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!

May 2014~ Collectormania 21

I wasn’t planning to attend this time around as it normally means staying over and lots of cabs etc.

However, someone I know was announced as a guest, and as I was the one who suggested he hits the con circuit and I built his website I thought I should put in an appearance.

Whilst there my plan was to meet a number of Game of Thrones guests, plus a Star Trek guest. I also decided last minute to meet two others; one from The Walking Dead and the other Doctor Who.

My first port of call was to go and see DeObia Oparei.¬†I initially met DeObia when he came to work at our school for a short while and ended up helping me with our production of West Side Story. He seemed to be enjoying himself and we had a good chat. Funnily enough, he was sat next to Noel Clarke of Doctor Who fame, who was an ex-pupil of our school and at one time was DeObia’s personal trainer before the acting bug bit!

Next up was to get some more signatures on my Game of Thrones canvas. It now has the following names on it:

Mark Stanley- Grenn
Luke Barnes- Rast
Alfie Alan- Theon Greyjoy
Charles Dance- Tywin Lannister
Gethin Anthony- Renly Baratheon
Nonso Anozie- Xaro Xhoan Daxos
Dominic Carter- Janos Slynt
Anton Lesser- Qyburn
Ross Mullan- Whitewalker
Joseph Gatt- Thenn Warg
Noah Taylor- Locke

Once finished, I headed over to meet Robert Beltran, who played Chakotay in Star Trek: Voyager, followed by Jeff Kober who has appeared in many shows including Buffy, Trek and The Walking Dead. Finally I went to meet Ingrid Oliver who appeared in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special.

Overall it was a very quiet Sunday and this made the guests very relaxed! I like the fact that Showmasters are using more space at Stadium:MK. It made it much nicer!

Roll on LFCC 2014!

July 2013~ LFCC ’13

The Whopper of all Showmasters events! So many guests, so little time.

As in the past two previous years this event started on a Friday with a preview night.

It was also the first big event where many of us who had met the previous year at DSTL were in attendance.

The USS Iceni fundraising table was also in attendance.

Guests~ where to begin! Sarah Wayne Callies and Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead, Kristian Nairn, Lena Heady, Peter Dinklage, Joe Dempsie, Clive Russell and Richard Dormer from Game of Thrones, Bruce Gray and Armin Shimmerman from Star Trek and Danny Glover from the Lethal Weapon films. What an expensive weekend!

Again, some amazing cosplay from a variety of genres. My brother, sister-in-law and the kids came too. Jess and Charlie even dressed up!

To top it all of, a few of us went to the TexMex on the Saturday evening for a meal and some “soft” drinks!

April 2013- Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Episode filming

Woke up one morning during the Easter break. Logged on to a Doctor Who forum to find they were filming in Trafalgar Square so I grabbed my camera and off I went…I got dressed first of course!

When I arrived the area was packed but I managed to get up close and get lots of pictures. Can’t tell much about the story as it was one scene they shot over and over again. Photos below.

July 2011~ LFCC 2011

Showmasters flagship event was getting bigger and bigger every year….

The guest list included Tom Sizemore, Christopher Lloyd, Corey Feldman, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Derek Jacobi, Robert Knepper, Sylvester McCoy, Mark Sheppard, Shawnee Smith, Clive Barker, Robert Rankin, Lisa Marie, Veronica Cartwright, Lea Thompson, Sophie Aldred, Camille Coduri, Natalia Tena, Georgina Leonidas, Simon Fisher-Becker, Sylvia Anderson, Louise Jameson, Nicholas Vince, Lee Ingleby, Mary Tamm, Jeffrey Weissman, Jess Harnell, Lee Townsend, Liam Shalloo, Michael Bailey Smith, Henry Davies, Jeremy Bulloch, Oliver Smith, Simon Bamford, Mela Lee, Brian Tochi, Richard Franklin, Peter Jurasik, Walter Koenig, Luciana Carro, Joel Gretsch, Sandahl Bergman, Stephen Furst, Ricky Dean Logan, John Chapman, John Simpkin, Holly McGuire, Kyla Cole, Monica Harris, Alex Kingston, Laurence Belcher.

But the bog draw for me was Karen Gillan, who played Amy Pond, current companion to the 11th Doctor in Doctor Who. She was an absolute pleasure to meet and her talk was hilarious. It was a shame that some fans marred the talk by stopping Karen during a Q&A session to ask for a hug.

I was first in line for the photoshoot with Karen and the Tardis. Karen arrived and had a chat with the photographer before getting ready. I was called forward. Karen said hi, put her arm around me and we posed. Just as the photographer was about to shoot, someone yelled stop….they had forgotten the Tardis! We were told to hold position whilst it was wheeled in behind us. Fine by me! We had a laugh and a chat before moving on. A good day!

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.