Monday, July 1, 2013

Supanova 2013: Day 1 Review

Wow. The weekend is over and what a weekend it was. Supanova 2013 brought us knights, princesses, space ship crews and wizards. There were cosplayers galore and a generous amount of new-con-goers thrown into the mix.

Follow me below the jump for my day one play-by-play, full of pictures, stories and more.

This year I got an Excalibur pass which entitled me to express queuing for the Merlin guests, an exclusive Merlin Knights panel and express queuing for tokens. This pass was well worth the extra money and worked really well throughout the weekend. This year's Perth Supanova convention was well run and the volunteers much more thoroughly organised and helpful than past years. It was thumbs up all round!

I made an appearance at Friday night's preview to pre-purchase some tokens for the weekend and to see the Merlin Knights’ Arthurless panel. More on the Merlin panels later in a separate post as there is a lot to get through for all of the Knights on Tour experience. Friday night's panel was awesome. Rupert Young, Tom Hopper and Eoin Macken were all funny, charming and good sports. They cracked jokes, fielded questions and auctioned off some signed stuffed toys for charity. Great stuff!

Saturday began early in the morning with warm jackets, some nervous energy and a coffee. People were at the show grounds very early to pick up tokens and get in line for entry. Queues at conventions are a staple and I was glad I had two friends and an internet connection!

Once inside at 10am I kicked off the day with a visit to our booth. There we were, Fruitless Pursuits with our little cartoon ninja warriors on the banner, Suz and Luke were sitting at a table covered in Luke's comics and playing cards. Jacinta was ready to wield her camera and take lots of amazing photos. I was clearly surplus to requirements so I headed to the Bradley James photo line.

Bradley was everything you would expect from a charming and well mannered Englishman. He was very happy to be meeting his fans, ready with a greeting handshake and a big smile. It's always fantastic when guests are really happy to be at a convention and genuinely want to see their fans and get involved with that whole community.

Straight after Bradley's photo I headed into the Film Ink panel room for Eve Myles' talk and was pleasantly surprised to discover that her colleague Kai Owen was doing the panel with her. Both Eve and Kai are actors from Torchwood, playing Gwen and Rhys. Eve was visibly excited and gushed about how originally she didn't want to do conventions because she was so terrified of having to stand on stage and answer questions and then started to worry that fans would think that she didn't appreciate them. Once she started she became addicted and now completely adores coming out to places like Australia and meeting all of the people who enjoy her work so much. Kai was hilarious and played so well off Eve that I found myself thanking the Supanova management for putting them together. 

I have seen all of Torchwood except Miracle Day which was the most recent season filmed in Hollywood. It's amazing to trace where this show has come from and where it has gone. Eve and Kai both said that they had an amazing time filming in Hollywood and could barely believe they were there. They also talked about their parenthood as characters in the show, which was developed in the Miracle Day season, and how that changed their perspectives on their characters. Both believed it made them more fierce and protective but where Rhys would want their child to have nothing to do with the alien world, Gwen would probably be encouraging a double life for their child.

It was wonderful to hear Eve talk so passionately about playing a strong female character and wanting to be able to make her even stronger as the show continues, if it gets picked up for another series. It's so good to see actresses who are invested in those types of roles and doing justice to them. She spoke a lot about her little daughter and her love of being a mother and wanting the more vulnerable side of Gwen to be as prominent as her gun toting badass side.

There were plenty of R Rated stories included, care of one John Barrowman; Torchwood's leading actor. Eve told a story of being in make up way too early in the morning and feeling something of John's brushing her cheek... it was not his hand. Kai and Eve agreed that John was always naked and Kai discussed a few scenes in an episode where John was completely naked and Kai had to try to ignore it. Eve corrected that John was completely naked except for some sanitary napkins which he had stuck to the bottom of his feet so they wouldn't get cut up! Oh John Barrowman...

Off the bat Eve was asked about all of the sex scenes on Torchwood and described thinking of the beach as her way of dealing with them. This involved some hilarious banter between Eve and Kai about their scenes together and the affairs that Gwen may or may not have had.

Kai was complemented on his voice acting in the Torchwood radio episodes which you should really check out if you like Torchwood and didn't know they existed! Eve talked about her voicing characters on video games.

There were plenty of sadder elements to their talk, discussing character death scenes and the way that they dealt with them. At the end of season two all of the character death sequences were done in single takes and the emotion was real. A lot was done as improv to ensure the authenticity of the actors performances. Eve still cannot watch the end of season two because it's too sad. She and Kai also noted that there is a shrine to the character who died in Children of Earth that is now permanent in Cardiff and you can go and visit it. It's an amazing reminder of how loved the show and that character is in England.

The Q&A finished up with comments that Eve should run a Cardiff tour and that she would be happy to sit in that room with all those fans all day and drink wine and eat pizza. Her and Kai exited to raucous applause and then came back out just for laughs. Really pleased that I got to see that panel because I missed seeing Kai on Saturday and Eve could only stay in Perth for one day.

After Eve and Kai's panel it was back up to the photograph area for a Merlin Knight's photograph with all four of the lads. This photo was a genius idea and I am sure that all the people who got one were really happy with the way they turned out; some funny, some adorable, but all a genuine keepsake. I had to stand on a bucket for mine because I am tiny and all four of the knights are massive. Rupert told me that he is 6 foot 4 inches and Tom is 6 foot 5 inches. Even standing on a bucket I couldn't match Bradley (who is the shortest of the group). More stories on that in the Merlin review but needless to say; they were all gracious and fantastic.

We stumbled out of that photo and straight into the wonderful Alan Tudyk's line. I've gushed about the knights and will continue to but please let me take a moment to say that Alan Tudyk is one of my absolute favourite actors of the histories and meeting him was such an honour and treat that I may never find words for it. He was calm and funny and he made the day of every person he met. My photo with him turned out excellently and I am so happy that I have it.

My next stop (after a little food) was up to the Seminar room for the exclusive Merlin Knights panel which was intimate and a little bit strange if I am honest. A room full of pretty dedicated people who paid a lot extra for the convention and still there were questions that the boys refused to answer. Good on them I say; if people want to ask about fan fiction, which is entirely inappropriate, they deserve to have that question ignored. All four lads seemed very tired but Eoin Macken kept everyone perky with a lot of enthusiasm and plenty of jokes. I'll talk more about this panel in my Merlin review but I did get to ask a question about other roles that they have gotten that they have been really excited about and Tom Hopper answered that he had been written a role in Eoin Macken's upcoming movie Cold. Both Eoin and Tom were really happy and excited about this and I can't wait to see the trailer (which they hadn't been able to complete in time for the convention) and to see what kind of role Tom is playing as he said it was pretty challenging.


Next I rushed off to the MASSIVE Alan Tudyk line and managed to not only get in but to also get a seat which was fantastic! Alan wowed the adoring packed crowd (which had gone into standing room) with many tales from his Firefly/Serenity, Dollhouse, Transformers and even some earlier days. There were many stories, including some new ones that I hope I can capture below.

Firstly, Alan got some of the big guns out of the way. 1. He felt bad about his character development in Serenity (what happened to his character). 2. He doesn't know if there will be another series but assumes that this cannot happen until Nathan Fillion is off Castle. 3. He loves Perth.

With that out of the way we launched into some pretty good questions and Alan proved what a seasoned pro he is at conventions by fielding the more bizarre ones with a lot of tact. For example the Jayne hat has now been licensed by FOX and Alan made clear his feelings on this development... as did a lot of the crowd. FOX IS THE ALLIANCE! He kept getting episode names wrong, calling all of them Objects in Space and never getting it right when actually Objects in Space was his favourite Firefly episode. But aside from all the laughs and the banter there were three stories of his I really wanted to share here:

1. At a party, Joss Whedon caught up with Alan and Alan asked how his new show at the time, Dollhouse, was going. Joss launched into a story about how he was loving it and started to describe a particular character called Alpha to Alan. He's got all these people trapped in his head and they are all vying for a voice and it's driven him insane and he's become this psychopath and kills all these people and cuts up their faces but he's got a lot of things going on that are contributing to this etc. And Alan basically says "Whoa Joss, that's intense! Who's playing that??!" and Joss says "Will you?" And that was how Joss Whedon asked Alan Tudyk to play Alpha on Dollhouse. Amazing.

Apparently he really enjoyed the challenge but it was terrifying, especially stepping between something he enjoys doing like Alpha's counterpart who is bumbling and smokes a lot of weed into someone who is completely off the rails.

2. Alan took the red button from Out of Gas off the Firefly set when the cast broke up and one day decided to give it to Joss, thinking that if anyone should have it that's who it should be. He left it on Joss' desk at Joss' production company. Joss said it came at the perfect time for him because he was about to give up on bringing the show back altogether; it was getting too hard. Eventually, Serenity was made and it was deeply symbolic because he felt like he pressed the button and they all came home. I find that story really touching and I think it speaks to how a lot of fans in that room feel about the show even today after ten years.

3. Alan told a story that he doesn't think he's ever told before. He was in a really bad place at the time, didn't like where he was, his job, or anything and had applied for acting school following a teacher telling him that he had what it took to make it in the industry when he originally thought he wanted to own a chain of restaurants. He was working in a bar and there was a guy who always used to play piano there. He used to ask people for requests to sing towards the end of the night. One night he sang the Billy Joel song Piano Man... and it changed Alan's life. He changed the lyrics to refer to Alan singing; "Now Al at the bar is a friend of mine, he gets me my drinks for free" (and Alan realised he did get this guy drinks for free), "He's quick with a joke or to light up a smoke (Alan smoked at the time) but there's some place that he'd rather be" Alan had started to feel like this was a little too eerily accurate as the guy then brought it home with "He says I believe this is killing me as the smile ran away from his face, well I'm sure that I could be a movie star if I could get out of this place!" At the end of the story the room erupted with disbelief at how accurate the song was and Alan said he spent that night reflecting with a bottle of whisky and then got into acting school a few weeks later. Good story Alan and both at the convention and on a video I saw of Alan here in Perth at Deville's I have to say, THIS GUY CAN SING!

To close out Alan told a joke that was left out of Wreck it Ralph that he improvised... "we don't want this turning into a race riot". People laughed a lot.

After Alan's talk, we happily did a quick lap of the floor, checked on Luke and Suz and then headed back to Film Ink for an amazing presentation by Daniel Falconer on the WETA workshop, his history, it's work, the talented people who make up their teams and the great movies that they have worked on. I have to say, this talk was fantastic and engaging and I was really sorry to miss the next day’s session, which was focusing more on the work they were doing on the new Hobbit movie. WETA are wonderful geniuses and if you ever get a chance to see them present or pick up a piece of their amazing work I would highly recommend it. Stories about chain mail artists losing their finger prints from all of the work they were doing, images of the way they sculpted the miniatures and the bigatures used on The Lord of the Rings and tales of hobbit's feet were all brilliant. The workshop stall had a beautiful Gollum displayed that many con-goers took photos with and fell in love with. He was fleshy to the touch and intricately detailed with individually punched fine hairs. Just stunning. Thank you to Supanova for bringing them over, I am in awe of their talent.

A final big walk of the vendor floor was how I closed out day one; complete with my very own commission that I hope to see in the next week of the Scarlett Witch! I think Capey's commission piece inspired a bunch of us to get onto that.

Day one was complete and the legs were beginning to ache, the bank account was starting to cry and the stomach was beginning to rumble. More on the next day and the Merlin panels to come! In the mean time, some cosplay snaps!!!
What a super-team! Batman, Scarlett Spider, Judge Dredd and Doctor Deadpool!!


It's Psy hanging in Kings Comics with none other than...

Codex! Felicia Day would be proud. 

The Doctor Who lodge let me be companion for the day with my very own K-9 and TARDIS.

And here are your team, nerding hard to bring you the latest coverage at Supanova.

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