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JEB writes...

Gathering 2005 Journal - Day 4, and the Day After
August 1, 2005

Got up, got yet another cinnamon scone and headed for the con area, passing Thom Adcox en route. I sat outside the con area and ate, saying goodbye to A Fan and Mandolin as they passed by. I went to the room for the Creating Original Properties panel, but left before it started to go back to the Dealer's Room/Art Show. I bumped into Greg B. again, and bought the Aria Kalsan Anthology for the heck of it. Then, I went back to the panel.

At the Creating Original Properties, Greg covered a little of the same ground he'd covered in the Series Development and Production, but with an focus on the Development and Sale steps. First, he talked about Doc Shakespeare's real-world historical roots, and his attempt to sell it to Jonathan Frakes' production company. (Lesson one: 90% of what happens in this business is failing to sell things.) Greg and the others decided that Doc Shakespeare- which he described as Northern Exposure with a supernatural twist- was so "out there" of a concept that it'd do best with a pilot script. Unfortunately, even that didn't succeed.

Greg also showed two pitches for shows he was working on, one of which we saw before (in slightly different form) at the 2003 Gathering. I think both have potential. After that, the floor opened to questions:

- Using copyrighted material, such as music, is fine for pitches, which are never seen by the public, but not for broadcast (for obvious reasons).
- Greg and Michael Reaves wrote the first script treatment for the Gargoyles movie, but walked away from the project when the company owners started making too many changes.
- Animated series with adult characters are very hard to sell, because execs want to have characters they think kids can relate to- i.e. kids or teens. The exception is for "marquee characters" like Batman. This has to do more with the executives' personal comfort levels, rather than any actual aspects of the audience.
- Greg doesn't think much of focus tests. Focus testing is done, he believed, to soothe execs' worries more than anything else. An example- test audiences disliked Demona, resulting in requests to de-emphasize the character- but the execs missed the point that she was the villain, who isn't supposed to be liked! Another example- Kim Possible didn't get greenlighted until it passed three focus tests in different regions of the country.
- Selling shows internationally is difficult simply due to the expense of travel- particularly as pitches are usually done on spec.

During the panel, Thom stopped by to say goodbye to Greg, and the audience, with waves and hugs. After the panel, the lot of us went to the Dealer's Room. I looked over an additional set of production art, from "Avalon" and "Eye of the Storm." It was interesting to see such design misconceptions from "Eye" as a cyclops-Odin-bear and handcuffs on the stone Angela and Bronx. Following a brief chat with Garrett, I joined the crowd for the auction. Greg won an auction for his son uncontested (who was gonna bid against Greg?). I almost won the Xanatos Roadster- complete with business-suited Xanatos- that I had an incomplete version of, but I didn't realize I'd been outbid and lost it. (As the auction continued, Greg signed autographs- the line ended before the auction did.)

With the bidding finished, I made another pass of the Dealer's Room, and paged through the SLG sample comic. (I may have to get the Bill and Ted collections.) Returning to the auction area and waiting for Closing Ceremonies, I paged through Aria Kalsan, signed Dennis Woodyard's card (he was unable to attend for medical reasons) and made small talk. As the Closing proceeded, Chris Rogers announced his intention to bring a future Gathering back to Vegas. He and Greg Weisman plugged G2K6, and Greg thanked the con staff and we fans.

I wandered a bit, then had Subway dinner and hung out with Greg Bishansky, talking about Gargoyles, the fandom, past Gatherings, comic books and TV shows, etc. Around 7 p.m. he had to get ready for Penn and Teller, so I returned to the largely abandoned con suite. (Unsurprising since the con was officially over.) Only a fellow with a top hat and a guy who turned out to be Fusion Demon's dad were there. With nothing else to do, I settled down to wait for the night. I had an opportunity to go to Penn and Teller with the con staff, but I decided against it.

A few people came in, and we watched the playing of a curious game called Katamari Dynasty. Eventually, however, trudged off to bed, reading a bit more of Eye of Odin first.

August 2, 2005

Not really the Gathering anymore. After getting my last cinnamon scone, I went to see if the Con Suite was still open- it was closed and the sign was gone. I gambled and lost $10 (thus reminding me why I don't gamble). I checked out, waited for the shuttle (and read more Eye of Odin), and saw my last vestige of the con in a fellow passenger to the airport, Tiphini Three.

And thus was the Gathering over! I look forward to the L.A. con! (But next time, I'm going to factor in some more tourism.)

Greg responds...

Farewell, my enemies!

Response recorded on December 06, 2006