A Station Eight Fan Web Site
-- Gathering Journal --
The Gathering 2003 kicked off June 27, 2003 and I was fortunate enough to attend.
I arrive, via train, around 4pm. The Gathering was being held at the Hotel Pennsylvania which is right across the street from Penn Station where I had arrived. Finding the place was not difficult. It was also not far from where the first Gathering was held in 1997.
This year I was rooming with IRC Goliath and Wingless. So after checking in I headed up to our room to meet up with them but no one was home. So I dropped my stuff off and headed up to the London Suite where the radio play auditions were being held. I was a bit disappointed I was unable to arrive in time to catch the panel on voice acting held just before the auditions. It may have helped a bit.
While standing in line for the auditions I met up with IRC Goliath and Stephen Sobotka and Gabe among others. Chyna Rose was handing out audition forms that had to be completed before the audition. Among the questions was "Can you growl?" Well I checked off that I could. This comes back to haunt me later.
As I start to get closer to the front of the line I see there are scripts being given to the next three in line for an audition. Each page has dialog for a specific character from the show. The idea is that you pick one character and read that for your audition. A couple minutes before it would be my turn I got my hand on a copy of the script and started to thumb through it. I had just barely skimmed it when it was my turn to audition.
So in I walked and was greeted by Greg Weisman (creator of Gargoyles) and Thom Adcox (voice of Lexington). Greg asked that I go to the back of the room when I read the lines so that way they could better judge what kind of volume I had behind my voice. Since the radio play was done without microphones in a large ballroom this would be important.
Then Greg asked who I wanted to read. What? I hadn't even read through one complete page to get my bearings on what I would be reading. I flipped through the pages quickly as and they fell open to Xanatos. "Xanatos" I tell Greg, and off I go.
I tried to put some emotion into the lines but I was far more focused on making sure I didn't lose my place and that I was delivering the correct lines that there really wasn't much emotional content there.
I was asked to re-read the last paragraph and to boost the volume a little bit. That wasn't a problem.
Then Greg asked to do a big growl so I let loose with something that would pass for more of a scream than a growl but at least it was loud.
After that IRC Goliath and I headed out to find Wingless before the opening ceremonies. We quickly found him on the top floor and headed down to the opening ceremonies.
The opening ceremonies started off with a quick intro by Greg Bishansky and then the Gathering 2004 group took the podium to unveil the Gathering 2004 mascot. He needs a name! The Gathering 2004 will be taking place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. As the Gathering 2004 crew talked we were informed that the legal drinking and gambling age was 18. This prompted IRC Goliath to suggest the mascot's name be Hammered. I offered Smashed. The Gathering 2004 looks like it's going to be fun.
Some of those who helped with this year's con were then introduced. I can't imagine what these people have to put up with to get something like this off the ground. The Gathering was, at least from my point of view, a success. It was the Gathering 2003 crew, lead by Greg Bishansky, that made it happen.
Greg Weisman then took the podium to deliver his annual Gargoyles speech. During key points Greg would ask the crowd to complete parts of his well-told story about how Gargoyles came to be. It truly is better than Barney. He took a quick show of hands as to how many previous cons people had attended. A few brave souls admitted to having attended every single Gathering since this whole thing began. There were also a few "con virgins" in attendance. Greg mentioned that we, the fans, might be slacking a little bit. Attendance this year was down compared to previous years. I don't know how the LA Gathering will ever be topped, but his message was clear, let's get excited again about the show and get more people interested in it.
Greg then mentioned that Gargoyles would be coming to DVD in 2004 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the show. Greg said it was a move made more for marketing purposes than anything else. He said that tentatively the DVD would contain all episodes from season one. It would also include a commentary track by "some guy named Greg Weisman". Very cool news to hear.
Greg then moved on to showing us the usual videos. First up was the video pitch Greg made back in the early 90s for Gargoyles. Next up were the Dark Ages and New Olympians pitches which I had never seen before so I was very happy to get the chance to see them. Greg then played the Bad Guys leica reel which was the one spin-off of Gargoyles that had the best chance of being made. The lieca reel was something of a mini-episode put together with rough pencil sketches patched together and with a dialog track and some sound effects. The story goes that the day before the lieca reel was to be completed the plug was pulled on the project. So Greg put up his own money to finish the lieca reel. This was a great peek into how an animated show gets produced.
After the videos Greg went over some of the panels that would be happening during the Gathering and closed up the opening ceremonies.
I was hoping to attend the jalapeno eating contest which started right after opening ceremonies. However I decided to go out and grab some dinner with some friends. It's a shame that the tolerance I've built up eating very spicy Thai food over the past few years couldn't be put to the test. There's always next year.
Later that evening was the Othercon mug-a-guest with Greg Weisman and Thom Adcox. The idea behind the Othercon is that more mature themes may be explored that might otherwise be inappropriate for the general audiences of the Gathering. So at the mug-a-guest there were no limits on what the questions could cover. One noteworthy fact that came out of the mug-a-guest was that Lexington was gay. Greg said that was never the plan going into the series but rather something that just developed over time. He said that Lexington seemed to stop his pursuit of Angela long before Brooklyn and Broadway and that may have been a sign. When asked who Lex's mate would be were the Gargoyles storyline to continue, Greg would not provide a name nor a species. He made it a point to say he wouldn't provide a species. Curious.
Greg was asked about how he would handle Gargoyles after the 9/11 attacks. Greg talked about how he worried it some would see it as exploitive to make such a show, especially given that gargoyles are awake only at night and the attacks happened during the day. He talked about other shows which did episodes dealing with 9/11, some were good and some were poor. His feeling is that there could have been a 9/11 episode for Gargoyles but that it would have to be a spectacularly written episode. His feelings were that the need to have the story told would need to outweigh his concerns about it being exploitive. The bar would have to be placed very high.
At about 1:30am we were kicked out of the room by hotel security, so that was it for the mug-a-guest.
The following day, Saturday, was filled with all sorts of cool stuff. I had to make the most of it as I would be missing out on all of Sunday's events to catch a plane to Las Vegas for another con.
Wingless wanted to catch the "Showstoppers and Scene Stealers: Creating Memorable Characters" panel so he headed off to that while IRC Goliath and I visited the art room. Disney had loaned to the Gathering some early production artwork from the show. This included a lot of work done by Greg Guler who did a lot of the early character design. There was also some character sketches for the comedy version of Gargoyles. As you may or may not know, Gargoyles was originally pitched as a comedy. Disney (Michael Eisner) didn't go for the idea and so the show was reworked as a drama. Many of the characters in the show as you see it today are based largely on characters first developed for the comedy show.
You can see some of this artwork in the video pitch Greg made for Gargoyles. Particularly the images of Hudson and Bronx in Greg's Gargoyles pitch comes from the artwork done for the comedic version of the show.
Also in the art room was a table with all sorts of materials relating to the episode "The Reckoning" including the complete storyboard done by Victor Cook. Vic Cook was also a guest at the Gathering. I spent about 30 minutes going through the storyboards. There was some very cool insight into the episode and how editing story-boards are done. The opening shot was originally done with Goliath looking through a pair of binoculars. Lots of panels had white paper pasted over them to show that the scene was to be cut or changed, but you could see through the paper and get a glimpse at the panel underneath. Several panels had pieces of paper pasted over only part of the panel with the piece of paper cut in such a way as to retain part of the original panel such as an arm or head. Then the piece of paper was drawn over again with the correct poses for the rest of the panel. That was kind of cool to see.
There was also a copy of the script and what appeared to be an edit sheet which kept track of what shots are to be placed where for the episode. Very cool.
Also in the art room was a large collection of fan art. There was some really amazing pieces in there. I especially enjoyed the water-color pieces. Just something about the texture of water-colors on the right kind of paper that I like... can't really put a finger on it.
Kanthara had a nice butt-shot of her character on display. For some odd reason that sticks out in my mind. There were many great pieces of art on display. So I made sure to take my time going around and selecting pieces to vote for. I liked the Gargoyles cards, a set of face cards done up with characters from the show. There was some nice work by Kythera and Dreamie as well. The art was not limited to just painting and drawings, there were some 3D art pieces; a pair of Brooklyn heads by Kelly Fay and a t-shirt with a front shot of Demona on the front and a back shot of Demona on the back.
After visiting the art room I headed over to the Roughnecks / 3x3 Eyes Q&A panel. The panel was hosted by Greg Weisman and I don't believe Thom Adcox was there even though he was slated to. We snuck some Gargoyles questions in there but mostly it was talking about 3x3 Eyes, which Greg Weisman directed the English dub of, and Roughnecks which was a series Greg wrote for. Greg showed us a tape of silly bits that the CG animators put together for Roughnecks. One included the cast singing "I Just Can't Get Enough" which cracked me up. There was also a music video montage which started (and ended) with some of the more violent scenes in the series with the song "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong playing. Greg also showed us a scene from Roughnecks. It was a funeral scene from an episode he wrote and which he felt was really well done by the animators and he wanted to share that. Greg then showed us some clips from 3x3 Eyes trying to showcase some of Thom Adcox's work on the project. He picked out a few really goofy scenes that were fun to see.
After that panel came the "Writing for Animation and Series Development" which I was especially interested in as we had been promised a sneak peek at a new series that is in development created by Victor Cook with Greg helping out on it as well.
Greg and Victor Cook talked a bit about what it was like pitching a series during the time of Gargoyles versus what it's like now.
Back in the day (1992 or so) a pitch was made directly to Michael Eisner and he would simply give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down. When Gargoyles was first pitched Eisner gave it the thumbs down but Greg was asked to rework the pitch and try it again. Greg talked about how the first time out, the pitch had about 40 or so pieces of art and included a lot of detail about the series. The second time around there were about 20 pieces of art and a lot of detail was cut. That pitch got the show made.
Greg talked about how when pitching a series, less really is more. It also helps to allow the studio you're pitching it to to feel that they could have a hand in developing or fleshing-out the series. Thus leaving a lot of room for tweaking can really help sell a series.
Greg and Vic talked about how things have changed now. Back in the day, Disney could syndicate it's cartoons out to independent television stations. As Fox, UPN, and the WB networks grew they bought up all these independent stations and syndication was no longer possible. Thus Disney bought ABC so it could have a place to put it's cartoons. Disney also opened up the Disney Channel from a pay channel to one that's now part of a regular channel package for most cable companies. This change in structure added new layers to the approval process. Now when a series is pitched it goes before a group of people to be approved. If even one member on that board doesn't like the show, then you're screwed. If it gets approved then the pitch is passed upwards to another group of people for approval. These extra layers, with many more people now involved in the approval process, make it very difficult to get a show made. People are more afraid to green-light the next television bomb than to block the next television blockbuster.
The television world seems to be tough business.
To end the panel we got to see a preview of a show Vic Cook had created and which Greg Weisman was helping to develop. Since the show is still being shopped around I figure I won't go into much detail about it. I'll just say that it seems like a cross between Bubblegum Crisis and X-Men with maybe a dash of Bionic Six. We were introduced to the main characters, given the basic story behind who they are and what the special attribute they all share is and some basic plot points. There's a seemingly Xanatos-inspired character trying to control things from behind the scenes in the series. I wasn't able to get a good idea of what the target audience is but Greg and Vic seemed to indicate that the show could swing from kids to young adults depending on what the network that buys the show wants. Greg and Vic mentioned Disney, when they saw the pitch, wanted to make the characters younger while the WB wanted to make the characters older.
I'll say it again: The television world seems to be tough business, especially animated television.
It was a great insight into a business I've never had any direct interaction with and I enjoyed it immensely. Probably my favorite panel out of all those that I attended.
Next up was the radio play rehersal. Earlier in the day 18 names were posted as being assigned to the radio play and I was lucky enough to be included. However we weren't to find out who we were playing, or what we would be performing, until the rehearsals.
After a brief introduction, Greg Weisman announced we would be doing "The Reckoning" which was an episode story-edited, and put to teleplay form by Gary Sperling. Gary Sperling worked close with Greg Weisman during Gargoyles and was a key figure in the show's development. Gary passed away a couple months ago from lung cancer (having never smoked a day in his life) and Greg felt it would be a proper tribute to do "The Reckoning" and perform it in Gary Sperling's honor. There were other episodes written by Gary Sperling but none of them had Lexington in it. Greg had assumed Thom Adcox would want to play Lexington... well guess again, Thom decided to take the role of Sevarius. Greg then announced who would be playing the rest of the roles in the episode. I was assigned to the role of Burbank who is Hudson's clone; 7 lines, 6 of which are growls. I guess those growls during auditions were okay.
IRC Goliath was picked for the role of Claw who is mute and thus has no lines. He was to be an under-study of sorts should someone fail to show up for the radio play. Like the idiot I am, that was nearly me.
We read-through the first act and then Greg gave pointers to those involved in the first act. We then did a second read-through of the first act. We were short on time so we did a single read-through on the second and third acts. Greg talked a bit about the need for volume and that should any of us make a mistake, to not apologize for it (which would draw attention away from the story) and to just move on. He gave tips on what kind of attitude certain characters had during certain scenes. Be more innocent here... be more cynical here... really have fun with this part... and so on.
Then we had to clear out of the ballroom while it was prepared for the banquet. There was some miscommunication as we were suppose to have more time to rehearse but the food services people wanted to get into the ballroom to setup. So we left and waited just outside for the ballroom to be prepared.
Once the ballroom was ready, we would go back in and start the radio play followed by the banquet. So Greg Bishansky comes out and lets the crowd outside of the ballroom know that it'll be about 30 minutes before everything is ready. So how to kill 30 minutes? I decided I ought to change my clothes. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt which, I thought, were very unfitting for a radio play that had the kind of meaning and importance as this one. I headed up to my room, got cleaned up, and changed clothes.
As I'm getting my belt on there's a knock at the door.
"GORE?! They need you in the ballroom NOW!"
"What? ... I thought I had 30 minutes..."
"Well they're ready NOW!"
So it turns out that at about the time I got into the elevator, the ballroom was reopened and everyone was ready to start the radio play. So much for those 30 minutes. Instead, I wound up holding the show up for about 10 minutes while Kelly Fay scrambled around the hotel trying to find me. I felt like a total jackass at that point. The one thing I didn't want to screw up... and as I entered the ballroom there was a large, sarcastic, applause to greet the idiot who held up the show. 7 lines... just 7 lines... I wouldn't have waited for myself, but they did. So for everyone in attendence, I am very sorry for holding things up.
I scrambled into line and the radio play began.
From there things went off without a hitch. Batya was exceptional as Demona. Stephen Sabotka did great as Goliath. The lady (whose name I do not recall) that played Angela did probably the best job as she seemed to capture Angela's innocence and naivete perfectly. The guy who played Thailog and Thom Adcox had a great moment where Thailog and Sevarius share a maniacal laugh. The two really did it up like something out of Austin Powers 2. Everyone was cracking up on that. Come the third act, Claw is introduced by Greg Weisman and IRC Goliath stands up. The scene continues and then ends. IRC Goliath sits down. Everyone roared with laughter at that one. I let fly with my growls and for that one line of dialogue I did a bad impersonation of Bill Murray's character from Caddyshack.
The radio play was fun. But I felt horrible about holding things up. But everything went smoothly after that point and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Then we cleared out while final preparations were made to the ballroom for the banquet. Nichelle Nichols, Uhura from Star Trek, the voice of Diane Maza (Elisa's mother) in Gargoyles, would be attending the banquet.
A line was formed for those who wanted to be assigned to the table of a special guest. I decided to get in line. Everyone in line was give a number to correspond to a special-guest's table. I was assigned the number 1 which turned out to be Greg Weisman's table.
The doors were opened and we all took our seats. First we ate and then a Q&A session followed. Greg became the emcee of the Q&A and most of the questions were directed at Nichelle Nichols. Nichelle talked a bit about her sci-fi books as well as a bit about how she came to work on Star Trek. A general question for all the guests came up asking if there was a special or favorite episode. Greg talked about working on Mark of the Panther with Nichelle and how great she was. There's a point in the episode where Diane Maza delivers a story about the panther queen. Greg said Nichelle busted through that in just two takes. Vic Cook talked about how he enjoyed working on that same episode as that story sequence was done in a very different drawing style than that which is typical in Gargoyles and how fun it was. I dig the music Carl Johnson put together for that episode.
After the banquet a lot of people stayed around while things were cleaned up in preparation for the masquerade ball. Nichelle Nichols took the time to sign a few autographs.
On the the masquerade!
Kelly Fay's chain-mail headdress caught my attention while we were waiting for things to start. I've got to find me one of those mail head pieces.
Dreamie took over as emcee for the masquerade ball dressed up in her DreamieKitty cat-girl outfit. While waiting for everyone and everything to get in order she played up to the cameras and kept things interesting.
Apologies in advance as I never wrote down the real names of the people behind the costume.
First up we had a hunter, Robyn Canmore I believe. Best subtle use of knee-pads.
Next was a Matrix cosplay with a Matrix lady being chase by an agent. Matrix lady had a necklace on which was an LCD display that showed Matrix code.
Then there was a giant red gargoyle. I just don't know about that whole body-paint thing. I can't imagine that comes off easy. It also must make the clothes you wear incredibly greasy. I'll have to give it a shot some year.
Then we had a guy who came as Vinnie and did a dead-on impersonation of him. So much so that even saying the tried and true lines from "Vendettas" got me to nearly snarf the water I was drinking. (Snarf = making the stuff you're drinking come out your nose from laughing too hard.)
The most regal costume was a woman dressed as Gruoch. She did a great job on the costume.
A Fan came as an employed something or rather with a masters degree in something. Basically he came as a burger joint worker complete with mesh cap.
There was an Owen who pulled out a sign that hung around his neck proclaiming him as "Xanatos' Bitch".
Hudson and I'm not sure who did a cosplay where Hudson was something of a goth zoo keeper trying to keep control of this really menacing looking grey gargoyle. Lots of leather and chains and even a few growls that easily beat the best I had to offer at the radio play. The scariest cosplay ever?
Then again, I could be wrong. Patrick Toman and Kanthara cosplay as Anastasia and Fox Reynard with a baby Alexander in tow. Best cosplay in the whole show. Patrick Toman made just the best looking Anastasia Reynard I've every seen.. err.. would have seen, had I not dug my eyes out of their sockets a moment earlier. Kanthara and Patrick really put a lot of effort into it and I thought they did great.
There was another Owen who took the time to color his hand gray and draw stone marks all over it. Great detail.
Thom and Greg were judging the show along with Vic Cook. They seemed to be having fun.
Prizes were handed out and I was asked to deliver thte Gorelisa memorial award to Patrick. I need to reclaim my title next year I think.
Thom Adcox was given a belt with a lock this year to keep his pants up. Last year he apprently dropped his pants on more than one occasion. During the masquerade ball this was also the case. I wonder who was more over-the-top, Adcox at the Gathering or Tim Curry while doing Sevarius in "Monsters".
After the ball I headed back to my room to try and get some sleep as I had to leave early the following morning to catch my plane. IRC Goliath and Wingless with Gabe in two showed back up in the room about 30 minutes later. They stayed up and talked well into the night while I tried to find a comfortable spot on the chair I was sitting in. I'm told that while I was fading in and out of sleep IRC Goliath snapped a picture... I'm still a bit worried about that one.
Eventually I found sleep.
The next morning I got up early and took off to catch a bus to LaGuardia. Having read about the mess involved in Greg Weisman getting to LaGuardia from the hotel I wonder, did he know about the shuttle that goes from Penn Station (right across the street from the hotel) to LaGuardia? During the ride from the hotel the bus passed the Mayflower which was where the Gathering took place in 1997. I switched over to a larger bus just outside Grand Central Station and headed out from there.
I hope to attend the Gathering 2004 in Montreal. This year was fun and next year is sure to be a blast.
Ya know, a year and a half later and I didn't even remember that we had to delay the radio play at all. So don't sweat it.
Okay, while I'm waiting for the internet app I should be working on to rebuild already (which takes way too long), here's my scatterbrained G2003 journal...
(If parts of this don't make sense, Greg, I've been messing with Java code all morning, my brain's a bit fried already. :) )
Thursday, June 26
SOMEHOW got out of work at 1 pm, after spreading the word that I'd be MIA most of the week and getting some co-workers to cover for me. Ran home, packed, violated Resolution #9 (forgot the Gargs figures I wanted Greg Wiseman to sign yet AGAIN), decided not to bring the Banshee costume since it was only half done and I wasn't wearing a rushed, crappy costume just for the sake of having one. Drove up to my folks, rode to Aberdeen with my stepmom (yes, my stepmom, it still feels weird being able to say that now), and waited outside for the train, which was half an hour late. Marsha waited out there with me for 40+ minutes in the heat determined to make sure I got on the train safely. She didn't have to, but I really appreciated it.
Train ride to NYC was pretty nice and fairly comfortable, despite some boredom - I brought my CD player, but managed to leave ALL my CDs at Dad's - and I got into Penn Station around 7 pm. Went up to the main level, looked around at the rush, and laughed out loud at myself. I had to set a scene in Penn Station in "Murphy's Law" despite never having been there and completely pulling the scene out of my ass, so I was highly amused to see that I had actually guessed right about the crowds rushing everywhere. Grabbed my bags and hoofed it to the Hotel Pennsylvania; I came out the wrong side and had to ask a cop if I was going the right direction. I was, so I got to the hotel, got my key at the front desk, gave Kathy a cellphone call and crashed in the room for a bit.
Hung out with Kathy a bit when she got out of con staff panic briefly and got to hear one of the looniest examples of mailing address silliness I've ever heard. She had to leave me to my own designs that evening, which was pretty boring. Despite the fact that there were a lot of non-staff attendees there on Thursday night, I only encountered ONE other con attendee who I didn't know all that well. I wandered around the hotel, got hit on by this strange guy, and just killed time for a few hours. Yeah, I was in the middle of downtown Manhattan, but there was nothing to do and I wasn't going out at night alone. So I ate at Lindy's for the first and last time, got bored and crashed around 11. (Any restaurant that screws up chicken fingers is not worth trying again.)
Friday, June 27
Got up with Kathy's phone alarm, let her shower first, and discovered the reason for the paint mold spots in the bathroom - the shower tended to hose down the WHOLE BATHROOM, blowing out the shower curtains completely. Hey, at least there was plenty of water pressure.
Went down and got breakfast at the 24-hour coffee shop - better than Lindy's - and bought a birthday gift for Innocence, a teddy bear with "I (heart) NY" on it. On the way back up, I *finally* ran into a non-staff attendee I recognized; BrooklynX was headed back to his room with breakfast. Yay, finally someone to hang out with. Dropped the bear off in my room for fear I'd leave it somewhere, then hung out in his room and checked out his still-growing collection of cels. (You know, I think Vic's comment might not be too far off...) Heard yet another fun travel story, which again reinforced the notion that I had an easy time getting up to NYC. We headed down to the lobby around 11, rolling our eyes at the CNN playing in the elevators. (That really DID get old fast.)
Good move, it seems, as attendees were gathering (no pun intended) there in hopes that registration would appear. Ran into Stephen, Seri Wavelength, Kellie Fay, Gside, Lanny, Duncan, A Fan, Orion, Spacebabie, and Archangel. Spacebabie offered her suggestion for my costume dilemma, which was a lot more creative than anything I'd have come up with, but it was a moot point since the wig was at home (and it was way too long and thick to spike with hair gel - I'd have HATED to wash that sucker afterwards!) Got lots of comments on my Sluggy "Fear the Bunny" T-shirt. Got lots of weird looks from the regular patrons of the hotel, too. Heh.
Registration finally opened up a bit late - they had to set the desk off to the side since the concierge was really annoyed that we were blocking the elevators. The staff rushed down and hurried to make up for lost time - I paid for the banquet up front for the hell of it. Couldn't get a T-shirt because I hadn't pre-ordered one. Oh well.
After a good deal of people waffling indecisively, I joined the group led by Fan to a kosher deli a few blocks away. We needed food, and I wanted to actually leave the hotel for a bit and actually remind myself I was in New York City for the first time in 3 years. The deli was nice, but the service was slow as all hell, which made us have to rush back to the hotel to get to Thom's Mug-A-Guest panel at 1:30.
Got into Thom's Mug-A-Guest panel a tad late, but not too late to miss most of it. Thom talked about the voice work he'd done recently, including a role where he had to play a 4-year-old rabbit with an Irish accent. He apparently could do the 4-year-old voice, and he could do the Irish accent, but not both at the same time. He also mentioned the radio ads he'd done, like the Del Taco ad ("I'm the fast food king.") and about 20 or so Jack-in-the-Box ads, which he thought was a bit of typecasting. He added, somewhat dreamily, "One day, I'm gonna do a Red Lobster ad." The discussion moved on to the fact that Disney's marketing department is apparently on drugs - badly promoting "Treasure Planet" but giving "The Country Bears" good publicity.
He added that he STILL gets recognized for his Gargoyles voice work on occasion, six or seven years after the show was cancelled, and no one Thom's talked to disliked the show at all. We moved on to some more personal stuff, then to demo tapes - the costs involved, the clever demo tape covers some voice actors have. "...So if anyone has any good artwork..." Thom added. There was some complaints about the hotel, some screwed-up reservations and the evil concierge. Thom said he was lucky he could make a living off voice work and didn't know what he'd do if he had to get a regular job. "I can't do anything. I'd have to be a male prostitute." He also showed off his new tattoo (and no, he didn't strip, it was on his calf). We ran late, and someone mentioned Greg was coming for the voice acting panel. Thom promptly shut and locked the door. ;)
Voice acting panel was fun; Greg shared a story about Carol Channing's voice part on Rescue Rangers and the chiffon shirt that kept crinkling when she tried to record. (They told her the shirt had to go, so she obliged and did the whole thing in her bra. When she was called back to reprise the character, she was wearing that same shirt.) During the panel, Kathy ran in and started whispering to Thom and Greg about convention-related stuff, but Thom couldn't resist exclaiming out of the blue, "You're PREGNANT?" Which set the whole room off. Poor Kathy. :)
We did a voice panel workshop, which was a lot of fun. Again I'm glad I stuck with Hood Theatre while I was in school; I haven't been scolded by anyone to "project" properly for a while now. It was interesting to see how certain people interpreted a scene. I hung around to get the radio play audition over and done with, chatting with Sara about anime as we waited. (It's all her fault I picked up Kare Kano this weekend.)
I ended up reading Lexington because a) I figured they'd be tired of Elisa and Demona, b) I couldn't possibly read the Angela bit with a straight face, and c) the Lex passage was not that extreme and I wouldn't crack up. I wasn't all that self-conscious about having to read the Lex bit in front of Thom. Audition went fine, and I went to the History, Myths and Legends panel a bit late, mostly to listen in.
I honestly don't recall much of what happened between that and the Opening Ceremonies; I think I hung out in the con suite and discovered they kept it stocked with free food. Or maybe that's when I wandered up to the regular art show and checked out the pics and the art that Disney loaned, drooling over the stuff done by Dreamie, Sara Berkeley, Niamhgold, and several others.
Opening ceremonies rolled around eventually, and the G2004 staff came up with the Montreal pitch. They're trying to get Brigitte Bako again, and they did point out that the gambling age in Canada is 18. (Chris Rogers: "I'm taking signups for suckers at the poker table right now.") I don't care about the gambling, etc; the con staff looks like a pretty together bunch, and I'd just love to go to Montreal. So I'm going.
Greg came up, and gave us the latest DVD news, mentioned they brought the audio tape from the Team Atlantis Demona ep "The Last" with them (Thom: "And Greg, I'm doing an interpretive dance for it."), and read letters from Greg Guler and Brigitte Bako. Brigitte had to film in Spain, and in her letter told us, "Have fun, and be good to Greg." Ah, she's heard about us. Greg Guler - to Greg W's amusement - apparently misspelled "Gargoyles." Same stories as before, and I got some good pics of the original pitch and the pitch for "Dark Ages." Greg asked that no pics be taken of the "Bad Guys" leica reel, and I obliged. He told most of the same stories, and of course we all finished his sentences, although he added a comment from a reporter I don't remember hearing before: when Greg had said something about having these "ugly" gargoyles as the heroes, a female reporter apparently said, "There is nothing ugly about Goliath at all." Hee.
Kathy got a hold of me after opening ceremonies, and mentioned that Greg, Vic Cook, and some of them were going to a restaurant for dinner. Of course, I came along. It was a long walk, but a good meal, and really interesting to listen to the guys. One of Greg's friends from college met us at the restaurant. I'm glad Vic Cook made it this year, he's an interesting guy and easy to talk to. However, we lost track of time, and had to book it to get back to the hotel in time for the Othercon "Blue" Mug-A-Guest. Vic had to take off, and the rest of us made a break for the hotel. (This was somewhat problematic because Greg, who knew where we were going, started running, and I, who did not know where we were, was having a mild asthma attack and having a little trouble keeping up. Kathy hung back to keep an eye on me, and we did make it back in one piece. I probably shouldn't have tried to run, but even if I knew which way to go I wasn't comfortable getting too far behind the crowd.) We got there all right, and Greg was apologetic, but it was mainly my own fault for trying to run after them.
I took notes during the Mug-A-Guest, which started off as a "let's-see-who-can-shock-Greg" runaround. There were the comments about Goliath and Elisa getting together (Thom: "He'd split her wide open.") Someone asked who was "packing the most heat." While Greg joked, "Coldsteel is made of metal..." he added that he really didn't think about that and that Goliath would be the most obvious answer. They moved on to proportions, and Thom was saying, "The diameter of Demona's -" and Greg joked, "Well, actually, I do think about that."
He said, seriously, that they measured characters by head size (when I snickered, he added, "By head I mean cranium."), although some of the animators had fun. On the subject of Demona (I don't recall where in the conversation this one was), he noted, "And considering she's only fertile once every 20 years, you can imagine her pre-menstrual." Someone asked if gargoyles could perform oral sex on themselves. Thom was speechless, but he was too busy trying not to crack up to speak. Greg: "I sincerely do not know the answer to that." They went back to the commentary on how certain characters were occasionally drawn, and as Thom started going off on how Lex seemed to be drawn a certain way, Greg exclaimed, "Listen to this. 'My' dick! 'My' dick!"
And of course, the question most con reports I've seen have touched on: Is Lex gay? Greg said that in the show, he'd have considered getting Lex a male friend and never have indicated either way. But if people speculated, he added, they'd be right.
The talk went on to more conventional bits - fighting with Frank Paur over Jonathan Frakes and then Nana Visitor, how lax certain mores were on Avalon. On why Matt was so obsessed with the Illuminati, Greg said, "Well, he's Jewish. And he's a geek." (Seriously: just a conspiracy nut.) Asked about taking voice roles, Thom said, "Oh, I'll take them. I'm easy. I just don't get them." Greg: "You SLUT!"
The crowding in the room was making it a little warm, so I had to leave to get some air after that. Hung out outside the room with Stephen, KWS, and some other folks who can all draw better than me. Karine shared some maple liqueur, and I tried a tiny bit because I don't trust my tolerance. (Hey, I don't drink that much to begin with.) The room emptied out, and I didn't stay up too much longer before crashing in our room.
Saturday, June 28
Woke up at 11, freaked and hurried to get to the TGS panel. Only got into the tail end of it, and then wandered down to the art room to check out the pics. Niamhgold once again did an awesome set of pics, this time painting 12 characters as the face cards of all four suits. (I happily managed to snag the Jack of Spades/Puck and the Jack of Spades/Owen, just because I couldn't afford the whole set and I loved the idea of getting those two together.)
I really wanted to check out the Roughnecks/3x3 Eyes panel, but that was squashed as I realized my little notebook - with the Opening Ceremonies and the M-A-G notes - had gone missing. I panicked and spent over two hours searching until I found it; I'd left it at the TGS panel. Duh. Because of that, I missed the aforementioned panel and most of the crossover fanfic panel.
Was going to stick around for the crossover panel, but I stopped to get lunch in the con suite and happened to notice the cast list for the radio play. Dude. I actually got a part. Which meant that between 3:30 and 6, I was pretty much committed to the hotel. I'd been trying to work out how to meet up with Bruce (BK the Irregular to Buffy fanfic fans) while I was in town, and with the added wrinkle of the radio play, if I was going to coordinate anything I had to do it right then. (Of course, I was too busy listening to Stephen's hysterical Gargoyles/Rescue Rangers crossover idea and procrastinated a bit to hear the end of it.)
Got some help from A Fan, who had a wireless setup in the room he was sharing with Carter. However, his room key didn't work, so we had to hunt down his roommate (whose name the room was in). Finally found him, only to find out that his key didn't work either. So we called security. Finally, security let us in the room, and while Carter went down to get a pair of WORKING keys, I sent Bruce an e-mail with my cellphone number.
I ended up only making it to the last 5 minutes or so of the crossover panel. Ah well. :)
Radio play went fine; because of Gary Sperling's passing, Greg had brought "The Reckoning" in honor of Gary, who wrote the teleplay. I got Delilah, Batya got Demona, Stephen got Goliath, Jill "Leopard" got Angela, and if I list the whole cast I'll be typing all morning. Amusingly enough, Seth got CLAW of all characters - Greg's reasoning was that if someone bailed at the last second, he'd have an understudy. No one bailed (although I was tempted to disappear just to make Seth think he had to read Delilah), but Seth's stand-up-sit-down bit got a lot of laughter. Greg picked the script so Thom could read Lex, but Thom decided he wanted to do Sevarius. *snicker* First time Thom did the reading and the maniacal laughter, everyone cracked up. My five lines came out fine; when I did the growl in the rehearsal, it sounded like a cat was being stepped on and drowned simultaneously, but it came out fine when we had an actual audience.
I had to shut my phone off during the radio play, and while waiting in line for the banquet I got a voicemail from Bruce - he was on his way. Nichelle Nichols did indeed show up, and while I didn't get to sit at her table in the guest lottery, I did sit at Vic Cook's table. Unlike last year's banquet, the food was pretty good, albeit not geared towards vegetarians. Got a call from Bruce during the banquet, went down to get him (after resorting to cellphones to find him in the lobby) and we snuck into the banquet and listened to Ms. Nichols for a bit. She talked about "Mark of the Panther," her favorite episode (she did the Anansi story in just two takes), how she "put her career on hold" for Star Trek (hee), and her novels. Greg also worked in the Jalapena story, and Greg B made his own bet: "Should the series ever come back, I bet you can't get Demona to say it." We didn't stick around for the autographs, and instead went down to hang out in the con suite prior to the Masquerade.
As we were sitting there, just talking and hanging out (and a couple people commented on Bruce's Psi Corps pin), Bruce put on his tie and sunglasses, and then stuck in the ear bud he'd brought (thinking he'd take the train). Right then, Jill, who was dressed as the Matrix (the movie one, that is - she had this little flat screen on her chest that showed a green LCD display that looked like it) spotted him, made the Agent Smith connection, and pounced, asking to borrow Bruce for the cosplay. He was fine with it, so he and Jill ended up in the lineup for the Masquerade. I went back into the ballroom when someone told all non-costume people to get in there, camera on hand. Dreamie presented Thom with a gift at the Masquerade - a belt with a padlock. She then announced, "And now we're going to auction off the key." Heh.
As usual, there were some really creative costumes; you had to love Revel as Vinnie and Spacebabie as Robyn Canmore (in full Hunter gear), Seri Wavelength as Gruoch, Archangel as Owen Burnett (complete with "I'm Xanatos' Bitch" sign), y2hecate's costume (I wish I'd gotten a better shot of it), and Patrick Toman and Karine Charlebois as Anastasia and Fox. Respectively. Yep, Patrick went in drag again, and while that's no longer so much of a surprise, the rather long and amusing cosplay they did had us laughing our heads off. ("No one mentioned any fairy PRINCE funny business, though...") *snerk*
To top it all off, Thom obliged those of us who missed it at G2001 and dropped his pants right there on stage long enough for us to get pictures. I was far away, and naturally couldn't get a clear pic in that big, dimly-lit ballroom, but the boxers showed up even on that dim photo. Hee.
I missed a lot of the art show awards, although Sara Berkeley took the lion's share of the awards this year. Niamhgold's face card set won Best In Show (she did it again - wonder what she's going to do NEXT year?). Bruce ended up leaving around 10:30, amazingly not having been scared off. ;) Sorry I kept you out so late!
Went back to the Con Suite, with the Dreamer Clan all dressed up as their evil doubles. Got to talk to Constance and Batya for a bit (and Constance, your outfit was a trip). Snagged some more free food, as it was apparent this was a trend.
Ended up watching A Fan's tapes of the show with him and Carter in their hotel room and split a pizza from Domino's. FINALLY got to actually see "The Reckoning," the one single episode of Gargoyles I never managed to see. (Yes, same ep we did for the radio play, which figured.)
After that, I wandered around for a bit, got locked out of Rocky Horror (and after spending ten solid minutes pounding on the ballroom doors and yelling "Let us in!" someone answered, but at that point I'd lost interest). Ended up sitting and chatting with Ellen (who I'd never met) and Dylan (yep, Whitbourne made it to a Gathering! whee!). I wish I'd been more coherent then, because it was a really fascinating conversation about how we'd gotten into the show, how we ended up with certain fanfic ideas, why we discarded certain fanfic ideas, and what we thought of the Gathering. I could have hung out with them for hours if I hadn't been on the verge of passing out. (God, I still hope Ellen didn't read my stuff. The majority of my old Gargoyles series makes me cringe.)
I think I conked out at 2:30. I'm not sure, but I was out cold as soon as I hit the sack.
Sunday, June 29
Made a lazy mistake Sunday morning - since Kathy was con staff, I assumed her phone alarm would get us up on time. First time I woke up, I saw her still in bed and figured it was still early.
Her phone alarm did not go off. We woke up at 1:15.
Jumped out of bed, dressed, and raced to Vic and Greg W's Team Atlantis Q&A panel. Got there late, but not too late, and they were discussing why the series was so stupidly chucked. They were talking about budget problems and the fact that overhead took so much of it when I got in - lately, only half of the budget goes to the cartoon itself. Yeesh.
Disney saves higher budgets for properties with the Disney banner (ABCFamily doesn't count). There's apparently a difference between shows with the Disney label and shows that are "carrying the flag for Disney." "Team Atlantis" fell into the latter category. When TA was in development, there was no ABCFamily, and a certain exec hated the idea from the start and got to say "I told you so" when the film flopped. Huge S&P arguments over the series didn't help either.
So they'd actually developed 6 episodes of the series, and gotten the voice work done for the 7th (the Demona ep) - that's about $1 million invested in the show already - when there was a message for Greg at 11 am about a "10 AM full crew meeting." He didn't think anything of it, and called their story editor on a separate issue. The story editor wouldn't tell him what was up, saying, "You have to call Tad yourself." Vic had been called in at 9 and was told privately what was going on - they were axing the show completely. Forget the $1 mil already in the project, forget all those episodes, the film was a flop, the execs wanted to kill it, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. At the time, such a thing was unimaginable; wasting all that money and time on something that was half-done and then chucking it all just wasn't done.
Now, however, it's become a verb: last year, Greg mentioned that if something else like that happened at Disney, the project was "Atlantised." He recently heard that used by someone at Sony, and now it's become an industry term.
They showed us some clips from the straight-to-tape "movie," which was actually 3 episodes thrown together. From the bit I saw, it looked like a fun series (better than the original film), so it's really a shame that this happened.
After that, I realized what time it was and bolted for the art room - I'd forgotten to bid on the two pieces I'd wanted! Luck, it seemed, was with me; while a large part of the face cards were gone, no one had bid on the Owen or the Puck. I snagged them both and picked up a Lex print for Thom to sign, then headed to closing ceremonies.
Not much to say about closing ceremonies, really, just some quotes. Greg Weisman, on having the podium turned over to him by the con staff: "And heaven forbid I should shut up." Thom held up a sculpture of Lex's head he got from the art show, saying, "Look, I got a little head." Aaron was kind enough to inform all us camera Nazis that "Thom is keeping his pants in the upright and locked position." Got to say hello and goodbye to JEB, said goodbye to a lot of folks who were heading out, signed up for G2004, and got Thom to sign my print. Also got a look at the Chaos pic Karine did for BrooklynX and nearly fell over laughing. It was just priceless.
Hung out in the con suite for a little while. The video room was pretty much over with, and Greg B tried to set something up so I could watch some Cowboy Bebop (the only episode I've seen in full is "Toys in the Attic") By the time he got it in, though, it was too noisy to hear the dialogue, and it was almost 4 so I had to join the Coney Island crew to hit the subway.
(NOTE: Greg Weisman is the only Greg mentioned from here on in, unless I specify otherwise. ;) )
We took the subway, all 27 of us (as Greg's constant head-counts reminded me). On the way to Coney Island, we stopped at the World Trade Center memorial. Wow. Thankfully, the memorial stuff was not tacky in the least. I didn't cry, but the sight of it just made me stare and think. It made what happened almost 2 years ago seem a lot more real. I took some pictures, and Sara the Great and I ended up following Greg around to the upper deck (we couldn't see anyone else from our group). Once we got everyone together, we went all the way down to Coney Island.
Coney Island was... pretty much what I expected. Overpriced (hey, it's New York), kind of grungy, not as big as some people think, but it was still fun. Ended up in a group with Sara the Great, Dylan, Mooncat, Princess Alexandria, Leo, The Bizz, Diamond Debbie, BrooklynX, and if I forgot anyone, please tell me. We went on the Cyclone first thing - I wanted to go on it, but wasn't going to go on a full stomach. I only went on it once because it was a rough ride; I've been on worse, but it's an older rollercoaster, my brain felt like it had been rattling in my skull, and it was all left turns so I kept squishing Dylan. After I waited with a couple others for the rest of the looney tunes to finish their second ride on it, we went on a few more rides, including the Wonder Wheel ("So which one of these did Demona and Thailog have their fight on?"), the haunted house, and I went on the go-carts while some others went on the Zipper. (Me: "So you gauge the quality of a ride by the amount of head trauma you sustain?" Sara: "Yep!") Played some Skee Ball, got everyone to sign the free smiley faces we got. We did NOT stay til midnight, much to my relief; I think we left around 10.
Took the subway back up to 34th(?) Street, after many headcounts (Someone: "We have confirmed that, indeed, Greg can count to 27.") and a bit of confusion when they were working on the tracks, but the night didn't end there: Greg announced that he wanted to find pancakes. (Me: "Easier said than done. This isn't Williamsburg.") That switched to a general search for something with sugar at 11 pm, and we ran around before finally finding an open ice cream place in Penn Station. I needed to find a pharmacy, but we didn't pass one that was still open. While everyone was hanging out in the con suite, watching Cowboy Bebop, Greg was kind enough to walk me to a 24-hour pharmacy, which naturally was six or seven blocks away. (Of course, I had to ask him after he'd changed out of his walking shoes. Thanks again, Greg. I appreciate it.)
I crashed at a relatively decent hour afterwards.
Monday, June 30
Woke up at 8:45, although at first I thought it was 9:45 and called Kathy in a panic before I realized I had time to shower and dress. We checked out, and I stored my luggage in the luggage check room. We didn't take A Fan's touring trip, and I went with Kathy to Chinatown instead. It was incredibly hot, and we ducked into shops as much to browse as we did to just get out of the heat. Kathy did find the book she was looking for, and I bought a jade elephant for Plague's mother (for the next time I visit OC and she spoils us rotten). We were going to eat in Chinatown, but when we stopped at a fairly crowded restaurant, we were the only non-Asians there. This wouldn't have bothered us if we hadn't realized that everyone else had to take a lottery number and they were going to clear the next table for us first. So we ended up going to Little Italy instead.
Kathy had a flight to catch, so we got back to the hotel around 2. This gave me two and a half hours to kill, so I went in the gift shop, and suddenly remembered - to my chagrin - that I'd left the birthday present I'd bought for Innocence on the top shelf of the closet. After a few phone calls and a bit of panic, someone from security kindly went and got me the teddy bear from the room. So now I had an hour and a half to kill, and no one familiar in sight. I did see Revel and Spacebabie coming back from the Empire State Building, but after what transpired they weren't really going anywhere. (Congratulations, guys. :) )
So what happens when Mandi has time to kill in New York? I spend money. Went into the gift shop and got a T-shirt for the hell of it (but since this is ME, the NYC shirt I picked was the one that said "New York Mental Institution"). I went across the street to Penn Station and picked up an on-sale copy of the 5th Harry Potter book (between the discount and the coupon I had, I saved about $16 off the cover price), came back and sat down with the book. I'd made it through a good chunk - hey, I'm a speed reader - when I ran into Greg, who was headed to McDonald's and asked if I wanted to come along. So we picked up lunch in the tiny McDonald's, noted the lack of air conditioning and space, and took it back to his room to eat.
Greg was surprised to find that this was my fifth, not my second con - he didn't remember me prior to 2002. (Being one of the few people in Williamsburg with a car last year, I drove down to the Jamestown tour and boat ride after the con.) That was because 2002 was the first time I could go to a convention with a real job that allowed me to save enough leave up to stick around after the convention - I had to fly out of Orlando before closing ceremonies in 2000, and I missed G2001 because I had to start my job the day after that convention ended. He didn't remember me as the person who they held radio play auditions an hour late for in G1998 because I got sick. (And I'm VERY glad he didn't. I was in bad shape that Saturday. Damn you, Blimpie's! :) ) Besides, you know, I'd been too shy to introduce myself earlier. Helps when you room with someone who's on the convention staff. Greg eventually kicked me out to get some sleep, which wasn't a big deal since I didn't have as much time to kill anyway.
It was 4:15 when I confirmed that my train was on time, got my bags and headed across to Penn Station. Got on the train with no problem, didn't forget ANYTHING for once (knock on wood), and got back to Aberdeen on time. Let me tell you, next time I head up that way, I'm definitely taking the train. I wouldn't take the train outside of the Boston-to-DC routes (I still can't believe BrooklynX took the train from Sacramento, and I nearly choked when I heard the train coming from Detroit was delayed 6 hours because it HIT SOMEONE), but it's a really smooth ride up and down that corridor.
And that's all, until I go to Montreal for 2004...
I would have done well to put my tennis shoes back on, that's for sure... My feet were killing me after that drugstore run.
But they're fine now. ;)