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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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Bad Guys: Volume 1 Now Available

posted by Gorebash @ 10:59 AM on Aug 18, 2009
Filed under: gargoyles,Gathering of the Gargoyles,SLG Comics — Tags: , , , , ,

The six-issue mini-series Bad Guys is now available for purchase at slgcomic.com. You should also check with your local comic book shops as it should be arriving in their stores tomorrow.

This brings together all six issues together; that includes a few issues which were left unpublished in single comic format!

Bad Guys is based on a Gargoyles spin-off that Greg Weisman has planned out back while still working on the TV series. An animatic (a rough animation) was even produced to help pitch the show to Disney. Unfortunately the show was killed before they could finish the animatic. However, Greg paid out of his own pocket to complete the animatic and now fans who go to the Gathering will get to see it themselves. A very cool piece of Gargoyles history that you can only see at the con.

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Gargoyles Watch

posted by Gorebash @ 11:10 AM on Aug 13, 2009
Filed under: gargoyles — Tags: , , , ,

I wanted to highlight a piece of the community that I think is fun and anyone can get involved with.

Gargoyles Watch is a LiveJournal community where members watch a given episode of Gargoyles and then discuss the episode. It’s a lot like the old Gargoyles mailing list days where a new episode would premier and we’d start firing e-mails through the mailing list talking about the episode we all just watched and try to dissect any hidden meaning or implications for future story developments.

What makes Gargoyles Watch different from those old mailing list days is we already know how things turn out. We have the benefit of knowing what’s to come of the characters and the story and get to see the seeds of future story arcs being planted along the way. It gives a new appreciation to the kind of meticulous planning that went into the show back in those days at Disney.

Anyone can get involved in Gargoyles Watch. A basic LiveJournal account is free for anyone with an e-mail address. Even if you don’t want to create an account you can still follow along, read the discussion, and enjoy the show all over again.

Clan Building: Volume 2 Is Now Available

posted by Gorebash @ 8:57 AM on Aug 11, 2009
Filed under: gargoyles,SLG Comics — Tags: , , , ,

The long awaited second half of the Gargoyles: Clan Building Comic is now available for purchase through slgcomic.com. This volume includes issues 9 through 12 which have never before been published. These unpublished issues include the first peek at the Timedancer story line where Brooklyn gets caught up with the Phoenix Gate. This should include a peek at Brooklyn’s mate, Katana. There has been literally over a decade of speculation about here and for the first time we’ll finally get to meet her.

The book should also be hitting the streets today (Tuesday, Aug 11) so call around your local comic shops and see if they’ve got a copy in stock. If not, they can always order you one (which isn’t a bad idea as it brings it to the attention of the shop owner) or you can always order one online.

Be sure to buy several and share them with your friends.

Weisman’s “Inside Spidey” interviews

posted by siryn @ 11:23 AM on Jul 3, 2009
Filed under: Spectacular Spider-Man — Tags: , , ,

Peter Parker becoming spideyIn case you weren’t aware, Greg Weisman, Victor Cook who was a storyboard artist on Gargoyles & Greg Gular, a character designer on Gargoyles and the Art director for the SLG Gargoyles/Bad Guys comics) are connected to the Spectacular Spider-Man series (formerly on Kids WB, now on Disney).

Well, Season 2 of the series has just started airing on Disney, so Greg is making his rounds on the internet talking about the show and answering questions. (He even has been answering questions right here on Ask Greg!)

Interviews with a Spectacular Spider-Man fan site at Marvel Toonzone:

As a special guest spot on IGN.com, Greg is sitting down and answering fan submitted questions on each of the newly aired shows. If Gargoyles fans are interested in adding their own input on the newly aired episodes each week, email: feedback_tv@ign.com. Your question just might be featured (and possibly answered!)

Warning, the following interviews DO CONTAIN SPOILERS! Click on the links with caution!

Overall thoughts on the first interview.

I think for me, my most favorite (non spoilerish) parts of the interview were the production aspects and Stan Lee’s insertion into the first episode of the new season.

You never really think about how characters react to the seasons changing and weather getting colder Gargoyles did address this in the epsiode where Elisa is freezing and asks why the Goliath and the others
do not seem to be bothered by it. Gargoyles are not effected by cold weather…or at least have a greater resistance to it.. awesome, wish I had that ability personally.

Anyways, back to Spidey, Greg Weisman addresses how production/budget wise for normal animated shows redesigning all the characters with new outfits for winter, not to mention the background and scenery with snow, is a lot more work, time and money then you would originally think. But I’m glad that the series did this, as it seems to make the story more real as if time is passing.

Guess who? And of course, a Stan Lee cameo! Nowadays, it seems like you can’t have a Marvel related property without having a Stan Lee cameo! Greg goes into detail on how that was accomplished, what it was like working with him, and just a little cool insight into the process.

Overall thoughts on the second interview.

(Again, I am trying to keep spoilers OUT of these blogs as much as possible, so I figured I would focus on the more developmental aspects of the show that Greg mentions in these interviews. For what characters are revealed and what happens new with Spidey, check out the inside interviews yourself!)

In this interview, Greg mentions how he and the other writers plan out fighting scenes and the actual thought process that goes into developing them. It’s really intriguing to read about the planning and teamwork that goes into something as simple as a 3-4 minute fight scene in an animated cartoon. Greg mentions about finding areas specific to Manhattan that fit the visual and realistic needs required, and the challenges that present themselves. For example, honestly, how many times CAN Spidey get into a fight in a construction area? The teamwork mentioned between the storyboard artists and the writers is pretty neat, so it’s not just a “WRITERS ONLY!” or “ARTISTS ONLY” type project. In this show, everyone is being given their own space to truly create something…well spectacular, when it comes to the show and bringing all these ideas and concepts together when putting together and polishing the ultimate product.

Another interesting aspect is how Greg talks about how he writes stories for the shows. How he wants the show to be amusing for both children and the parents watching it making sure the lines are suitable for all ages, but entertaining as well. He says the writers try to avoid double entrendes and not raise issues amongst children and parents with such dialogue that it is none of their business to be raising. With Spidey’s quirky dialogue, the temptation is definitely there, which makes it all the more challenging to write a character in a child friendly medium. (This especially for a show being aired on Disney!)

PS. Special thanks to Landen Thomas and Gargoyles Twitter Feed for linkage/bringing my attention to the Season 2 Spectacular Spider-Man interviews!

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This ‘old dog’ is always full of new tricks!

posted by siryn @ 10:02 AM on Jul 3, 2009
Filed under: Voice Actors — Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Frank and Bronx
“He came, he saw, he barked.” – Frank Welker on the voice actor’s legacy.

When Gargoyles fans think about dynamic voice actors, Jeff Bennett may be the first that comes to mind, who in several episodes had a habit of speaking to himself. Or perhaps fans think Kathy Soucie, who supplied a large number of the female misc vocals for the show. Being a ‘man of a thousand voices’, Jim Cummings, while not doing a huge range of characters on Gargoyles, is also a famous name in the voice acting business.

But perhaps one of the most successful, influential, and prominent voice actors in the show, was one who didn’t speak a single sentence throughout the entire series.

Frank Welker, the ‘voice’ of Bronx.

(Actually, Frank was responsible for MANY of the animal roles on Gargoyles, Bronx, Cagney, and Boudicca to name a few – check out his entry on the Gargoyles Wiki for a full listing!)

For years Frank has been in the animation business, adding voices to characters both human and animal. (Or even the occasional transforming robot!). It’s hard not to encounter an animated movie or TV series nowadays without some sort of input by Frank somewhere. According to THE-NUMBERS.com, Frank is the #1 actor for total box office revenue generated through his movies. Not average per movie, as that itself is less, but he’s done more movies than Samuel L. Jackson or Tom Hanks and made more money per movie than Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman or Nicolas Cage!

Frank admits in interviews to being somewhat ‘type-cast’ in animal roles, just because there are simply not a lot of voice-actors that specialize in those sorts of sounds. He does manage several speaking parts here and there. (One which you might remember clearly is the voice of Freddie Jones from the Scooby Gang. (He also has recently been voicing Scooby Doo as well since Scott Innes retired).

Ravage from Transformers IIThis past week, Transformers 2 has blazened itself across the big screen and in box office charts. While Frank Welker was not able to reprise his role of Megatron for the new Transformers movies (He did send tapes, but Micheal Bay had another vision in mind for the character), he is BACK in Transformers: Rise of the Fallen reprising his roles of Soundwave and Ravage. (Personally, my favorite characters/best designs of the entire movie). I think hearing his voice sent the silly little 80s child in me bouncing in my seat!

I won’t post spoilers here, but I think the revamped versions of Frank’s characters DO the older classic versions justice. As for the rest of the movie, I’ll leave you all to your own personal judgements. (I do wish Arcee (and her ‘sisters’) would have received more of a PART in this movie then generic made up characters. Jetfire’s incarnation/design is the movie is also pretty sweet, but again, sweet designs does not necessarily a good movie make.)

Here are some other interviews with Frank concerning the Transformers universe, check out the following links.

When looking up some information on Frank and what he’s been doing lately, I found this great clip of him taking Manny the Uncanny to the LA zoo showing them how he ‘researches’ animal voices for special projects.

For more information about Frank Welker, or wanting to send your own question to him about voice acting or his work, check out his official site: http://www.frankwelker.net/

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