April 2017~ FCD Out of the Ashes 2.0

I honestly don’t know where to begin!

Video courtesy of Mr Vestek

Once again I was part of the team behind the organisation and running of the event. As one of the management team, my role was to be responsible for the dealers, talks and main rooms alongside one other manager (Fudge). I arrived at the venue at around 1pm on Friday and made my way to the venue (The International Centre, Telford) to help with setup. The bulk of the work was being done by TIC staff so it was down to us to set up our own areas. The dealers were in setting up their tables. The chairs and sound system were all set up in the talk area. This just left the main event room. The guest tables were ready thanks to Karen, the charity tables were almost ready which meant it just left the props and the Carrie Fisher memorial to do.

Kevin Chapman arrived with his Tardis and TOS Captain Kirk chair and began setting them up with the help from our guys. Phil Cocking was setting up his Battlestar Galactica rag-tag, fugitive fleet whilst Steven Cockings (no relation I think!) was setting up his Stargate props display. Our Cylon Raider was already in place so all we needed were the two TV police cars courtesy of Stephen and Mark. They would arrive just before the opening ceremony at around 6pm.

Adam had finished setting up the photo area upstairs, the Blue room (staff chill out area) and the Green room for the guests was also finished. Alison and her team were busy organising reception. I began work on putting together the Carrie Fisher memorial. Adam came to help and we got it finished at around 4.45pm.

We then headed back to our hotel to freshen up before the evening’s events.

The team made their way back to TIC ready for the opening ceremony. At about 7.30pm we began letting people in to collect their passes and take their seats. The ceremony began shortly after 8pm with our host, Neil leading the way. Our guests for the weekend were John Carrigan (Star Trek), Aron Eisenberg and JG Hertzler (Star Trek: Deep Space 9), Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager), Rainbow Sun Francks (Stargate: Atlantis), David Blue (Stargate Universe), Claudia Christian and Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5). Once the welcoming speeches were out of the way we all moved upstairs for the buffet, followed by the group guest photoshoots. The first day came to an end at around 11.30pm. Luckily, The Holiday Inn was only a two-minute walk away.

The next day began bright and early. After a good breakfast I arrived at the TIC at 8.15am. We made sure that everything was ready and, after a short team briefing by Wil, we opened the doors!

Over the course of the day we had guest talks (both single and groups), a quiz (I won!!), autograph signings and photo shoots with the guests plus a dealers room and variety of props to look at and play with. In the afternoon, Claudia held an auction with all the proceeds going to The C3 Foundation.

Doors closed at 6pm and after making sure that everything was ready for the next day we went back to our hotel to get ready for the evening.

Saturday night was party night and the theme was Icons! There were so many people who were dressed up as iconic characters, but I was too knackered and wanted to wear my Princess Leia shirt as a way of honouring Carrie Fisher. John Carrigan gave a short talk about mental health and then the party got going. It ended about 1am but I gave up at about 11.30pm. I wanted to be as fresh as possible for the next day.

Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday although the talks were a bit different. Sundays are always quieter at cons but it was still nice and chilled. We had a charity auction at 4pm to raise money for our charities (MIND, Macmillan, Help for Heroes) but I left to go and begin breaking down the main room.

Once everything was done the event closed. There was only one final thing to do: The crew after party. Luckily this took place at our hotel so there wasn’t far to go. The team, guests and attendees with Phoenix Plus or Jeff passes were also there. Wil and David gave a ‘short’ (50 minutes!!) speech and then things got going. I spent some time chatting with Aron and his girlfriend Malissa, plus Bruce’s wife Verena who was lovely.

All in all it was an absolutely awesome weekend. The team worked their butt’s off and the guests were amazing. The attendees were equally as awesome and friendly with a great amount and variety of costumes on display. Our aim is to bring back the family-friendly cons of the past where you could chill out and relax with the guests and I think we can safely say we managed that!

I really hope Wil and David do another event in 2019 and hopefully I’m still a part of the team!

April 2015- First Contact Day

This was my first event of the year and all I can say is WOW!

It was also my first time in a long while that I had volunteered to help out at a con. The last time I did so was back in the 90s at the Rising Star events.

The weekend began with a meetup at our hotel bar. It started early, around 2pm and went on until midnight. We chatted about geeky stuff, drank lots and played Cards Against Humanity. I left about 11.30pm as I had to be at the venue for 9.15am.

I woke early, got ready and set off, arriving at the National Space Centre on time. I met up with the crew members and other volunteers and we had a briefing from the Chief Steward, Tim. Then the doors opened and we took up our positions. Mine was to help control queues at the front and direct people to the correct place.

I stayed doing this for a fair part of the day but also managed to take part in other events such as talks by the celebrity guests, photo shoots etc as well as visiting the dealers room and other exhibits, including an awesome display of ships from the original Battlestar Galactica and larger props such as Captain’s chairs from Star Trek and a First Doctor’s Tardis console.

The Red Shirt challenge (Most number of people in one room dressed as a Star Trek red-shirt) took place on the Saturday afternoon.

As I no longer have a shirt that fits, I was asked by Wil to be an official adjudicator and help with the count. This year was 107, an increase of 50 from last year. All documentation will be sent to Guinness for approval.

The celebrity guests for the weekend were Garrett Wang (of Star Trek Voyager), Claudia Christian (Babylon 5), James Swallow and Una McCormack (authors of a variety of sci-fi books), Alan Flyng (Imperial Officer in Star Wars VI) and via Skype, Larry Nemecek (Trek Guru). Claudia arrived late due to ill health. She managed to stay for a couple of hours but then left. Luckily I got her autograph before she left. Hopefully she will return again soon.

That evening we had the Gold Pass meal and disco which was good fun. Garrett was a real party animal and we had a nice group photo with him. The music was great and there were a lot of con dances going on. I finally left around 11.30pm.

Day 2 was similar to the first day. I scaled back my duties a bit as I wanted to see what I had missed the previous day. Sunday also was not as busy with just over 300 people in attendance as opposed to over 600 on the first day so I’m sure my presence was not missed! The highlight of the day was watching Garrett Wang do his talk. The man is hilarious and does great impressions of various Trek alumni.

There were quite a few members of our Facebook group, The USS Riker’s Beard at the event. We arranged to have a group photo at the original series Captain’s chair. Luckily, we managed to recruit Garrett as our 3rd honorary member (Vaughan Armstrong and Larry Nemecek being the first two) and he joined our group photo and got to sit in the chair.

The weekend ended with the charity auction, farewell speeches and a promise of things being bigger and better next year. We all then departed back to the hotel bar and drank the JD dry!

It was an awesome weekend thanks to David, Wil and the crew and I hope to be asked to help out again next year!

October 2014~ LFCC Winter

Last con of the year for me and a quieter event compared to the madness of the summer one.

As normal lots of costumes on display and I again helped with the charity stall for our Starfleet Chapter, the USS Iceni.

It was a chance for me to get a few more names on my Game of Thrones canvas and to meet Alan Ruck who played (among others) Captain John Harriman of the Starship Enterprise-B in Star Trek Generations…..such a friendly guy!

July 2014~ LFCC ’14

Showmasters hit the ground running earlier in the year by announcing a big guest….Stan Lee. Little did they realise the interest it would generate. Ticket sales shot up so much that different passes had to be created. Comic and regular. Leading up to the show itself, many more big names were added including Carrie Fisher and John Hurt. The final guest count was near 100 I think!

As always I went for the regular gold pass. It was helpful as always but not as helpful as it had been in the past due to the sheer number of people that turned up.

I attended the preview night on the Friday and collected my Gold Pass. This saves time on the Saturday. My plan was to get three or four of my autographs and photoshoots out of the way to save me rushing on the Saturday and Sunday. I did this with no problem and was able to meet Edward James Olmos and Jamie Bamber of Battlestar Galactica and Robert Hays who was in Airplane, one of my all time favourite films.

I left feeling that everything was fine for the next two days…..boy was I wrong!

I turned up at 8.40am as I do normally with a Gold Pass to find the biggest queues I had ever seen! They seemed to stretch on forever! It didn’t help that all the Gold Passes (comic and standard) were in one line with the Silver Passes. Made getting in a bit more difficult.

The day began ok. I managed to see some friends, meet my cousins (who are big Firefly fans) and get most of my autographs done. But the crowds grew and grew to a point where I had to leave for a while, because I was either going to pass out or flatten someone. It didn’t help that it was the hottest day of the year so far!

The crew were getting stressed, and I had a run in with one at a photoshoot which really made me mad. Looking back though, the guy was stressed so I don’t blame him. I spent the rest of the day chatting with friends or wandering around buying merchandise and looking at Cosplayers.

I was hoping that Sunday would be quiet as normal! Yeah, right!!

Although it was quieter than the previous day, Sunday seemed a lot busier than normal. I met the few guests I needed to meet that were only there on Sunday and managed to leave by mid-afternoon. There were a lot of stressed, unhappy people. Mainly because of the sheer number of people trying to meet Stan Lee. I’m glad I chose not to now!

Even though it was manic, I believe Showmasters have learned from the experience and I’m already looking forward to the next event!

Guests I met: Edward James Olmos and Jamie Bamber from Battlestar Galactica, Robert Hays from Airplane, Summer Glau from Firefly and Kate Dickie, Sibel Kekilli, Ian Beattie, Finn Jones and Kristian Nairn (again) all from Game of Thrones.

May 2011~ Starfury Invasion

It had been almost 3 years since the last Starfury event. Invasion was to be another BSG event but would also incorporate the spin-off prequel, Caprica.

Yet again it was another fun-filled weekend and Sean pulled out all the stops. I just wish his core group of volunteers were not so cliquee. Can be quite nasty at times. But, apart from that I had a great time. I even managed to crack a joke during the photoshoot that made Aaron Douglas roar with laughter.

The guests were: Aaron Douglas and Bodie Olmos of BSG, Alessandra Toressani of Caprica and Terri Farrell, JG Hertzler and Martha Hackett of Star Trek.

July 2010~ LFCC 2010

A rather large guest list this year. I had a long list of people to meet.

It would be the second meeting for me of both William Shatner and Katee Sackhoff. Both were much nicer second time around.

Also on my list were the cast from Being Human, William B Davis from The X Files, and a fair few people from Doctor Who, including Elisabeth Sladen. This would turn out to be one of Lis’s final events as she would die from cancer the following April.

I was pleased to have been able to meet her, but sad as someone at a recent event had done something to her to make her have a complete no touch policy, including shaking hands. Some fans just don’t get it.

 

December 2008~ Battlestar Starfury

I hadn’t attended a Starfury event for a while, but found out about this one which was happening at a hotel by Heathrow Airport, so I booked a hotel rather than travel there and back each night!

The first night was the opening ceremony. The main headline guest had cancelled and they had a suprise, last minute replacement. The guests were all from Battlestar Galactica. One by one they came onto the stage.

Tahmoh Penikett, James Callis, Nicki Clyne, Mark Sheppard, Jennifer Halley, Michelle Forbes and the surprise guest, Katee Sackhoff! An amazing line-up.

Over the weekend I attended lots of talks by the cast, had photoshoots with all of them, went to the parties and the costume contest. It was a blast. The talks were revealing, informative, rude and downright hilarious! One of the best events ever.