Battle doesn’t need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. (Proverb)
Greetings, blog readers! I’m on my way back from San Diego Comic-Con 2013, one of the biggest and best pop culture conventions in the world. I’ve spent the last five days immersed in everything from comic books to blockbuster movies. This year was my fifth straight Comic-Con and sixth overall, and as usual, I’m coming home with a whole laundry list of interesting happenings.
Comic-Con is simultaneously both incredibly demanding and wonderfully exciting. Covering the convention is not for the faint of heart. After having to make my travel arrangements back in January, the two weeks leading up to the event were spent fielding press releases and interview offers, building and then rearranging a busy schedule, hiring a photographer, and pre-writing almost a week’s worth of material so that I could leave town.
And it doesn’t get any easier once you get there. You get up early, stay late, and spend most of the day darting from one to-do to another. I spent the weekend running on four hours of sleep a night, living on whatever bottled sodas and snacks I could manage between gigs. As I type this, I’m exhausted, I’ve completely lost my voice, there’s a massive bruise on my right knee, my left one is aching, and I know I’ve got a stack of interviews to write up over the next week. There are reasons I don’t go right back to work after the convention is over.
So why do I voluntarily put myself through that? Because Comic-Con is also a place where some really wonderful things can happen. I’ve made so many memories at the convention, whether it’s press rooms for favorite shows I’ve gotten to cover, or friends I’ve finally gotten to meet when they come into town, or just random happenings that I can’t forget. So without further ado, here’s a semi-chronological list of all the great stuff that I wanted to share with you.
- I reunited with my friends Ashley and David Eckstein on Preview Night. For those of you that don’t know, Ashley’s company Her Universe is responsible for all those awesome Battlestar Galactica T-shirts you’ve seen me wear.
- Covered my first press room for the fabulous Cinemax series Strike Back, and loved every second of it, whether it was director Michael J. Bassett giving my camera guy pointers, star Philip Winchester thanking me for my support of the show, or his co-star Sullivan Stapleton kissing me on the cheek at the end of it all. Plus, Cinemax provided me an advance copy of the season two DVD set.
- Returning to the Psych press room, I was once again warmly greeted by the lovely cast. The highlight, though, was getting to meet Cary Elwes and tell him that I loved him in Glory more than 20 years ago. He was surprised by that and told me it was an honor to meet me. That was sweet of him to say.
- Following our feature piece from earlier this year, I got to do an in-person catch-up with John Barrowman. He told me I didn’t screw up said feature article, I finally got up the nerve to ask him to take a picture with me, and then as he was leaving, he jokingly announced to the crowd that had been forming behind us that they should watch out for me, because I’m a terrorist. I about cried laughing.
- While waiting for an advance screening of the new Starz series Black Sails, I got to see Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who walked right by me as their new movie premiered at the same theater just before my event started.
- Not only did I get to see Black Sails well before the rest of the viewing public will, but I finally got to enjoy my first live performance by Bear McCreary (who as you know is my favorite composer ever) and his band, which absolutely blew my mind. I could’ve just listened to them play for an hour or two.
- I got to talk to Bear’s tech guys for at least a half hour before the screening. That was fun.
- Oh, and then I found out Edward James Olmos was sitting a few rows behind me. This will be important later.
- Reunited with Human Target executive producer Jonathan Steinberg at an autograph signing and was floored that he remembered me, even though we haven’t been in contact in three years. We had a laugh when he asked me if I’d seen Black Sails and I told him I’d been in the front row the night before.
- Realized that most of the other people around us at the signing were also Human Target alumni: Jon’s co-producer Robert Levine, and writers Kalinda Vasquez and Robbie Thompson. So I naturally made sure to thank them and pick their brains for a little while. It’s a real pleasure to meet so many people who made my dream TV show happen.
- I’m 95 percent sure I was in an elevator with Samuel L. Jackson.
- I’m also 100 percent sure I was in an elevator with former Law & Order: Special Victims Unit producer Neal Baer, because I read his badge.
- There were a lot of memorable moments in the final Nikita press room, as I had to say my last words (for now, at least) to a wonderful cast I’ve enjoyed working with for four seasons. I finally got to meet Noah Bean, Lyndsy Fonseca was beyond nice, and of course Shane West and I couldn’t have a conversation without some laughs.
- After that came Archer, where producer Matt Thompson complimented my Archer/Bob’s Burgers crossover shirt, and I got to ask Aisha Tyler why we have yet to see any Hoedowns on Whose Line Is It Anyway? I couldn’t help myself on that last part. I love Hoedowns.
- Had way too many laughs with my roommates when we somehow got lost multiple times just trying to go to McDonalds and the bank that was literally next door to it. Seriously, one of us (and it’s not me) is severely directionally challenged.
- Speaking of Archer, on Saturday morning, I got driven to work in Krieger’s van. Complete with a guy dressed as Krieger and a lady dressed as his CGI girlfriend. The best part was the bewildered look on the face of the hotel valet when the van pulled up. I got out of the van and said, “You don’t see that every day, do you?” He just laughed and said he didn’t.
- I had a one-on-one sit-down with Bear McCreary, during which he told me that both he and Jon Steinberg were fans of mine, and had been because they thought I understood what they were trying to do with Human Target. As if I wasn’t floored enough by hearing that two of my favorite folks are fans of mine, he tweeted me later.
- Got to interview the busy and adorable Amber Benson, whom you will know as Tara Maclay from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Talked with some lovely production designers and artists, including Corey Kaplan (The X-Files, Cold Case, Scandal), Brian Rubin (Man of Steel) and Jim Bassett (E.T.)
- Enjoyed attending the Entertainment Weekly “Women Who Kick Ass” panel, which may be as close as I ever get to meeting Katee Sackhoff.
- Met the cast of Grimm in their press room and realized that series star David Giuntoli is adorable.
- Went to the NBC network party, got really bored and a little uppity, and decided to stand on the furniture and sing along with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” – not that anyone could hear me over the volume of the music, anyway.
- On that note, at said party I ran into Carson Daly’s publicist and he stopped to say hi to me, which was nice of him. At least that was well after I stopped singing.
- Remember when I said the Edward James Olmos thing was important? That’s because I finally met him Sunday morning and he couldn’t have been nicer. He even put up with my rambling.
- I may have been rambling because John Barrowman happened to be behind us, and he somehow noticed me and decided to come up behind Edward to get my attention. That was a pleasant surprise.
- And lastly but not leastly, since Michael Trucco couldn’t be with us this year, I took my Samuel Anders Battlestar Galactica figure with me as my unofficial mascot. I had a hilarious time taking pictures with it throughout the convention. I’m not sure anyone else thought it was funny, but I enjoyed it.
So you can see why I work my fingers to the bone for a few days every year. It’s not for the money (I don’t get paid), and it’s not for the headlines (I don’t file my stories until the week after the convention); it’s for all these little moments where I’m going to look back and say, “Hey, remember that time we were in the elevator with Samuel L. Jackson?”
You can see a select few of my Comic-Con 2013 photos on my Tumblr page, and stay tuned for my interviews and articles over the next week. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have hours of sleep and vocal rest that I need to log. As Anders would say, see you on the other side.