A First-Timer’s Account of San Diego Comic Con 2013 – Day 1

San Diego Convention Centre

For years, I have wanted to go to the infamous San Diego Comic Con. The ultimate nexus of all things pop culture. This year, thanks to my cousin agreeing to go with me, I made my way. This is the account of my 4-day experience at the center of all things nerd.

DAY 1
My first day at SDCC started in Toronto. After checking out the amazing Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z concert the night before, I was up and out early Thursday morning to fly to San Diego. Once arriving in front of the convention centre, it was like a huge shock to the senses. Thousands of nerds, in their finest geekwear and cosplay all descended to this one place. It. Was. Crazy. Trying my best not to look like such a newbie, I made my way in to meet up with my cousin. A short walk in the exhibit hall and we then moved onto Hall H, the biggest panel room of the con (holding upwards of 6500 people). Be it that there weren’t really any HUGE panels happening that day in Hall H, our wait to get in was no more than 30 minutes.

The first panel we got to see was Entertainment Weekly’s The Visionaries, their yearly panel which includes three directors; this year’s lineup was Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, 500 Days of Summer), Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, the upcoming Gravity) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). For a fan like me, who truly cares about all aspects of Hollywood, it was really great to hear these three directors talk about the filmmaking process, along with their stories and struggles.

L-R: EW's Anthony Breznican moderates, Alfonso Cuaron, Marc Webb, Edgar Wright

L-R: EW’s Anthony Breznican moderates, Alfonso Cuaron, Marc Webb, Edgar Wright

That was followed by the slightly high-profile Summit/Lionsgate panel introducing Ender’s Game and Divergent. Ender’s Game, based on the highly-acclaimed novel, stars newcomer Asa Butterfield working alongside Sir Ben Kingsley and Harrison Ford. Yeah, Harrison Ford showing up was a big deal! I, however, was mainly interested in Divergent – a book that, for the record, I haven’t read yet, but EW has done a hell of a job promoting it that I became intrigued by it. The story itself, about a future Chicago where people are divided into four factions based on their good traits, was already interesting. But then the cast that was assembled for this movie was incredible (oh hey, Maggie Q!) What I found particularly surprising at this panel was that it featured literally never-before-seen footage of the movie (they had only wrapped on the movie 2 days beforehand). I’ll tell you this: the footage they showed looked AWESOME. I’m going to have to fast track on reading the series before the movie comes out.

 

L-R: Moderator Chris Hardwick, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Ansel Elgort, author of the novel Veronica Roth, Theo James, Shailene Woodley, director Neil Burger, Zoe Kravitz, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, Christian Madsen, Amy Newbold, Miles Teller

L-R: Moderator Chris Hardwick, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Ansel Elgort, author of the novel Veronica Roth, Theo James, Shailene Woodley, director Neil Burger, Zoe Kravitz, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, Christian Madsen, Amy Newbold, Miles Teller

L-R: Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, director Gavin Hood, producer Robert Orci, and Harrison Ford!

L-R: Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, director Gavin Hood, producer Robert Orci, and Harrison Ford!

We called it a day at the convention centre after Divergent, but the day wasn’t over for me. Before the Con, I had tried and surprisingly succeeded at scoring an invite to the annual Ausiello party. Me being, well, me, I wasn’t entirely prepared for parties and socializing (I am socially awkward and an introvert after all), but who I am to pass on the chance to potentially meet celebrities? To which I did. It was really cool to see and meet Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley from Community) and Retta (Donna from Parks and Recreation); they honestly could not have been any nicer. On top of that, I met and talked to some cool people too – fellow fans just hanging out and talking about what we’re looking forward to at the Con.

At the Ausiello party and got to meet Yvette Nicole Brown!

At the Ausiello party and got to meet Yvette Nicole Brown!

Also got to meet the hilariously awesome Retta!

Also got to meet the hilariously awesome Retta!

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