A Station Eight Fan Web Site
GATHERING CON JOURNAL, MON. 6/26/06
Spent most of the time before the first panels chatting with other attendees in the lobby (their names escape me right now, but I know Greg B. was one of them for a while). A little after 9am, Gside came over looking for anyone who wanted breakfast--turns out he had some "Free Breakfast for Two" vouchers and didn't want to waste the second spot. I too hate waste (and had only eaten a few slices of bread that morning) and since no one else was interested I took him up on his offer. A real nice guy, Gside.
At 10am I attended the panel on "Time Travel." I never had any problem understanding how it was portrayed in "Gargoyles" but I find it endlessly fascinating. It was also great to hear Greg's thoughts on time travel as it was portrayed in other stories (like "Back to the Future"). One thing I learned though, was that one of Greg's answers to anyone attempting to short circuit the time stream seems to be for a piano to drop on that person's head. :-D
Favorite parts for me include what may have been Xanatos' unseen reaction to the question of how to get back home in "Vows" ("S__t"), and Greg's little ideas for another separate time travel story he's thinking about.
Of course, one thing I will always carry from that panel, is the idea of Xanatos standing on top of the Eyrie Building and proclaiming, "I can fly!" before he jumps, falls, and (in Greg's words) "splatters."
For the next two hours after that panel, I mostly just talked with people, wandered around, and looked at what was left in both the Dealer's and Art show rooms. The last panel I attended was "Hosting a Gathering." It was a very informative and sobering look at just what exactly is required for properly hosting this con. Made me appreciate what the con staffs have done for us even more.
There's not much more to say; awards were handed out, good byes were said, and we all prepared to make our way back to the real world. Frankly, that was not a place I really wanted to go (more bills than money), but it was oddly comforting to know I wasn't alone in that sentiment.
On my way to my truck, I had the honor of holding the elevator for and sharing it with Greg Weisman. It was good to see you again Greg, and I hope that I eventually land a role on one of your shows.
Actually, it was great to see EVERYONE there. I had seen a few faces back in 2001, but this year I really spent some time talking to people, and just generally enjoying my time with everyone. While I'm adding up my hopes, here's one more: I hope it won't be another five years before I'm able to make it to another Gathering.
And that's my con journal. Good times.
FYI. Anvils work too.
GATHERING CON JOURNAL, SUN. 6/25/06
Got up, cleaned up, and hung around until the first panels.
I had two choices: "Gargoyles: The Comic" and "Talespin." As much as I wanted to go to the panel about the BRAND NEW COMIC BOOK I found myself heading over to the much less attended "Talespin" panel, which wound up touching on many aspects of the "Disney Afternoon" in general. Seeing the early pitches of both "Tailspin" and "Goof Troop" was fun (for much the same reason as the "Gargoyles" pitch is fun--it's nice to see the difference in character designs).
Afterwards, I drifted for about half-an-hour (it was a week ago as I write this--I can't remember so well, okay?!), and then made my way to the "Gargoyles: Voice Acting Process" panel. I don't care that Keith and Thom were late; I absolutely enjoyed the panel. I had already seen about 5/6ths of these folks at the 2001 Gathering (of course, it's ALWAYS nice to see more of them), but Brigette Bako was the new face (and a very pretty one at that!). I had a whole list of questions, most of them acting oriented, but I had to settle for my top two. I'm still glad I asked them, though--both Brigette and Elisa complimented me on my questions (yay!). Morgan Sheppard is always a joy (and now I know why he's sometimes credited with the initial W. before his name). I cringed when I heard about poor Keith David's experience as Othello with that one middle school audience ("HE AIN'T CRYIN'!"). It was a lot of fun and nowhere near enough time.
A hurried autograph signing session later, I went to the "W.I.T.C.H." panel--definitely the biggest roster of guests at the whole con. An even bigger surprise was being able to watch the third episode of the new season, which I otherwise would have missed because I forgot to program my VCR. Following that we had a very nice question and answer session, although my last question to the actors ("What led you to pursue acting in general and voice-overs in particular") managed to set the whole panel about 15 minutes over. I still got some great answers (and even MORE autographs and compliments on the questions I asked). Ginny McSwain seems like a great gal, and I really wish I could have attended her Mug-a-Guest, but I couldn't pass up the "Gargoyles: Voice" panel.
Anyway, I got my autographs and hurried over to the Dealer's Room where I was scheduled for the 4pm Jim Cummings Mug-a-guest. I sat at a table with seven other attendees…and an empty guest chair. After a couple of minutes Jen made her way over and mentioned that Jim probably wouldn't be able to make it. I was disappointed but not really surprised--the Gathering is great, but some things have to take precedence. But then Jen mentioned that he had been there on Saturday.
Jen: Yeah he was on the "Darkwing Duck" panel.
Seriously, my neck twitched and everything. To know that I had only just missed him that one day…. Oh, well. Next time you see him, Greg, tell Jim we're glad he came at all.
Unfortunately, I could not afford to attend the banquet this year, and I lost track of the guys going to A Fan's alternative option, so I just drifted until the Masquerade. I read a bit, saw Keith David and his family head out, and then wandered over to just outside the ballrooms where I had a long and pleasant chat with, among other people, Guardian and Kythera. We talked about a little bit of everything (can't remember it all just now, but I do know it was a fun time), and eventually, it was time for the Masquerade.
There were fewer costumes this year (even a two-time attendee such as myself managed to pick up on that), but the ones we got were GOOD. My favorites included Set (an incredible costume--the design and sculpting of the head and eyes alone was fantastic), Onyx (anybody who can pull off a beak and wings like that deserves special notice in my book) and, of course, the Garghoul (what can I say, I'm a sucker for cloaked figures with burning red eyes).
Afterwards there was a bit of dancing ("Let's do the Timewarp again!") and eventually, the continuation of the Blue-Mug. This one was a bit quieter and we still managed to get a decent amount of cool info. I was quite amused to learn that Michael Reaves had never really expected to get "…walk barefoot into Hell" past BS&P. He was a very interesting fellow and I wish I had gotten to see more of him.
I guess there was some sort of disturbance by some drunken guests from the wedding a couple rooms over, but I never really noticed.
A little after midnight, we broke up and all headed to our respective sleeping quarters, effectively ending the day.
I was a little sad that night-tomorrow was the last day.
I was partial to the Garghoul myself. And Holly. (Wings by Eden, btw.)
GATHERING CON JOURNAL, SAT. 6/24/06
I woke up fairly early (the first panel wasn't until 10am, and I was up by 7am or so), and headed into the hotel to wash up. Sat in the lobby and found myself having a nice chat with Greg B. and a few other fans whose names escape me at the moment.
At 10am I headed over to the "Kim Possible" panel and got a nice sneak peek at the upcoming season (a lot of funny stuff to look forward to). After that, and a few quick autographs, I made my way up to the con suite to watch the remaining four music videos that could not be played the previous night (I wanted to see all of them before I voted). The con suite was closed, so I wound up being a part of a small group of people looking for someone who could open it. Eventually A Fan volunteered to "man the suite," so to speak, until a full staff member was available (which wound up happening fairly quickly). Unfortunately, there was no way to watch the remaining four videos in the suite, so the staff was trying to figure out something else.
I'll just end the suspense now--I, unfortunately, never got the opportunity to see those last four videos, and as a result missed out on the voting. I am glad that a couple of my favs placed, though.
In the meantime I went back down to the panels, and saw that I had been cast in the Radio Play!
Now, a funny thing about me is that I tend to worry about the feelings of others--something that even extends to panels. I want every panel to have a decent audience. Consequently, when it came to a choice between the "Gargoyles: Development Process" panel, and the "Adapting Stories & Characters from Comics to Film" panel, although I would have loved to sit in on the "Gargoyles" one, I went with the "Comics" panel. The same thing went for the "Gargoyles: Writing" and "Hellboy" panels as well (although, the fact that Hellboy is a character published by Dark Horse Comics didn't hurt). Those two panels wound up being very fun and informative. They also touched on the differences between the mediums of comics and animation (highlighting why "X-Men: Evolution" had much better animation than the Fox "X-men" series), and they left me feeling psyched up for the DTV animated movies they'll be making for these characters later on.
Then came the Radio Play rehearsal. Several people were already in the room, including (fanfare please) Keith David! I could not help but feel a little self-conscious in his presence (it didn't help that I had a sunburn on my freaking forehead!). Seriously, I felt too nervous to just talk to him, even in such a casual setting. He however felt no such qualms about me, and complimented my oriental dragon shirt. I was happy.
As I mentioned before, the script was for the episode, "The Mirror," and although I had a suspicion, it was still a happy revelation. Likewise, I had a sneaking suspicion since my audition that I would be given the role of Broadway…and I was! It was great fun, and I always love the chance to strut my stuff like this. Naturally, Keith was Goliath, Thom was Lex, and Crispin did his best Hudson.
Anyway, the rehearsal wrapped up a little after 4pm, and we weren't needed until 5pm, so I just sat in on the last part of the "Darkwing Duck" panel. Tad Stones (who had also sat on the "Hellboy" panel…man, what a change of pace!) was there, but I either did not notice or (going by others' con journals) just missed another guest at the panel…Jim Cummings. It would be a little less than 24 hours before I would learn he had even been there.
At last, we come to the Radio Play. We were all introduced, although, despite having worked out the seating arrangements in rehearsal (it was decided that sitting Crispin next to Thom was an unwise idea), there was still some minor confusion and a couple easily fixed seat mix-ups. And, as for the play itself…well, it was GREAT. People laughed in all the right spots (though Greg had to prompt them to applaud for the first Act break), and it's always nice to see "lost" lines that got cut from the episode (one of them being Puck's little aside to the audience after his "Human's love a battle hearty…"). It was a good time, and any worries I had about my Broadway performance were quickly put to rest.
Afterwards, around about 6:30 or so, I had several hours until the Blue Mug with Greg, Keith, Thom and Crispin. I wandered around the hotel a bit, did some reading, and when Onyx came by looking for people to play Munchkin (it's a card game) I joined up, along with KingCobra_582 and a couple whose names escape me at the moment. Of course, Munchkin is a very LONG card game so we had to cut it short in order to make it to the Blue Mug.
Question: How many fans can you cram into the con suite? Answer: Not enough. The place was practically packed wall-to-wall. It was a miracle the guests had any room. There were a number of Blue questions (some asked by me, I admit…maybe I just wanted to "fit in" but I was genuinely curious, too) but not a whole lot. It was great fun (highlights for me include Keith interjecting a cussword into the "I've been denied everything…" line, and Greg venting his frustration with animation executives by standing on the chair and saying what he WISHES he could say ("ARE YOU LISTENING TO YOURSELVES?!"). Unfortunately, there were too many noise complaints from neighboring rooms, so (to avoid getting kicked out), we headed for the ballrooms. Unfortunately, they were locked and so we gathered in the little lobby area before them to figure out what to do. At this point there was an unpleasant encounter with one of the hotel security, who apparently could not, or actively would not, understand that we needed to confer on what to do next before we could properly disperse. Seriously, we would have been out of there even sooner if he had just let us done what we needed to do.
Anyway, the remainder of the Blue Mug was pushed to tomorrow night, and we all headed back to our respective sleeping quarters for some shut-eye.
You were a damn good Broadway!
I figured the longer I wait to write my con journal the less I'll remember, so without further ado…
GATHERING CON JOURNAL, FRI. 6/23/06
Well, there's not much to say about my morning before heading out--I got up, made sure I had all I needed, got in my car, and (after finding a good Samaritan to give my battery a jump-start) drove the 30 miles to lovely Valencia. Got to the registration desk at about 10:30 am or so and started reading the program to see who all we had for guests. That's how I found out that Jeff Bennett (an industry hero of mine) had to bow out. While I was a little disappointed, I wasn't all that surprised (he strikes me as a very busy man). At any rate I signed up for the Jim Cummings "Mug-a-guest" (10:30am and already I was number seven on an eight person list!), and made my way to the "Creating Compelling Characters" panel headed by Christine Morgan, Ellen and Spacebabie. That was a bit confusing because it was supposed to be in Ballroom E, but the dividing wall wasn't up yet, so I finally found it in the Valencia A room. It was a fun and informative look at the process of creating full and…well, compelling characters in fiction. I asked about how to make heroes compelling, and I had more questions but time ran out. I would have loved to have gone to their "Villains, Villainy and Plots" panel, but I couldn't due to scheduling conflicts (in my case, the wonderful Radio Play which I will write more on later).
Since there was still the mix-up with the rooms, I found myself wandering back to the dealer's room and encountering Greg Bishansky (who I had last seen in 2001, but who nevertheless managed to recognize me). We had a nice chat while looking through the animation cels. There were a lot of good one's there, and not just from Gargoyles. At about this time we also encountered the OTHER Greg, Weisman, who sat outside the dealer room for a bit because he had a bit of downtime on Friday (and apparently he felt like he SHOULD be doing something, but the staff members advised him to enjoy the break).
Anyway, eventually I went back to the Valencia A room for the last bit of the "Costuming" panel, and then sat down to wait for "Voice Acting Workshop" with Thom Adcox and Crispin Freeman. Being an actor myself this was right up my alley, even more so because I have been interested in the anime dubbing process for quite some time and I actually got to try my hand at dubbing some young, buffoonish, wannabe knight. One thing I learned about dubbing, IT IS HARD. There's timing, making sure you're not too fast or slow, making sure you match the mouth movements, and then remembering to actually act! Still, I felt I did passably well (and hey, the audience liked me!).
Next came the auditions for the Radio Play. I had wondered what Greg would select this year--"Gargoyles" or something different? If "Gargoyles," what episode? Looking at the audition sheets, I figured out almost immediately it was "Gargoyles" (seeing things in the bottom section like "D (40)" and "G (41)" kind of led me down that route), and a little later I had an inkling that it would be "The Mirror"…and it was! But back to the audition. I was originally going to read Brooklyn's page (it had been five years since I had done that one, after all, and I had learned some new tricks), but I heard the young lady in front of me tell her friend that she was going to do Brooklyn, so I decided another character would be better for me. I settled on Broadway, mostly because I saw a lot of "acting beats" and opportunities for choices in his dialogue. Went in, did my audition (also doing my best Scottish accent and dog bark when prompted) and left feeling pretty good about it.
Checked out some pics at the art show (a lot of wonderful work there). Ran into Greg B. again and got into a discussion about the new comic (hooray that it's here!), and then I headed out and down the street for a bit to get some food rations for this weekend.
Came back and encountered Blaquethorne and Crimson Fury, and he and I killed the time before Opening Ceremonies discussing this and that. Eventually we made our way over to the ballroom, encountering none other than the very "Beth Maza" who started this whole "Gathering" thing in the first place!
Opening Ceremonies was great fun (once it finally started). Hadn't expected the music videos, but they were nice (I really love the one for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"). Still enjoy seeing all the pitches (damn, Sphinx is HOT), but the biggest treat for me was the lost "Team Atlantis" episode "The Last." Even without a fully finished animatic, it was great. I loved the translation of what was actually being said by Demona's Latin chanting. One thing that impressed me about this show was that it was perfectly capable of standing alone. A person could have watched that episode with no prior knowledge of "Gargoyles," or Demona's immortality. It was great!
Last item of my evening was the Mystery Gargoyles Theater 3000 panel, run by Jade Griffin. It was basically a "Dracon Trilogy"--"Deadly Force" followed by "The Silver Falcon" and finally "Protection." At first, all I was going to do was watch, but barely two seconds into "Deadly Force" I started flinging jibes myself. Thankfully, some of my comments managed to get some laughs.
It was great fun, and after it was over (somewhere between 10 and 11 pm), I headed back to my truck, set up my bedroll in the covered bed and got some shut eye (what can I say--I had originally planned to drive back and forth every day, but the gas necessary to do so was a little out of my reach at the time…).
On to Saturday….
Sleeping in the truck, huh? Where were you parked that you didn't get busted?
Dude, that's dedication!