I knew Sunday was not going to be a madhouse, but I still wanted to get to Moscone early to ensure a good seat for the Sarah Connor Chronicles panel. I left my apartment later than usual, and on the BART ride over, I read the issue of Kabuki David Mack had given me. And, holy shit, it was pretty fantastic. I didn't know anything about this character, and yet I found this very introspective issue incredibly compelling. There was an awesome line about "conjugating the grammar of shapes." I always thought of David Mack as an artist, but I forgot that he was also a great writer.
I made it to the line for Hall A at around 10:40, which was only twenty minutes before the exhibit hall was supposed to open. And, to my surprise and delight, there were only, like, a dozen damn people there!! I was guaranteed a seat in the first couple rows.
As I waited, I chatted for half an hour or so with the couple in front of me, who recognized me as having sat behind them the day before. Fred and Melissa were their names, I eventually discovered. We discussed the panels from before, and I did my Brendan Fraser impression and was the first person to inform them that Forgetting Sarah Marshall existed and was hilarious. We talked a lot of comics as well, and I pleased Fred by asking him whether anything good came out of Civil War. It was something he had been thinking about it himself, but he never got a chance to talk about it since his wife didn't read it (he had recently gotten her into comics, but they had very different tastes). I pimped Fables to Melissa, who was hooked from the premise. I also learned that J. Michael Stracyznski produced Murder, She Wrote. They had skipped the Iron Man panel to see his panel, and Fred said he was very much like Kevin Smith in the informal, friendly nature he ran his panels. It's fun to talk to strangers!
I snagged a seat in the second row, right next to the microphone. I saved a couple seats for cofax7 and makaidiver, as well as rowanceleste, whom I never did get to see and whose seat remained empty and wasted for hours, alas. Luckily, WonderCon was running a bit late, and cofax7 had time to check out the exhibit hall and get to me before Trailer Park even started. She had told me I was "like the best" for saving her a seat.
Trailer Park did have some good trailers, many of which I'd already seen (some at WonderCon). It was interesting to listen to the audience response to see what movies people were into. The greatest surprise was a trailer for Hancock, which I had not even heard of, but looks great. Will Smith plays a homeless superhero! Doomsday also looked promising.
I had the brilliant idea of having cofax7 save my seat while I skipped the Jericho episode and took care of a couple things on the floor.
First, I stopped by David Mack's table once again to get my Alias trade signed (he did the covers). He was showing someone prints of pages from the Daredevil project with Bendis that he had told me about! I saw Wolverine and some woman who was shooting fire or plasma or something. Possibly also Elektra. Or maybe it was a Kabuki crossover. Anyway, he was talking about how he had studied some artists to do a more traditional comic style.
David signed the cover. I told him that I'd read the issue of Kabuki and something really bad had happened.
I really liked it! Like, really.
He was glad. I told him I definitely wanted to go back and read from the beginning since I loved stories about characters figuring out who they are. I also pointed out the cool anecdote in one of the letters about how someone had given a Kabuki trade to Poe at a concert, and she had the announced the title and author to everyone. He gave me another issue to read (#9) and signed it. Then...oh my God, I proceeded to make a complete fool out of myself by basically telling him what a great guy he was. But he was! He was so nice and friendly! I looked forward to seeing him at future cons! I liked his work before, but I think I'm now basically a David Mack fanboy.
Now, while we had been talking, a woman arrived, the same woman who had been at the booth on Friday. She was a very pretty woman, and I noticed today that her nametag read...Mandy Amano. No way? That was completely random. Could that really be her?
I said that her name sounded really familiar, not wanting to jump in and be wrong. She said that her dad was in comics, and she did some acting. For instance, she'd been in a Pepsi commercial.
"I love that Pepsi commercial!" I said. I did not add, "Because you looked really great in it, and it was a joy to see whoever that Pepsi girl was when the commercial came on." Because that would be weird and awkward, and she knows there are many like me.
"Thanks!" she said. "Although I don't actually like Pepsi."
"Me neither!" I exclaimed. "Coke forever!" I gave her a high-five.
David commented on her outfit and asked what she was dressed as. She said she was dressed as herself. I noted that I was sure there were a lot of people who wore black leather. She could be Kate Beckinsale from Underworld!
"You're right," she said. "All I need is the teeth."
I felt weird asking for a picture with a hot pseudocelebrity, but I like having photographic evidence of hot women, so I lamely made up an excuse that I was going to take a picture of "my favorite table." I had visited it every day, after all.
Things you should notice in this picture: David Mack is unfairly attractive for a comic book writer. Mandy Amano is unusually attractive for the girlfriend of a comic book writer! That's my Alias on the table. And please click and click to see the larger version of the picture so you can look at David Mack's art. Isn't it gorgeous?
One thing you can't notice very well in this picture: Mandy's Yoda backpack. So I asked her to show it off.
This means there's a hot geek girl out there for me, right? Right? Who loves Star Wars and comics but also has a mesmerizing rumpshake? Or does that only work if I'm as talented as David Mack? Shit.
My other errand was an attempt to return the volume 1 of 100 Bullets from yesterday. When I got to the booth, however, there was a man flipping through a stack, and I saw a familiar shade of orange. "Excuse me!" I exclaimed. Because I had recognized volume 4 of 100 Bullets FROM THE BACK. I had thought it was gone forever! Holy crap, I couldn't believe it was right there as I walked up when I had actively looked for it yesterday to no avail.
And then, seconds later, I had another "Excuse me!" moment as I spotted a Sandman I needed! Volume 5, Season of Mists. Goddamn, what was going on here? Unfortunately, it was a little ripped in one corner. And that would bug me. Especially because I had found better copies of all the other slightly damaged trades I had found. So I let it go, finally.
The head of the booth recognized me and greeted me, and I told him my plight. I asked him if he gave refunds, and I also noted that I had found something I had been looking for before. I didn't think he would have given me a refund, but he took a look at what I had and just...let me exchange them.
Please note that First Shot, Last Call is $9.99 (five bucks) and A Foregone Tomorrow is $17.99 (nine bucks). BEST EXCHANGE EVER!
I returned to Hall A to see the last five or ten minutes of the Jericho episode, after which they brought out the panelists.
I don't really care about Jericho, so I'm not going to expend a lot of energy on the panel. Basically, they're EXTREMELY THANKFUL for the nuts, and every episode is a THANK YOU, and they filmed a special THANK YOU from the cast and crew. Also, Lennie James (Hawkins!) is British! And awesome, as expected. Finally, it was confusingly sad that only one person was waiting to ask a question for the longest time, and there were so few people who got in line that they actually got to everyone.
It appeared that most of the people were in the room for the Sarah Connor Chronicles panel. Or, more specifically, Summer Glau. That line started forming as soon as the Jericho panel was over. I claimed my spot quickly.
They showed a neat highlight reel at the beginning, and then they brought out the panelists. Josh Friedman (creator/showrunner), Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, Brian Austin Green, and John Wirth (producer/writer).
Moderator Craig Tomashoff used the first half of the panel to ask the panelists some questions. Remember when I observed that comedy movie panels tend to be funny? Well, I think that' s also true of cult television shows not named Jericho. The SCC panel was very funny, especially since Josh Friedman was a hoot, Thomas Dekker was lively and amusing, Summer Glau was game for most anything, and Brian Austin Green didn't mind cursing. Josh Friedman looks kind of like Kevin Smith, and Thomas Dekker needs a haircut.
Let's see, interesting tidbits! Summer asked her boyfriend to hold up a pillow so she could shoot a BB gun at him. Thomas called Summer Glau a rock star, and she denied it. He sounded like he was really enjoying being on the show. Good God, yet again, why am I having trouble remember anything about a panel from six hours ago despite being able to remember specific dialogue from eight hours ago?
Well, you know, let's talk about Brian Austin Green, who is surprisingly awesome. He's very self-aware and lacking in ego; when Craig asked Josh if Brian was his first choice to play Derek Reese, Brian immediately answered that he was certain he wasn't his first choice. Josh provided an amusing anecdote about a poster for The Freddie Show [sic] (starring Brian Austin Green) that he passed every day on his way to work. When it came to casting Derek Reese, Brian came in and gave a fantastic audition. And it took Josh some time to come to terms with the fact that he was going to be casting Brian Austin Green, of the Freddie Show [sic] poster. He went into the writers room and told them, and they were skeptical, but then he popped in a DVD of his audition, and they were all, "So we're casting Brian Austin Green as Derek Reese."
Initially, Josh was going to bring back Kyle Reese. From an alternate future or something. He had this whole thing worked up, and he thought it was the best idea in the world, except James Middleton, I think it was, told him no way, that wouldn't fly with the fans at all. So Josh said, "How about his brother?" And that worked.
Josh joked at the beginning of the panel that the show was going to last for twelve seasons. He talked a lot about the fact that he was very focused on character, that car chases bored him. He was more interested in the development of the characters (and I think that shows).
Regarding a possible season 2, Josh said that the last episode, episode 9, ends on a cliffhanger. It just worked out that way; there were supposed to be four more episodes in the season. And season 2 couldn't really just start with whatever episode 10 was going to be, so there would have to be some tweaking, but he did have season 2 mapped out already.
Josh said that he thought the show was really funny, but no one else seemed to (he joked about this throughout the panel). He said he wanted Fox to use a tagline like "A Real Nuclear Family." Which was fucking hilarious, and we all laughed, and Thomas said, "He's been telling me that for months, and I only now got it." Josh said that Fox wouldn't go for it, but if they used it in season two, we heard it here first!
Oh, the moderator asked Summer how she played a robot, and she couldn't really give a real answer, so she defaulted, "I just do what [Josh] tells me to." Josh replied, "Summer is like the employee's employee," meaning she would always defer praise to the boss. When, in fact, he explained that in television, the actors often had to direct themselves. He pointed out that he wasn't on set at all while the non-pilot episodes were being filmed, so he couldn't take any credit for Summer's performance. Summer does what Summer does.
Oh!! Speaking of directors. Apparently Thomas Dekker is kind of a goofball, as, during the first rehearsal of the day, he usually plays a different character, not John Connor. That is, I presume he says the lines while pretending to be, like, Forrest Gump or something. And it's a different character every day. He says it's really fun to do it with new directors, especially because they're not sure he's joking.
Summer enjoys crashing through breakaway walls. Thomas commented that they had finished filming the series months ago, and he had only just started working out, whereas Summer had been pumping up ages ago. Summer's sister wanted to know whether she had a badass catchphrase.
Craig asked them all what they've learned from the show. Brian Austin Green said that he learned that "sci-fi is fucking awesome," which got a cheer. Thomas said he hadn't learned from the role of John Connor, but he'd learned a lot from the experience of making the show. Josh had never run a television show before; he had only completed pilots that didn't get picked up.
Oh, John Wirth gave a really great answer about the fact that there were people out there who believed that television audiences were stupid, whereas they consciously made an effort not to dumb down the show. They cut out lines of dialogue that others might tell them to keep in, and they rely on the actors to convey things with facial expressions by, you know, acting. And it was so great to hear him say that because it's SO TRUE. I marvel at the way this show expects its audience to pick up on so much more than you normally have to.
Possibly the most hilarious answers to a moderator question were regarding reading online feedback. Thomas said he definitely read the forums, even though it hurt when people said bad things about him. His favorite stuff to read was when someone who wasn't familiar with the mythology would point out some apparent continuity error, and then someone who really knew their stuff would come in, and there would be a 25-page debate. Summer said she couldn't read the forums because she couldn't take the bad things people would say, but her mom forwarded her links to the good things. Josh replied that his dad sent him the bad things, like, "The neighbor from two houses didn't like so-and-so." Thomas said his mom also sent him the bad things. Sometimes she would say, "You shouldn't have said that!" Brian Austin Green, on the other hand, loved reading the bad things people said about him when he was cast. He got a real kick out of it. But he really liked seeing the posts after his first episode aired because they went from referring to him as—he held up his name placard—this three-named thing and just called him Derek.
Then it was time for Q&A!
The first question was the old "What can we do to ensure a second season?" question. And the guy had already listed all the things he had done, like watch it and DVR it and watch it online (after the window when writers don't get a cut) and tell people to watch it, etc. Josh said he was doing all he could be doing.
The second question, like the majority of questions, was for Summer. The guy asked her what it was like to go from playing River, who was sort of off in the head and a potential killing machine, to playing Cameron, who was a killing machine. I don't really remember Summer's answer. I don't think actors ever give good answers about acting. It's weird. At least, not on the spot.
The third question was me! "I have a question for Josh and a question for Summer, and I'm going to ask Summer first to give her some time to think," I said. She snapped to attention, afraid of a thinky question. "This is actually a good follow-up to the previous question. You've played River and now Cameron, and you also played Tess in The 4400, and I was sad that was cancelled."
"Thank you," said Summer. "I was too."
"And those are all these sci-fi characters, like psychic mind-controlling robots. I was wondering what sort of character would you like to play that's, like, a normal human being." I paused, and then said, "So think about that while I go to Josh." Thomas amusingly made some sort of wavey-arm gesture around her like "Put on your thinking hat" or something.
"Josh," I said, "I wanted to say that I think the show is really funny too."
I continued, "I'm Hadley's friend Sunil, who knows Rob." That's what Hadley told me to say, as they apparently talked about me all the time.
"Oooh!!" Josh said, and he leaned in to get a better look at me. Except something strange happened.
THOMAS DEKKER AND SUMMER GLAU DID THE SAME THING.
Seriously, it was freaky, all three of them went, "Oooh!!" at the same time. If this hits YouTube, please link me! It was like the Alamo Drafthouse all over again. Actually, doubly so.
I was taken aback, and I wondered what the hell Hadley was saying about me! (I was literally taken aback, you guys. I think I said, "Whoa!" and stepped back a little.)
"He told me I should meet you, so I'll be over here after the panel," I said.
"I'll be over here," said Josh, motioning to the exit off the stage.
I was sure the lady was going to killswitch me soon, so I threw in the actual question: "Are we going to see Teresa Dyson again?" cofax7 asked me to ask on behalf of coffeeandink, which was good because it had given me an excuse to introduce myself to Josh. Who answered that, yes, we would. Not in the next episode, though. But yes.
The lady was telling me to step away from the microphone, but I said, "But Summer hasn't answered the question yet." Josh saw that I was being forced away and said, "Do you want to answer the question, Summer?"
"Oh! I want to be in a Western! A cowgirl." I was looking for more of a non-genre answer, but that was interesting too. Summer Glau as a cowgirl, huh?
Then the next fourteen questions were for Summer Glau (okay, maybe two or three). One girl asked about Summer's ballet training and how it related to her combat and whether she thought it would be harder to do her fight scenes without ballet training. She said it definitely would be because the fight scenes are choreographed in steps: 1, 2, 3. And it's much easier to do that if you think of it as a dance. I mimed a fight in my chair. Someone else asked about the ballet Joss was working on, and Summer said it was slightly derailed because of the end of the strike. "You know he writes his own music?" she said. It was going to be a project he could do while on strike, but now it had to be put off. The same someone asked if Josh could have Cameron do ballet on the show, which was hilarious because someone on TWoP had spoiled me from the Canadian promo. Josh had a hard time keeping a straight face too, it seemed. "Can you tune in tomorrow?" he asked. It was funny, like he was trying not to say anything specific.
After forty questions for Summer, someone said, "This question is for Thomas." Cheers! And Thomas hilariously said, "Summer, you can take this one."
The questioner said the question was about Heroes. Thomas exclaimed, "I was wondering how long it would take for that to come up!"
The questioner began, "This season, there's been this annoying guy on Heroes called West. So I want to know, what happened to Zach? Are we ever going to know Zach's fate?"
Thomas replied, "Oh, good, it's the nice question about Heroes," which was funny because clearly he (and I, honestly) was expecting him to be asked about the whole "Thomas Dekker can't play a gay character or else he won't be manly" fiasco. He explained that he was offered the role on Terminator, and he really couldn't it turn down because, John Connor. He was only recurring on Heroes, and he hadn't even expected to do more than the pilot, so that had been a nice treat. He had been planning doing an episode that would have resolved what happened to Zach, but now he didn't know. So he didn't know about Zach's fate. But he was sure West was great! He hadn't been watching, so he didn't know.
Someone asked Summer what it was like to be back on the same network that cancelled Firefly, and she said, "I pray every night." Heh.
One guy asked Summer what she thought about Fox's advertising for the show because he had been trying to get some friends into the show, and they seemed to be put off by the advertising. He was overly vague about everything, but Josh and John were actually interested and asked whether he meant print ads or television promos and what specifically was turning them off. I thought he was talking about the controversial poster of Cameron's naked, disassembled torso. But he said it was the TV spots, that they didn't like lines like "I call shotgun/I call 9 mm."
"But that's funny!" I yelled. I did not add, "And if they don't think that's funny, do you really want them watching the show?"
Josh said that he did have problems with the way Fox was advertising the show, as they were just doing action-action-tagline, and he wished for something more...conceptual. He didn't really know what it was, but that was what he wanted to do.
Then there were probably five billion more questions for Summer. I kind of wished I hadn't been one of the sheep, but I couldn't resist the chance to talk to Summer Glau. I'm sorry! But I'm over it now! The next panel, whatever, Summer. I'm showing the other people some love.
The final question was about the great music by Bear McCreary. How did that come about? Were they just big fans of Battlestar Galactica and they said, "We have to have that guy?"
"Yes!" said John Wirther. When the guy asked whether they knew that it was his dream job, he said no. John talked about a meeting in a coffee shop he affectionately referred to as "Josh's office." They were all big Battlestar fans, so they approached him to do the music for the series.
And that was the end! Well, then someone shouted out, "Why isn't it called The John Connor Chronicles?"
Thomas replied, "Who said that?"
A girl a couple rows behind me stood up and pointed to her friend, whose question it was. Her friend's throat was sore.
"Buy that girl a drink!" said Thomas.
And THAT was the end. Except then Josh showed us a short clip from the finale! And he literally said, "Spoiler warning!" The clip was intriguing, and I am excited. Then the panelists left.
The final questioner, whom I had noticed earlier because he was wearing this shirt, came up to me and asked if, by any chance, I posted on TWoP.
"Hooded One?" I asked. It was! That was good because I had meant to message him about meeting up when he had said he was going.
I didn't stay and chat, however, because I was trying to get to the stage to see if I could talk to Josh. But he had already been shepherded into the mysterious blackness behind the stage. cofax7 and makaidiver (whom I had met for the first time) bid me goodbye and thanked me for saving seats.
I did actually see Thomas and his girlfriend over by the wall, and I almost shouted to him (he apparently knew who I was, after all), but I was afraid the security people at every post would think I was a crazy stalker. I waited and looked and waited and looked to no avail. It was not to be, unfortunately.
I did a sweep of the floor to see if I could find any of them, but that was no use either. I did, however, run into Ed!
She was very amusing, as after I took the first picture, she ran up to me to look at the picture and said one of Ed's lines in Japanese, right inflection and everything. I took another without the flash because the flash messes up the color. And I must say she was very good at balancing, as it took me three tries to get a second picture that wasn't blurry.
On the BART ride home, I read the other Kabuki issue David had given me, and it was fucking inspirational. It made me want to write.
So, that was WonderCon. It's weird because I didn't actually think of it as a con. As a Big Thing. Because it was right here. With Comic-Con, you have the mindset that it's a Big Thing because you have to travel to get there. But when you're just BARTing into the city for something, it can't possibly be extraordinary. But holy Jesus motherfucking God, am I exhausted.