Post Office Box 67
  Fulham Gardens SA

  Phone: 0412 208 011

OZ Comic Con
Adelaide Showgrounds

5-6 April 2014

This year at Oz Comic Con was looking fairly quiet especially when several fan favourites cancelled until only a couple of weeks prior when organisers announced that Benedict Cumberbatch would be in attendance in Adelaide only (plus a special event in Sydney).  The stars of Charmed had plenty of admirers as did the actors from The Hobbit movies while Corin Nemec clearly surprised organisers with his popularity as both his panels were in the tiny Stage 3 (yes it was about a third of the space used in previous years).  Even Platinum pass holders could not even gain admission on Saturday and Sunday you had to be there early or miss out as well - the panels probably should have been held in stage 2 (which probably could have been achieved by swapping around a couple of panels - something to take note of for future events or go back to using the bigger space upstairs).

At the Friday night function all guests as far as I'm aware were in attendance apart from the main drawcard Benedict Cumberbatch though no reason was given and it had only been mentioned on a smaller facebook page which was a shame for those fans who decided to purchase the more expensive Platinum pass instead of the Experience pass once he was announced as a guest (both sold out the day the experience passes went on sale with experience holders then offered the option to pay for meet and greet session Saturday night).  First guest our group spoke to was Tim Rose best known on screen for playing Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi and also known for the movie Howard the Duck however since then he has been involved behind the scenes with animatronic work on Dr Who (both past and the upcoming episodes though he couldnt say any more about the new episodes) and the recent Muppet movie.  Next was Connor Trinneer from Star Trek Enterprise and Stargate Atlantis before we moved on to see Corin Nemec.  Corin is always welcome at these events as he makes such an effort to ensure everyone is greeted like long lost friends and tells some great stories both at the meet and greets and at the panels.  It was also good to see that he had recovered from the badly broken leg suffered while filming a project early last year.  Amanda Tapping was very chatty as usual asking the small group about where her family could go to see the sights of Adelaide over the weekend (the chocolate factory seemed the clear winner there) though it was very strange to see people come up to join the chat circle be greeted by Amanda and then just stand there starstruck while everyone waited for someone to ask a question (with the popular guests you do try not to talk to them for too long as new people come up so they get the chance to talk too) someone on the other side of Amanda eventually asked a question and we moved on so the new fans could get closer and hopefully get their chance to talk as well.  Later we also had a brief chat with one of the actors from The Hobbit movie as well.

After that we headed out to collect tokens - it is frustrating as it is for this event every year that Platinum holders cannot purchase their Sunday tokens on the Friday night along with the Saturday ones.  The higher price for 'priority' really has its advantages cut back when all experience, platinum and the VIP passes all have the same priority (as opposed to other conventions where the the Platinum equivalent got first in line then the vip then general) - they did however open the doors early for priority holders on the Sunday but there was still everyone grouped together in the cafe area before they declared the event open as we all charged for the relevant photo/auto lines.  At other events you can purchase all tokens for both days at the Friday night function/preview evening. 

Saturday and I had a fairly quiet morning not needing the platinum pass for a couple of autographs but after the photo lines ran late missed the Corin panel (due to it being full and noticed other platinum holders do the same as me).  However I would suggest perhaps in future the organisers might want to post someone at the bottom of the stairs instead of getting to the top and being turned around - not all of us are 18yos and do have issues with knees and stair climbing for no reason.  The photo lines did run better on Sunday when they went back to the usual practice of people lining up in the right areas 10-15 minutes so they are ready to go as soon as the guest is ready before instead of being turned around until right on 'photo time'.  The platinum pass did pay off for getting Benedict's autograph where they did give priority to platinum and experience holders then vip then general - it was odd to ensure everyone handed over their bags before going near the autograph table but later heard it was due to a possible security threat.  However it was fantastic that autographs were personalised even if you were being moved away as the next person/item was pushed through mid brief conversation (though obviously that was to try and reduce the huge lines at closing similar to Richard Dean Anderson last year). 

Unlike most events I only attended minimal panels this weekend with the first of Saturday being the Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne panel as in Melbourne a couple of years ago they were very entertaining ending with Robin doing a lap of the room on the way out.  Then the second one for the day was the exclusive panel for Benedict Cumberbatch which was restricted to experience holders with seats at the front and platinums seated behind.  Unfortunately due to the low stage it was very difficult to see from further back than the first few rows and the seats were all right behind each other instead of being slightly offset which didn't help either.  The panel itself had some very serious questions asked about acting and the various shows Benedict had been on. 

Sunday involved getting there early and although the extra hour thanks to daylight savings helped it was still a long day of lining up.  Have mentioned earlier the entry so it was on to the photo with Benedict line up.  To try and fill up the lines the volunteers kept getting everyone to move up and fill gaps as they had decided to extend the lines outside instead of having the lines fill up the walkway in that area (this was a good idea aside from the fact it was a warm day and unfortunately there reportedly wasnt any shelter from the sun especially for general ticket holders who had the longest wait).  Also again due to the security issue you could not take anything in for the photo - now as seen from the photos below I had my big camera which is usually not a problem BUT organisers should make attendees aware of this as soon as possible so we can make plans instead of at the last second before entering the booth (after the experience last November I organised with the friends I was with for them to go through first and then I could pass off the camera and go through if they suddenly cracked down which they did).  However due to different schedules sometimes this is not going to be practical to do that yet if known from say the time of buying tokens it makes it easier to work out what to do - no it is not practical to put a big expensive camera 'on the table' out of my sight even for the minute or two it takes to go through. 

However I must again praise the brilliant job the photographers did this year and also the set up of the photo collection - after photos were taken if you gave it an hour they were already up on the walls where you just had to indicate you were there to collect and a volunteer would get it for you. 

Anyway it was then onto the panels and first up it was back for the second Amanda Tapping/Robin Dunne panel and again it was very entertaining with different stories and questions from the first day.  In fact there were only two dodgy question over the weekend at the panels I was at - the first was 'do you speak spanish' said in spanish now come on people dont waste everyone elses time pay for an autograph and ask it privately at that time not in a panel.  The second how does my kid get into acting - simple you want to be successful get on Home and Away or Neighbours sorry but again pay for an autograph and ask then not in front of a room full of people unless you were asking Benedict as most other guests on the weekend had enough time to talk during the autographs (and quite frankly this question is best asked of an Australian actor as it seems there are different systems used for youth talent in different countries so Australia wont be the same as say England).

The Corin Nemec panel in the tiny room was as usual very entertaining while it was finally time to finish the weekend with the general panel for Benedict Cumberbatch.  Organisers had a huge task trying to work out how to manage the massive lineup for this panel but I will give credit to all the volunteers I came across they were very helpful to those of us with the platinum passes in directing us where to go to line up and it was our group that ended up asking the first question about why he photobombed U2 at the Oscars.  And it was a good lighthearted way to start the panel after such a serious session the day before.  The answer well it turns out a friend asked him to 'get a pic with U2' and it so happened they were all lined up and he thought it would be a laugh for friends back home since the opportunity arose.  As it turned up he ended up jumping really really high and he didn't realise that it would go as viral as it did. Apparently this was only his second convention and first convention in the Australian set up (I have read that they limit photo and auto opportunities moreso overseas and run them a little differently to the way they are run in Australia).

Unlike the last two years there were no posters previewing guests for next years event however I do have three I could suggest (well ok three I could suggest for any of the conventions but here in Adelaide would be a lot easier than elsewhere!!).  Dont worry the chances are at best remote of my suggestions actually happening but will still suggest when the opportunity arises as they are linked with the genre moreso than some of the little known guests that do get booked for these events across all three of the major convention groups. 



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