Post Office Box 67
  Fulham Gardens SA

  Phone: 0412 208 011

OZ Comic Con
Adelaide Showgrounds

18-19 April 2015

Oz Comic Con returned to Adelaide for its 4th event in Adelaide and served up yet another fantastic weekend for attendees.  The biggest lines ups were probably for Billie Piper from Dr Who just ahead of Michael Shanks and Billy Boyd but there was the usual impressive spread of different stars and shows across the spectrum for everyone.  Unlike others Oz Comic Con has always brought an impressive list of starts to town and fans responded many travelling from interstate as well as the country South Australia in addition to local sci fi/pop culture fans.

The weekend started with the Platinum Pass meet and greet on Friday night and the new system for tokens was fantastic and many commented on how good it was to have the full receipt and the tokens linked to names etc.  The bigger printed tokens were a lot easier to put in order and have ready than in the past.  The order form emailed out to attendees also made it a lot quicker and easier on the night as well.  To the night itself and all the tv and movie guests appeared to be in attendance with everyone having to chance to chat to their favourites.  Michael Hurst gave an interesting insight to what goes into the 'behind the scenes' jobs of the various levels in the production programs and what he had been doing in the years since Hercules while Michael Shanks explained why the change to the full beard.  Apparently at the end of filming the current season of his current show he had surgery on an arm injury and that being his dominant arm decided it was easier to just let the beard grow during the break and then kept it (filming is due to begin again in a few weeks).  So that is why the 'Grizzly Adams' look in the photos below in case you are wondering.  Ben Browder spoke of his work schedule which resulted in a 30 hour trip via New Zealand to get to Australia for the Perth event a week earlier - in the past Adelaide has often been first of the two with guests just off the plane - so everyone had had a chance to acclimatise this year.  Billy Boyd spoke of touring the southern wineries during the week and was very impressed with the local product.  All guests always talk about how they love the chance to walk around the shopping areas in the CBD as well with few being recognised and even if they are they report that fans are a lot calmer than others they have been approached by elsewhere.  All other guests we spoke to were very approachable and helpful including Ken Kirzinger who even helped look over the crowd when trying to find one other guest that we were having no luck in seeing past the crowd to try and find.

Onwards to Saturday and only a few panels to write about as I was busy with photos and autos but the day started off with the Michael Shanks and Cliff Simon panel.  Now at the very start Cliff Simon played his activist plus Ba'al short video - obviously his thing but I dont agree with activist propaganda like that.  All I will say is do your own research on these groups and  make your decision on supporting or not on your own opinion not just because a favourite actor supports it.  Respect them for their opinions but make your own decisions.  The panel was very entertaining with plenty of questions for both with plenty of responses in regard to the Daniel Jackson/Vala vs Ba'al/Vala and various other Stargate character questions.  Next up was the Ben Browder panel in Stage 2 and yes he was immediately up on the table and started the panel with the usual high energy of the past.  Questions ranged from both Stargate and Farscape - with some very entertaining stories of the filming of Farscape stunts including where he injured a leg and was sent off to the doctor and while explaining how it happened (dodging explosions and aliens) realised the doctor had no idea he was an actor on a tv show!  Ben also spoke about more recent projects Bad Kids Go To Hell and the current project where he is not only on screen but is the director for Bad Kids Go Two Hell (the sequel).  And then the sound came through from the Billy Boyd panel in stage 1 - this was brilliant where Ben went and opened up the door to the other stage and took a few moments before they worked out what was going on.  Then came back and did the 'Hell Yeah' crowd cheer loud enough for them to hear and Billy Boyd's stage 1 group replied not long after!  Repeated the open door near the end where we had Billy wander in stage 2 while Ben ducked just inside stage 1.  Going to be interesting to see how it looked on Billy's side on the DVD/download!  If you get the chance always go to a Ben Browder panel they are always brilliant and time goes so quickly.  My final panel for the day was a little later with Dominic Keating and Marina Sirtis of Star Trek Enterprise and Star Trek Next Generation respectively.  And wow now I hadnt had a chance to speak to Marina at the Friday night function but she is the actor that is the most different from their on screen persona that I've seen.  Takes skill to do that but the best can play any character as required.  Marina spoke about an upcoming role in NCIS and about working on the set of Star Trek Next Generation.  She was also very straight to the point over soccer (a massive sports fan she said she's the one in the household with the sport on as her husband is off watching drama shows!) and over child actors.  Now I really wish Australian fans would stop asking overseas actors how their kids should go about following an acting career.  It was asked several times over the weekend in several panels and actors are brutally honest in saying dont do it study something else and have it on the side.  Now in Australia if you look at most successful young actors that go overseas and go on they have come through either Home and Away or Neighbours the type of show neither the US or the UK has that seems to give some a chance overseas (Eric Bana the exception but he went through comedy shows that were around at the time they are not now).  Marina also remembered the name of a very chuffed fan who asked a question from either the autograph tables or the meet and greet event.  Dominic Keating took a bit of a back seat but did discuss his time on Enterprise and described the best prank the entire crew played on Scott Bakula after an appearance on the Rosie O'Donnell show where they unearthed a very old ad he had been in early in his career.  To finish I had a few photos and a couple of autos left and unfortunately a couple of the guests not only ran late during the day but also disappeared mid session (as in when the sign indicated they would be there at the autograph tables).  While others such as Sarah Hagan, Jonathon Young, Finn Jones, Michael Hurst even Marina Sirtis were quiet as well being late in the day but they were there either signing absentee pack photos or chatting to handlers or on their phones, etc.  The staff to their credit did help out those who were still waiting but running out of time and not returning the next day by finding the missing guests but it is a shame when the guests have to be found and its not the organisers fault some guests just dont like hanging around regardless of expectations (many of us will remember the Corey Feldman 'non' appearance during most of a Melbourne convention a few years back with a different group - doubt he will be asked back).  As for the photos this year the collection service was fantastic - all were displayed on a wall with plenty of space for those waiting and the staff were super quick in handing out the pics.  Deb the photographer in Photo Booth 1 gets a special mention as just like in previous years the photos were fantastic - some of us arent the type that land the shot each time but Deb's shots as in past years came out looking brilliant.  Myself and others were very happy with our photos - thank you Deb and OZCC.

And then it was on to Sunday.  I had done all my photos and autos on the Saturday (despite never having issues with the big camera at OZCC decided this year I'd only bring it on the Sunday) the second day was bascially back to back panels.  Starting off the day with the Hercules panel with Michael Hurst and Kevin Sorbo.  I only watch the show now and again when it turns up on tv but the talk was very interesting as they spoke about working on the set and with various other actors and directors and the injuries suffered as they did a lot of stunts themselves.  They also mentioned how they got the roles with Kevin Sorbo mentioning how he had gone for the Superman/Clark Kent role that Dean Cain ultimately won but being rejected from that role resulted in gaining the role in Hercules a short time later which ultimately ran for 3 seasons longer.  Next up was Billy Boyd and the panel was brilliant - anyone who was there and noticed that he referred to the camera with the giant lens taking a pic of 'his eye' early on well the pics below are from that camera.  Subjects ranged from spotting a fan who had had family members at the Saturday night dinner, to a lady who got Billy and Dominic Monaghan mixed as she asked the question, to Scottish phrases etc.  He also had a story about missing out on a role that ultimately left him available to win the role in Lord of the Rings suggesting as the earlier panel had that while rejection is common sometimes the role you miss out on leads to something better for you.  He also spoke about his band and about the songs for the Hobbit and visiting the Hobbiton set now tourist attraction in New Zealand.  A very entertaining hour that ended so quickly.  The next panel was Agam Darshi and Jonathon Young from Sanctuary which was a lot more sedate than Billy Boyd but they spoke of Jonathon's background in theatre, working on Sanctuary and the audition process or otherwise that they went through to get the roles.   They ended with Agam describing her own fangirl moment with her favourite music performer something which everyone could identify with.

My next panel was Dominic Keating where he talked about being the 'Vidal Sasson Wash and Go boy' - yes it was back in the late 80s and yes you can look it up online.  That led to the UK TV role and later on he then moved to LA and the role in Star Trek Enterprise.  There were more questions about working on set and then he spoke of the hard times for the bread and butter actors (ie not the Tom Cruise/Will Smith pay level actors) even on successful shows when it comes to filling roles (even Hollywood looks to save money where it can) and the new outlet for many in voice work.  He also mentioned going on a convention tour amongst others with Leonard Nimoy before ill health caught up with The Original series actor.

The next panel was the Stargate one with Ben Browder, Michael Shanks and Cliff Simon unfortunately I arrived later than planned and so was over on the side for the images below instead of the usual spot closer to the centre.  Soon after all three came on stage Ben was up on the furniture again but I missed what happened so I cannot explain the photo below with Michael Shanks.  Cliff Simon insisted on showing his video again as both Ben Browder and Michael Shanks remained neutral but threw a few jibes into what Ba'al with the glowing eyes and the ships being blown away in space quite had linked with the ocean (which certainly lightened the mood for some of us!!).  Attention then turned to Cliff Simon as he talked about his upcoming autobiography once he can lock in a publisher.  Questions mainly centred around Stargate and it was interesting to see that Michael Shanks seemed to be fielding most of the questions aimed at only one not all three of them on stage.  And then there was the lady who hadn't realised how quiet the room can be between questions and was talking quite loudly into her phone as all the actors stopped and turned towards her direction.  Cliff even came over with a microphone but it was a volunteer who ultimately politely requested that she turn the phone off.  Think there may be another rule pre panel next year......  Anyway like all good panels it was over too soon - hopefully Ben a fan favourite at these conventions will return in the near future while perhaps Michael Shanks will come back clean shaven one day (like Ben who first came to the first Oz Comic Con in Adelaide still sporting his Dr Who 'mo' before returning to Melbourne cons the following year and this year to Adelaide clean shaven).

The final panel of the event I attended was the Freddy v Jason Experience panel with Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger.  A different pace to the Stargate one but it was interesting to hear about the volume of work that Robert Englund has done right down to how he usually placates young kids who see the Freddy posts and images when parents come up for autographs at conventions.  Ken Kirzinger has also done many many horror type movies as well as being involved in the stunt work as well.  Ken Kirzinger has worked on The X Files, Supernatural, Stargate SG1, etc in addition to many horror movies while Robert Englund has Sliders, Supernatural, Criminal Minds, Babylon 5 also amongst his extensive list of acting credits.

And with the end of that panel it was the end of Oz Comic Con in Adelaide for another year.  It was a very long weekend but really was a lot of fun hopefully we can do it all again next year with another group of top line guests (though I'd love the event to be just a few weeks earlier as its getting later and into the Adelaide racing carnival - though any later and probably also start to clash with TV returning to filming in the US).   


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