, he introduced me to his brother (another tall guy). A couple of very cool guys.
Lastly, as I already posted before, I got to talk to Joss Whedon. If I was ever asked what one "celebrity" I'd like to talk to, Joss would be that person. And man, I got to do it. And surprisingly, I didn't geek out. To top that moment off, Eliza Dushku stepped in to say 'hello" to us both. I was in Buffy nerd heaven here -- how I kept my cool, I have no idea.
The party was kicking in full gear now. I couldn't possibly name all of the other celebrity notables mulling around, but I'll get to a few. One thing that made me nervous as hell was a giant pool in the middle of the party with practically no ledge lip of any kind. People were elbow-to-elbow at this party, and I felt pretty certain someone was going for an untimely dip before the night was out. I was unhealthily paranoid that that person was going to be me, so I stayed FAR away from it.
A few other people I noticed present:
- Fred Savage. Seeing him there seemed out of place at first, then I remembered he's part of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, so then it made sense.
- Jamie Bamber. I think I said this one before, but Jamie Bamber is so strangely short in-person. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to talk to him and didn't see him later in that sea of people. Did I mention he's a bit short?
- James Callis. I shook Callis's hand and congratulated him on the show (BSG). When I told him I was with TV Squad, he said "oh yes, TV Squad. Great!" I said, "oh, you've read us then?" and he replied with: "Yes yes. I own a ... what do you call it ... ah yes, a computer." To that I could only laugh and say, "Touché, sir. Touché."
- Eliza Dushku. I saw her mingling in the party so I got a moment to talk to her a bit about our home state of Massachusetts and the thought process that brought Dollhouse about. It was so loud at the time that when I asked her about Dollhouse and "how Joss went off to the bathroom and came back with the idea, during your lunch with him," she said, "oh, you mean the co-ed showers right?" Me: "Huh? What? Oh no no! I meant ... I mean ... co-ed showers? -- do continue." And let me just say, she's even more incredible looking in-person.
- Felicia Day. I glanced over and caught Felicia in mid-twitter on her iPhone. I couldn't help but head over and try to say something witty. I think I said something more-or-less lame like "haven't you already learned your lesson about twittering in public?" (You have to know the story about her in the Dr. Horrible panel to understand). I wish I had more time to talk to her, but we talked about Dr. Horrible and The Guild a bit, and she introduced me to one of the Dr. Horrible writers, Maurissa Tancharoen.
- Masi Oka. The most surreal moment of the night was, as Felicia Day was twittering this, Nathan Fillion and Eliza Dushku are immediately to my right joking around. Felicia calls over Masi, who's walking by, and she and I meet him (regarding TV Squad, he said to me "thank you for the support!") Then Felicia says that Joss wanted to meet him, so she calls Joss over and Joss and Masi meet for the first time. I have all of this going on around me and I'm thinking, as I look to myself: "one of these things is not like the other..."
- Damon Lindelof. Doing more walking around, there I see Lindelof standing there with a small group. Since he wasn't talking/listening to anyone as I walked by, I took the opportunity to tap him on the shoulder, shake his hand and congratulate him on the success of Lost. Hey, when else am I going to get a chance to meet Damon Lindelof at a party?
- J.J. Abrams. We almost walked into each other while I was on my way out of the party for the night. When I said, "hey, J.J.!" He gave me a look at first that said 'who is this person not calling me Mr. Abrams?' But I got to talking to him about the new Star Trek movie and he was very kind and approachable after all.
- A smores bar. First there was the mac-n-cheese bar at ABC Family's party, now a fracking smores bar. I just wish I'd remembered to try some before I left.
And, with that, I just about filled up my celebrity-meet-up BINGO card.
One Final Bit...
By now you've likely already read others' thoughts on this year's Comic-Con, how insane the lines were and what should be done to improve things in the future. There's no need for me to get into that here, as I think more veteran people have made very solid suggestions that I can't really add to.
Overall, I was surprised with how smoothly things went, given the huge number of people attending, especially being a newbie to the 'Con. I totally get what people are saying with how things need to be run different next year, but I still don't think things were all that bad this time. Maybe it's because I was always at TV panels and really at nothing else; those who wanted to intermingle TV with movies and comics had a much, much harder time doing it all.
The one really interesting thing I took from my short interviews was from those connected with Dr. Horrible: Whedon, Fillion and Day. The fact that they took this show, put it on the Internet and created a huge success and following for it -- all while bypassing the networks -- should send chills through the network executives. As Joss put it, the success of a show is not decided upon by a network or the numbers they require to deem a show a "success," but by efforts of the "right people": the fans.
Efforts like Dr. Horrible are only going to continue. When you put a name like Joss Whedon behind them, you're talking 'huge success.'
Thanks for hanging in with my posts this long. Will I make it to the 'Con next year? Who knows. I might still have a space on my BINGO card to fill.