This year was my third year at Comic Con, and it was by far the most fun I have ever had! The previous two years had finally prepared me to take full advantage of all that Comic Con has to offer.
Rachelle and I managed to pack in panels, celebrity meet and greets, and many offsite events. It was a marathon four and a half days, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I will try to convey some of the awesomeness that went down, but it really is an experience that cannot be adequately described.
It all started on preview night (Wednesday) when Rachelle and I checked into our hotel (only 3 blocks from the convention center!) and went to pick up our badges and Comic Con bags. We only live 15 miles from the convention center, but we learned last year that a hotel is essential if you plan on doing anything outside of normal convention hours, or if you want to enjoy all that downtown San Diego has to offer.
On our way to the convention center we ran into a friend who invited us to the unofficial Syfy party for all those who didn’t make the list for the official Syfy/E! party on Saturday night (Score!). We were already off to an awesome start!
The line went quickly and within 10 minutes I was ready to go with a pretty cool The Big Bang Theory bag. The second we stepped onto the exhibit hall floor, it felt as though we had never left. It’s amazing how that happens. You wait for months and months for something, but as soon as you’re there it feels as if last year was yesterday.
We made a bee-line for The Guild booth as we wanted to say hi to the cast and some of our fellow guildies and drop off a few gifts. We gave Felicia some pretty adorable Freudian slippers that she seemed to enjoy. They were all charming as always and enjoyed the cookies we had brought them. If you watch The Guild and ever have the chance to meet the cast, make sure you do it! They are all incredibly nice people and love chatting with fans.
We walked around a bit more and stumbled across some pretty awesome booths. The first was Star Wars Science, which sells educational Star Wars toys (how awesome is that!!). We loved them so much we set up an interview for the next day. The second was the Profiles in History (Hollywood Treasure) booth (where you could take a picture with one of the Deloreans actually used in Back to the Future!) for more about the Delorean at SDCC go here. We then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the Hammer Improv show.
Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em is an impov troupe that frequently performs in the LA area and at conventions around the country (members include The Guild cast members Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis).
If you ever get the chance to go see one of their shows, go and you will not be disappointed! Rachelle and I attend all of the shows we can, and we were super excited that for once they would be coming to us. The show was amazing, and afterwards we were able to show the cast the super awesome photobook (shown below with Brooke Seguin) we had made with Rachelle’s pictures from the previous shows.
Thursday was the official first day of Comic Con. We strolled downstairs at about 7:30 to get in line for pre-registration for 2012 (or so we thought). The line was ridiculous, so we decided we would try again a different day. We moseyed on over to the convention center and got in line to go see the Dragonage: Redemption panel. It was in a smaller room, and so the line wasn’t bad at all and we got pretty good seats. We ran into several people we knew and all sat in a big group for the panel. We also ran into a Comic Con virgin in line right next to us, so we killed time in line by educating him in the ways of Comic Con.
One of the large changes that enhanced my Comic Con experience this year was all of the connections I’ve made in the geek community over the past year. It was so much fun to be a part of a group and made everything more exciting. Also, with hundreds and thousands of people in the convention center, it’s very easy to get lost in the crowd. Making friends with people there makes the experience much more intimate and much less overwhelming. If you don’t know anyone at the con, talk to the people around you in line. Most of the time you’ll find they are very friendly, and chances are you’ll have something in common (you are usually waiting in line for the same thing after all).
Before the Dragonage:Redemption panel, there was the theonering.net panel, which was actually very informative. I hadn’t been following anything about The Hobbit, so everything they presented was completely new to me. They told us all about the characters, the actors playing them, and showed us awesome pictures of the characters in costume. One of the fun things about Comic Con is that you sometimes sit through panels you wouldn’t normally go see in order to make sure you’re in the room for the panel you desire to see. This can be either good or bad, but this time it was good.
The Dragonage: Redemption panel was next, and we were all really excited! Some of the people we were sitting with had even worked on the webseries and they couldn’t wait to see the trailer. The panel lived up to, and exceeded, all of my expectations. Felicia was adorable and hilarious as always.
They had some technical issues and the trailer they showed us was in black and white (but still amazing!). It was fixed by the end of the panel, so we were lucky enough to see both versions! If you haven’t heard of Dragonage: Redemption, you should really go check it out. It was filmed on a small webseries budget, but the trailer proved that it has the quality of T.V. or a feature film! Felicia was lucky enough to be able to assemble an amazingly talented group of people who were willing to work for a fraction of what they usually make. The panel was very lively, and Doug Jones has got to be one of the sweetest people alive (if you ever see him, give him a hug, it’s what he lives for).
After the Dragonage panel, we had the rest of the day free to walk around the floor.
We investigated a number of booths and looked at all of the toys, etc. that were on display. We went back over to the Star Wars Science booth and Rachelle did an interview. Then we stopped by the Froggy’s photos booth and took pictures with Nicolas Brendon and Robert Picardo (both were very nice). If you’ve ever done photos through Froggy’s, you know they rush you in and out within a matter of seconds.
This year, we finally were smart enough to go talk to people in the autograph line where you are not rushed before going in for the picture. It’s fun to pick up your picture and then show it to the celebrity, and it makes the experience all the more personal. The rest of the afternoon we walked around and then went up to the autograph area to snag some pictures. We got pictures with Claire Kramer (Buffy), Richard Hatch (BSG), and Erin Gray (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century).
The con floor is RIDICULOUSLY CROWDED and it is very difficult to move around.
After navigating the con floor for hours, we were exhausted and decided to head back to the hotel. We picked up some dinner and relaxed a little bit. Rachelle decided to stay in and go through some of the hundreds of pictures she had already taken, and I wandered off to join some friends at W00tstock.
W00tstock can be described as a nerd/geek variety show and is the brainchild of Wil Wheaton, Paul and Storm (nerd comedy music duo), and Adam Savage (Mythbusters). There is also always a large variety of special guests, and with people around for Comic Con, there were even more than usual. The show was amazing!!!! There were a combination of skits, musical numbers, readings from books (Wil Wheaton tells the best stories), commentaries on life, and much more (over 4 hours worth!).
Some notable special guests were Molly Lewis (ukulele player and singer extraordinaire), Mike Phirman (comedy musician, go listen to his music now if you haven’t already), Chris Hardwick (of the Nerdist podcast, which is amazing!), Jeff Lewis (doing stand-up as Vork, hysterical!), Hard and Phirm (Chris Hardwick and Mike Phirman playing nerd comedy music together), Felicia Day (The Guild and Eureka), Amy Berg (writer for Eureka), and Grant Imahara (Mythbusters). There are a lot of hilarious videos out there, so I suggest searching for W00tstock SDCC on YouTube.
After the show, some of the performers stayed to sign autographs and take pictures. I was really looking forward to this because I wanted the chance to meet Wil Wheaton again and I had a present for him. For those who don’t follow him on twitter, you should. He is probably one of the coolest people ever. The theater held about 1300 people, so we were in for a long wait. They decided to go through the autograph line first before doing pictures, so I went through to chat with everyone. Much to my delight, Amy and Grant also stayed for the signing (you should be following both of them on twitter as well)!
I went through the line and chatted with everyone. Finally, I got up to Wil. I said hi, and started to introduce myself, but he stopped me and then told me a couple things about myself (OMG, Wil f-ing Wheaton remembered me!!!!). That may have been the highlight of the entire con. I gave him his present (glass bottles from Wheaton Scientific) and he totally flipped out, it was amazing. By this point it was after midnight, so my friends and I decided we couldn’t wait another hour for the pictures, but it was still a magical night.
Friday (Day 2):
I got up at 6am on Friday (groan) so I could hop in the line for ballroom 20 as early as possible. It was technically only the second day of the con and already I was exhausted. Thankfully I was prepared for this and had many Rockstars on hand. I got in line to be let into the convention center a little after 7am and there were already probably over 1000 people in line (thankfully not all for ballroom 20). They eventually let us into the convention center and it was a mad dash to get in line. I didn’t do too badly, but if I wanted an awesome seat I should have gotten in line at about 6am. The lines this year were definitely much worse than I’d seen them before. If you want to go to a panel in one of the ballrooms, you better be ready to get there early and sit in your seat all day. I met up with fellow WormholeRiders News Agency team members Meagan, Rachelle, and Rigel. We managed to snag us some awesome seats (yay!)
Luckily for Rachelle and I, we were interested in all of the panels in the ballroom that day. We saw Torchwood, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory , Eureka, and Warehouse 13 before we left. Torchwood was probably my favorite panel of the entire con. John Barrowman is hilarious!
You can see our recap of Torchwood here, Eureka here, and Warehouse 13 here.
All of the panels were very good. One highlight though was finally being able to say hi in person to Eureka writer Paula Yoo (but sadly not her cat Oreo). Between The Big Bang Theory and Eureka there was a bit of a break because the Bones panel had to be canceled. We took that opportunity to have a bathroom break. On our way to the bathroom I saw Pat Tallman (Babylon 5) doing a signing. I had forgotten she was doing a signing right then. I just remembered looking at the schedule and realizing I wouldn’t be able to make it to any of her signings. Here was my chance though!
I ran back into the ballroom to grab my wallet and camera and quickly made my way out. I only had about 15 minutes until I had to be back in the ballroom or they would give away my seat. I managed to make it and got to squeeze in a little chat, get a picture, and bought her Babylon 5 scrapbook! I’m so happy it worked out!
After the Warehouse 13 panel, Rachelle rushed out to the press room, and I headed out into the exhibit hall to walk around. I stopped by The Guild booth, which had become like our home base, and chatted with some of the people I knew there before heading back to the hotel. Rachelle came back shortly after all aflutter from the press room (Eddie McClintock hugged her a bunch!!!).
Our awesome plans for the evening were pretty subdued as we wanted to be able to enjoy ourselves on Saturday. We headed over to the guildie townhouse for the live podcast and BBQ for Knights of the Guild (the official podcast for The Guild) . We finally got to see Kenny (one of the hosts) in his full hobbit outfit, and it was crazy! He had the ginormous fake feet, ears, the pants, vest, cape, hair and everything.
It was great to catch up with some of our friends and make some new ones. We played Rockband, talked, and Kenny did a podcast that was ustreamed live (and even ambushed me for a fan interview, eep!). We hung out for a few hours before deciding to call it a night, as we were pretty tired already.
Saturday (Day 3):
I awoke on Saturday at 6AM again and went to get in line for the Indigo Ballroom. As I was waiting in line, I saw one of the other extras who worked on The Guild (once again making the con actually seem kind of small). Rachelle joined me a bit later and we waited to be let into the ballroom. She snapped some pictures of people in costume and found some rocks swarming with tiny crabs (the line was outside the Hilton by the water).
Thankfully the line was not as crazy as for Ballroom 20 and we got pretty decent seats. We sat through the Attack of the Show! panel before we got to Sanctuary (it was entertaining and there was a nerd rave at the end complete with glowsticks). The Sanctuary panel was hilarious and you can find a recap of that panel here.
After the Sanctuary panel we had to rush over to the Sanctuary press room! On our way there we ran into Craig Engler (vice president of Syfy Digital and runner of the @Syfy twitter), talked some Sharktopus with him and snapped a picture. He was incredibly nice and it’s obvious he’s a fanboy at heart.
This was my first press room and, I have to say, it was a bit overwhelming. I give serious props to the people who have to give all these interviews. There were press everywhere and the actors were guided around from place to place without any time in between, constantly being photographed. Rachelle had the opportunity to interview Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne together (Robin attempted to drop his pants but was stopped by Amanda).
We still had several panels to see in the Indigo Ballroom, so we headed back there after the press room. As more and more people we knew got into the ballroom, we started saving any seats people vacated for friends and we ended up occupying pretty sizable section. We saw the panels for Community, Legendary Comics, Joss Whedon, and The Guild.
Community was pretty funny, but I’ve never watched the show, so I didn’t really know what was going on. I’m not really interested in comics, so I didn’t really pay much attention to the Legendary Comics panel. Joss Whedon was amazing as always. He did the panel as a Q&A the entire time. Some highlights: He would definitely be interested in bringing Buffy to Broadway, and Dr. Horrible 2 is well underway, with some of the songs already written.
What I had been looking forward to the entire day was The Guild panel. Rachelle and I absolutely love the show and worked as extras on season 5, so we’ve been impatiently waiting to start seeing some of the footage. The panel was hilarious, and they screened a season 4 recap and the first episode of season 5. You can read more about it in our report on the panel.
After the panel, I stayed and chatted with some people I knew and ran into Paul and Storm and Doug Jones and managed to hand over some Star Wars cookies. Once again, Doug Jones has to be the sweetest human ever! When Felicia was asked who the nicest actor she had worked with is, she immediately named Doug.
Next, we headed over to the exhibit hall to go meet up with a few other friends that were at the con that day.
I stopped off at the soulgeek.com booth to see if Phil LaMarr was there. He is an incredibly nice guy and happy to chat with fans. I met up with couple other people after I chatted with Phil and we headed out to go find dinner. We ended up a couple blocks from the convention center and finally relaxed for a few minutes. The restaurant had free Wi-Fi (yay!!!), which was exciting after I couldn’t get the Wi-Fi in the convention center to work. I was checking my email and noticed I had gotten a tweet from Rock Jocks (an independent film that Felicia Day is in). They were having a twitter contest to win tickets to a party they were hosting, and I was one of the winners!!! We knew Saturday was going to be a long day, and now we had two parties to go to that night! We rushed back to the hotel to get ready.
The first party was the Syfy alternative party (SlamCon) for all of the people not on the Syfy party list (including the Syfy writers) hosted by Deric Hughes (writer for Warehouse 13) and Brea Grant (actress and comic book writer). It was conveniently located upstairs from a bar in our hotel. We found Deric and then met up with a couple people we had met at the con. There were a wide variety of people there and we socialized for a while and watched the SeaWorld fireworks.
Something I got really excited about was the presence of Jessica Mills, the star and creator of a webseries about geek dating that I love (Awkward Embraces). I’ve tweeted with her a couple times, so I decided I would just walk up to her and say hi. I’m pretty shy around people I don’t know and Jessica has admitted she has social anxiety so I figured I should have nothing to fear (a little alcohol helped as well). I was really glad I went over there and we chatted a few minutes and bonded while discussing a mutual terror over meeting new people.
Time was passing very quickly and we suddenly realized we needed to head over to the Rock Jocks party or we’d be late! We hopped in a cab and made it there just around midnight. As soon as we got in, we ran into a lot of people we knew. Many of the people who worked on Rock Jocks also worked on The Guild, so it was a very familiar crowd, including most of the cast of The Guild. We had a lot of fun at the party and met some awesome people. They were screening the trailer at the party, but I was so busy having fun that I never saw it! At some point the party devolved into a dance party and we had ridiculous amounts of fun until they kicked everyone out at 4AM.
Sunday (Day 4):
After our late night, we were lucky we didn’t have to get in line early for any panels. We still had to get up a bit early though, in order to check out of our hotel. Neither of us was feeling the best, and I could feel the pure exhaustion setting in that not even a Rockstar could erase. We were super excited though, because this was the morning we were going to interview Sandeep Parikh (Zaboo) and Amy Okuda (Tinkerballa) from The Guild! I hoped the adrenaline would be enough to get me through the interview before I collapsed!
We checked out of the hotel and headed over to the convention center. We got there a bit early and chatted at the booth before starting the interview. We decided not to do a video interview because we were all feeling a bit ragged and the background noise on the floor was ridiculous. Sandeep and Amy were awesome as always, and you can check out the interview here. Special shout-out to Brian Kameoka for working with us to set this interview up!
After the interview we practically collapsed, but we had more work to do. Next, we headed to go purchase some T-shirts and stopped by the Profiles in History booth. Jon Mankuta (Hollywood Treasure cast member and Rachelle’s friend) was there and we all decided to grab lunch. We headed out of the convention center and joined a couple other people at Dick’s Last Resort. It was my first time there, so it took me a little while to realize their gimmick. It took the waitress throwing drinks at someone before I realized that the staff was being incredibly rude on purpose (Dicks). Lunch was fun, but we were ridiculously tired, so we headed back to pick our stuff up at the hotel and headed home, where I immediately collapsed onto my bed, exhausted and exhilarated. Can’t wait for next year!
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2 thoughts on “My San Diego Comic Con Adventure: Panels and Beyond!”
Thank you. Your news piece is truly a superb multi-day report and analysis of the experiences and fun we all had at Comic-Con this year. Great writing style and nicely researched links!
Thanks Kenn! I hope everyone gets a taste of what attending Comic-Con is like. I had a lot of fun writing it!
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