Sunday, October 31, 2010

San Diego Comic Con 2010: Episode VIII

Line for Hall H.
Day one of Comic Con began with a bang! Well, not literally. We woke up early and hustled our way out the door, debating on whether to walk or take one of the shuttle busses that the Con provides free of charge (there are multiple busses that pick guests up at a spot near or at their hotel and bring them to the convention center, and then can be picked up again at the convention center to be brought back). We opted for walking as the busses unfortunately do not run all that early, and if you want a good spot in a line you should probably find your own way there. It was a pleasant walk despite it being so early, and it gave us an opportunity to buy a coffee. This is important, as if you are a coffee drinker it is difficult to buy coffee (nonetheless good or cheap coffee) once you are at the convention center. Furthermore, the first few hours of each morning at the Con are spent in a line. You cannot buy food or drinks while in line as most things are still closed, so it is best to pick something up that morning or the night before. Thankfully there is a Starbucks located in the Gaslamp along 5th Ave, which is the main street you want to walk towards the convention center if you are staying at a hotel in the downtown area.

The line for the Thursday morning was not all that bad. We had heard horror stories of the line ups, especially for the main hall that we were in line for on that morning –Hall H. We soon realized that this was from the previous year’s Twilight panel. As none of the actors from that movie were there in 2010, the line ups were not so bad. It was made that much more pleasant because of the people around us. We befriended a few people standing in line with us and talked to each other over the next few hours. It was great as these people were not only friendly and shared mutual interests, but they had attended Comic Con before and were able to give us advice on what to expect. That is one of the key features of Comic Con; the people standing in line with you tend to be super friendly and will always have sage advice on how to maximize your fun!

Paulie Shore at the
San Diego Comic Con!
As I’ve already said, the line ups were not too bad. As the line began to move we saw Paulie Shore doing an interview for some new talk show. He went around interviewing various people that were waiting in line and as he did so someone farther back in the line started yelling out the names of the movies he’s been in: Biodome! Stepson! Etc etc. Definitely a cool moment.

Inside Hall H.

Once inside Hall H we were struck by the enormity of the room. Hall H holds over 6,500 people. The seats are arranged into large square groupings with even larger screens hung from the ceiling at multiple locations so that no matter where you are seated you can still see the action! Not only do these screens show what is happening on the big stage at the back of the Hall, but they also show the clips and trailers for the movies that the guests are promoting. When first entering the room, a line of people giving out swag bags great you. Make sure to take what they have as many times there are special tickets inserted into random bags (these tickets get you into the events happening throughout the downtown area I had mentioned in the previous post).

We had found ourselves two seats with a decent view, but not exactly close to the stage. Roughly 1/2 way to 1/3 up to the stage was where we sat. This is something to remember: do not fool yourself into thinking you will get prime seats in Hall H. There are thousands of other people thinking the exact same thing! Many of the sections close to the front are also reserved for special attendees and press, making it that much more difficult to obtain prime seats. Despite the fact you may not get a great seat, you will still be able to enjoy the event(s) as the screens will show you everything that is going on up front, not to mention that the guests have mikes. 

Michael Cera dressed up
Captain America.

We decided to stay in Hall H all day as there were just too many great panels happening! We did not leave our seats until the panels had finished at around 5 pm. As a bonus, there are bathrooms and a food /drink vendor in the Hall. It extremely difficult to get back into Hall H once you leave the room, so you have to make that commitment that if you leave, you will probably not get back in since the line up does grow longer throughout the day and that there are many other people like my wife and I who decided to not leave at all! So why didn’t we leave? Well, the panels were amazing and included cast members from: Megamind (Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Jonah Hill), Tron (full cast),  Battle Los Angeles (Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez), Salt (Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber), RED (Bruce Willis, Helen Mirin (who, as always a class act, walked out wearing a Harvey Pekar shirt, who had just passed away), Mary-Louise Parker, and Karl Urban), J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon discussion (both were there!), The Expendables (Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Terry Crews, and Randy Couture), and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (full cast including Michael Cera, Kieren Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh (Superman!),  and Jason Schwartzman). OK, so that was an impressive list of names right? Well, as my posts about Comic Con have already been INCREDIBLY LONG, I will not go into detail about these panels, except that everyone listed above and more were there! It was amazing to here the stories of how the movies were made, what the stars thought of the movies, and other side stories they had –Stallone was the best for this. In addition, other stars just randomly showed up, like acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro, Simon Peg, Nick Frost, and more! One final note though, each panel is hosted by an individual that is often of some relation or importance in the entertainment industry or Comic Con. While I did not recognize all of the people hosting the panels, I did recognize that The Expendables panel was hosted by Harr Knowles of! Aint that cool!

Another quick note about the day in Hall H was that the Tron panel became interactive! The director announced that they still needed some audio for the movie, so on the sayings were shown on the screen in which the audience was supposed to repeat. These sayings (and stomps and claps) were the sound of an audience cheering and jeering were to be used in a race scene from the Tron movie. 

As we left Hall H we were immediately introduced to the blaring sun and throngs of people moving left and right past the building. We decided to look at our maps and figure our what we wanted to do. The downside to attending a panel all day is that there is little else occurring at the convention center specifically, and the main hall floor is already closed. So as we stood there we saw a few guys rushing past us. We quickly realized that Nick Frost was whom the guys were rushing towards! We followed suit and asked for a photograph, and he politely said yes even though the gentlemen escorting him around said he did not have time. It was great, and made even better with just how friendly Nick Frost was! It was a great almost end to the day!
My wife & I with Nick Frost
We left the convention center after our run-in with Nick Frost and sought food in the Gaslamp district. We walked around looking at all the events occurring in the area, and ran into Bill Duke who played Mack in the movie Predator! It was absolutely awesome as I am huge Schwarzenegger fan and this is probably as close as I’ll ever get to meet him, not to mention that Bill Duke’s character was one of my favorites from the movie. Bill Duke, much like Frost, was incredible nice and kind enough to have a photo taken with me. I grinned from ear to ear for the rest of the day!
Me and Bill Duke!

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