I made my way through the corridor, past people dressed as massive sword-wielding warriors, kooky cartoon critters, and fetish role-players, stopping at the table marked: Guest Services. “Hi,”I opened, startling the three young student volunteers manning the booth, “Could you tell me how to get to the green room?” The trio exchanged confused looks, then deferred to a fourth fellow sitting a little farther apart from them on the other side of the long table. “Greeen rooom?”he asked, clearly enunciating as though I was some poor foreign soul who’d hilariously misspoken. “Yup,”I replied, glancing down at the instructions I’d been emailed. “I’m supposed to be in the Green Room for 11:30.” He gave a satisfied nod and pointed down the corridor: “The information booth is down at the end, there. They should be able to help you.”
“The Green Room?”asked one of the three young volunteers manning the information booth. They exchanged confused looks. “Are you a guest?”snapped another, sizing me up. “Yeah, I work on a t.v. show – Stargate Atlantis. I’m supposed to be doing a panel.” Since her two neighbors had fallen into a whispered conversation, it fell on her to get up and wave down a young girl dressed up as either a princess or a 19th century midwife. “He needs to get to the Green Room,”she told the princess, jerking her head back at me as I struggled to control the bagful of caps and posters I was lugging. “Follow me,”the princess instructed, starting back the way I had come. I followed her passed the Farscape Fan Club of Canada that tried to enlist me as a member, and over to the elevator. She stabbed the UP button for me. “Fifth floor,”she said and then, she was off.
This was my third appearance at Anime Evolution, Vancouver’s premiere anime convention, and I was looking forward to the event. I had my camera, some Stargate swag, and a recently-purchased copy of Stephen King’s Carrie in the event I had some downtime. Once I reached the Green Room, I assumed, it would be smoooooth sailing. Well, I finally found the Green Room (the midwife hadn’t steered me wrong), where I was greeted by Claudia, a perky young woman charged with guest relations, who welcomed me to the con, handed me my badge, and told me I’d be doing an autograph session before the panel.
There were two people signing autographs at the appointed time – a very sweet voice actress named Lisa, and myself. We passed time in the empty room by chatting about the Vancouver restaurant scene until, finally, two women walked in and approached me. “Can my friend have an autograph?”asked one. “She’s a big fan of the show.” “Sure,”I said, more than happy to comply. Unfortunately, the two autograph-seekers hadn’t followed proper protocol as they had approached my table directly. They were directed back around the table and through a maze of chairs to the front of the line (They were at the front because there was nobody else there) and then finally motioned over to my table. I signed an autograph for Lindsey, an autograph for her boyfriend Jason, and even signed one for her friend who, I suspect, was just humoring me. As the girls moved off, one of the five or so volunteers milling about (for crowd control purposes I assumed), asked: “Hey, Joe. Why aren’t you doing a panel this year?” “I, uh, am doing a panel this year,”I corrected him, more than a little panicked. He frowned and consulted the program booklet. I wanted to pursue the conversation but was interrupted by three costumed con-goers who hurried in and over to engage Lisa in animated discussion, covering everything from their favorite animes to their most hated villains. Once they were done with Lisa, they moved over to my table. “What anime have you been in?”asked one. “None. I’m a television producer,”I informed her, clearly breaking her heart. “Stargate Atlantis. Ever heard of it?” She glanced back at her friends. One threw back a slight head shake. The other looked away. “Would you like an autograph?”I offered the chatty one. “Sure,”she responded like some polite six year-old who’d been asked whether she liked the cardigan her grandmother had knitted her. I wrote “Watch the show! Stargate: Atlantis!” and signed my name. As they moved off, another group of four were already quizzing Lisa about her voice work. When they finally moved over to my table, they were clearly disappointed to discover I had done no anime voice work to speak of and silently skulked off. “For one afternoon a year, you feel like a celebrity,”said Lisa, watching the costumed foursome head off. “Yeah,”I agreed, shaking out my hand. “I think I’m developing a wicked case of writer’s cramp.” We fell into conversation once again and, fifteen minutes later, another costumed group came in and talked with Lisa. They moved on to my table and predictably, wondered: “What voice work have you done?” I stared blankly back at them and then, after a few seconds, tried: “I was Orville the recalcitrant emu in Butter Ball Apocalypse. Did you see that one?” They shook their heads. “Sugoki from Squidbaiters One and Two? Carmelito 3000 from Mecha-Nibs? Sunomono Jones from Junior Revenge Seekers?” That last one seemed to spark some recognition in the guy dressed up as the hedgehog soldier who gave a slight nod and an: “I think I’ve seen it at the store.” I signed autographs for all for. And it was downhill from there.
I returned to the Green Room where I learned I had a little over an hour to kill before my panel. I was free to hang out, have lunch (fruit salad and veggie platters), or wander about. I opted for the latter, excusing myself to head downstairs where I snapped some pics, ate the power bar I had the foresight to pack away, and read most of Carrie.
Finally, it was time for the panel. There were about fifty people present and, as I finished setting up at the front of the auditorium, I greeted them with: Hi, I’m Professor Shepley and this is Physics 412. If you didn’t sign up for Physics 412, you’re in the wrong room.” Sadly, unlike two years ago when one guy actually threw up his hands in frustration and left, there were no confused takers this year. I introduced myself, talked a little about my time on the show, and then opened it up to questions. And they came fast and furious. Why did we kill off Beckett? What’s happening to Weir? When you remote-dial the gate, how do the chevrons know when to lock? When will we find out about the ninth chevron? What’s happening with the second spin-off? How is the rise of the Canadian dollar affect production? How has the introduction of personal video recorders (ie. Tivo and DVR’s) influenced ratings? When are Sam and Jack getting together? Time flew and by the time one of the volunteers was signaling me to wrap it up, people were already crowding the entrances for the Death Note panel. I thanked everyone for coming, handed out some caps and posters (including one to the young lady who had accompanied her boyfriend and fallen asleep in the second row), then took it out to the hallway where I chatted with some five Stargate fans before commencing my trek back to Parking Lot B and the long drive home.
A good time was had by all. I hope. Thanks to the organizers of Anime Evolution, especially Claudia. If I’m invited back, I think I‘ll dress up net time. I’m thinking either Sugoki from Squidbaiters or Sunomono Jones.
Majorsal writes: “Did you get the planet of the apes action figures?”
Answer: I did! Dr. Zaius, Generals Ursus and Aldo, Cornelius, Zira, and various soldier apes. My absolute favorite toys growing up.
Teyilia writes: “You guys stuck on a season finale title?”
Answer: Paul is working on it. I think he wants to go with Yoicks! The Puissant Sweven!
Promogirl writes: “So are there any new directors or DPs on Atlantis this season? Have any of the cast directed (or will direct) an episode?”
Answer: We’re sticking with our standing directors and DP’s. And, no, none of the cast will be directed this year.
Anonymous #1 writes: “Have you ever seen a sci fi show called “Space: Above and Beyond”?”
Answer: Haven’t seen it but I did pick up the box set on Paul’s recommendation.
Anonymous #2 writes: “ Which Malaysian restaurant(s) would you recommend? What are your favourite Malaysian dishes?”
Answer: I’d recommend Banana Leaf and suggest you check out their garlic and black pepper crab.
Wolfen writes: “What the heck is Christopher Judge whispering in that guy’s ear during the questioning scene?”
Answer: Paul and I left it horrifically vague in the script. As for what Chris said on the day, that’s a question for him.
Atlantisfannew 1 a ecrit: “)Pourquoi vous n êtes jamais aller sur mon blog? 2)A quel heure vous vous couchez le soir?”
Answer: 1) Je l’ai déjà visité. 2) 11:00 p.m.
Anonymous #3 writes: “What exactly is JF doing with the guitar in that shot?”
Answer: Playing it.
Jedi writes: “Will John give his Wraith friend (from Common Ground) a name like he has done with Steve, Bob and Michale?”
M writes: “Any new chocolates that you have tasted recently?”
Answer: Alipeeps wafer thin chocolates were the hit of the writers’ room last week.
Nathan writes: “Joe, ever read any of Peter F. Hamilton’s books?”
Answer: I read Pandora’s Star this past December.
Paula writes: “My carnivore, steak-searching uncle is coming to town in October. You have given me ideas for other types of meat dishes to pursue besides a steak house. Any other ideas?”
Answer: If he likes schnitzel, check out Transylvania Flavour and The Budapest.
MrsB108 writes: “Do you think Season Four has any surprising storylines that have yet to be discovered by the fans?”
Shawna writes: “Are we ever going to see that guy from Sunday again? You know, the guy that Beckett died to save.”
Answer: He died off-screen in the following episode after crashing the puddle jumper he took out for an irresponsible joyride.
Farscapefan writes: “What is the chance that we’ll see Claudia Black in Stargate: Universe series?”
Magic 8 Ball says: Outlook not so good.
Anonymous #4 writes: “Besides the two Stargate movies, will we ever see Dr. Jackson again?”
Answer: Including future movies and Atlantis season 5? If yes, then most probably.