| Post Office Box 67
Fulham Gardens SA
Phone: 0412 208 011
As in previous years
the weekend started with the cocktail party where gold pass holders get to
meet and greet most of the weekend guests (never all and in this case Little
Nell and Barry Bostwick had a prior engagement at a special Rocky Horror
Picture Show screening nearby while Corey Feldman turned up for the TV cross
to The Project and disappeared soon after). To start the night
organisers delayed entry for a cross to The Project and there is one thing that
organisers need to take into consideration - the venue entrance is up a fair
number of stairs and while some 'in the know' knew how to find the 'other'
entry it was not made known to many who had issues with stairclimbing.
As I have one dodgy knee (which this weekend proved too much for it by
Saturday evening) and starting and stopping on stairs is incredibly
uncomfortable and if there is an option I will take a ramp or lift instead
while standing with us on the stairs was a very pregnant lady who likewise
should have been made aware of an alternative. When we got to the top
we were then told about this other entrance - would suggest for a contact noted on the
cocktail party details email. Once inside many left it until later to
sort out tokens as the whole system seemed to take a long time and lets face
it the main focus of the evening is the inform chats with celebrities.
Another suggestion with the cocktail party is that you either
have to fight to gain access to the guests or you join a group talking to a
guest and within a minute or two suddenly they've had the signal to move on
(or fans are asked to move on). Oz Comic con has a better system where
if you are there in your group the handlers try to move the guests around
the room to everyone and if there is someone you want to speak to you just
ask them and wait and you will get a fair turn. This would also help
in getting around a very uneven and tricky venue if you are not aware of
where the random steps are. It was however good to see that the sound
from the music videos was indeed background sound this year instead of
'disco' levels as it has in the past this made it a LOT easier to hear what
was being discussed.
The volunteers on the photo queues did an absolutely fantastic job this year with the staff I asked for directions either knowing where they were starting lines or gathering people prior to lines or knew who to go to for the same information and the photo printing was quite good the times I went through (though Saturday afternoon there did end up being delays but Billy Boyd and Evanna Lynch ended up being massively popular probably moreso than planned. This in turn created a backlog into the afternoon but it seems all was caught up in the end.
The first panel I went to on Saturday was for Dean Stockwell who introduced his wife who joined him on stage. Many people did not however appreciate a cigar that you could clearly smell in an enclosed area but otherwise it was a very entertaining panel with many questions about Quantum Leap and how Dean Stockwell was given plenty of leeway to work with the character and props (ziggy) and how both he and Scott Bakula were allowed to ad lib at times. It was also interesting to learn that Dean Stockwell could not recall (nor could his wife) the last time he was required to audition for a part - but then his career did start in the late 1940s and he has been a household name for decades so its not a surprise that it was more a case of shows chasing the actor for parts over the years.
I then went to the Richard Hatch panel on the Film Ink which was up against the Supernatural panel on the main stage which would explain the low number of gold pass holders in the panel resulting in Richard Hatch walking around between the seated rows in the centre aisle. He went into detail about the work over the years to try and get Battlestar Galactica back (Richard wrote a series of books continuing the story and apparently some graphic novels as well) about the recent series and putting together various pilots. There were also stories about working on the original Battlestar Galactica show and Lorne Green coming around for Christmas - a very entertaining panel.
I had to leave for the day after a couple more photos to go to Caulfield (where at one stage I went past Gai Waterhouse in one of the corridors and she greeted me with one of the warmest hellos you could have in passing - the sci fi link? Gai Waterhouse prior to following her father as a racing trainer once appeared in Dr Who episodes during the Tom Baker era back in the 70s!) and must say the arrangements with the train running was fantastic the transport staff (sorry not from Melbourne so dont know who runs the trains) were very helpful in regard to the trains and timings and while on said train its the one weekend a year that you dont bat an eyelid at seeing Batman walk along an adjacent platform as the train rolls through a station.
Later on Saturday afternoon Ben Browder presented a very entertaining panel for the VIP pass holders followed by Claudia Black who was equally interesting I am told but on the main stage some were left a little bewildered by Corey Feldman (more about this guest later) while others attended the Space Milkshake movie screening at one of the other stages.
For most Sunday was a quieter day after getting most photos done on Saturday - I went through and got the autographs first thing Sunday and there was very little waiting due to many attendees being ultra efficient and getting their autos on Saturday. After wandering around the numerous stalls it was time to head to the Ben Browder panel and this was an hour that ended too soon with the 'Australian women - porn mo' getting another mention however clearly Ben's wife agrees with what many of us thought and the 'porn mo' didn't last all that long after he got home nor has he been allowed to grow it again (Ben listen to your wife she knows what she's talking about!). Then there was discussion about working with John Barrowman (and staying in hotel rooms NEXT to John Barrowman), Chris Judge and travelling to the Arctic for Stargate. He also mentioned the differences between the workaholic Canadian and US crews who would work well into Saturday morning compared to Australian crews who 5pm Friday was knock off time no matter what for the weekend. How to do 'space slo mo' for those catch up shots where no actor wants to be strung up on the wires again for a handful of shots and how in Australia actors are permitted to do a lot more of their own stunts compared to in the US/Canada. Surfing was also brought up as the plan for some of the time prior to heading to Auckland for the second Armageddon and how he was planning to go out there with Billy Boyd.
The next panel I went to was the latter half of the Tony Amendola who is best known for Bra 'tac on Stargate and for Once Upon a Time but he has a massive resume of tv and movie work if you check www.imdb.com . He gave some fascinating insights into acting and the method employed to make it look genuine (such as if once actor is holding another by a ponytail and the struggle that ensues but its really the 'victim' not the aggressor doing all the work to make it look like they are being overpowered by said 'bad guy'. Or how a director got him to think differently between scenes for a particular way to play a character and the way characters are built up over time such as in Stargate or how Geppetto and his actions in Once Upon a Time makes an audience think about said choices.
After Tony Amendola
was Dwight Schultz who spent time talking about his experiences that led to
the portrayal of characters Barclay in Star Trek and Murdoch in The A Team.
Barclay was based on an acquaintance that he knew and sublet an apartment
from while Murdoch was based on a petrol station attendant that he met after
crashing his car on the way to work in a theatre where he had to make a
phone call to advise he would be late. There were then plenty of
questions to do with Star Trek and more interestingly to me The A Team.
When it came to Star Trek the writers production staff etc were very strict
and there was no ad libbing and lines had to be done as written due to the
way fans would check terms used and ensure there were no mistakes but on the
A Team there was more leeway so if you think he is adlibbing he just very
well might be. He also confirmed there were disagreements between
George Peppard and Mr T towards the end with George Peppard coming from the
Hollywood background and working with writers to improve the scripts and
ensure the best possible episode was put together such was his knowledge of
the industry whereas Mr T was what you see is what you get and he was
incredibly popular with the younger viewers. Mr T also use to spend a
lot of time with the sick and underprivileged kids as was often alluded to during
the show as his something his character did when the team were not together
helping the underdog. Dwight Schultz also did some great impressions
of both actors and mentioned that he and Dirk Benedict got along fine with
George Peppard and Mr T when there was three of them it was just a George
Peppard and Mr T personality clash. Differences in the team dynamics
were also mentioned with the comparisons between the TV show and the recent
movie such as instead of each team member having unique skills that worked
as a team and batting for the underdog the movie had Face doing most of the
planning and everything revolved around that character and they were against
big government not the 'small town bullies' as such. You could
easily recognise many of the Murdoch mannerisms when he was demonstrating
various accents etc. Finally the panel ended and again it seemed to
end too soon.
Billy Boyd the most popular guest of the entire convention arrived on time for his panel and was very entertaining for the whole hour with stories about working on the set of the Lord of the Rings movies, about feet flying off and future plans to return to Australia and New Zealand for Dominic Monaghan's new TV show about deadly animals (really they could just do the entire series in Australia not just one episode). Billy Boyd also mentioned the plan to go surfing with Ben Browder but had some apprehensions in that he was thinking nice social day out whereas Ben was seemingly planning to take on those 'Point Break' type waves. Another entertaining panel and he successfully used the stand up and jump for a few seconds technique which actually did wake everyone up from that glazed over look caused by a long and tiring but good weekend and the hot and humid conditions inside the venue - in that respect the previous location was much better with the aircon.
As usual at the end of the convention the dates for next year were announced with the same weekend (of the Caulfield Cup) looking like the likely timing and a return to the Showgrounds venue which may be bigger than 'Jeff's Shed' as the locals call the convention centre and the train running opens up options for future trips over for accommodation - this is a key issue as many of the gold pass holders as it turns out seemed to be from Adelaide or from country Victoria or even NSW who had travelled for the event.