I had never been to a Con. I always wanted to go to one. It just seemed like so much fun. Amazing costumes everywhere, everyone Nerding out together about all their favorite stuff. Our favorite writers, artists, actors, hanging out answering questions, telling stories, signing autographs. And the stuff! Oh the STUFF!!! So. Much. Cool. Stuff! Seriously. I do have to admit to sticker-shock though. I don’t care about autographs personally, but $40? Really? And that was the minimum. I understand these people all have to make a living, but damn! And don’t get me started on the photo-op prices. So the question now becomes, if I had had an extra $300 lying around would I have waited in line to get my picture taken with the entire bridge crew of Star Trek: TNG? Well, hell yes I would have. But I didn’t, so I just take comfort in the fact that my former housemate and fellow stunt person got to bodyguard Wil Wheaton all weekend. One degree of separation… just sayin’!
Crazy consumerism aside, though, I had a really awesome time. And I did spend a modest amount of money… A poster, a T-shirt, and a book. Not bad considering I saw about fifty things I really really wanted. For example, Tim Doyle of Nakatomi Inc. had a few prints I hadn’t seen before and were beautiful. An entire rack of etched pint and shot glasses with every emblem you can think of. I was particularly drawn to the Star Wars section, but they were all pretty awesome. I barely made it out of the gypsy clothing tent (I know that’s a little on the Ren Fair side, but so what, I love that stuff). And trust me, I could have blown my entire T-shirt budget for the year in about ten seconds. But I didn’t. Score for self-control!
So first day, I got there fairly early and had a look around at the set up. It wasn’t too busy but I could tell it was set up well. Even when it was jam-packed full of people it was still extremely easy to navigate and I never felt claustrophobic. I then hit the Craig Parker Q&A. Craig Parker is most well known as the Elf, Haldir, in Lord of the Rings (you know, the one who totally saved the day at Helm’s Deep?). He was also the wonderfully sinister villain, Darken Rahl, in Sam Raimi’s short lived but still excellent, Legend of the Seeker. And he’s currently in Spartacus: Vengeance, which I haven’t seen but I hear is very good. Anyway, he was incredibly personable, charming and funny talking about the wonderful mentors he had growing up, how interesting the grackles in Austin are, and how playing a villain isn’t really that different from playing a hero, because even villains are the heros of their own story (insert wise-crack about Mitt Romney here… oh yes he did!). My favorite part was him talking about how Disney nearly shut down production on Legend of the Seeker once the executives realized what kind of show they were making. Two words for those of you who know what I’m talking about… Mord-Sith!
The next day was much more eventful. I had a great conversation with Ernie Cline, screenwriter of Fanboys and author of Ready Player One (if you haven’t read this book, stop what you are doing and go get it NOW!). He was there with his Delorean, Ecto88. I introduced myself and he remembered ME (cuz we’re Facebook buddies!). I ran into my friends in their excellent handmade Borg costumes, spoke Klingon to some Klingons (admittedly it was just one word, but I had never done that before so I just crossed one more thing off my bucket list)… attended a great panel with comic author and artist, Michael Golden, called Storytelling: Taking it to the Next Level. I really appreciated his style. He’s very matter of fact about the business and gave me some sound and simple advice on a specific story problem I am having. Thanks Michael!
After that came the highlight of my Comic-Con experience. I attended the Q&A for Ray Park. All of you should know who he is (*ahem* Darth Maul *ahem*). As someone that has pursued stunt work (in a limited capacity mind you), and has studied martial arts for a long time, I’ve admire Park a great deal since he came to my attention in A Phantom Menace. Yes, the movie was terrible, but Darth Maul was AMAZING. So I’ve been following his career since then. And I don’t think I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting someone so kind and gracious and genuinely happy to be where he was and do what he was doing. Seriously, he’s like the nicest guy ever! And now I have a Ray Park story! At the Q&A I just had to ask him something. So I asked him what his favorite stunt was and what stunt women he liked working with. He told a great story about setting up a zip line into his pool, that ended poorly, mind you. And then went on about how women are so much tougher than men. After he told his story and I thanked him (and this was in front of the entire room), he said, “Do you do stunts? You look like you do stunts.” HAHA! Um, yes, I do, I said, slightly embarrassed.
The ten year old after me in line asked him to show us a little something, to which another audience member immediately held up his bow-staff, offering it to Ray Park for a demonstration. See the video below!
But wait, there’s more. I decided to get in his autograph line, because even though I don’t care about autographs I just had to talk to him some more. And he seriously had a conversation with every single person in line. Yeah, the line took forever, but everyone was happy to wait, including me. So when I get up there he recognizes me as “the stunt girl” and he asks me all about what I do, and what I study. So I told him about my Shoalin, Aikido, stunt and dance training. He also studied Shaolin and ballet! I tell him about the show I was in later that night, that I choreographed one of the numbers, and he asks for the details so he can come and see it (he didn’t, but it was nice of him to show interest). And when I go to take a photo with him he tells me I look fit, at which point I just checked out because wow, Ray Park just said I was “fit”. Enter giddy giggling school girl. I’m sure my face turned multiple shades of red. But seriously, Ray, thanks for noticing. Nice to know all my hard work is paying off. I think I had a solid ear-to-ear grin for the next 24 hours straight.
The one bummer of it all was not getting in to the Star Trek: TNG panel. It cost extra and my press creds didn’t count. I saw Gates McFadden, Levar Burton, Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton from a distance of about fifteen feet and I basked in the glory of it. But that’s all I got. Still though, not bad.
Ray Park shows us some basic bow-staff moves!
Seraph’s Comic Con photo gallery!