Showing posts with label Fandom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fandom. Show all posts

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Caring Too Much

I've decided to trim my Supernatural fan exposure. This season it's driving me INSANE.

When I fell in love with the show, I couldn't get enough of it. I searched for places I could get more of it, short of fanfic, and found some. Much of it I've dropped away from already, but I've held on to some that I felt offered fun, insightful, interesting commentary. Most of that is now gone.

It's not that I love every episode unequivocally. And it's not that I want all of my "fan friends" to love it unequivocally. But far too often it's not a couple of complaints mixed with what they liked or loved, it's hyperbole.

Taking the complaints as a whole, not attributed to individuals, there's no winning. When the season opened, the show sucked because it was so unrelentingly depressing. Then it was too funny, how could they be so funny during an apocalypse? Where are the stand-alone episodes, the mytharc gets tedious. How can they fight ghosts, there's a freakin' apocalypse? There's not enough Sam, there's not enough Dean (okay, I see that one less often), and enough with the meta/fan-tweaking. The showrunners hate women and African-Americans, because they kill them all (though I'm absolutely positive more white men have died in 4.5 seasons), but before they kill them, they're always evil.

You know how in last week's episode, Becky yelled at Fritz to just not watch the show if he doesn't like it? I'm certainly not going to tell people not to feel the way they feel. But I've got to stop seeking the extension of joy that originally connected me to other fans, when it's just not there anymore. It's up to me to stop exposing myself to the negativity.

So, finally, I have. Just, of course, at the time when I need that connection most: nine-week hiatus.

Gah.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why the Gold Package--and Never Sleeping--is Totally the Only Way to Go

First, if you've looked at convention details at all, you know the Gold Package contains pretty much everything but the photo ops. (the autographs alone are worth a couple hundred individually) This one also included two exclusive events.

The first one was the dessert reception on Saturday night. This was the only event that was not ideally managed, but I blame the hotel for moving the venue to a much, much smaller room. It was jam-packed, and there weren't enough seats for everyone. At the least, some people couldn't sit with their friends. By the time they let us in, the ice cream at the sundae bar was more than half melted, and it was impossible to make and carry a sundae without dripping it all over yourself. Well, impossible if you also wanted chocolate-covered strawberries (and who doesn't, really) and a beverage? I dripped chocolate all over the table. That would have been okay if anyone had noticed. If one of the guests commented on the mess, I was going to say I drooled when they came in the room. But, alas, they failed, or were too polite, to notice.

The breakfast was better handled. The let us into the room in groups. The first set of people chose seats and then went to the buffet, and as they got through, they let the next group of people in to do the same. It was also in the larger room, so it all flowed better. The food was really good, too, and it was nice not to have to pay for a meal in the overpriced restaurant.

At both events, they circulate the guests all around, two minutes at each table. For weeks--months!--I'd wondered how on earth I'd come up with anything to say. Turns out...it wasn't a problem. Not just because everyone else had plenty to say, but because my brain actually worked when faced with engaging people.

So Gold ticket holders get to attend those two events. Originally, it was going to be different people at the dessert reception (but I'm glad it changed because Gabe was awesome) and then Jared at the breakfast, and I don't think he would have sat at the tables with us, he would have just been on stage.

Gold ticket holders also get the primo seats in the main auditorium, of course. We were in row C. Lori was in row D, but sometimes she came up and sat with us because there was an empty seat. The last perk of Gold is getting in line for authographs sooner. That's the most tedious part, the only time there's any real waiting.

Okay, now how does not sleeping fit in?

These next two sets of stories are what elevated this trip from excellent to (one of) the best weekend(s) of my life.

Friday night they had a karaoke party at 11:00. It wasn't very crowded, I'm guessing mostly because it was late. And maybe because we had a higher proportion of first-timers who didn't know what they'd get out of it besides, you know, karaoke.

Someone had asked Chad if he was going to attend, and he said absolutely, so I asked Jason, who said probably not because he had family coming in. I was bummed, but about half an hour into the torture singing, we spotted both of them. A while later, Richard came in and sent our table aflutter. Kayleigh and Mallory went over to talk to him, and when she came back Kayleigh said he was the nicest guy in the world. So Lori pushed me and Megan into going to talk to them.

Now, this was hard for me. Small talk with anyone is painful. I do not have the gift. My sister-in-law's sister and her husband do, so much that I'd have thought the fairies gave it to them or something. My brain just doesn't seem to like it. I always envision myself being lame and causing awkward silence and halting conversation as the other person wishes desperately that I'd go away.

Thank God for Megan and Lori. They made it so easy! So we did it, we sidled up to Chad until he finished his current conversation and kind of turned our way. We talked for a while, then sidled on so someone else could move in, while we corralled Jason and talked to him (he knew who Megan was! It was very gratifying). Eventually we let him go, too, and made our way to Richard. And stalled.

Because he was so COOL. The discussion flowed freely and I forgot we were silly fangirls talking to an actor. We were creative professionals sharing insights and opinions. Chad joined us after about 10 or 15 minutes and we talked for a long time more. Eventually I noticed other people crowding in really close. Not (I hope) in a "get out of here we want to talk" kind of way (most of the people had already talked to them), but in a "listening intently" kind of way. Megan pointed out more than once that there was an advantage to being last, and it paid off. We talked until one of the Creation people made us stop and let Richard go to bed because he had to be up early in the morning (I don't know why, stuff didn't start until noon, but maybe there was something else I missed/chose not to pay hundreds of dollars for). It was nearly 1:30 so we went to our room, which was a mistake because apparently, even though I thought the karaoke machine had been shut down, Chad decided he would sing. It was on YouTube by the next morning.

Saturday, before the dessert reception, I saw Richard crossing the lobby as we were about to go into the bar where we'd spotted Misha Collins in the back. Terri Clark, one of my fellow Supernatural Sisters, had suggested I interview Betsy Morris (screenwriter of Ten Inch Hero) and mentioned she wanted to interview Jim Beaver. Inspired by that, I stopped Richard and asked if he would be willing to do an interview with me for the blog. He agreed, and then we (the four of us, as I was never without my conversation greasers) lingered outside the bar talking about his father's novels and other things. While we were talking Misha left the bar, but we were pretty okay with missing him. :)

Finally, after the dessert reception, we did make it into the bar, where Richard and Gabe came in a short while later. Richard paused only to ask if Gabe wanted a drink, but Gabe lingered, even when Richard never came back, and wound up sitting with us the rest of the night. Even after he'd get up and talk to some other people, he'd come back. Jason Manns joined us for a little while, too. Other fans hung out *waves at Mike and Darlene and the Gaiman fan whose name I forget!* until we all dejectedly gave in to the late hour and the looming daylight savings time.

A little perspective...

I'm obviously giddy about all the time we got to spend with these celebrities. I want to stress that I don't think it makes me special. They spent time with a lot of people, and they won't remember me if we meet up again, say at next year's con in Parsippany or on the set for the movie of my book, which will cast all my favorite actors. :) I'm thrilled that they seemed to enjoy talking to us not because it feeds my ego (though, okay, there's a little of that), but because it showed them as regular people. The things we talked about were either normal (lasagna and honeymoons and cars) or made to seem normal (the film world) because they shared it as if it was.

Also, the fact that they came down to spend casual time with the fans (Todd and Malik were in the bar Saturday night, too, but we missed them) when they didn't have to created a whole new dimension to fandom. They connected their side of the entertainment line to our side, making it a relationship instead of something that has potential to be cold and a little sad.

This is good business, of course, becaues making us feel special helps cement the real relationship, that between our money and their wallets. If they make us like them as people, we'll go rent their movies and watch their shows and give them free promotion, to a greater extent than we might without that additional spark.

However, that can be done without crossing the dividing line. We (people) can tell when someone is doing a job and when they're genuinely enjoying themselves, and being part of that is more than worth the price of admission.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday's Con Report

I've been freely using first names in my posts this week. "Chad wrote this" and "Gabe said that" and "When we saw Richard..." It feels so pretentious and obnoxious, and I don't want to be That Guy Chick. But in today's society, using last names feels silly and formal, and gee, if they're using your name, you can use theirs, right?

Anyway. Continuing my thoughts on the Q&As...

Sunday we started off with Jim Beaver. He was at the breakfast and left that late, so he started his photo opp late, so he started his Q&A a little late. That kind of threw everything off a little, but they caught up.

Jim talked a lot about his little girl, who sounds like the sweetest thing, though I'm sure she's like any other kid and has her moments. He did say she tries to rule the world... Jim catered to us in every way. He called us idjits and made fun of the boys, told stories about the set and was just playful and fun, even when he was serious. (The most serious moments were when he talked about his upcoming book, Life's That Way, about the year his daughter was diagnosed with autism and his wife with fatal cancer. If he writes like he talks [and blogs, which is, of course, writing], it will be a tremendous book.) He told us he just filmed episode 4.21, and he's in 4.20 and 4.22. You know what that means, right? Bobby doesn't die next month! I no longer care what the death teaser really means. :)

Next up was Todd Stashwick, who has had an amazingly broad career, and it showed in his stage presence and his stories. He talked about The Riches, which I now have to add to Netflix (along with Jim Beaver's Deadwood), and I have a strong desire to go back and watch all the episodes he's guest-starred in that I failed to recognize him. Like Captain Steve on How I Met Your Mother. He looked very different in person, not just from his Supernatural character (duh) but from his Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles role. He talked a little about how opposite the two roles were, with the shapeshifter being so emotional and the Terminator being totally devoid of emotion. He mentioned talking to Summer a lot about how to do it, and it was a really funny image to me--this very young, small girl instructing this really big, experienced actor in the physicality of a role.

After Todd we got Malik. (He doesn't go by Charles.) He was an interesting dichotomy. One minute he's sounding like a lovely voiced televangelist or self-help guru, advising us to live our lives with no limitations--the next he's making toilet jokes. A little later he breaks into his closing monologue on spirituality to scold Misha for being noisy backstage and then tells us the angel is stripping. Malik, I was delighted to see, will be on the new Nathan Fillion crime drama Castle.

Finally, the (substitute) headliner, Misha Collins. I have to say this again: He is just so beautiful. I've been watching Bones so I can't help but point out that it's the symmetry of his face. But it's also his eyes, and the fact that he makes eye contact with every person he talks to. When he was at our table at the breakfast, he mentioned he was from Massachusetts, and interrogated quizzed me on where in Mass. I was from, like, exactly. He's a New England Patriots fan--I could not love the guy more.

One more post coming, where I save the best for last, and explain why The Gold Package is the Only Way to Go. Also, not sleeping. The other only way to go.

The stuff I've saved is the best for me, but I'm going to warn that it might not be terribly interesting to read. If you like to live vicariously regarding experiences you want to have, you might like it. If you get really jealous and think that people like me don't deserve this stuff, or, worse, that I should be kicked in the face...

It will have been worth it. Sorry. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Salute to Supernatural--Ramblings on Wednesday

There were three essential elements to the convention: The Q&As, the photo opps, and the autographings.

The photo opps were pretty impressive. Once the line starts moving, it goes fast, which is great until you get in front of the camera. Then you barely have time to register "OMGI'mTouchingJasonMannsHisBackIsSweatyOMG" before it's done. Creation's FAQs say they take about 15 seconds, but it's really closer to 10. Megan and I got almost all ours together, so add the time it took to remind Chris we were doing two, and we got maybe 23 seconds with each celebrity.

But the quality is really good. At first glance, I would actually think "Wow, that's perfect." Then I'd realize my upper lip disappears when I smile, and I have a bit more double chin than I should, and even that Misha's conserving his smile in my copy.

And then I realize it's a picture with Misha Freakin' Collins and it goes back to perfect.

The autographings are the opposite. Not at all rushed, which is nice once you get up there, but realllllly slow until then. We were in row C (Lori in D) and probably had to wait half an hour before they called us to get in line, then another 15 or 20 minutes in the line itself--less time for Chad, who was alone, and because we only had about half the attendance on Friday, and more on Sunday with having four autographers at once.

Because I have the most awesomest best friend in the world, I got special autographs. She gave me a small notebook with pictures of Sam and Dean in it, and I used that for signatures. Every single person exclaimed at how cool it was and flipped through it. I'd printed and glued photos of the other actors so they had their own pages, too.

Which meant that Chad saw a picture of Jared shirtless, and joked about it, and then he wrote "Natalie, Sorry I don't have any shirtless shots like Jared." I teased that after his documentary, My Big Break, comes out, we'll have plenty. He laughed. I basked. (And when I got home, I changed his picture because he's a doll and needs a doll picture, not an Ash picture.)

Jason Manns signed stuff for free. I hadn't put him in my book or brought anything to be signed, because I was going to have him sign stuff for my friends who couldn't come. But when the time came, I panicked and went to buy a picture of him. It's an old headshot, and it's very nice but doesn't look at all like him anymore. And then Chris was handing out the photos from the photo opp, so I had TWO for him to sign. I ended up going through the line twice.

Saturday we got signatures from Richard, Gabe, and Traci. Richard said the pages were like sheet music, drew a few notes, and wrote "Play that!" Gabe's photo was Andy, and he identified the scene and wrote a speech bubble saying "Can I have it?" Traci drew a "(heart) & Rock n' Roll!" with a musical note.

On Sunday I got caught up in talking to the guests, so they focused less on the writing. But they had room so did more than just sign their names:

Malik: To Natalie All my Love Love is Great Charles Malik Whitfield 09 Baby

Todd: 2 Natalie What a Pleasure!

Misha: From One Angel to Another (which he also wrote on Lori's photo)
I also got my photo with Misha signed, and since that was with Megan, he wrote "Thanks for the Threesome!" Made me giggle. :)

Jim: Love and Luck

The Q&As are all a blur to me. I remember a few stories, which will be recounted all over the web. The highlights:

Chad Lindberg's documentary sounds intense. I really hope they get distribution for it. Check it out at My Big Break. It shows the seedier side of Hollywood, and I don't mean the hookers. Wait. He didn't say there weren't hookers...


Richard Speight, Jr., was a great speaker, very confident and smart and funny. He writes screenplays and said that's actually his first love, writing. He talked a little about Jericho and how in the episode where Eric's wife died, he was filming Supernatural so he flew in, put on his deputy uniform, drove up in a squad car, looked grave, and that was it. He flew back to Vancouver. The funniest thing to me is that I remember that shot, and how well he did it! LOL His promo moment was for Open Water 2, out now on DVD. I would never ever have watched it before I met him, but now I absolutely have to. Oh, for added appeal, he said we get to see Eric Dane's butt. (I think he referred to him as a Scottish shower aficionado--McSteamy.)


Gabriel Tigerman kind of surprised me. I mean, he had two episodes, two years ago, and there's very little chance his character can come back. On Supernatural, of course, no one ever has to be completely gone, but getting your chest ripped out by a "little demon girl," as he put it, is pretty terminal. But he was very sweet, very funny, and 100% charming. He told the best story of the day, about his own fanboy moment. I can't do it justice, so I'll let you go find it elsewhere. He wrote an independent film, Skills Like This getting limited release as we speak. Look for it!


And finally, we had Traci Dinwiddie. She was as sweet as everyone else, a little shy, but so eager and willing to connect with us, despite being horribly sick. She was very much a girl, lugging a big purse up on stage with her, something I found amusing because I'm so not like that. She told an adorable story and was so embarrassed but plowed through and it wasn't as bad as she made it seem. I can't wait to see her back on the show. (I just checked, and it's tomorrow! Wheee!)

I'm going to stop there for today, because my volunteer period at the middle school book fair is almost up and I won't have time to do more than upload this later. So... stay tuned. The really good stuff is still to come.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Salute to Supernatural—The Part I Wrote on Tuesday

I was going to talk about a different aspect of the convention every day this week, breaking it into a variety of topics, and then I typed 676 words so boring I was dozing off. Which, you know, after three nights of four hours of sleep, isn't that hard, but you don't deserve that.

So I'm just going to talk randomly about different things until I think I've done enough for the day or the to-do pile caves in on me, and then post some more tomorrow.

If you want organized, comprehensive, hitting all the big highlights, you can read my Supernatural Sisters post, which went up today.

First thing that pops into my head:

Breakdown of Who Watches the Show and Who Doesn't (in order of appearance):

Chad Lindberg—Only watched the episodes he's in. Admits it with such a puppy-dog look you can't care.

Richard Speight, Jr.—Only watched the episodes he's in. Is so freakin' awesome all around, you don't care.

Gabriel Tigerman—Only watched the episodes he's in. And he was so sweet and endearing, you don't care.

Traci Dinwiddie—Watches it all, is a big fan of the show. I think everyone understood why the others haven't seen it--when you're in only two eps, and guest-starring on a bunch of different shows, it makes sense that you're not going to become an automatic viewer of all of them. But the crowd really loved that Traci is a big fan. Pam returns to the show, and one attendee asked her for tidbits and spoilers. The crowd didn't like that, but it didn't matter, because Traci, as a fan, is a big believer in not revealing cool or important stuff.

Jim Beaver—He didn't specifically say if he watches the episodes he's not in, but he's in enough that he knows the show and everything around it pretty well.

Todd Stashwick—Again, I don't think he specifically said, but he referenced things so that you could tell he's seen more than just his one episode.

Charles Malik Whitfield—He asked for the DVDs when he arrived on set and started watching from the pilot. Watched the pilot, got up and turned the lights back on. :) He's watched the whole series.

Misha Collins—Like Todd, I don't think he made clear how much he's actually watched, but he knows the show well enough that I couldn't tell for sure if it was from the inside or from watching it.

The way the convention went (which is presumably different than it would have been with Jared present), Friday was very moderately paced and only half-attended; Saturday was a big speedier, with more guests and more to do, but still with big gaps of time and lots of filler; and Sunday was boom-boom-boom, one thing to another, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (later for those who didn't score row C!).

Consequently, the guests on Friday and Saturday had more time to do the things they needed to do, which allowed for a more casual atmosphere and more approachability--as well as more opportunity to approach.

Friday and Saturday had more filler, too. Music videos (fan made, of varying quality, and with too much emphasis on seasons 1 and 2). An auction of vendor merchandise which was fun to watch because the emcee was amusing and, you know, Misha's face on a four-foot banner? Always delightful to stare at while people fight for it.

(Misha's banner was auctioned on Sunday and went for $500. The ones of the boys would probably have gone for more if they'd been there to sign them, but the banners that were going to be signed by all nine people in attendance sold for less than $200!)

They had a yes/no trivia game, where the last person standing won a $200 gift certificate (hi, Kayleigh!). I finally got up the guts to drag Lori up with me in the third round, and of course we got out with the first question. I know! But in our defense: The question was "The shapeshifter in the episode 'Skin' changed into three other people." There was no time to think, to count, and it sounded close, so we said yes. As did 26 other people on stage. Two were left standing after the first question. So we don't feel stupid at all.

Ahem.

They also held a costume contest. Megan went as:



Dean's favorite food, of course.

There was the girl from "Bloody Mary," a female Sam and Dean, a crossroads demon, and someone who'd made up her own character, complete with backstory on why she died and why she was a vengeful spirit. Third prize went to two young guys--who didn't know each other--who were passable imitations of youngish adult Sam and Dean. The Sam was best, and really hammed it up, showing his anti-possession tattoo. :)

Bobby took second place, and I was surprised, because the guy looked simultaneously just like Bobby, and nothing like him.



First place was no contest, though. A guy in a giant teddy bear costume, with stuffing coming out of his blown-open head, complete with a copy of Busty Asian Beauties and a chalkboard with his suicide note. When the emcee asked him who he was, he said, plaintively, "I don't know why I'm here!"



I think that's enough for one day, so let me leave you with some random beauty:













And this video, which tied for my favorite of the tribute vids shown at the con: