I have been to exactly two media convention cocktail parties, so I do not have a large sample to draw upon for this review. From what I can tell, corporate sponsorship makes a difference. The TNT Cocktail Party Extravaganza at the Leverage CON-con was amazing.
- cash bar
- two separate tables of food
- free ticket for 1 drink
- 2 Wii stations
- Garage Band set-up in an adjoining room
- live music by Andy Lange
- entertainment by Rick Overton
I hung out with new friends I’d made at this convention, and some local Browncoats (Firefly/Serenity fans) I had cruised with in 2006. Being an introvert in a heavily crowded room filled with good yet exceptionally loud music, my instinct was to find a place and stay put. Barbara taught me the find art of “wandering”, or as we came to call it, “hit-and-run mingling”. Through this technique I talked with actors, a financial producer, a director, and the man who runs the computer systems that get the shows digital dailies to LA after having been filmed in Portland.
I had a fabulously fun time. Around 11 pm, after getting off a full day of
shooting, all five main actors showed up for a brief appearance. At 11:45 pm,
they kicked us out of the room, which was a good thing, as those of going to
visit the set on Saturday had to be presentable and in front of the hotel by 7 am.
Which brings me to Saturday. Not even the Starbucks was open as we waited in line on the sidewalk outside the hotel to board the two coach buses that would take us to the Leverage sets. I’m not sure how long it took to drive there, but it seemed around 20-25 minutes. The sets are working sets, so there was repeated instructions about watching your steps and not licking anything due to the live wires.
The first building housed the bar and Nate’s loft, which has been nicely updated for season three. The second building we toured had several corridor sets and the Mill – half of the warehouse where the flats and sets are actually built and dressed. John Rogers and Chris Downey were our fabulous tour guides. They answered questions, told stories, and let us take as many pics as our cameras would allow. I ran down my battery.
Back at the hotel, the convention started up again with a Leverage crew panel who talked about visual effects, blowing things up in real life and virtually, giving something Hardison something to look at on all of his computer screens, and how much it is choreograph fights.
Then The Five (Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, and Aldis Hodge) had their time on stage which was structured as a Q&A both from the moderator and the audience. Lots of laughs and great interactions with each other. This is a cast with magic.
The autograph session was held on a different floor of the hotel. The organizers allowed the autographs to be personalized, which takes more time, but I appreciate as it makes the autograph personal. The Five were signing, as well as the FBI guys (Rick Overton & Gerry Downey), Sterling (Mark A. Sheppard), Dean Devlin, John Rogers, and Chris Downey. The photo ops were to happen after the autographs, but that event took much longer than scheduled, so I’ve heard the photo ops are going to happen Sunday (crossed fingers).
I missed the Gentleman Thief Apollo Robbins’s panel because I was in line for the autographs. It is one of the facts of any good convention – events you want to go to will be scheduled against each other.
“Choose wisely,” (pop culture point if you can name the movie and who said it to whom). I did catch the tail end of the FBI Guys. Wonderfully funny skits with audience participation and a Q&A where their camaraderie with each other shone through every answer.
One of the panels I had been waiting for since seeing it announced on the convention website did not disappoint. Having Dean Devlin, John Rogers, and Chris Downey on stage together, talking about *their* TV show, made it obvious why Leverage is the success it is.
I need to get ready for the banquet now, so I’ll post more pics to the flickr stream later.
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