Thursday, August 2, 2012

San Diego Comic-Con 2012 : Day 3 Diary

Titled: AKA Paul Get's to Sit in Air Conditioning That Works Day

This was the first year attending San Diego Comic-Con, working fully for my own site on my own dime, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to do what most normal folks do at this show...STAND IN LINES!! Actually, the plan was to score some exclusives for friends and myself, but what I didn't realize is there is an art to scoring your favorite toys. The previous morning, I had attempted to snag some goods first thing in the morning and only succeeded in being giggled at by booth girls or shoo'd away by security insisting my press badge was more a hindrance when it came to a fair shot at those items that sell out quickly. At Hallmark, someone who lines up right when the show opens is capable of making two passes at the exclusives (of which you can buy one of each and get one exclusive pin a day). Hallmark has no bags so planning for this is key, unless you want to juggle them all day. I was lucky and scored a duffel bag around the back of the booth, of which there are plenty at the show if you know where to look...or use the force or some similar brain power. Stuffing a couple with flat bottoms in your bag for the day is a great idea. At Mattel, the diesel biker security dude tells me the line is capped and to come back "after I take a couple of laps". I assumed that was just a saying so I went to seek out Jessica Smiley at the Mimoco booth, but she's ninja-like and super fast so I missed more often than made a connection. I did manage to get a My Little Pony crown to her through her friends at the booth, creating this awesome face...

On my shopping list for Leenie was a small pile of Adventure Time merch, including the Fiona and Princess Bubblegum flash drives. Mimoco seemed to be fully stocked so I opted to avoid their lines and come back later (a mistake I'd learn when I couldn't get 8 gig Fionas anymore!) I found a quick line at Entertainment Earth, scooped up their Finn and Fiona Adventure Time 2 packs and dropped my scores at the Teddy Scares booth where, no doubt, Phil would pretend to fondle them like a teenager setting upon his first set of boobs. To kill some time before I could return to Mattel, I took on the Adventure Time Comic-Con Quest which had a player take a poster to several participating booths (like Abrams, Boom, Huckleberry, Mondo & Penguin) to score a stamp. After you filled your poster, you took it to the Cartoon Network booth and were gifted with the Comic-Con Quest Medal of ultimate awesomeness!!! It's a real metal medal....on a ribbon...and I immediately turned into a 5 year old when they gave it to me AND told me I could keep the poster with all my hard earned stamps! Maximum dorkiness achieved.

With my prestigious award that a select few (probably a mere 15 thousand) fans would boast owning hanging around my neck, I returned to Mattel and was allowed access to the "special people" line. I presume you needed to be special to be in it...or special to even attempt it and put up with the run around you get when you try to step into it. As I hopped in line, diesel security guard looked over his flock and walked the line with two other guards like some scene from Shawshank Redemption. With a big slap on the back he proclaimed "you did your can stay." I was confused until he reached the next guy and said "you just got here..go do some laps." "LAPS?! What do you mean by laps??!!" Clearly he thought the guard was kidding. The guard replied "Take a walk around and make sure I see you a few times. After I've seen you do a few laps you can get in line." The guy clearly thought he was being punk'd. "Seriously?" "Listen" the guard explained, "all these people have done their laps. Go make some rounds, see the show and come back." Not knowing any better, logical argument to make against that, the gentleman wandered off as if someone took his favorite, most powerful Magic card, in public, and dared him to come get it back. Finally being allowed access to the Mattel line did come with some heartbreak. The Monster High, Batman and another exclusive I can't recall were already sold out for the day. Diesel Guard laughs and tells me those sell out in the first half hour. I do the math and approach a friendly looking Mattel worker. "SO! I'm not allowed to get in line until 10 because of my press badge...a badge which means I'm here to cover Mattel and give them publicity used to sell more toys. Correct?" The woman before me starts to make a face that is still smiling but wondering how she can escape as painlessly as possible. I assure her I'm just trying to figure this out and it isn't her fault. She makes an embarrassed smile and says "Correct." I continue.."The most popular items sell out in the first half hour...correct?" She agrees. I ask how I am expected to win this game if the math is not in my favor? She tells me I can just buy the toys in two weeks. Mattel has made plenty so I shouldn't sweat it. She also offers a sweet apology for the run around. I return to the line with a little wind sucked out of my sails, but as I still needed to score a Polly Pocket DC Villains set for Leenie, I was on a mission...and with 20 more minutes in line I would complete it.

The clock struck 12 and I made my way off the convention floor, gave Mika a virtual smootch as she hit the con looking like this...
...and made a B line for the Hilton Bayfront for a string of interviews and press conferences. First up was ParaNorman, a stop motion film from the creators of Coraline I am eagerly awaiting! I did a bunch of coverage for Coraline and was able to shoot quite a few of the puppets as well as talk to the creators. After that crash course in the beauty and amazing detail the Laika crew bring with their craft, I had plenty of questions for cast and crew (which we will share next week!) and when one journalist questioned how they animate facial expressions and moving mouths without CGI, I was given the opportunity to pull little Norman's face off! Can you imaging how many faces the crew goes through just to produce 10 minutes of screen time?! Blows my mind. At the start of round table interviews with Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and assorted crew, someone would comment on the professionally wrapped, severed foot sitting on the table. The foot in question was brought in by another journalist who had just completed a round of interviews with Evil Dead and Resident Evil casts and crew. Apparently the appendage was made of bread, though no one would take the dare to have a taste. On my way to Sony press conferences, I slid past the room where all those horror interviews were being held and was given a gift bag containing an Evil Dead T shirt with an old school logo and an Umbrella Corp T shirt along with Umbrella Corp hand sanitizer and ....the perfect tie in gift....Carrie Matches. Brilliant. I will gladly be your human billboard with those T shirts, boys!

The next press conferences went by like a blur of distorted reality. Bryan Cranston answers one of my Total Recall questions about wrapping your brain around the tech in the film by butting his head up against the mic and talking down toward the table. Emily Blunt laughs and admits there is not a nerdy bone in her body that aided her in soaking up the concepts of Looper. Jodie Foster remarks her only moments with Matt Damon in Elysium involve him tied up and at her mercy. More on all this as soon as I get my vids edited!

I wrap up my gear and head back into the sunshine, realizing the spot where they have parked the Batmobiles is between where I've been and where I'm headed. DETOUR!!

(Click HERE for the rest of that set)
I slipped back into the convention, picked up my bags and waded through a sea of zombies to meet up with Mika who I found getting nekkid in the middle of a parking lot. She was suiting up in leather and chains for the FearNet/Dread Central party starting right...about..meow. I buttoned up a black dress shirt and complemented it with a NovoGeek Star Trek Red Shirt Tie which comes pre-laser blasted. I don't turn away hand me downs...even when the previous wearer has been zapped by a crystalline entity. It's hard times out there. After a brief wait in a crazy line, we held our breaths and slid sideways into the packed party. It was was was...sticky. Zombies everywhere and their blood came with them. ...and it was so dark I would say hi to industry people I knew and they'd give me that obligatory "HI very nice to meet you" smile as they couldn't tell who the hell I was. I leaned in toward Joe Bishara and said "if you could actually SEE me, you'd give me a hug." I think he still wasn't sure who I was but he laughed hard all the same. Emi Noetzel (my excellent photographer on the show floor) got a quick gig shooting photos at Darren Bousman's Devil's Carnival that night, so she headed out the door early. Mika braved the bar line and scored us much needed drinks as we tried to figure out what sort of food lay in the dark shadows of one corner. We decided we should just head out and find more substantial food, but Mika had one task she needed to fulfill before we split. Grabbing a nearby zombie, she pulled him over to the FearNet signage and got on her knees asking me to grab a picture of the scene. She screamed "DEAD HEAD!!" and simulated giving him a blow job. Adorable.

The night ended with me passing out waiting for Mika to come to bed. I woke and found her passed out on the floor, still fully dressed. She told me she had become trapped in her leather pants and boots from hell. I helped free her and we went into our own lil comas.

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