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I had time to run upstairs once more. Talked to Beth. Norman, our basset had had his surgery and was doing fine. Though, unfortunately, he was now completely deaf. (Although, today, when the doorbell rang, Norman started barking just like old times. It was the first time I had heard him bark since the surgery. But I have no idea how he could possibly have known that there was someone at the door. Freaky, but cool.)
While I was upstairs, various members of Keith's family began to straggle in. His son Owen. His lovely wife Dionne, Dionne's niece (whose name escapes me, I'm afraid) and Keith & Dionne's daughters: Maelee and Ruby. Many of you know that Dionne and Keith's first date was his appearance at G1997. That's right. Those of you who saw Keith's surprise entrance might also have noticed a beautiful woman standing in the back watching him. That was Dionne. After he and I did our Q&A, I was so grateful, I treated the two of them to dinner. (How's that for slick? The guy didn't even buy dinner for his wife-to-be. ;)
I came back downstairs and joined Keith as we prepared to judge the Masquerade. Daniel, our hotel contact, was the third judge. His girlfriend Lucy also kinda participated, and we drafted Christine to help us keep everything straight.
Idiot that I am, I forgot to keep my notes, so I tried to recreate them from memory on a groggy Sunday. I apologize in advance for any errors or ommissions.
I will say that the costumes this year were truly amazing -- both in quality and QUANTITY. The last couple years, we've had plenty of the former, but were kinda shy on the latter, as fewer and fewer people seemed to be dressing up. But this year, I'm sure thanks to David Grabias and the DVD Crew, people really went to town. I was especially gratified to see so many canon characters. All the original characters are neat, but for me it's much more fun to see one of my "babies" brought to life.
BEST IN SHOW: Having said that, the runaway hit was an original Gargoyle named, I think, KORUL: the Gargoyle who was afraid of heights. He had an amazing costume, with detractable wings and sang a filk song to the tune of Rubber Ducky. Brilliant.
The awards for Canon Characters:
1st: Shari as Ekidna (bloody amazing)
2nd: Jade as La Belle Elisa (so cute)
3rd: John as the Renaissance Hunter (very cool)
The awards for non-canon:
1. Caille as Argenta (also with amazing wing action)
2. Somebody as Dancer
3. Space-Babie as Laurie Canmore
The Thom Adcox Memorial Award went to Revel as Dracon. Just for the attitude. But he refused to drop trow.
Cutest Couple: Alan & Jackie as Xanatos & Fox from "Eye of the Beholder"
Cutest Old Married Couple: Tony & Andrea as Dracon & Bad Elisa (I loved Jen's line that "Bad" means "Cleavage".)
The Gorelisa Award went to Laurean as Tom. (Staff weren't supposed to be eligible, but (a) it was a limited field of cross-dressers this year and (b) she was just so darn cute and funny.)
We gave a late-comer award to Lynati, who showed up at the very last second with a truly amazing Ophelia costume. Kicked ass.
Winner in the Junior Division was Becca as a terrific Bronx.
The Cosplay winners were Sapphire, Chameleon Girl and Ethan, doing a hilarious recitation (complete with props) of our opening Narration. Totally cracked me up.
There were other great costumes as well:
Fox in her evening gown with the Eye of Odin from "Eye"
And the staff... with all they had to do, they still managed (almost to a man) to dress for the occassion. And they truly looked great.
Jen & Alan came as Gruouch & Macbeth
Patrick & Cindy came as Puck & Titania
Kaylee & Si came as Princess Katharine & Tom (and that kiss was great)
Rob was Lex Luthor (by default, I gather)
And of course Karine showed up as a Pregnant Fox from "Walkabout"...
And the DVD Crew got it all on tape... I am such a proud Papa.
NEXT: THE NIGHT IS YOUNG. (Well, actually, the night is fortyish, but every once in a while, the night has to behave as if it's still in college, you know?)
After my interview with Emru, but before I headed upstairs, I finally had time to browse the wonderful art show. There were a lot of great pictures and some very funny action figures. Not enough smut for my taste, of course, but it's hard to top the Gargoyles fandom in the art department. I just love seeing your stuff every year.
But the one piece that really spoke to me was Andrea Zucconi's portrait of Elisa. I'm not sure if I can exactly put my finger on why, but I really found it stunning. I don't vote in the contest. I never seem to have the time and the sheer number of categories is a bit overwhelming, but I would have voted that Elisa painting as best in show. JMHO.
Anyway, at 6pm I came back downstairs for the banquet. By the time I got there most everyone was seated. Keith still hadn't arrived but was due within the hour. Becca Morgan drew a number out of a hat, and Karine sent me to sit at a table on the far right. I sat down next to Liz -- who then proceeded to kick me out. I hadn't heard it, but I guess Karine had mistakenly announced that Liz's table would get Keith. So Liz sent me away. I returned to Karine, who sent me back to Liz. I felt like a definite consolation prize right about then. (At best.) But considering that Keith didn't arrive until the Q&A, making it impossible for him to simply converse with his table mates, I still think Liz got the better deal. But you'd have to ask her.
Anyway, dinner was very enjoyable. I shared the table with the Zucconis and Liz and Kelly and Chameleon Girl and Taylor, I think. Karlyle, were you there? A couple other people too. I'm blanking out at the moment.
Kelly told us all of her obsession with Dr. Doom. (How obsessed is she? Well, let's just say I found myself getting jealous.)
The menu cards, printed up by our hotel contact Daniel were extremely cool, featuring a nice portrait of Goliath.
*Nordic shrimp cocktail with avocado sauce
*Mixed greens with walnut oil
*Stuffed pair of quails ith grape and Port sauce
*Potatoes and market fresh vegetables
*Seasonal fruit charlotte with strawberry coulis
*three chocolate Bavarian cake with rasberry coulis
*Coffee & tea
Truth is, I'm a man of simpler tastes. The shrimp and salad were great. But I'm not a big quail fan. Not a big poultry fan, honestly. I think of birds as hassle food. Too many bones. But everything tasted great, and as you all know I'll eat anything but lamb.
As the hour came and went without a sign of Keith, Patrick or Carol, Karine asked me if I could get Carol's cellphone number. It was up in my room. So I made a quick run upstairs.
I reentered only to hear an unmistakeable voice announce: "Ladies & Gentlemen, Greg Weisman". Keith had arrived in the couple minutes while I was gone. (And vengeance belonged to those that I had fooled in the past.)
Anyway, food was saved for Keith and Patrick. Though Carol had to go back to the airport to gather up Keith's family. Keith struggled to eat while I tried to moderate the Q&A. Unsurprisingly, there were a LOT more questions for him than me. And unsurprisingly, if you know him, he had a lot to say. A lot of wonderful stories to tell. I love that man. I tried to give him a bit of time to eat. But hey, he's his own worst enemy in that department. Thank God.
(I'll refrain from commenting about the caterwaulling from the next room.)
We finally brought the Q&A to an end to give people time to change into their costumes.
COMING SOON: The Masquerade!!!
Todd informs me that 21 of you have posted Gathering Journals here at ASK GREG.
I'm very grateful to you guys, but that's less than 14% of this year's attendance, which frankly is kinda pathetic.
Please, PLEASE, take a few minutes to write up your journals and cut and paste them here. And if you've already done it, pressure those who haven't and or spread the word.
This isn't a whim. I need the numbers to show the PTB.
Despite a wake-up call that I DO remember receiving, I WAY overslept on Saturday, barely managing to shower and get downstairs in time for our second set of Auditions at 10am. Jen was putting out some fire somewhere, so we got to a bit of a late start, but we still had plenty of time to fit everyone in.
As usual, we were using the original audition sides that the actual voice actors used to audition for Gargoyles. Demona, Hudson, Goliath, Elisa, Brooklyn, Lexington, Broadway and Xanatos were all written by Michael Reaves and edited by me. Angela was written a year or more later by me.
We got a good turnout, with plenty of women auditioning, including many staff members.
At 11:30, Jen and I went upstairs to my room to cast the piece. There was time for lunch, but neither of us bothered.
We posted the cast list at 12:30pm, but not who was playing what parts.
I had a mug-a-guest next. One or two intriguing questions got asked, and I think I answered one of them, but from what I've seen posted, some conclusions were then jumped too based on facts not in evidence.
Next up was the Radio Play Rehearsal. With a cast of 31, I was very pleased that every one showed up and more or less on time too. I passed out the parts and scripts and we just had time to run through each act once. My favorite bit there was when Jen as Fleance said: "If he gets past us again, you can KISS our paychecks goodbye." And Zehra as Elisa responds with: "Pucker up." I made a rude remark that got a big laugh. But honestly, aren't the possibilities intriguing?
Anyway, as many of you know, we performed "THE JOURNEY" in the auditorium. This version was re-edited for the Radio Play, but came closer to reflecting my original intentions for the script than the strangely edited version (with those awful Goliath voice overs -- which I did not write) that they used in Goliath Chronicles.
THE GATHERING PLAYERS (2004 Edition):
Goliath - Rob St. Martin
Elisa Maza - Zehra Fazal
Brooklyn - Dylan Blacquere
Broadway - Revel
Hudson - Alan Torvik
Lexington - François Ferland
Angela - Annie S.
David Xanatos - Rob Irwin
Owen Burnett - Seth Jackson
Bronx - Syrth
John Castaway - Erik Mambu
Vinnie Grigori - Michael McAdam
Banquo - Ethan Gilchrist
Fleance - Jen Anderson
Art - Alex "Carter" Garg
Billy's Mom - Laurean Broadbent
Travis Marshall - Lanny Fields
Margot Yale - Cindy Kinnard
Matt Bluestone - Eric "Gorebash" Tribou
Lennox Macduff - Chris Rogers
Maria Chavez - Natalie "Vashkoda" Quanquin"
Lois - Jade Griffin
Fox - Kaylle
Alex Xanatos - Liz Chesterman
Cagney - Mary "Stormy" Pletsch
Jogger - Isabelle Filiaircault
Quarryman #1 - Tony Zucconi
Quarryman #2 - David Brown
Quarryman #3 - Sarah McEvoy
Quarryman #4 - Taylor Hord
Announcer - Dan Blundon
Narrator - Greg Weisman
Everyone was just great. Dylan & Revel actually kind of did pretty good Brooklyn & Broadway impersonations. I also loved hearing Lex with a French accent and cast François for that intentionally.
I loved how Jen & Ethan played off each other. And I really loved how Chris & Cindy played off each other.
And Lanny, I believe, has been in all seven radio plays. An impressive record.
And real props to our four leads: Michael, Eric, Zehra & Rob, who were all terrific. Rob had a particularly difficult job subbing for a still MIA Keith David. And Eric was really brilliant. His final "Dream of Me" line gave me chills.
As usual, the DVD squad was around filming. It was hard for them to predict who was going to speak and to mic those people, but hopefully they got some useable footage.
I'd also like to thank everyone who auditioned and didn't get cast. It really is appreciated when you lend your support. And keep trying!!!
Immediately after the radio play, I signed some scripts. (Alan got lucky as his Hudson script was signed by Ed Asner, thanks to Carol snagging Ed's signature when she went to record him for the Opening Ceremonies welcoming tape.)
I was supposed to have a signing with Keith about then. But of course, Keith wasn't there yet. And there isn't much left for me to sign in the fandom. So I sat there for about 45 minutes, talking to Emru Townsend for his magazine FPS. Emru had interviewed Keith and I years ago over the phone. So this was something of a follow up interview. Emru (who by the way has an AMAZING voice) and I had never met in person, so it was great to see him finally. He and I just talked. I don't remember exactly what I said though I have the distinct impression that SOME of what I said about the animation industry should probably have been "Off the Record". But, hey, getting blacklisted at studios is nothing new to me. (Oh, well.)
Around 5:30pm, I went back upstairs to rest and change to a slightly nicer shirt before the banquet. I think I called Beth and the kids. And I almost dozed. But I stayed awake... for a LONG time.
STAY TUNED for (Nightpart)
After Opening Ceremonies, Karine wanted to make another effort to go to the Crepe place that we had missed the night before. I ran upstairs to drop off all my junk and to quickly call home.
Then we were off and walking into Old Montreal. This time I had a sweatshirt, which kept me comfortable. Our group included myself, Karine, Mark & Mark, Zehra, Kathy, Shaun, Laurean, Ian and... Gen? (Sorry, I just can't remember.) It was a great group. I heard all about Zehra's plans to translate a Japanese play into English and then direct and produce it at Wellesley. Wow. I also listened to Laurean & Zehra compare notes on Japan, and caught up a bit with Kathy.
Karine wanted to eat outside, because they have a beautiful multi-tiered patio, but that would have been a half-hour wait and by eating inside we could be seated right away. So we admired the patio and, well, sat. Inside.
Dinner was great. I had Crepes Florentine, and then a terrific dessert crepe with Vanilla Ice Cream. I was also seated between two lovely ladies, Karine & Zehra, all the lovlier because they were generous enough to let me taste their dessert crepes as well.
Of course, our waiter was very nice, but a tad dangerous. Dropping plates. Shattering dishes. Spoiling food and even dropping a knife in MY LAP!!! YIKES!
We had plenty of time to eat, but because of delays caused by the server's lack of grace, I found myself observing what's unfortunately become another Gathering tradition: Kathy and I RACING back from dinner to arrive late to my next scheduled event: in this case the Blue Mug in the packed con suite.
This was perhaps the least Blue Mug we've ever had. And I have to admit I missed spending some quality time in the gutter. Some of the lack of azure is probably directly attributable to the absense of a certain pants-challenged voice actor with the initials TA, but I think frankly a bigger reason was that everyone's curiousity about details of the DVD overwhelmed other topics. We did have a couple of smutty moments though. Christine still thinks she scares me. And she did manage to catch me with a question I hadn't given any thought to, but I'm harder to shock than that. (I know Keith had been looking forward to the Blue Mug, as well. And I'm sure he would have done well in Thom's place, but unfortunately, Keith STILL hadn't arrived. In fact, it had become clear that Keith was going to miss most of Saturday's activities as well.)
At around 2am, Karine used the excuse of my bathroom break to end the session. I headed back down to my room. Ate one of Maui's Godiva Chocolate bars. Called Beth, thanks to the time difference, and then went to bed around 2:30am, which was decidedly early for me.
NEXT UP: THE DAY THAT KEPT ON TICKING...
I typed most of this up yesterday, but then a glitch ate it. So here we go again.
Now one of my LEAST favorite things to do is to recreate a lost document. It's much worse than composing something from scratch. You're always trying to reclaim the "magic" of whatever you wrote on your first pass. And it never quite works. So if the following is magic-free, you know why…
… I came to OPENING CEREMONIES loaded for bear, with 5 Video tapes, 2 Audio tapes and color xeroxes of a Buena Vista Home Entertainment PowerPoint Presentation.
Karine got the ball rolling, welcoming everyone to the con.
Jen got up and awarded the FAN GUEST OF HONOR award to GOREBASH. He can protest all he wants, but the guy deserves this award simply for inspiring the Gorelisa Award. (And, oh yeah, there's also Station 8 the Gargoyle Fiendsite and ASK GREG too.)
Chris Rogers came up to pitch G2005 in Las Vegas, which sounds really, really cool. I loved Laurean's new mascot. I know that there's a traditional naming of the mascot contest, but I loved the name "Blue-Eyes". So if no one wins, I'll be okay with that.
Cindy spoke, and Liz, and then the Ceremonies were hi-jacked by Abram & Maui and the Clan Olympics. The first event was goofy fun to watch. Eventually things settled back down, and shortly it was my turn to speak…
And, boy, did I have a lot to say this year. More than usual.
Carol Wagner had assembled a welcome tape recorded by various members of the show's cast & crew: myself, Keith David, Producer-Director Frank Paur, Board Artist Troy Adomitis, Board Artist Vic Cook, Development Art Director & Producer Bob Kline, Development Art Director Dave Schwartz, Actor Crispin Freeman (a past Gathering Guest) and of course Ed Asner, the wonderful voice of Hudson.
I played my little, "Ladies & Gentlemen, Keith David!" trick. And everyone looked, just as they had in 1997 at the first Gathering. It's cruel, I know. But I'd never do it if I thought that Keith wouldn't eventually show up. Which he did. Although not for another 26 hours or so, unfortunately.
I made a little sales pitch for a few of the con's events. The Blue Mug that night, for example. But especially for the Radio Play. I had need of a huge cast and needed more people (especially females) to audition. On top of that, I was nervous that if I did get a full cast, they would outnumber the audience, so I also made a plea for people to attend the show.
I gave my thanks to Karine and her extremely hard-working staff: Rob, Ian, Shaun, Cindy, Patrick, Jen, Kaylee, Laurean, Liz & Carol. I also thanked a few select people who I know helped out: Kelly, Kathy, Christine, Steph and Alan. I'm sure I fogot a bunch of people then and now, and for that I apologize.
I plugged both G2005 in Vegas again, as well as ASK GREG, Gorebash & Station 8, reminding people ONE MORE TIME to please post Gathering Journals at Ask Greg ASAP after the end of the con. (So, have you?) I also pointed out A Fan's map of attendees at the back of the room.
Then it was time for hand counts. How many Gathering Con Virgins? [A goodly amount.] How many had been to at least two Gatherings? At least Three? Four? Five? Six? Seven? ALL EIGHT? The number of the latter was very gratifying. [I'm forgetting a couple people, but I think they included A Fan, Karine, Noelle, Lanny, myself (if I count) and at least a couple of others.] These are the troops that should really inspire the rest of you.
I then held up the materials that Buena Vista had sent me. Of course, they were probably IMPOSSIBLE to see even from the front of the room. But they included a few remaining postcards promoting the DVD's release from the THOUSANDS that were distributed at the San Diego ComicCon earlier this summer. (I ended up giving these to Patrick to pass out to the hard-working staff.)
Also on hand was Buena Vista's 7-Point PowerPoint Presentation Slide Show, which I've transcribed here [with a few comments]:
2. "Visually Stunning and Dramatically Stirring, Gargoyles Defines Fantastic."
--Ray Stackhouse, TV Guide
3. A Mythical World
--An Animated Series About Ancient Creatures Who Come to Life at Night to Protect Manhattan from Evil
--10 Year Series Anniversary
--Voiced by Well-Known Talent from the Star Trek Franchise Including:
*Brent Spiner [who doesn't actually appear in the first season. whoops.]
4. A Loyal Fan Base
--Gargoyles Was the 23rd Most Requested Disney Title of Q2 '04 [certainly, we can do better than that, right?]
--Chat Rooms and Fan Websites Are Buzzing with News of the Upcoming DVD Release:
"OMG! I can't wait. 10 long years and finally my fave cartoon will be on DVD!" - SportyShorty, IMDB Fan Posting
--Annual "Gathering of the Gargoyles" Convention Attended by Thousands of Fans [If you add 'em all up, sure.]
--Gargoyles Airs Every Night on TOON DISNEY CHANNEL and Saturdays on ABC FAMILY
5. A Product Fans Are Clamoring For
--Two-Disc DVD Set
--Includes All 13 Episodes of the First Season of Gargoyles [uncut, I should add]
--Special 10th Anniversary Edition [as opposed to all those other editions, right?]
*The Gathering of the Gargoyles [original documentary filmed at G2004]
*Original Show Pitch by Greg Weisman - Show Creator [previously available ONLY by attending the Gathering]
*Audio Commentary on Origanl Episodes 1-5 [Originally, I had been hoping for commentary on all 13 episodes. Budget constraints made that impossible, as Buena Vista truly has no idea how well this will sell. (We'll have to show them, won't we?) They came back to me saying they could only afford commentary on two episodes, suggesting either the first two episodes or the first episode and "Deadly Force". I went back to them, protesting that our pilot was five episodes and that it would just be weird not to at least have commentary on the whole thing. They discussed it and agreed. So we wound up with five episodes with commentary instead of two, more than doubling the budget. I then tried to convince them to do "Deadly Force," but they ignored me. Oh, well.]
6. On-Air Synergy Support
--Synergy Support from:
*TOON DISNEY CHANNEL
7. Pricing and Timing
--Perfectly Timed for Holiday Gift Giving and Gargoyles 10th Anniversary
--U.S.: Two-Disc DVD $29.99 SRP/$19.95 MAP
--CE: Two-Disc DVD $36.99
--NAAD: December 7 [THAT'S RIGHT!!!! THAT'S THE BIGGEST NEWS OF ALL. An official release date: DECEMBER 7th, 2004!!!!!!]
The point I was generally trying to make, is that this is really a make-or-break year for the fandom. The DVD is coming out. And you have yourselves to thank. Particularly those of you who have attended previous Gatherings. Disney took notice, and you're continued support gave me the wherewithal to push them. But now the ball is squarely in your court.
People are always asking me what they can do to get the show back in some way, shape or form. Now the answer is obvious. You want the show back? Prove it!!
Buy the DVD! You want the second season on DVD? Buy the first. Buy it for yourself. Buy it for friends, family and co-workers for Birthdays and Holidays.
More than that, SPREAD THE WORD!!!!! Even if everyone attending G2004 bought ten copies, that would only be a drop in the bucket. We need to reach out to fans who have drifted. To people who don't yet know about the fandom. To people who perhaps haven't even seen the show yet.
Disney has no idea how many units this thing is going to sell. Their downside is fairly protected, but the upside is potentially huge. FAMILY GUY sold so many DVDs that they're making new episodes. FIREFLY, a series that didn't last one season on television (despite its brilliance), sold so many DVDs that they're making a theatrical feature film. We would have to sell a ton of DVDs to match their success. But if we do, the sky's the limit.
You're my missionaries here. So support the fandom. Make ASK GREG a weekly stop… I'm going to try to coordinate efforts to boost DVD sales, so keep posted for news and updates:
Pre-Register to G2005 (or at the least purchase a fully-upgradable Supporting Membership).
[It's still the G2004 site for now, but it'll shortly turn over to feature info on G2005.]
Keep in mind that money that comes to the con EARLY is worth more than money that comes late. To afford multiple guests, the con needs funds earlier than later. That's why pre-registering is cheaper. Buy now, save money and the worst thing that happens is that you cannot attend and you've contributed a few bucks to the fandom you love.
[Keep in mind, I earn nothing from Gargoyles or the fandom - other than massive ego boosts. Nothing to sneeze at.]
But don't give up on attending G2005 either. You have a year to save up a Gathering fund. A year to arrange for roommates or pals for a road trip. Flights to Vegas are traditionally inexpensive from most locations. Again, bring in new newbies by showing them the show and addicting them. We want to break all attendance records.
Now, you may think I'm riffing here and have gotten off topic. But in fact, I said all this and more at Opening Ceremonies.
Right about then, I introduced the DVD Vid-Documentary Crew (David, Howard & Thierry). They were there to tape the entire convention. All the primo events. But they were also there to interview the fans about how Gargoyles changed their lives.
Then … finally… I got to what I like to call my own version of the Rocky Horror Gargoyles Show.
I showed the original Gargoyles Pitch Video.
The original Gargoyles Promo Video.
The original Gargoyles Presentation Video (narrated by Jonathan Frakes).
The original pitch for "The New Olympians" spin-off series.
The original pitch for "Gargoyles: The Dark Ages" prequel series.
The animatic/storyboard/leica reel for the "Bad Guys" spin-off.
That was followed by the Audio Tape of the never animated "The Last". This was a cross-over episode between Team Atlantis & Gargoyles featuring the voices of Marina Sirtis, Frank Welker, Sheena Easton, Cree Summer and others. As usual, the grunts of battle had different implications in a vacuum. And given the dirty minds of most of the attending, those implications are fairly self-evident.
And thus ended Opening Ceremonies. But Friday wasn't over. Stay tuned for more…
And we're back...
Friday was an eventful day, so I'm breaking it down into two rambles.
I got my wake-up call, lingered for a few minutes, showered and shaved (or trimmed, I should say). Then I went upstairs for my big interview with David Grabias and the DVD guys (Howard the DP and Thierry on sound, I think). David asked me some questions, I'm sure looking for some great short pithy responses that would make nice sound bites for the DVD documentary.
Of course, I have many talents, but being short & pithy ain't one of them. My 45 minute interview lasted an hour and a half. At one point, David sent me back to my room to change shirts so that he could pretend that a little intro I was doing for the original Gargoyles pitch (which will also be on the DVD) was shot on a different day. The thing that interests me is that you'll be seeing me intro the thing at age 40 and then jump back to me at age 30 pitching. I think as an Easter Egg or something they should create a little mini-morph of me aging rapidly.
After that I brought Erin & Benny's art down to Cindy. We took a few minutes to figure out which piece went with which title card. But it was all fairly self-evident.
I saw Zehra at that point, I think. I was really glad she came back this year. Also saw Noelle somewhere in here and Lexy & Marty and others.
Next up was the Voice Acting Seminar. I brought the same old stuff to cover. Stuff I developed doing a Seminar for Telemarketers (waves at Sapphire), a.ka. that time I was truly doing the Devil's Handywork. I've used it for at least a couple years now, but I wasn't afraid of it getting old, because the plan was for Keith and I to do this seminar together. His take on the stuff (his take in general) would provide us with a unique experience. Problem was that Keith hadn't arrived on Thursday night as planned. His movie in Miami was rained out a couple days which caused a delay in his flight for said couple days.
So I'm doing this on my own. Which isn't a problem, per se, except that it's the same old stuff. But there were enough newbies to let me get away with it.
I began by reciting my meager qualifications as stage actor, stage director, voice actor and voice director. Then I broke out the scenes.
We started with the Demona audition side, which Jen read -- way too well. It was frustrating as my schpiel sort of depends on some amount of badness in order to allow me to riff on how to improve. She didn't really provide that. Damn her talent!!
Anyway, Seri got up and read Demona. And she did a good job, but I was able to force her to read the last line over and over in order to make a point about acting choices.
Then we did a few others scenes. The Tea Scene from MIA is one of my favorite acting lessons. The tag from Thrill of the Hunt. And the "Friend" scene from Awakening 1. It was all fun. The DVD crew came in and filmed a bit, which was a running theme throughout the con. It actually made everything feel fresher and more exciting.
I think I have a new reality series to pitch....
Anyway, next up was our first round of auditions. Of course, I had forgotten the audition forms in my room. So I searched for the elevator. BTW, the hotel was great, but the entire weekend I had some kind of weird trouble finding my bearings, i.e. the elevators and/or restrooms. I constantly found myself walking in circles.
Jen and I ran the auditions, like old times. I get to force people to bark like a dog or meow like a cat and when I remember to speak with either English or Scottish dialects. Every year is unpredictable. There have been years when almost no men audition and I have to drag Hudson off the street to play a part. This year, at the Friday audition, we have tons of men and only two women. It's panic time as this particular radio play has an IMMENSE cast of 31 (not counting me). And at minimum (even with some cross-gender casting) I feel I need at least seven women for clarity.
Throughout the day, Keith's flight keeps getting pushed back.
And people keep giving me stuff.
Maui gives me a box of Godiva chocolate bars. Not a box of chocolates, mind you, but a box of chocolate BARS.
Kathy feeds my Buffyverse obssession by giving me a Buffy Companion book.
Tony gives me his Annual Gathering CD. (Which I listened to on the way back from San Diego. It's great.)
Wingless gives me a Banana Splits CD. (Which I listened to on the way to San Diego. It's VERY Cool.)
Michael gives me his Demo CD. (Which I haven't listened to yet, but I will. But Michael, here's my question: I already know you're good. But are you planning a move to L.A.? What good is your CD if you're not here to audition if and when I get something (please God anything) to have you audition for?)
I got four cool con t-shirts and pins (which I had paid for) from the staff, as well as a staff t-shirt from Jen (which I did not pay for).
I got Subway from Alan, which I also paid for, cuz frankly Alan still intimidates me a bit. It must have something to do with how cosey I get with his wife.
I got my con badge and the VERY cool program that Si put together. It includes a picture of me with a pillow over my head. I'm told this is a great picture. I find it interesting that the best picture of me is one where my face is covered.
I got a G2005 Vegas t-shirt from Chris at some point.
I got a UPS package which contained stuff from the Buena Vista Home Entertainment folk for use at the Opening Ceremonies.
And best of all, I got BLACK ROSES from Christine. Which is cool. But cooler still, is the dedication, to me and Salli and I guess all of you. I have never had a book dedicated to me before. I can't tell you what that feels like. It really makes my day on a day that makes my year.
NEXT UP: OPENING CEREMONIES (the never-ending story)
Time to journal.
As usual, let me open with a few caveats, apologies, etc.
I'll try to be as complete as possible, but inevitably I may forget a few names or forget to include a few people or events. My apologies. Please don't feel slighted. The con for me is always a great time, but also a whirlwind of people. With few exceptions, I only manage a few minutes with everyone. Sometimes it takes me two or three years to really nail a name to a face. (The fact that many of you have multiple names doesn't help either.)
I'd also like to mention a few of the people I didn't see, people I hope to see next year. Former con-chairs like Jubes and Batya and especially Mae Lee. People who made an impression, like Spike and Vanessa and many, many others. I'd like to ask all of you who did attend and/or all of you who are reading this now to reach out to fans who have wandered. As many of you know (and as Friday's G-Journal will soon make clear) this is really a make-or-break year for the series. We need to re-energize, rejuvenate and REAWAKEN the fandom. Especially those who have drifted away. We need everyone!
Speaking of which, here's ANOTHER reminder to post your GATHERING JOURNALS here at ASK GREG. Cut & Paste. If necessary, enter them a con-day at a time as I'm doing. If you're reading this and you know of people who attended the convention who haven't yet posted their journal, get on their cases. I think we've got about a dozen so far. I appreciate them all, but that's NOT nearly enough. We had 200 people attend the con. If we can't get at least 100 journals here at ASK GREG, I'm going to be VERY disappointed.
Finally, as most of you know, my diaries tend to center around food. Basically, I love to eat, and it's something I really have a talent for. I love great food and horrible junk. And I'm often obssessive about the subject. Strangely, or perhaps not-so, my memories of this adventure do NOT revolve around food. In part, because I didn't get to eat as often as usual. Just not enough time. In part, because I had such a blast just spending time with all of you. Thanks.
ANYWAY, enough preamble. Let's get gathering.
The week before the Gathering had been extremely eventful. Good things and bad things were happening to my family, especially my siblings. For more info on both check out the very well-written websites of Robyn Weisman...
and/or Jon Weisman...
Over at my house, things were almost as crazy. We had taken out a loan to paint the exterior of our house. Right after we were financially committed to that endeavor, our upstairs bathroom cracked its shower pan, creating (ultimately) a hole in the ceiling of our entry hall. We have had to totally demolish that bathroom in order to repair it, which caused further damage to our bedroom, living room and powder room. Even our doorbell has stopped working.
Plus, I got a stye in my eye. For a couple of days, it was swollen up, and I thought: "YAY, MY DISFIGUREMENT CAN BE IMMORTALIZED FOREVER ON THE DVD!" Fortunately, it faded by Thursday and was all but gone by Friday.
Also, there was that ladder thing. How many Gargoyles-Creators does it take to screw in a light bulb? I was up on a ladder changing a ceiling bulb. I had the old bulb out and in hand, when the ladder (which is missing three out of four rubber feet) tipped me off. I landed on the hand holding the lightbulb, which <SHATTERED> on the brick floor. Blood and glass everywhere. The wounds, such as they were, turned out to be very superficial once they were cleaned off and the imbedded glass was tweezered out. I was wrapped in gauze for a night and my daughter took to calling me "Daddy Mummy" or "Dummy" for short. Smart kid. Anyway, by the next day, I was down to two band-aids. By Thursday, the puncture wounds were barely noticable.
More seriously, there's Norman, our ten-year-old Bassett Hound. Earlier this year, Norman was stricken with a life-threatening ear infection. We tried multiple courses of anti-biotics (including some human versions). Nothing worked. Finally we had to have his ear canal surgically removed. Then last month, the other ear got infected. It soon became clear that we were going to have to have his remaining ear canal removed, rendering him completely deaf. It was very upsetting to all of us, and I felt horrible that I was going to be out of town during the surgery. Of course, I had made a commitment, and to be honest I really didn't want to miss the Gathering.
And the fact was, I was already planning to miss a portion of it. My daughter's birthday is August 8th, 1994. I wasn't going to miss her tenth birthday, which meant I'd be leaving VERY early on Sunday morning in order to make it home in time for her birthday dinner. That meant that I was going to have to stuff all my G2004 fun into a few short days.
So, Thursday morning I got up at 7am, reminding myself that I couldn't use my own demolished bathroom. I showered in the kids' bathroom, and made my way downstairs. I had been vaguely Atkinsing for the last three weeks and had in fact lost about eleven pounds. But the diet was done for the duration. I had Cereal and banana.
I was picked up at the house at 9:30 am. The trip to the airport was uneventful. Got to LAX and got through all the various lines without incident. Then I bought a loaf of sourdough bread and ATE the entire thing. Also had a Three Musketeers bar and a bottled water. Obviously, I was craving carbs and sugar.
Aboard the plane, I began to read "I DREAMED I MARRIED PERRY MASON" by Susan Kandell. This is a very well-written murder mystery by a friend of ours. The protagonist is Cece Caruso, a biographer who stumbles onto two murders (one old, one new) while researching the life of Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of Perry Mason. I definitely recommend it.
On the plane, I had Tomato Juice and toyed with my meal: beef, biscuits, cole slaw, rice and a roll.
The movie was "Day After Tomorrow" and even though it was free, I couldn't bring myself to watch it. Though I did get curious about how it would end -- about what could possibly be considered a coda for it, so I ear-phoned up for the last ten minutes or so. Uggh.
The flight, like the whole trip, was easy. Customs in Montreal was a long line, but had the advantage of non-stop movement, which at least makes the wait FEEL more palatable.
Patrick, Jen & Rob were waiting for me. I was already in a good mood, but I immediately felt better. Now, the Gathering had really begun for me.
We had a completely uneventful ride to the Delta Centre-Ville (our G2004 Hotel). In the lobby, I saw Carol, Kathy & Kelly. Mandi, I think? Abram. A Fan. I checked in, and hit my room to do a VERY quick unpacking before meeting everyone in the consuite. I saw Becca right away, and asked where her parents were. Christine was standing just behind me and gave me a big hug.
The constaff had planned in advance to go to dinner as soon as I got in. There was some miscommunication, which I really regret, as some non-staffers were waiting to join us and the restaurant we were heading toward couldn't accomodate us all. Sad irony, we didn't even end up at that restaurant (as its kitchen was closed) and the place we did eat at had plenty of room. In the future, I'm gonna make an effort to be more inclusive at these things.
Not to rub it in, but those of us who did attend: Lanny, Derek, Michael, Karine, Cindy, Rob, Jen, Alan, Kaylee, Shawn, Patrick, Laurean, Liz, Carol and I had a great meal. We had taken a long walk to get to the crepe place that Karine wanted us all to enjoy. The weather was lovely but just a tad cool for a guy from California in a t-shirt. If I had just brought my sweatshirt along, it wouldn't have been a problem, but I was shivering by the time we sat down in our second-choice restaurant.
Which was great, by the way. Lobster Bisque, Fettucine Alfredo, Bread, bruschetta, a mussel and coke.
And great company. I enjoyed the walk back a bit more, even though I was still freezing. Karine offered to lend me her sweatshirt, but I'm still enough of a gentleman (just barely) to refrain from taking a pregnant woman's wrap.
Back at the hotel, I ran into Lynati, Mara, GXB, Alex, Eric, Hudson, Ethan, Maui, Kyt, Chris & Aaron. I hung out in the lobby with a few of them for a bit. But it was getting late, and I wanted to call Beth and the kids and talk to them before they went to bed.
So I headed up to my room. Called home. Then tried to sleep. Wound up watching TV until at least 3 or 4am, though that was only midnight or one my time. Then I finally went to sleep.
TO BE CONTINUED...
I'm back in Los Angeles after an amazing trip to Montreal and a fun family half-week in San Diego.
My own Gathering Journal will be forthcoming in installments, as usual.
But in the meantime, I'd like to remind everyone who attended G2004 to please, PLEASE, take a few minutes and write up your experiences in as much detail as possible.
Were you on staff? Were you a dealer? Were you there for the whole weekend or just for a few hours? Whatever your situation, please write up a Gathering Journal and post it HERE at ASK GREG. It's great if you have your own website or livejournal and want to post it there or even in the S8 Comment Room, but please CUT & PASTE your journals and put them here as well. No links please. Cut & Paste.
For those of you who've already done this, thanks. For those of you who started but didn't quite make it through the weekend, please don't run out of steam. For those of you who haven't started, START. Trust me, your memory isn't going to improve with time.
We had about 200 people at the Gathering. I'm hoping to get at least 100 diaries/journals here at ASK GREG. AT LEAST. (Frankly, I'd be thrilled with 100% journaling.) Getting them all here allows me to direct the Disney/Buena Vista powers-that-be to this site as a single clearing house.
Guys, this is important. Prove that you are going to do what it takes in the coming year to support the show by taking this simple first step.
It will be very much appreciated at this end.