Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Galacticon After Action Report

So this is my Galacticon AAR. Some mostly good, some bad, and some “You wish you could have been there.”

For anyone who hadn’t heard of it, Emissaries: Galacticon III was the convention celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the original Battlestar Galactica series and the 10th Anniversary of the reimagined series. The guests included cast members from both series as well as from Caprica and people that worked on the music and effects.

Sounds like your standard con. And it was. The difference being that if you didn’t bother to attend, you missed out on meeting these people in person and actually having conversations with and in some cases actually hanging out with them. Believe me when I say there are a few at the bar stories to come out of this one.

But lets start with the con itself. It was held in conjunction with Comicpalooza in Houston. There were plenty of good panels and since the cons were in partnership and in the same location you could purchase access to both. The only real snag came in the scheduling. Times for panels came late and changed. Even panel locations changed early on. However, it became apparent that this had more to do with the person(s) responsible for scheduling at the George R. Brown Convention Center rather than the staff of Galacticon. For instance, no one knew that at graduation ceremony had been scheduled to literally take place in-between the two conventions. Literally. A graduation, not sure if it was high school or college, was held in an auditorium in the middle of the rooms being used for panels. Security cut off main access for the convention center, forcing con attendees to navigate back ways to get to the panels they wanted to see. Not fun.

Galacticon offered special events for people in addition to the standard entrance. There was an informal kick off with pretty much all the guests, an opening press conference, a NASA Johnson Space Center tour and dinner, a hangout with the stars at the hotel bar, and a closing ceremony. Not a bad deal really, especially if you purchased the gold wristband that included all of these. The only real letdown was the NASA tour. It seemed kind of rushed and stripped down. But as part of a package deal, it was still pretty good. Now the biggest value in all of this was hanging out at the hotel bar with the cast. And let me say, everyone in the cast is great. I talked to Edward James Olmos, Michael Trucco, Nicki Clyne, and Bear McCreary, the man responsible for the score of the reimagined series. For whatever reason Trucco and I could not remember the name of Camp Pendleton even though we both have no reason why that name would escape us. Bear McReary liked my shirt solidifying that I will be wearing said shirt to every con. It’s gotten me a lot of nods. I won’t say publicly what the shirt was anymore because I want to keep whatever mojo it has left to myself. I’ll only say that it was a reference to a major sci-fi franchise. Oh, and Bear is a sci-fi fanboy like many of us. He has also jammed with fellow BGS fanboy and Anthrax member Scott Ian. So, yeah, the guy has my admiration.

The panels had a very informal feel to them. No real moderators and since the cast member get along so well and had not been together like this in a while, it was very entertaining. Lucky people who happened to be there at the right place at the right time had some real special moments. Because the scheduling was so weird, there was a panel with four of the final five cylons that only a few people became aware of. So what should have been a packed room, became something like 10 people having a conversation with Michael Trucco, Rekha Sharma, Michael Hogan, and Kate Vernon. Sad to say I missed that one. But I did get into the first panel with composer Bear McReary. A piano was brought in and we were treated to him playing for us. One lucky fan was invited up to play with him. At another panel you would have been treated to Kate Vernon talking about shooting the scene with Dean Stockwell that involved the swirl. Oh, by casual observation, there seems to be bromance between Michael Trucco and Tamoh Penikett. The two were literally inseparable. If you only saw one, all you had to do was give it minute and the other would pop up. At a panel with Penikett and Vernon, Trucco was even hovering at the door until Tamoh had the audience invite him in. Like I said, things had a real informal feel to them and you could tell how much these people get along. I met Tamoh Penikett in a hallway after the panel with Trucco. Later I got a chance to talk to Esai Morales. And before I forget, I also talked to Bodie Olmos at the hotel bar during that event. Basically, if you had gone to this convention you would have gotten face time with the cast and crew. Real face time. Not just paying for an autograph and telling the person how awesome he or she is.

It was a little chaotic at times, but well worth the money. I can say I actually me these people. I also met some great fellow fans which is another good thing about the convention experience in general. If you were a BSG fan and only made it to one convention this year, Galacticon would have been the one to attend. If you didn’t make it, you’ll have to wait five more years for the next one.

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