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GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal
My usual caveats... I meet so many people at the Gathering that I can't possibly remember all the names. I apologise. I try, believe me. Please, do not be offended if you've slipped my mind.
Friday, June 23nd
7:30am - Woke up, giving me about 2.5 hours sleep for the night (after a number of bad night's sleeps earlier that week).
9am - I think I shocked the staff by arriving more or less on time to the staff breakfast. (Traditionally, I sleep through it.) I had potatos, Fresh OJ (which I love), french toast and bacon. But, man, I was tasting that breakfast for hours.
I do want to take time to praise the amazing staff of this year's con. Sort of an all-star team of past con chairs and staffers... or as Jen liked to call them, the Dream Team. I'll try to list them all here...
Jennifer L. Anderson - Con Chair
Patrick Toman - Vice Con Chair
Greg Bishansky - Assistant to promotions
Karine Charlebois - Volunteer Coordinator
Seth Jackson - Promotional Coordinator
Cindy Kinnard - Art Show & Masquerade Coordinator
Kythera - Official Lackey
Laurean Leigh - Program & Website Coordinator
Stephanie Lostimolo - Graphics Designer
Christine Morgan - Anthology, Contest & Fan Panel Coordinator
Tim Morgan - Dealer's Room & Auction Coordinator
Scott Sakai - A/V Coordinator
Carol Wagner - Guest Coordinator
And Rob, M.I.A. for the con itself, but otherwise a year-long staffer who kept us on "TOPIC" at our on-line meetings.
Plus a number of great volunteers, people who just pitched in. I felt that this was one of the smoothest run cons I'd ever been to.
APPLAUSE FOR THEM ALL!!!!
After breakfast, I helped carry stuff down to registration.
10am - Went to the Art Room to put Erin & Benny's art panel up. Browsed the other art that was there...
Finally got my first look at "Gargoyles #1: Nightwatch" the new comic. Dan Vado of SLG, who, with Joe Nakamura, was setting up his table in the dealers' room gave me a copy. It was great to finally have it in my hand. Real. Solid. I was thrilled. I realize it isn't perfect, and I know the hardcore fans are probably impatient to get to issue #3, when we enter into a new arc of stories, but I'm still ridiculously proud of the thing. I think David Hedgecock's work is passionate and dramatic, and getting better all the time. I love how Will Terrell's work enhances David's. And the cover by Greg Guler and Steph Lostimolo is just stunning. Thanks to all of them and to Dan and Joe and Jen de Guzman (our editor) and Marty Lund of creaturecomics.com. I do hope all the fans buy a copy or two, but more than that I'd love it if they SPREAD THE WORD about the comic. Don't assume that people know the thing is out there (same with the DVDs and the Gathering too for that matter).
I'm not just talking about word of mouth, though that's great. But I'd love to see each hard core fan take responsibility for finding a way to reach a thousand people. (And I'm only half-kidding.) No, not all of those people will be buying our product, but that's the numbers we need to reach in order to get the numbers we need. Go to conventions. Go on the net to places we haven't thought of. Check out complimentary fandoms and let them know. Nearly everyone I meet at the con has a story about wearing a garg t-shirt or something and having someone say, "Hey, I really liked that show." But they don't know about the comic, DVD or conventions. Those are the people we need to reach. And sure, it would be great if Disney spent some advertising dollars, but it's really not going to happen. So if as fans, you want to see more comics and another DVD release, SPREAD THE WORD.
Specifically, at this con, I heard a LOT of anecdotal stories about the comic already being sold out at individual comic book stores. Which is great, of course. BUT.... The two questions I always wonder about are (1) how many copies were ordered in the first place and (2) now that it's sold out are they ordering more? A lot of stores low-ball their orders (because they've been burned before) and when they sell out, they feel pleased that they guessed right about how many copies to order. They don't necessarily think to order more once they sell out, and if the comic isn't on the shelf, then most people won't know to buy it. So talking to retailers is another VERY helpful tack.
But enough of the sales pitch... back to the ramble...
I spent some time talking to Dand and Joe of SLG, but Si needed a ride to Kinkos to print out some missing Mug-A-Guest sign up sheets. So we hopped in the P.T. Cruiser and took off. When we got back, I popped into a few panels, making a cameo at the Con Virgin Panel and then catching the tail end of Thom & Crispin's Voice Acting Workshop, which was very cool and hi-tech.
3pm - Next up were our first round of Auditions. It was me, Jennifer Anderson and Thom Adcox (i.e. the usual suspects), though a bored Michael Reaves sat in and observed for a while. We had some amazing people this year, but unfortunately one of the smallest casts to cast that we've had in a while, made the smaller because we had Thom, Keith David and Crispin Freeman already slotted for three of the fifteen roles.
5pm - Opening Ceremonies. Always fun. Very good energy in the room this year. Which was necessary, because the thing -- to me at least -- seemed kinda endless. Not that I'm complaining. We did have a lot of new people, for whom everything I have to show is new -- and I gave everyone else the chance to bolt when my turn came. But most stuck around. I guess it's tradition. And I do feel like I had more energy than in the last couple of years. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Mai Li (I hope I'm spelling that right) got the Fan Guest of Honor Award, which she thoroughly deserves. Mai was conchair of the very first Gathering in Manhattan in 1997. Not just the conchair, really but the only staff member too. She basically all but did it all herself. (Burned her out so bad, we haven't been able to get her back to a Gathering again until this year.) Without Mai, there'd be no Gathering. And I wouldn't be a part of this fandom. I have always credited Chris Rogers, Eric "Gorebash" Tribou and Mai Li as the three people who introduced me to the fans. We've been feeding off each other ever since. ;)
Nikki "Y2Hecate" Owens got up to pimp G2007 in Pigeon Forge, Tenessee. Nikki, the new conchair, is already way ahead of the game. They've got a date (JUNE 22-25) and a low cost/high quality hotel. So let me do a little pimping too here. Register NOW!!! The cost is pretty darn cheap in these early months, and the more money that comes in early the better the con will be. Walk-ins are great. I'm not knocking them, but walk-ins don't pay for guests and activities, because that's money that the con can't count on. Small money sooner is worth more than Large money later. Just a fact. Of course, to be intentionally repetitive the main thing you can do is SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!!
Anyway, the staff was introduced, and then we watched a bunch of music videos. They were all pretty cool. Of course, since everyone's working independently, they have no way of knowing that they're all going to duplicate a bunch of footage. But I still enjoyed seeing them. An ironic "Can you feel the love" featuring Demona and Macbeth pounding on each other was a highlight. The "Beauty and the Beast" one for Elisa and Goliath was like shooting fish in a barrel, but I was a sucker for it. And Jen's video "Wake Me Up" I think it was called, which opened Opening Ceremonies was VERY cool and eventually one first place in the Music Video contest.
Then it was my turn. I talked about the comic, G2007 and the DVDs. At this time, Buena Vista Home Entertainment has not scheduled Gargoyles Season Two, Volume Two for release. The short and simple truth is that Volume 1 did not sell enough copies. The ONLY remedy is to find a way to sell more. As always, I'd love it if the fans bought copies, but I'd NEVER ask anyone to spend money they don't have or need for things like food/shelter/education/etc. Frankly, as I've said many times, if every single hardcore fan bought ten copies our sales would still be mediocre. What I need from the hardcore fan is for each and everyone to find creative ways to SPREAD THE WORD!!! (Sense a theme, yet?) We did a more effective job of this on the Season One set. Now Season Two costs more, I know. But that only means we need to reach out to even MORE people, to compensate for those who bought Season One, but can't afford S2V1. Only a percentage of those who know about the DVD will buy it. But the more people who know, the greater the chance that we'll reach the sales threshold that Disney feels we need to convince them to release S2V2. Now... a lot of people have asked why Disney isn't promoting the DVD. But ultimately the answer doesn't matter too much. They aren't. That's not money they're prepared to spend. So we need to do it. We need to SPREAD THE WORD!!!
Next up, I showed all the old standards. The original pitch, the promo, the preview, the New Olympians and Dark Ages pitches, the Bad Guys Leica Reel and finally "The Last" -- a never-produced episode of Team Atlantis featuring Marina Sirtis as Demona, Cree Summer as Kida, Frank Welker as Obie and Sheena Easton as Fiona Canmore. The fans have taken the original voice tape and the tiny bit of storyboarding that was completed and are trying to make the episode themselves. We have a little more picture every year. If you're interested in helping out, contact Vashkoda in the Station Eight Gargoyles Comment Room.
Opening Ceremonies finally came to a close, and I went to dinner with Wendy Pini, Michael Reaves, Brynne Chandler, Crispin, Izobel, Thom, Jamie, Lexy, Marty and Kiffin. Unfortunately, the restaurant couldn't seat us all together, and Marty, Lexy and Kiffin were semi-abandoned at another table. (Sorry, guys, really.) The Japanese food was good (California Roll, Miso Soup, salad, rice, shrimp and vegetable tempura, beef teriaki). More importantly, I got a chance to talk to Wendy Pini. Wendy, the creator of Elfquest, as it turns out, is a big Gargoyles fan. And I've been a fan of hers for longer than either of us cared to admit. She was extremely charming, and we really hit it off. Yeah, yeah, mutual admiration society. <YAWN> I know. But it does raise an interesting point. Gargoyles. Elfquest. If you like one, you might like the other. (After all, I like both and so does Wendy.) And yet before Wendy contacted the constaff a few days before the con, it never occured to any of us to try to win Elfquest fans over to Gargoyles or vice versa. So what other FANDOMS are there out there that we're not reaching out to. I don't know. But I need all of you to start thinking about it and SPREAD THE WORD!!!
When we got back to the hotel, a few of us headed up to the con suite to hang. (Thom stopped off at his room and promised to meet us up there.) But when we got to the consuite, they were on the verge of closing down. So everyone else booked, and I waited in the suite for Thom (who never showed up). Still, I got to have a real nice talk with Mai, Karine, Patrick and one other person, whose name is just escaping me at the moment. (Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry!)
Midnight... Karine headed to her room, and Patrick was ready to crash, so I left for my room.
1am - fortunately, I was actually tired. And turned off the lights, and pretty much went right to sleep.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Tune in tomorrow for my further adventures in Valencia... and to find out how many more times Greg can write "SPREAD THE WORD" into his ramblings...
(AND POST THOSE CONJOURNALS!!!)