A First-Timer’s Account of San Diego Comic Con 2013 – Day 4

Nerd HQ (02)

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 4

The last day of Comic-Con was a more relaxed day. After two early mornings of lining up, my cousin and I had decided to get in a little more sleep and have some actual food for breakfast Sunday. Although we had wanted to check out the Breaking Bad panel in Hall H, we figured it was a hopeless cause, as it was situated right in between the Supernatural and Doctor Who fans. Let me tell you, I didn’t realize this until I started planning for SDCC, but Doctor Who is RIDICULOUSLY POPULAR! And those fans were uber-committed to camping out for this panel, which had the added bonus of being the 50th Anniversary panel. Yeah, there was no way we were getting in. With not having much to do that morning, we FINALLY made our way over to Petco Park and Nerd HQ. We didn’t get to see any of their “Conversations With A Cause” panels over the four days and we missed out on their crazy fun parties (man, we’re such non-party-goers! Next year, changing that!). Having never been, we didn’t know what to expect. Nerd HQ had an awesome set-up though: laptops with video games, a multitude of old school arcade games were made available to play, couches to relax with charging tables for your electronics – it was awesome.

I still love Tetris, so to see this old school arcade machine (from, I think it said 1987 to be exact?) was SO COOL

I still love Tetris, so to see this old school arcade machine (from, I think it said 1987 to be exact?) was SO COOL

A Nerd HQ Fiat? Yup! Though I kept referring it as the Nerd Herd car lol

A Nerd HQ Fiat? Yup! Though I kept referring to it as the Nerd Herd car lol

Both my cousin and I weren’t much of gamers so a quick tour of Nerd HQ, and a purchase of a shirt later, we were off and headed back into the exhibit hall. We made it our thing for the day to get our shopping done. Some things were gone by then, but we still managed to get stuff we wanted to take home with us. Like I said, pretty laid back day.

After sitting down for some lunch (and by that I mean, just finding a place to sit outside of the convention centre), we went back into the Hall H line. Why? Well after all the Doctor Who fans went in for the panel (and subsequently left after the panel finished), there were plenty of seats for the following panel – Community! Like my wait to get into Ballroom 20 on Friday, we only had to wait the length of the Doctor Who panel to get into Hall H. Lots of fun was to be had at the Community panel, as expected. Unfortunately though, both Joel McHale and Donald Glover were no shows (that info was already made known beforehand – Joel’s filming a movie and couldn’t make it, Donald’s only doing 5 episodes this season so wasn’t really expecting him to show up anyways). Bonus: we got swag for being at the panel! A solid (re: not your regular) red solo cup with the Community logo on it. Regardless of what it is, I love swag.

Community panel L-R: Moderator Chris Hardwick (him again!), Jim Rash, Yvette Nicole Brown, Allison Brie, Ken Jeong, Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs, EP Chris McKenna, EP Dan Harmon

Community panel
L-R: Moderator Chris Hardwick (him again!), Jim Rash, Yvette Nicole Brown, Allison Brie, Ken Jeong, Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs, EP Chris McKenna, EP Dan Harmon

After the Community panel, we headed for one more go-around the exhibit hall, finish up our shopping, try and see if there was any swag we could pick up, and catch any more autograph signings going on and try to get a picture. Before we knew it SDCC was over, we bid adieu to the convention centre and headed on back to our hotel.

Going into this whole process of attending SDCC, I both had an idea and no idea what I was getting myself into. It was a fantastic four days of getting to see some of my favourite actors in person. Although I didn’t get to do everything I wanted (ie. MEET the Nikita cast) or wish I had done things a different way (ie. re-word my question to the Nikita cast), I still managed to do a lot of things I wanted to and had lots of fun. Plus, what I learned this year will help me be more successful in my ventures next year.

Until then, I’m just going to stare at my pictures/videos from the Nikita panel =D

See y’all next year at SDCC!

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A First-Timer’s Account of San Diego Comic Con 2013 – Day 3

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 3

While Friday was all about Nikita for me, Saturday was all about How I Met Your Mother. I wanted badly to be in Hall H Saturday for all the movie panels, plus EW’s Women Who Kick Ass panel (which featured, among 4 others…Maggie Q! Duh, I would do almost anything for Maggie!), but decided against camping out starting at 3:00 in the afternoon Friday (I’m fairly certain I remember reading a tweet that people were already camped out at that time). I also decided against lining up for my chance at autographs again (on deck for today would have been Arrow, HIMYM). So like I said, Saturday = How I Met Your Mother. Now HIMYM might not seem like a typical show to be featured at SDCC, but we all knew well that regardless of that, the panel was going to be well attended. So making our way to the Indigo Ballroom, situated at the Hilton next to the convention center, my cousin and I waited in line at 7:30 A.M., and yes, there was already quite the line in front of us when we arrived.

By the time we got into the Indigo, we had to wait out two other panels before getting to our main event. The first was Machinima, a website/YouTube video network focused on the gaming community. This panel in particular, was focusing on fan films. Similar to my feelings about the World of Heroes panel, it was really cool to see and find out about all this original/creative content. There was only one name in the panel that I recognized and that would be Kevin Tancharoen, who was there for his Mortal Kombat: Legacy webseries. I, however, know him best as a former dancer/choreographer for Britney Spears, during the “In The Zone” era.

Machinima panel

Machinima panel

The second panel was for Geek and Sundry, Felicia Day’s video network. I had no idea what this was coming into SDCC, and when I have time, will now have to check out the shows she has on her YouTube network. It all just seemed really fun and cool. Felicia Day was obviously on the panel, as well as frequent Geek and Sundry contributor Wil Wheaton (all I hear in my head is Sheldon from Big Bang Theory yelling “WHHEEEAAAAATTTOONNNNN!!!”)

Geek and Sundry panel, with Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton

Geek and Sundry panel, with Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton

And then came How I Met Your Mother! Right before the panel began, there were some awesome fans who began to chant “Shrimp fried rice! Shrimp fried rice!”, which was obviously then followed by “CAN-A-DA! CAN-A-DA!” I had to represent and chant along to “CAN-A-DA!” before it quickly died off. The panel then started with a special video, that seemed like it was just the start of the first episode of the next season. Before I knew it, I started hearing censored expletives coming from Ted’s grown kids (aka Lyndsy Fonseca and David Henrie), cursing out their dad for spending eight years telling his story. It was SO FREAKIN’ HILARIOUS!! CBS has already made the video available online, so go watch it if you haven’t already. After the video finished, the cast and producers came out to massive applause, like the rockstars they were. Honestly, for a show that apparently had no right/reason to be at SDCC (said certain people on the internet after the announcement was made), you never would’ve guessed it by the reception they received. For me, it was just so much fun being in that room with the cast and all these fans. We got treated to more insight into the longest weekend ever (in case you haven’t heard, the final season will take place over the course of Barney & Robin’s wedding weekend). We still have the last slap to look forward to. Return of former guest stars? It is a wedding, so hopefully we will get to see Lucy Hale return as Robin’s sister (I almost forgot about her!) and John Lithgow as Barney’s father, but we at least know for certain that Wayne Brady is back as Barney’s brother James. Random tangents involving seeing how the interpreters sign everything they’re saying. Also, there were no less than three musical interludes: a “Let’s Go To The Mall” sing-a-long (Cobie was having trouble at the beginning, but Neil was more than happy to fill in the missing lyrics for her lol); Jason, by request, sang a bit of his Dracula musical; and everybody sang the “Bang Bang” song.

The cast of HIMYM coming in to a fury of applause and screams like the rockstars they are. (L-R): EP Carter Bays, EP Craig Thomas, Director Pamela Fryman, Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan

The cast of HIMYM coming in to a fury of applause and screams like the rockstars they are. (L-R): EP Carter Bays, EP Craig Thomas, Director Pamela Fryman, Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan

Unfortunately, the fun of the HIMYM panel had to end, much to everyone’s dismay. After that, my cousin and I didn’t really have any other panel that we immediately had to go to. So we headed on over to the exhibit hall, take everything in, and hopefully get to see some celebrities. I’ll tell you this, it gets crazy in there when there are autograph signings. You may try your best to get a shot of the celebs doing the signing, but the con has a strict “shoot and scoot” policy – take one picture and go. I understand the policy, but at the same time, you can’t guarantee that you’ll even get one good shot, especially with the tall guards blocking your way.

Ming Na during the SHIELD signing at the Marvel booth

Ming Na during the SHIELD signing at the Marvel booth

The cast of Once Upon A Time signing at the ABC booth (aka the Jolly Roger)

The cast of Once Upon A Time signing at the ABC booth (aka the Jolly Roger)

Managed to get a good shot of Kristin Bauer and Ryan Kwanten getting ready for their autograph signing at the WB Booth. Behind them on the other side, is Tom Cruise (and Emily Blunt) signing for their movie "Edge of Tomorrow"

Managed to get a good shot of Kristin Bauer and Ryan Kwanten getting ready for their autograph signing at the WB Booth. Behind them on the other side, is Tom Cruise (and Emily Blunt) signing for their movie “Edge of Tomorrow”

After a couple runs up and down the exhibit hall, trying to pick up swag and get pictures of celebs, I suggested we make our way to Ballroom 20. The Vampire Diaries panel was happening at the time, but I was much more interested in getting in for the Arrow panel. Well, turns out that there were still empty seats for the TVD panel (it had followed the always popular True Blood panel, which always gives out good swag apparently), so we were able to walk straight in.

The Vampire Diaries panel L-R: Kat Graham, Ian Somerhalder, EP Julie Plec, Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, EP Caroline Dries, Candice Accola

The Vampire Diaries panel
L-R: Kat Graham, Ian Somerhalder, EP Julie Plec, Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, EP Caroline Dries, Candice Accola

After about 5 minutes, the TVD panel was done and we shuffled our way up closer for the Arrow panel. Arrow quickly became one of my favourite new shows of last season, and after the fantastic season finale, I have been quite eager to see what they have in store for next season. The panel began with a preview clip for the season two premiere, and it was fantastic and thrilling to say the least. This panel was on Saturday, and they had only begun filming the new season on the Monday, so they apparently got A LOT of filming done and managed to package it together as a special clip for SDCC. Talk about movie magic and commitment to the fans. Days before, fans found out that we were getting introduced to Black Canary on the show, but it isn’t Laurel, so there was an interesting discussion during the panel of how the show likes to take what fans of the comic book know and flip it a bit. The first Green Arrow we meet, isn’t Oliver but is Yao Fei. When we first met Tommy Merlyn, we were led to believe that he becomes the Dark Archer of the comic books, but turns out it’s his father, Malcolm. So similar to those, this is just the beginning of the Black Canary storyline. Partway through, we got treated to a special appearance by John Barrowman, who joined the cast for the rest of the panel. All in all, some great insight into next season and what we can look forward to.

Arrow panel L-R: EP Marc Guggenheim, EP Andrew Kreisberg, Colton Haynes, Katie Cassidy, Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, EP Greg Berlanti

Arrow panel
L-R: EP Marc Guggenheim, EP Andrew Kreisberg, Colton Haynes, Katie Cassidy, Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, EP Greg Berlanti

 

A First-Timer’s Account of San Diego Comic Con 2013 – Day 2

My reason for being at SDCC, the Nikita cast.

My reason for being at SDCC, the Nikita cast.

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 2
Friday was the day that tested me. My cousin and I went our separate ways that day, as she went to tackle Hall H to see the Veronica Mars panel, and I tried my hand at the double whammy of the Nikita signing and panel. It was an early morning to get to the convention centre for the WB autograph signings. I had read a tweet the night before saying to get in line at 6:30 A.M; turns out that meant they were going to start the ticket raffle for your chance at wristbands at 6:30. I didn’t stand a chance. After finding out that all the wristbands for the Nikita signing were taken, I still stayed in line in hopes of maybe getting something else. My plan B, C and D were all gone by the time I reached the door. Lesson learned for next year!

Early morning shot of the Hall H line wrapping around the pier, while I was waiting to get into the WB autograph signing raffle

Early morning shot of the Hall H line wrapping around the pier, while I was waiting to get into the WB autograph signing raffle

With my attempt at getting autographs a bust, I made my way over to the lineup for room 6BCF, where the Nikita panel would be taking place. While in line, I met a fellow Nikita fan who had done the Con before, and helped me in my quest to properly meet any of the Nikita cast members. The unfortunate part of lining up so early ahead of a panel you want to see is that you’ll be sitting through panels you didn’t necessarily have in your plans. On the flip side, by sitting through these other panels, you get exposed to different things you didn’t know about. The panel I took in while waiting for Nikita was Stan Lee’s World of Heroes. Yup, I got to see Stan Lee in person. Also, did I mention that I was sitting in the second row?! World of Heroes is a YouTube channel featuring a multitude of different shows, and obviously with a focus on the nerd. For me, it was really cool to see/learn the type of programming and videos on YouTube that you wouldn’t necessarily have known about. I mean, it’s YouTube – there are A LOT of videos.

Stan Lee's World of Heroes panel

Stan Lee’s World of Heroes panel

After Stan Lee, was my moment of truth – the NIKITA panel! For three years, I have tried and failed miserably to meet the cast in Toronto (and the rare time that they’ve filmed in Cambridge), so to sit no more than 10 feet away from my favourite people ever was a big deal! I was sitting there in awe of being in front of Maggie, Shane, Lyndsy, Aaron, Melinda, Noah, and Craig. I was so excited to hear them talk and just be in their presence that I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. And then they started asking for fan questions. Let’s remember here that I am an awkward person, who doesn’t talk a lot. Before the panel (I’m talking days), I tried thinking of one REALLY good question I could potentially ask. While in that panel, my sense of fear of embarrassing myself started sinking in. Then at some point, I got up the nerve and just said to myself “F*ck this! I’m going up there! This will probably be my only chance to talk to them!” The fear and panic came back when the person in front of me essentially asked the same question I was about to, so I had to think quickly on my feet. Let it also be known that I sometimes don’t do well under extreme pressure (it’s why I always hated tests in school). So there I was standing at the mic, trying to get my words together to talk to this cast whom I have complete love and respect for. This is what went down:

Me: “Hi my name is Thi. I’m actually from Toronto and I have been dying to meet you guys for three years…”

Lyndsy (I’m fairly certain. It all seemed so surreal to be talking to them and to have them even acknowledging my existence): “And you came all the way here to see us?! Aww! ”

Me: “YES! I came here to see you!”

Melinda: “Don’t worry we’ll be back Monday!”

Me: *laughing nervously, trying to collect myself* “So we know you guys obviously love hanging out together offset, any favourite memories from behind the scenes? Offscreen?”

To which Aaron answers first by saying they’re all just on Twitter when they’re not filming and then Lyndsy and Maggie start talking about all the dogs around set. After asking my question, I stepped to the side to hear their answer and not really knowing what to do I started going back to my seat before they even finished. (Toldya I was awkward…) When the panel ended, lots of people rushed to the front to get autographs/pictures from the cast before they left. My new friend on the other hand, rushed me to get out of the panel room. I wasn’t sure why but I followed her anyway. Turns out she was leading me to the door where the cast was exiting the panel room and heading into a break room (I think that’s what it was because they weren’t in there for long?). Before I knew it, Lyndsy was standing right in front of me, and just as I was going in for a picture with her (which she was totally nice about), Jeff Tobler, their PR guy rushed her away saying that they were on a tight schedule. So we waited by the break room for the cast to come by again and when Maggie came through, my friend yells out “Can she [pointing to me] get a picture? She’s the one from Toronto!” We could honestly see Maggie thinking about it, but then she had to apologize that she couldn’t because they had to go and were being rushed out to meet with press. I understood but at the same time, I couldn’t help but think “Screw the press! You’ve got fans here who want to meet you!” (I am sorry to all those critics/journalists/members of the press whom I respect dearly. I was being a selfish fan.)

Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca having a laugh. Have I mentioned how much I love these guys?

Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca having a laugh. Have I mentioned how much I love these guys?

Aaron Stanford, Melinda Clarke, Noah Bean, creator/EP Craig Silverstein

Aaron Stanford, Melinda Clarke, Noah Bean, creator/EP Craig Silverstein

The whole Nikita experience behind me, I parted ways with my friend and made my way to the line for Ballroom 20, the second largest panel room. I knew ahead of time that there was no way I’d make it into the Agents of SHIELD panel (too popular for its own good, being a new show and all lol), but waited out the length of that panel to get in for what came after it. As expected, as soon as SHIELD let out (which I honestly was disappointed to not get to see that pilot), I made my way into B20 and settled in for a row of consecutive panels. The Following was first and they started it off by showing a video clip of the final minutes from the season finale and what happened after the screen went black, revealing the fate of Kevin Bacon’s Ryan and Natalie Zea’s Claire. I’m not one to spoil things for others, but I must say just seeing that end moment again, I had the same feelings I had when I watched it the first time. Then seeing it fully play out? That was a great bonus. What I love about seeing these panels is that you get some sense into not only what’s ahead for the next season, but also how the producers and cast felt about the previous season. After it’s highly buzzed about pilot episode, anyone who saw the show through its first season run can attest to a feeling of exasperation that the FBI were always a couple steps behind Joe Carroll and his cult. Executive producer Kevin Williamson admittedly said that he recognizes that the FBI were a little dumb last season and promises that in season two, with a one year time jump, the show will focus less on the FBI and more on the characters.

L-R: James Purefoy (who made a "surprise" appearance), Valorie Curry, EP Marcos Siega, Kevin Bacon, EP Kevin Williamson, Shawn Ashmore

The Following panel. (L-R): James Purefoy (who made a “surprise” appearance), Valorie Curry, EP Marcos Siega, Kevin Bacon, EP Kevin Williamson, Shawn Ashmore

After The Following was a panel that I was really excited about, and that is for Almost Human, a new show from Joel Wyman, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk. The panel included a screening of the pilot (which for the record, it is totally awesome to get to see something months in advance), followed by a short Q&A. My initial thought on the pilot is that like the Fringe pilot, it isn’t perfect but it certainly sets up everything needed to continue on with the series and hooks you in. Wyman even said himself that the show came about partially because he “wanted to keep Fringe fans happy.” Watching it, you do get the sense that the show was created by the same people who worked on Fringe, between the futuristic sci-fi elements and the mixture of procedural and mythology, with a dash of humour/light moments, but it is its own show. The panel talked about how the show will examine all things technical, but that for the series to work, everything comes back to the human condition, and seeing how human beings deal with the relations of the future. I would highly recommend seeing this show when it premieres in the fall.

L-R: Writer Naren Shankar, Lili Taylor, Minka Kelly, Michael Ealy, Karl Urban, EP/Creator Joel Wyman

Almost Human panel. (L-R): Writer Naren Shankar, Lili Taylor, Minka Kelly, Michael Ealy, Karl Urban, EP/Creator Joel Wyman, Moderator Damian Holbrook

Breaking from the typical show panel, next up was TV Guide’s Fan Favorites panel, their yearly tradition of bringing stars of a multitude of shows, new and old to just talk. When this panel was initially announced for this year, among the panelists were Yvonne Strahovski, Candice Accola, and Katie Cassidy, whom I was really excited about seeing (especially Yvonne!), but as it came closer, others were added and those three were unfortunately not going to be on the panel. The final crew of panelists included: Blair Underwood (Ironside), Henry Ian Cusick (The 100), Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow), Giancarlo Esposito (Revolution), Kristin Bauer (True Blood), Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), Clark Gregg (SHIELD), Julie Plec (EP of The Vampire Diaries), and Joseph Morgan (The Originals). As far as the panel itself, it was fun hearing all these actors talk about their various characters and what not. Some fun moments:

  • Clark Gregg knowing very well of the audience in front of him; elicits cheers just from dropping names (of people, shows, movies) – Buffy, Firefly, Thor, The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing. After a while, he had to stop himself from talking, just so time wasn’t wasted on us cheering at everything he said ahaha.
  • Kristin Bauer, who is honestly, always a fan fave, talks about how relationships are tested this season on True Blood. Seeing how well it worked out for Clark, she decides for good measure just to namedrop Alexander Skarsgard (It worked. We cheered.)
  • Giancarlo Esposito decides to use his time to plug the premieres of Revolution and Breaking Bad, and briefly talks about his return to Once Upon A Time, where his character Sidney will be going back to that world to win back Regina.
  • Stating the obvious, moderator Debra Birnbaum of TV Guide asks Emily Bett Rickards if her character Felicity has a crush on Oliver – “Come on, Oliver Queen. Stephen Amell.”
  • Blair Underwood, there to promote his new NBC show Ironside comes to the conclusion that “Maybe we should add some vampires or zombies”
L-R: Blair Underwood, Henry Ian Cusick, Emily Bett Rickards, Giancarlo Esposito, Kristen Bauer, Tyler Hoechlin, Danai Gurira, Clark Gregg, Julie Plec, Joseph Morgan

TV Fan Favorites. (L-R): Blair Underwood, Henry Ian Cusick, Emily Bett Rickards, Giancarlo Esposito, Kristen Bauer, Tyler Hoechlin, Danai Gurira, Clark Gregg, Julie Plec, Joseph Morgan

Last panel of the day (for me) was the Joss Whedon panel. Turns out, Whedon does this every year and it is pretty much him answering fan questions for an hour. Fun! I honestly didn’t take many notes during the panel, because I (like everybody else) was very much basking in the presence of awesomeness. I mean, this man gave us the legacy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Dollhouse, and then moved onto to pretty much controlling the Marvel movie empire when he directed The Avengers. If us nerds needed to name someone as our master/king/god, Joss Whedon would probably be it (to be fair, it’s probably a toss up between Whedon and Stan Lee, but that’s another discussion). But I digress, it was really cool to hear Whedon talk so openly answering fan questions like that. Among the topics brought up (from what I can recall):

  • Since tackling a Shakespeare adaptation, after the heavy action of The Avengers, what other film genre would Whedon like to take on? Anything, except the family drama. And yes, that does include a musical (outside of Dr. Horrible). Dance battle over a special effects action sequence? Why not?
  • On whether he’d revisit Wonder Woman (Whedon, at one point in time, wrote a script for a new WW. Nothing was made of it.)? No. He doesn’t like going backwards, and would much rather go forward doing other things.
  • On the topic of remakes/adaptations – He thinks that Hollywood needs to get more creative, put out more original content. Realizes the irony of that, being someone who just did The Avengers and Much Ado About Nothing, but talks about how if they keep going on this cycle of remake of a remake, they’re gonna run out of movies to remake.
  • On whether he can actually be a feminist, without being female – He doesn’t care. He thinks feminism is more about equality, rather than a perspective. Awesome words from the man who has given us so many strong female characters in pop culture.
Joss Whedon, no big deal...VERY BIG DEAL!

Joss Whedon, no big deal…VERY BIG DEAL!

[UPDATE] After much prodding by Nikita fans, The WB has finally uploaded the panel in full. So I get to remember my full on awkwardness forever.

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!