mst3k | plot thinnens

San Diego 2015: Comic-Con or Bust -- Part II



Our first day of Comic Con! Our hotel was on the Pink shuttle route, the stop just off the corner curbside. Based on my long-ingrained penchant for turning up to things much earlier than I need to, we aimed for the 7:30am shuttle to get to our 10am panel, and got in line behind a few other con-goers.

It's a tad early...
Adelagia: "Hooray!"
Sarea: "... I guess."

Sarea had big plans to get into the wristband line this evening for the next day's Hall H programs, Game of Thrones, most particularly. The girl next to her in line suggested queuing by 3pm, for wristband disbursement at 8:30pm. Not long after, Robert Baratheon joined us for the shuttle wait.

Sitting in traffic...
Robert Baratheon: "The good thing about this costume is that it's not warm. I'm not dripping sweat down the small of my back or anything."

On the way to the convention center I saw Doug Jones standing on a street corner, waiting to cross. Sadly, as we were moving, I couldn't get a picture.

Badge holders were let into the center through the Hall E entrance, shepherded up escalators, and corralled into a giant, fifteen-person wide line to include everyone wanting to access the Exhibit Hall and the 21-30 panel rooms. Sarea was mightily unimpressed with the entry and queuing logistics. Some guy in front of us enjoyed handfuls of Cheezits; we regretted not thinking of including it on our snack-buying list. At around 9:30 they finally let us through, and we hastened to 25ABC, to find we were first in line for the panel From Fan to Creator and given worksheets upon entry.

Adelagia: "I wasn't told there'd be actual work involved."

A couple in front of us were both wearing Jayne hats, and Sarea asked where they'd gotten them. The girl said she'd knitted them herself, which was a slightly disappointing response, as Sarea is incapable of knitting (slash too lazy to really learn), though the girl went on to say that it was really easy and she'd learned how to do it just by watching a YouTube video. However, this reassurance did not do much to persuade Sarea in a crafty direction.

The panel itself was fine; the most useful thing I think we both got out of it was to delegate specific roles to people we know to help us accomplish our goals, that of Coach, Cheerleader, and Scorekeeper. The Coach's job is to be the hardass and make sure deadlines are met. The Cheerleader, self-explanatory, and the Scorekeeper is a person in the field who can serve as sort of a mentor and tell you when things need a little more work, or what I think is essentially the best beta you know. Sarea has appointed me her Coach, a job I'm already doing for accordingtomel, and as she will tell you, a job I'm good at. I find all the things you don't like and threaten you with them. For example, Mel recently needed a kick in the pants to do some writing, so I told her that if I didn't get a word count the following day, I'd write a fic permanently destroying her most favourite OTP. She gave me 900 words the next day. See, I get results! Too bad I can't work that same mojo on myself.

There were more panels we were sort of interested in after this, but food is always a priority with us, so we walked to the Gaslamp Quarter for lunch at Le Parfait Paris, where the woman serving us sported a French accent. It was around this point we began to get quite flummoxed about all these dining places with staff of the same ethnicity as the food. Sarea got a chicken panini; I had Le Limousin (roast beef, caramelized onions, blue cheese). Yelp did not let us down this time.

We both got sandwiches to go, as the plan was to stay at the convention center the rest of the day, split up -- Sarea in the wristband line and I at the Damien panel. On our way back, we saw two parked pedicabs in the shape of the Iron Throne, so of course Sarea had to get a photo of herself in it, at which point we were informed that rides were free within the downtown area. We definitely hitched a ride in the Iron Throne. Our driver, whose name we didn't get, was awesome and joked with us the whole way.

I also wanted a picture of myself so I asked Sarea to take one once we got to our destination, at the Omni Hotel. Here tragedy befell poor Sarea as she slipped and fell on the curb, hurting her knee. At this point she felt more embarrassed than hurt, so when the security guy came over to get her information and offered an ice pack she waved it off.

We decided to check just how long the wristband line was to see if Sarea could possibly attend other things before having to get in line, so we walked to Bayfront Park after getting turned around at an outdoor exhibit. There, we had to ask someone where in the world this fabled wristband line was, heretofore only informed by the program book to "Look for the green flag," which turned out to be tiny, inconspicuous, unlabeled, and among a sea of rainbow bright Adult Swim exhibits and booths. Sarea had more uncomplimentary things to say about how the con was run. We found the beginning of the line, a woman in a lawn chair turning tomato red in the noon sun, and then the end of the line, which was literally about two thousand people later.

Sarea would end up in line for almost twelve hours, making friends with experienced con-goers next to her, getting ice packs from Joe's Crab Shack for her rapidly worsening knee in both pain and appearance, roasting to a fine crisp in the sun, hating all of Comic Con, and emerging with a much-coveted Hall H wristband.

Meanwhile, I went on my own way to a panel called Nobody's Damsel: Writing for Tomorrow's Women. Sad to say, I nearly fell asleep in this panel. It may have been the post-lunch drowsiness or the walk in the sun, or that nothing anyone said was new to me or presented in a particularly interesting way.

Next up, Room 6A to sit through several panels I had no interest in so I could seat-hop between panels for a better seat at the Damien panel to see Bradley James's gorgeous face. The room was only about half full for a show called Powers, apparently produced by PlayStation. It sounded vaguely interesting, but not enough to make me want to seek it out. The woman sitting next to me asked a question to the panel and was rewarded with several little bags of chocolate candies with the show's logo on it, and she was kind enough to share one with me.

A bunch of gamers filed in for the Gears of War panel next. I remember almost nothing about this panel. John DiMaggio moderated it; you may remember him from such voices as Bender from Futurama and Jake from Adventure Time. After it was over, the gamers cleared out, leaving plenty of seats near the front of the room for me to elbow my way to. I got a seat in the second row. Hilariously, everyone in my near vicinity identified themselves as Merlin fans there only to see Bradley. And why the hell not; he is amazing.

We still had one more panel to go, one for a documentary about the 1989 horror film Fright Night, attended only by the producer Greg Beville. One of the event staff came out just prior to it to remind us of the rules (take a pass if you leave the room, no filming of footage, etc.) and tried to pump up the audience with questions like, "How's your con going? Are you excited? What panel are we here for?" leaving her momentarily bewildered when everyone screamed "Damien!!" (Because seriously maybe, like, five people were there for Fright Night.)

Though the subject matter itself wasn't all that compelling for me, I really enjoyed the moderator, Andrew Furtado, who managed to keep an easy flow going, despite having only one person to moderate, and a very mellow person, at that.

Finally, it was time for the Bradley James Experience (ft. the show producer and Barbara Hershey). The girl next to me almost started crying, the dear. An event staff felt compelled to remind us in the first few rows not to rush the stage. Girl, please. We know how to comport ourselves in the presence of royalty.

Bradley looked so good. So good.

We got to see exclusive footage from the show -- Bradley doing an American accent! -- and were treated to a special guest, Scott Wilson, most recently notable for being Hershel on The Walking Dead, which I've not seen, but I saw Scott Wilson at the Emerald City Comic Con a few months back when I went with Mel, and he was so kind to his fans, so I like him on principle.

The panel talked about casting Bradley (as soon as they saw his audition they knew he was the one), creepy things that have happened while filming (an unnaturally high amount of dead birds), what Barbara and Scott's roles are (we must watch to find out), how Damien deals with his origins and nature (he has the capacity for good). Barbara told everyone how wonderful Bradley is in the role; Bradley: "That's embarrassing."

Even though this was only the first day, I felt like my con experience was already made. I was sat ten feet from Bradley James! :))) The show itself looks like it might be too scary for me, unfortunately. Mel and Sarea are going to have to watch it first and gauge if I can handle it. I'm not optimistic; I scare very, very easily.

I went back to the hotel after this, on the shuttle.

Where's Keanu when you need him?
Driver: "Anyone for Embassy Suites? No? Okay, I don't [sic] stop."
Passenger: "This bus can't go below fifty-five!"

Sarea got back around midnight, angrily victorious with a wristband in hand and many more complaints about the queuing system, which is incredibly easy to circumvent and cut. In fact, a fight broke out over such an instance; security had to be called, further delaying the disbursement of wristbands. Don't be dicks, people; it's really not that hard.


I barely saw Sarea this day. She left before I awoke to get back in line for Hall H -- the way the wristbands work is that you're pretty much guaranteed a seat if you have a wristband and return to the Hall H line before 7:30am -- where she met up with her newly acquired con friends, serendipitously turning up at the exact same time, and texted me about her lining up experiences.

Sarea: "I feel like my entire life has been spent waiting in a line to get into this damn room."
Adelagia: "Essentially, yes."
Sarea: "I bet you don't even remember what I look like."
Adelagia: "It's been 84 years..."

Sarea: "This line is my home and community. I hope to raise my children here."
Adelagia: "Lololol, then when they grow up they'll start to question if there's anything outside the line and uncover the great SDCC conspiracy. Maybe in the movie version we'll get Dylan [O'Brien] to play your line husband."
Sarea: "OMG, yes. My kids won't understand the dangers of the "outside". Ballroom 20 and whatnot. Those are wild, uncivilized places. They move and do frightening things like that. Not like the tranquility of this line."
Adelagia: "And then of course in order to protect them, you'll have to make the greatest sacrifice of all at some point -- losing your place in line. Those darn kids."
Sarea: "We are in the twisty windy roped off tent part! I don't think you'll be able to find me in these wilds. Dylan my line husband will protect me. Though at some point I'll have UST with Channing Tatum."

With a much more leisurely schedule, I rolled into the convention center around 8:30 with food and an ice pack for Sarea (I did manage to find her in the roped-off tent area), and then on to 6BCF for another round of video game panels I didn't care for (it was Halo 5) and beelining for a better seat at the end of it. I managed to snag a spot in the fifth row for the Lucifer panel, which was screening the pilot and doing a very short Q&A with the producers and cast. The panel piqued my interest because Tom Ellis is the show lead, and as expected, he is wonderful in it, but I was disappointed with the pilot otherwise.

The premise is that Lucifer has left Hell because he's kinda sick of it and has come to the human realm for something of a vacation; his absence throws Hell into disarray, so he's got his brother DB Woodside (I forget his character's name) constantly on his back to go home. A murder mystery falls into his lap and he's thrown together with Lauren German (whose character's name I also forget), a detective. Here's where the pilot and I had to part ways. Lauren German's character is tough as nails, has a chip on her shoulder, is 100% immune to Lucifer's charms, and is an outcast within her department because of a case she stuck her neck out on and lost. It's like the writers just went shopping for Strong Woman tropes and went, "Yes. We'll take all of them," instead of actually writing an interesting woman. I'm also not sure if German was hampered by terrible writing or if she's just not that good an actress.

I was sat next to a pair of older ladies who'd been coming to the con for twelve years and were planning on staying right where they were until the Orphan Black panel six hours hence. The same idea crossed my mind, but I just couldn't do it, sitting in that dank hall, not for that long. I took a walk instead around the Gaslamp area, got a free flashlight from the Scream Queens people and sorbet from some gaming company, and then stopped for a sushi lunch that was overpriced and barely worth mentioning.

Back to 6BCF; there was no line for the ongoing Assassin's Creed panel. This one was only just slightly more interesting than the other video game panels because I liked the look of the Victorian setting (versus, say, Halo's space combat extravaganza) and they talked a little bit about the backstory. I gazed into the middle distance for the entirety of the How to Get a Job in Video Games panel right after that-- though here are the key points, if you happen to be interested: network, be persistent, be nice, be lucky.

Colony was up next. I wasn't expecting to be interested in this, and I don't think it's a show I would particularly get into, but this panel turned out really fun. Two of the producers were there, Ryan Condal and Carlton Cuse (from Lost), and Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Peter Jacobson. Sarah Wayne Callies is so lovely. I've not watched her in anything since Prison Break, but I like her always. Nestor Carbonell also turned up in disguise in the Q&A line, asking questions about the ending of Lost, lol. We got to see the first 11 minutes of the pilot; it looks pretty slick. Some mysterious, possibly alien, force has taken over the Earth (Condal: "Did you like how we built that wall right over the 405? Now it'll take only slightly longer to cross it!"), leading its citizens to have to make the choice between acquiescence or dissension. It's not my kind of thing and I am ambivalent on Josh Holloway, but it looks like it could be good.

And then Orphan Black! I predict they'll be in Ballroom 20 next year; so many people turned up for this panel. Retta of Parks and Rec moderated; she was excellent and funny, and it was clear she was an actual fan of the show. Of the cast, there were Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Marie Doyle Kennedy, Kristian Bruun, Ari Millen, and Dylan Bruce. At several points throughout I kept thinking there were people missing, but of course they were all played by Tatiana; she's incredible. She got a standing ovation as soon as she walked in, and well-deserved, too. Jordan got distracted halfway through talking by a service dog ("Oh my god, is there a dog in here? Hi, bubs!"), but I love hearing him talk; he's so articulate and thoughtful. Except when there are dogs in the vicinity, I guess. At the end we were treated to three fake trailers of Donnie and Alison -- a horror film, a cheesy sitcom, and a telenovela -- as well as bloopers. Hooray!

Though our plan had been to meet up after the Orphan Black panel for dinner, Sarea decided to stay in Hall H (might as well, seeing as she'd queued for it for most of her lifetime) for the Star Wars panel, which was totally wasted on her, as she's never much cared for the franchise. This has enraged at least three of her Star Wars-loving friends, as Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford showed up and the entire audience was led outside for a surprise symphony performance, as well as gifted light sabers (and surprisingly, no one’s eye was put out).

Moderator Chris Hardwick: "Follow that event staff person. Well, that's either an event staff person or a great event staff person cosplay."

The mass exodus and late start to the symphony meant that Hall H was a little bit on the empty side for Kevin Smith's panel immediately following. Whooops. (But as Dan Harmon later pointed out: “He’s FINE, okay? He’s Kevin Smith.”)

I shuttled back and walked to Little Italy to get us both dinner from Burger Lounge; no pictures, but rest assured the burgers were well enjoyed. I kind of want one now.

On return...
Sarea: "Oh my god, I'm so tired I can barely lift my swag."

Onward ho to Part III...

I'm so glad you got to see the Damien panel! I cannot WAIT to see it.

I met Scott Wilson at the Denver ComicCon. A bunch of my friends were volunteering and at dinner one night he spotted our group and came over to say hello. And he gave me a hug! (sweet!)

Ooh, you'll have to post your thoughts when it finally does air!

Scott Wilson is so nice! I'm glad to hear you had such a lovely experience with him. :)
The whole hall queueing malarkey sounds a bit of a pain. When I go to SDCC, I will need to get some VIP passes to bypass queueing. Not sure how I will achieve that, but it does seem like the best plan and the only way forward.