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2009 Gathering Con Journal – Saturday

posted by Gorebash @ 4:08 PM on Oct 6, 2009
Filed under: gargoyles,Gathering of the Gargoyles,Spectacular Spider-Man,Voice Actors — Tags: , , ,

Saturday I was up before 10am and headed down to the registration desk and hung out for a bit. At 10 I decided to catch the Asian Ball-Jointed Dall panel run by Andrea Zucconi. I’d seen pictures of her dolls and figured I’d check them out in person. The big thing about these dolls is just how customizable they are. Not only are there different parts to swap out, but you can even reshape parts and paint them to look any way you want. Andrea does this for a living and she showed some of her work; it was pretty impressive. Then the cost of these things came up and my jaw hit the floor when prices starting at $250 (for a “cheap” doll) and going very high up ($1000) were thrown out. Tony, Andrea’s husband, was sitting next to me and I offered him my sympathies.

After the doll panel I got in line to get Marina Sirtis’ autograph. $20 a pop, which is a bit awkward, but when the hell am I ever going to meet her again? I got two, one for myself and one for a friend. I had no clue what to say to her. I’m sure she’s heard everything a thousand million times before, so I just thanked her for coming out and taking part in the con.

I helped out at the registration desk for a bit so Patrick could go eat and catch bits of the Gargoyles voice acting panel. Sarah showed up and took over as she knew what she was doing. I just knew how to smile and say “let me go find someone on staff”. A few con guests arrived while I was at the table, including Michael Reaves. I didn’t expect to see him at the con and was excited to see him. He needed a con badge made up and the label printer decided his name was too long. Patrick arrived just in time to push the one button needed to shrink the font size down a notch and make the name fit.

I caught bits of the Gargoyles voice acting panel, which included Marina Sirtis and Keith David. It was a bit surreal to see Demona and Goliath sitting next to each other. That panel broke and was immediately followed by the Spectacular Spider-Man voice acting panel. I was able to catch most of this panel. The room was too narrow to fit all the cast and wrapped around on the sides a bit. We had pretty much the entire cast there at the panel. I asked Vanessa Marshall (voice of Mary Jane Watson) to say “Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot” several dozen times. At least that’s what happened in my head. Her voice is pure sex. It’s like Laura San Giacomo’s (Fox) voice. Put the two of them in a scene together and forget about it. A million pants will need to be changed.

The whole Spidey cast were very, very cool. Very friendly, willing to share stories and talk about the business. They seemed to be happy and having fun with the whole thing.

After the panel, and in the same room, was the radio play rehearsal. Out of 40 or so fans who auditioned, only 13 slots were open and I was fortunate enough to get one. All the pros were there and given their respective on-screen characters to voice. I was cast in the role of Matt Bluestone. The radio play was an original script — a cross-over between Gargoyles and Spectacular Spider-Man. Greg wrote the thing in three days with very little rest (I don’t think you can call it “sleep”) during that time. He said he was a bit nervous about the script, but it was great. Tying the two shows together actually seemed to go pretty smoothly. And thank you Greg for finding a way to get Obsidiana into the script. I could never get tired listening to Elisa Gabrielli do Obsidiana.

After a quick read through it was time to do the show in front of an audience.

To be able to say I acted alongside the likes of Marina Sirtis, Keith David, Phil LaMarr and so on is crazy. How does that happen? It was very cool. Listening to Marina Sirtis voice Demona was surreal. It didn’t take her long to get back into form and *poof* there’s Demona. And she’s twice as scary in person. (That’s not a knock on Marina, it’s a compliment to her voice acting.) Darran Norris doing J. Jonah Jameson (LOUDLY) was spine tingling. The whole time I keep saying to myself “holy crap! it’s J Jonah Jameson! right there! RIGHT THERE!! HAH!”. It took everything to keep myself from giggling like an idiot when I had a scene with Marina Sirtis (as Margot).

The radio play went well. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, including the cast both pros and fans alike. I’m told Marina Sirtis expressed that she had a lot of fun and was disappointed this would be the last Gathering.

After the radio play I went to the hotel bar with a few people (Susan, Joe, Rebekah, and a couple others I’m totally blanking on like an idiot) and had some beer. I intended to have real food as well but the Blue Mug panel was fast approaching and all I had for dinner that evening was a few Sam Adams. Which may have something to do with my behavior at the Blue Mug.

Early in the panel I was asked about getting on the interwebs and hooking into the projector that was in the room. Nothing had been set up and the panel had already started. No worries. I asked Scott, who was at the panel, if he could start setting things up while I went to my room and grabbed my netbook. When I came back it was a simple matter of plugging the projector’s VGA cable into the netbook and setting up the wireless connection on my machine. All went well and before long we had the Blue Mug Productions web site up and running. Just in time as BMP director Edmund Tsabard walked into the panel to talk all things blue. I walked through the site while Edmund talked about what it was all about.

It was pretty convenient, that tiny netbook. I could cradle it in one arm and play it like an instrument with my free hand. It didn’t take long to get into a groove. At some point Edmund left, but I was a bit busy with the pictures. Just as I was really hitting my stride showcasing the goods Greg Weisman popped back in. Oops.

The panel was light. A bit blue here and there, but nothing terribly raunchy. I just sat back and watched Nikki and Mara draw naughty bits.

After the panel was over Scott informed me of a secret plan to connect Rock Band up to the projector and sound system in the room and rock out with insane bass (until the hotel staff kicked them out an hour later), but I was wrecked. I headed up to the 24th floor with Tony to hang out for a bit with Greg, Jen, Tony, Mara before crashing.

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2009 Gathering Con Journal – Friday

posted by Gorebash @ 5:37 PM on Sep 1, 2009
Filed under: gargoyles,Gathering of the Gargoyles — Tags: , , ,

Friday morning I was up and downstairs a little after 8am helping put the framework used to hang artwork for the art show up. Patrick is a master of organizing PVC.

I hung out in the space around the registration table with a bunch of other fans as we waited for things to start around 10am. We just talked about random stuff.

First out I hit up the Costuming Basics panel run by Cindy Kinnard. Having zero experience in anything remotely related to creating costumes I learned quite a lot. I was surprised at how simple materials like felt and foam were so heavily used to create all sorts of leather and metalic looking costume pieces. Lots of gluing and sanding and layering. It seemed a lot like making fiberglass or carbon-fiber panels (if that makes sense). The panel made costume building feel like something I could actually do myself.

Got in line for the radio play auditions. Greg has used the same sides for all the previous radio play auditions, but some Spectacular Spider-Man sides were included in this one, so I had to do one of the new sides. I couldn’t decide who to read, Venom or Harry Osborn. I only decided on Venom when I was let into the audition room and Greg asked who I was reading. It went okay. After my first crack at it Greg asked that I try and mix up the reading a bit. I had done the whole thing in a cool, in control manner. Greg suggested I should lose control or let the anger slip through a bit on a couple lines and I gave it another go.

Later, during the radio play, I found myself paying very close attention to how the pros handled their reading. Every line they would read would have different emotion or feel than the previous. It was much more interesting to listen to. I think it gave me a new appreciation for voice action and a realization of just how good these pros really are (and just how not good I was).

After the auditions I hung around the registration table for a bit and talked with lots of people. I saw some of the con guests arrive and it finally started to sink in that we really were going to have a ton of guests this year and how cool that was.

I attended the Ben Diskin mug-a-guest later that day. Ben is the voice of Eddie Brock and Venom in Spectacular Spider-Man. Ben talked about how the voice for Venom is done. First he reads his lines as Eddie Brock, then re-reads them in his Venom voice. The two are layered together to produce what you hear in the television show. No computer tweaking of his voice, that’s all Ben Diskin. And because he has to read through his lines twice he’s often left at the recording studio after all the other actors have gone to record the Venom track. Ben was cool; he seemed like a normal guy.

After the panel I ran into Scott outside. Scott did all the A/V stuff for the con and I was also sharing my room with him. It turns out he went to elementary school with someone named Ben Diskin, but he wasn’t sure it was this Ben Diskin. As Ben walked out of the panel Scott went over and talked to him and, sure enough, this was indeed the Ben Diskin he went to school with. They chatted, Ben shared an embarrassing story about Scott, and Scott was left wondering how the hell Ben had remembered that story after so many years and, dammit, why’d he have to say that in front of other people.

I helped Scott setup the ballroom for Opening Ceremonies with Seth and Sammy. We had about an hour to setup and Scott really needed an hour and a half. By 5:30 we were ready (it was scheduled to start at 5), the doors were opened, and the Opening Ceremonies began. Lots of the usual. The con staff were recognized for the insane amount of work they put into the con and how awesome it turned out. Patrick and Jen were given special prints of their characters and awarded fan guests of honor (immensely deserved). Greg talked about Gary Sperling and the huge impact he had on the show and introduced Gary’s family. He then presented them with a copy of Bad Guys and a piece of artwork done by Karine (artist on Bad Guys). A very touching moment. And then it was on with the usual array of Gargoyles videos and stories by Greg. Since this is probably the last con it’s probably the last time we’ll get to see some of those videos.

After opening ceremonies I had dinner at a place in City Walk that served, I think, Cuban food? I had a BBQ chicken salad which was really good. Even though they gave me salad dressing for it, you really didn’t need any — the BBQ provided a ton of flavor. Although I’m not a huge avocado fan I still downed all the big avocado slices in the salad.

Later I went back up to the 24th floor where a bunch of the con staff and friends were hanging out. Just friends talking and having fun. It was cool and a nice way to unwind at the end of the first day of the con. I crashed a little after midnight, which I noticed was 3am Eastern according to my watch. I reset my watch for Pacific time before I went to bed.

2009 Gathering of the Gargoyles Auction Swag

posted by Gorebash @ 5:16 PM on Sep 1, 2009
Filed under: gargoyles,Gathering of the Gargoyles,travel — Tags: , , , , ,

This video shows you what went up for auction at this year’s Gathering of the Gargoyles. Towards the end of the clip you’ll hear someone telling me a story about how Marina Sirtis had arrived earlier in the day and went to check in at the registration desk. When she approached the lady behind the desked asked for her name.

I bid on several items just after filming this, but the “Winged Warrior Shave Set” shown 24 seconds into the clip is the only item I took home with me.

Funny story about that.

I picked up the set Monday morning an hour before I had to leave the hotel. I had already packed up and locked my checked bag with a zip-tie. Rather than bother with cutting the tie and having to attach a new one I just put the shaving set into my carry-on bag.

As I was going through the security checkpoint at the airport my bag was grabbed and tagged for manual inspection. Well the TSA officer opened it up and pulled out the shaving set. It was about 3 milliseconds after I saw her pull it out of the bag that I realized that it contained two items (cologne and shaving cream) which need to be put into a separate, clear plastic bag when you go through the checkpoint. Furthermore, I wasn’t sure if either of those items was over the 3 ounce limit.

Turns out the shaving cream was.

I had given the shaving set up at that point. It was destined to be trashed. I knew it. The TSA officer suggested I go back and check my carry-on bag so that I could get through with it. I explained to her my carry-on had all my electronics and other expensive items in it and that I’d lost a checked bag once before and didn’t want to risk losing my stuff again.

I don’t know if it was the defeated and sad expression on my face or the willingness to admit I’d screwed up or that perhaps she had an image in her head of a child (possibly a son or nephew of mine) being disappointed to learn the airport took his toy away, but she took pity on me. She said she’d check it for explosives and if the “Winged Warrior Shaving Set” didn’t contain explosives I’d get to keep it.

So she opened it up, spread a bit of foam (which still foamed after 15 years!) over a small piece of paper and dropped a few drops of some clear liquid from a very small glass bottle onto the foam. It didn’t turn blue. Or pink. Or whatever color is the bad color.

Declared non-explosive I packed up the “Winged Warrior Shaving Set” and went on my way.

Both going to L.A. and coming home from L.A. my checked bag was searched by the TSA. The first time this has ever happened to me. It annoyed me to no end, although the idea of a TSA agent having to rifle through my rank and worn days old dirty clothes does make me feel I got one back.

But the TSA agent lady at Burbank who let me keep my Gargoyles shaving set made me feel that they’re not all mindless robots out to ruin our vacation.

Thank you Burbank TSA agent lady!

2009 Gathering Con Journal – Thursday

posted by Gorebash @ 3:55 PM on Aug 31, 2009
Filed under: Gathering of the Gargoyles — Tags: , ,

Flew out on Thursday (August 20, 2009), arrived at Burbank airport around 5pm and took a shuttle to the hotel. First thing I noticed was how close the hotel was to the airport — the ride was only about 10 minutes. Certainly better than when I took a shuttle from LAX in 2006 which lasted at least two hours. Checked in, went to my room on the eleventh floor and opened the curtains to reveal Universal Studios. Seeing the gray metal globe spinning from my hotel room window was pretty cool.

Got word that everyone was haning out on the 24th floor and headed up. It was good to see friends again. Hugs all around and then envy as the view from the 24th let you see even more of Universal Studios. You could even see right into the WaterWorld spectacular which just so happened to be going on at the time. Watching fireballs and flaming planes from above.

Once we hit the magic number of 17 we decided dinner was in order and headed out to eat. Never before had I been to City Walk. What a trip. It was like Disney World and a mall combined together. We went to an Italian place that served up very large portions. Good food, good conversation, although one needed a bullhorn to communicate from one side of the table to the other. Available pens and a blank back to our paper placemats gave Mara a chance to draw. That was fun, to a point.

After dinner we went back to the hotel, checked out the rooms we’d be using for the con, then I crashed for the night.

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Gathering of the Gargoyles Radio Play Casting

posted by Gorebash @ 3:46 PM on Aug 31, 2009
Filed under: gargoyles,Gathering of the Gargoyles,Spectacular Spider-Man,Uncategorized,Voice Actors — Tags: , , , ,

This is a video I took while the cast for the radio play at this year’s Gathering of the Gargoyles radio play assembled and received scripts prior to rehearsal.

We had 16 professional voice actors in the radio play with another 12 or so fans filling out the cast.

The script is an original piece written by Greg Weisman in which the Gargoyles and Spectacular Spider-Man universes cross-over. Greg says he wrote it over the course of three days with very little sleep just before the convention. Everyone agreed it was a success.

Marina Sirtis remarked afterwards that she enjoyed it and was disappointed this would be the last con.

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