Behind the Scenes at Dragon*Con 2009

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I realize it’s a little late for this, but things have been busy and I haven’t had a chance to finish this up until recently. Still, I’d like to take a moment to tell you about one of the best conventions you will ever go to, Dragon*Con! Shatner Action Figures

Dragon*Con is unlike anything that you will ever experience. In itself it is an “experience.” Dragon*Con is similar to Comic Con in that it encompasses everything…literally. There are panels on costuming, TV shows, movies, comics, video games, RPGs, science, NASA, etc. etc. etc. You name it and you can probably find it at Dragon*Con. But Dragon*Con is different in that it’s run by the fans, for the fans. The staff of Dragon*Con is 100% volunteer and 100% awesome! I firmly believe that everyone, sci-fi fan or not, should go to Dragon*Con at least once.

Seriously, it’s the staff that make this con what it is. They are truly amazing in what they do and everyone is really nice and helpful. They deserve a round of applause for all of their hard work!

This wasn’t my first Dragon*Con; it’s actually my third. My first Dragon*Con was in 2007 when my then boyfriend (now husband) and his roommate surprised me. Never make the Gingerbread Man Angry!See, I wasn’t going to go with them to Dragon*Con. Then they found out Claudia Black was going to be there and decided that under no circumstances should I miss it. I’ve been hooked ever since!

WormholeRiders formed a partnership with Claudia Black Online (“CBO”) to provide coverage of the con for both sites. We really enjoyed working with CBO and hope we can work together with them in the future.

First of all I need to thank, on behalf of WormholeRiders, Mr. Dan Carroll, Director of Media Relations at Dragon*Con. Without him we wouldn’t have gotten press passes. His help is what made reporting on the con go so smoothly! Because of him we got a ton of great footage that we were able to share with all of you! So a big hand for Dan Carroll!

Scot Trooper?I would also like to thank Ms. Julie Caitlin Brown and Mr. Craig Damon for scheduling our interview with Claudia Black and for letting us use their photography room, backdrop and lighting. We couldn’t have done it without you! Your help and advice was invaluable and we couldn’t be more grateful!

Finally, we’d like to thank Claudia Black, Ben Browder and Gary Jones for being so amazing. Thank you all for the wonderful interviews and for being so patient with us! You knew it was our first time doing interviews and you were all so lovely! You made this experience truly memorable for us!

Pre-Dragon*Con Prep

WormholeRiders started prepping for Dragon*Con months in advance. We knew it was going to be a big convention and we’d need to have all of our ducks in a row if we were going to pull it off. We wanted to make sure we made it to all of the big Stargate and Farscape panels so that we could provide maximum coverage for our viewers.

Sleeping Beauty Set wiht the Wicked QueenOur first step was obtaining a press pass. After coordinating with CBO we submitted our applications for press passes. Then we waited. It didn’t take long before we got the squeal worthy e-mail from Dan saying we were approved!

Everyone is allowed to take videos of the panels at Dragon*Con. What the press pass did for us is give us access to the catwalk in the Hyatt’s main ballroom so that we didn’t have to wait in line or take down and set up our equipment between back to back panels. It was a Godsend, especially on Saturday when there were back to back Stargate and Farscape panels!

Once we had the press passes we worked with CBO for several months to coordinate an interview with Claudia Black at the convention. The day I received the e-mail confirmation that Claudia agreed to an interview was definitely a day for squealing!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009 Nickel Jack Lake

After a long day at work trying to make sure everything was caught up so nothing exploded while I was gone, my husband, White Rabite and I loaded up my car and started on the long (13 hour) drive from Chicago down to Atlanta.

It’s the same trip we do every year and with three people in the car (plus a steady supply of Mountain Dew) it’s actually a very fun drive. We sing along to our favorite songs, goof around and make stops in our never ending quest to find that one gas station we found last year that had the best beef jerky.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

We got to Georgia, specifically Flowery Branch, around 10:00 a.m. After driving all night we were pooped. So we stopped at my in-laws’ house for a nap and a much needed shower. We had a lovely lunch with my father-in-law at a local Cuban restaurant that was simply to die for. After running a few errands for things we forgot, we headed off for Atlanta!

It was nearly 5:00 by the time PlayItGrand, Spacegypsy1 and I met up at the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta to pick up our badges. We met Dan Carroll in the press room. After talking with Dan via e-mail for a few months it was great to finally meet him in person!

While PlayItGrand and I were waiting for SpaceGypsy1 to get her badge at VIP registration, Steve Gonslaves and Dave Tango from the SyFy show Ghost Hunters walked past us. Maybe they wouldn’t have stared if I hadn’t squealed. I admit it. I was excited and I couldn’t help it! I love their show! It was at that moment that everything finally started to sink in. We were officially members of the press and we had a very important job to do!

At Dragon*Con everyone has a good chance of randomly running Iron Maninto a celebrity, which is another thing that makes Dragon*Con so awesome. We passed Tom Felton (Harry Potter) in the hallway and a friend rode the elevator with Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica). Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) was getting off the elevator as we were getting on and Patrick Stewart walked past us while we were waiting in line for our photo op.

After we got our badges we headed up to the press party on the 47th floor of the Marriott. The food was good and Dan made a great speech to launch the convention. After the party we sat down and mapped out our game plan for the weekend.

Dragon*Con is split among four hotels (the Hilton, the Hyatt, the Marriott and the Sheridan) and there are panels and activities packed throughout the weekend, usually back to back. To get the coverage we wanted (all Stargate/Farscape and Claudia Black related panels) and still have time to prep for our big interview with Claudia Black, we needed a plan. It was tricky to figure it all out. We needed to know not only what time the panel started but when we should get in line for it, etc. There were so many panels that I was excited for but I knew that I absolutely wanted to see the William Shatner/Leonard Nimoy panel on Friday morning.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday started early. By early I mean that my friends and I were up and headed to the line for the Shatner/Nimoy panel (which started at 10:00 a.m.) before 7:30. All it took was one look at the line, which was already coiled inside the hotel, out the hotel, down and around the block for us to opt to get breakfast instead.

Line for the Shatner/Nimoy PanelWhile Spacegypsy1 and PlayItGrand were in the Stargate Atlantis SuperGate Panel, which due to flight issues turned into the Paul McGuillion panel, I was in my hotel room with my husband and friends watching the Shatner/Nimoy panel. I should say that I’m not a big Star Trek fan but I recognize a rare opportunity when I see one. Shatner and Nimoy were hysterical! They mostly bantered back and forth. Questions were taken from the audience. Out of three questions (during the 1 hour panel) they answered, at best, maybe one of them. Watching that panel was a once in a lifetime event and I’m so glad I got to see it, even if it was on TV.

You can watch the Paul McGuillion panel HERE!

Afterwards PlayItGrand and I met up to check in for our Photo Op times. I had purchased a photo op with Ben Browder and PlayItGrand and I got one for us with both Ben and Claudia (also a rare occurrence). We took the opportunity to introduce ourselves to Julie Caitlin Brown, the woman who was managing Claudia at Dragon*Con and who had so generously taken the time to set up our interview.

Julie was just lovely. She’s a very sweet woman who is also extremely busy at conventions! We were both very impressed with how she organized the lines efficiently, kept things moving, answered questions and remained calm and composed all at the same time. If you had seen the chaos you’d know what a feat this was, especially on a busier day like Saturday! It was impressive to say the least.

We then headed to the Marriott for the Stargate Panel. Spacegypsy1FridaySupergate1040739 was awesome and saved us a spot in line (it was still about two hours before the panel at this point) so we could sit up close to get a good view. The panel was supposed to have Colin Cunningham, Gary Jones, Ben Browder and Claudia Black. We were stoked. We got great second row seats and after checking with those around us to make sure we weren’t in anyone’s way, we set up our three tripods and got to work!

Unfortunately, Claudia actually wasn’t on this panel. I’m not quite sure why but likely it had to do with flight issues or something along those lines. Still, the panel was hysterical with just the three guys including Gary’s reenactment of acting with the Stargate rings. Ben and Colin had us in stitches as well. And yes ladies, both Ben and Colin are about one thousand times more handsome in person!

You can check out the panel HERE.

I raced back to my room after that panel was over to change into my DRD (yes, as in the roombas with eyestalks from Farscape) costume for my photo op with Ben. White Rabite and I decided to dress up as 1812 and One-Eye since we hadn’t seen anyone dressed as DRDs at Dragon*Con before. It took three months but I must say our costumes came out great! A special thanks goes to my husband for blueprinting and wiring our eyestalks so they lit up!

Photo courtesy of Craig Damon PhotographyBen was thrilled with our costumes. “Let me check you guys out!” he exclaimed as we walked up to him. We did a little twirl and he put us each under his arms. Yes, at this point I about died! We took the picture and Ben continued exclaiming that our costumes were “fantastic!” I’m sure he heard us squeal when we left.

We ended up having to re-take our picture with Ben due to a camera malfunction. We weren’t complaining and neither was Ben who gushed over us again!

I have to say that I’ve heard horror stories of photo ops at conventions, and even had friends who had bad experiences with photo ops at Dragon*Con in years past. The main complaint is that you get rushed through so quickly you don’t have time to say “hello” to the star let alone compose yourself for the picture; not to mention being yelled at about restrictions such as no talking to the actor, no touching the actor and sometimes no looking at the actor! Knowing all of this I was apprehensive going into the photo op. At the very least I thought we’d get rushed through without a second glance. NOT THE CASE! Craig Damon Photography was FANTASTIC! I can’t say that enough! Yes, we didn’t have long to talk to the stars but he gave every fan the chance to have a moment with the actor before taking the picture. Craig and his staff were friendly, professional and really seemed to understand how important these pictures are for the fans. All of that aside, the photo quality is just gorgeous! Craig took two pictures of us each time with Ben and he picked the best one to print. It’s little touches like that, I think, that separates Craig Damon Photography from other convention photographers. I can honestly say that I will gladly purchase a photo op from Craig Damon Photography again.

After dinner we set out to the Marriott to take in the sights. Nights at Dragon*Con go late and by “late” I mean into the next morning. Most nightsRadioStar and White Rabite found the Yeti are spent milling around the hotel lobbies taking pictures of costumes and that’s exactly what we did! Costuming at Dragon*Con is a unique mixture of professional and amateur costume designers and fans. Generally, at Dragon*Con you want to put as much effort and creativity into your costume as possible; most people do and it shows! There are people there in costumes that look like they stepped off a movie set and some that actually were in movies! The costume contests at Dragon*Con are legendary and even if you don’t go to this convention for the guests or the panels you should come and see the costumes. It’s unreal.

White Rabite and I were thrilled when people actually recognized what we were! Actually, our only goal had been for Ben to recognize what we were so to have our fellow fans ask to take our picture, or have their picture taken with us, sent us over the moon! It was like being a mini-celebrity for the night! One fan, an older gentleman, was so thrilled with our costumes that he squealed! It made our night to say the least!

Big Daddy and Little Sister Costumes Courtesy of scenemissingmagazine on FlickrSo what was my favorite costume that I saw this year? Actually, I’d have to say that my choice is honestly my favorite costume that I’ve seen at Dragon*Con period. Ever since the game BioShock was released I had been dying to see someone do a Big Daddy costume for Dragon*Con. I knew that if I’d see one anywhere it would be there. I must have deafened my husband when I saw that someone entered the costume contest as a Big Daddy and Little Sister! Now I never got to see this costume in person and I really wish I could have, but it was incredible. The craftsmanship is just remarkable and the details are perfect right down to the moving drill hand! The creator of this masterpiece is Harrison Krix and he recorded a detailed account of its creation on his blog.

After milling around for a few hours, my friends and I opted to RadioStar and Nathaniel from Abney Parkattend the late night (technically early morning) performance of Abney Park on Friday. A friend asked me to describe Abney Park’s sound for her and I couldn’t. They’re 100% unique. Abney Park takes their musical influences from numerous genres and blends them together to make a sound all their own. You can check them out at www.abneypark.com where you can watch videos and even buy a pass to their vault that lets you download all of their albums. I have to say, technical glitches aside, they put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen! After Abney Park it was back to the rooms to blog about the day, upload some files to the servers and go to bed!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday is Dragon*Con’s busiest day. It’s the day when fans number in the tens of thousands. The hotels are wall-to-wall people. It’s hard to move from place to place let alone doing it on a schedule while carrying tons of equipment. It’s overwhelming and exhilarating all at the same time!

Claudia Black's Blue dress from Flesh and BloodPlayItGrand and I met up to get in line for our duo photo op with Ben and Claudia. While in line we saw a woman wearing the most beautiful (and accurate) version of Vala’s blue dress from the episode Flesh and Blood. We stopped her and asked to take a picture. In talking to her we found out that the dress was so accurate because it was the actual dress worn by Claudia in the episode!

PlayItGrand and I did our best to contain our excitement as we were ushered into the photo op room. We saw Ben and Claudia hamming it up with fans. Mainly when the fan would choose to hug Ben, Claudia would pout and vice versa. It was absolutely adorable and it had us tempted but we figured the picture would be awkward with both of us hugging Ben! Nonetheless, we had our places figured out by the time it was our turn. We said “hello” to them and PlayItGrand stood next to Ben while I got to stand next to a very tall Claudia!

For those of you who don’t know, Claudia is actually pretty tall. I’m about 5’9″ and she’s around my height, but on Saturday she was a good three inches taller then me due to her shoes. She put her arm around me and said that she loved my hair!Ben PlayItGrand RadioStar Claudia

Claudia got a good look at my hair from her overhead vantage point, made a poking motion at my “Vala” streak and said, “Oh wow! You actually did it!” I told her that I figured if you’re going to do it you might as well go all the way! She laughed and agreed. We took the picture, thanked them and actually managed to contain our squeals until we left the room!

Since White Rabite was flying out Saturday night to return home for a wedding, we decided to put the DRD costumes on one last time to get Ben’s autograph. While we were there we figured we might as well get in line to get Claudia’s as well! PlayItGrand joined us along with Spacegypsy1 and after waiting in line for nearly an hour, we got up to Claudia first.

“I know you!” she exclaimed. I died…well, not quite but almost. I handed her my business card for WormholeRiders, introduced myself and told her that we were looking forward to interviewing her Sunday afternoon for WormholeRiders and Claudia Black Online. She got a huge smile on her face, reached backwards and frantically dug through her purse. (Which I think startled her handler). I had no idea what she was doing, but it was adorable and comical. She pulled out what she was looking for and in a very Vala-like way, thrust it at me. “Here’s my card!” she grinned broadly. I looked at the card which has the INC Series logo on it and the twitter account and thanked her. I told her we already followed her on Twitter and she was thrilled. “Well now I’ll follow you!” she said as she took my picture to sign.

Now I have to say that going into Dragon*Con after finding out Claudia was going to be there my #1 goal was to have her personalize an autograph for me. You see, when I met her in 2007 she wasn’t personalizing her autographs and while it was great to meet her in person, the autograph looked like one I could buy off of Ebay. I had contemplated asking her to just personalize the one I had (after purchasing another autograph ticket to be fair) but opted to just get a completely new one.

Claudia Black AutographWell, Claudia personalized it all right! She did the standard, “Cool name!” upon seeing that I spell Sam with two “M’s” instead of one (every star I’ve gotten an autograph from says this. I didn’t think it was that uncommon). The best part came as she was deciding what to write after my name. “I don’t sign “with love” to just anyone!” Again, I died a little. I thanked her for her autograph, tried not to squeal, told her I’d see her tomorrow and moved into Ben’s line.

Ben Browder AutographBen was also great at the autograph table. It seems I was in for a day of memorable moments. As White Rabite and I approached the table (remember, we’re in our DRD costumes) he exclaimed “I was waiting for you two!” He gave us one of his big Crichton grins and we melted. He pointed to the post-its attached to our pictures and asked, “Is this for you?” We told him they were for us and he took off the post-its, crumpled them up and proceeded to sign our respective photos “To 1812” and “To My Little One-Eye.” He made our day.

Stargate Multiverse Supergate Panel- SaturdaySaturdaySupergate1050116

This panel was supposed to feature Claudia, Ben, Gary Jones, Colin Cunningham, Joe Flanigan, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Momoa, and Paul McGillion. PlayItGrand, Spacegypsy1 and I secured our seats up in the catwalk of the Hyatt’s two huge ballrooms grateful not to have to wait in line for two hours and thrilled with our amazing vantage point!

Panic started to set in when we saw them putting out the name cards. Where were Ben and Claudia’s? I rushed downstairs and tracked down a staff member to ask if Ben and Claudia were on the panel. He told me that they weren’t technically on the panel but were put down as being on the panel in case they decided to show up. He assured me that they would, however, be on the Farscape panel that was to immediately follow.

SaturdaySupergate1050158After picking my stomach up from my feet and putting it back in place, I headed back up to the catwalk to cover the very amusing Multigate panel.

My account of the panel wouldn’t do it justice. But keep your eyes peeled because we’ll be posting the entire Saturday Supergate Panel here on WormholeRiders!

Farscape Mega Panel

I’m not going to lie, as a Farscape fan I was really excited about this SaturdayFarscape1050335panel. The panel consisted of Ben, Claudia, Lani Tupu (Crais) and Virginia Hey (Zhaan). I honestly have to say that this was one of the best panels that I’ve ever seen. They were hysterical!

The best question came when someone asked Virginia what her favorite episode was. Apparently this was planned ahead of time but it didn’t lose any of its humor. Virginia’s answer? “Any episode where Ben wears leather pants!”

Ben turned bright red while Claudia and Virginia immediately started giggling like school girls! Well, that was all it took because Claudia and Virginia took off running! They went on (with hand gestures) about how Ben’s bottom was like two loaves of baked bread and how they were both excited to work with him because of this.

SaturdayFarscape1050388Poor Ben, whose face kept getting redder and redder, commented on how, as an American transplant, he wasn’t used to Australian humor when he first started the show. Claudia piped up saying that they used this to their advantage and they would constantly drop things around Ben saying “Oh! Could you get that?” Claudia demonstrated by tossing a piece of paper over the table and looking innocently at Ben as she said this. I nearly fell off my chair I was laughing so hard.

You can see everything that happened at this panel HERE!

Saturday Night

Saturday night PlayItGrand, Spacegypsy1 and I went out to dinner with some of our friends. When we were done eating we sat down with a close friend of mine who is well versed in interviews and PR work and has reporting experience. She helped us map out our interview with Claudia based on our criteria. Our main goal was to make this interview fun, enjoyable and memorable for Claudia.

We went over all of the questions from both CBO and Hanging outWormholeRiders and paired it down to the most important since we only had ten minutes. We decided, based on the purpose of CBO and WormholeRiders, to focus on the main topic of her current work. After all, she’s done tons of interviews where she’s been asked “fan service” questions about Stargate and Farscape. We knew she’d answer a lot of the Stargate/Farscape questions during the panels and we wanted to set this interview apart from any others she may be doing that weekend. We wanted to know what she is planning for the future and most importantly, we wanted to show her that we cared about her and supported her career. Once we had our questions in place and determined who was asking what, we turned in for the night. Sunday was going to be a busy day!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It was the day we had been waiting for, the day of the interview! To say PlayItGrand, Spacegypsy1 and I were nervous was an understatement. We went over our game plan about a hundred times and reviewed all of our questions and back up questions. We were ready… really nervous but ready.

I have to be honest and say that my biggest fear going into this interview was that there would be moments of awkward silence or lags in the conversation. Interviews are supposed to flow like a casual conversation but how were we supposed to have a casual conversation with a woman that we, for lack of a better term, idolized? How were we supposed to do all of that while remaining calm and professional? Surely squealing when she walked in would give the wrong impression!

Luckily our morning was jam packed so we didn’t have a lot of time to work ourselves up into a tizzy over the interview. First we had to interview Gary Jones (Stargate) for WormholeRiders!

Gary Jones’ Interview

Gary agreed to meet with us on his lunch break so we took him up to the third floor of the Hilton where we thought it would be a little quieter, to do his interview.Gary Jones Autograph

Gary had us in stitches the whole time! I loved his comments about “filing under fire” and “typing under duress.” I mentioned that I was an assistant as well so I understood where Walter was coming from.

Gary: You are? Military?

Me: No, attorneys.

Gary: (laughs) Even worse! Do they just punch random numbers into the copier until they find one that works?

Me: YES! Exactly!

Needless to say, Walter and I share a lot in common. You can view the full interview HERE!

After Gary’s interview we were feeling more confident for “the big one.” But first we went to the Stargate panel and set up our equipment.

Stargate Supergate PanelSunday Supergate Panel– Sunday

We went into this panel knowing that we’d only get to see half of it. We had to leave early to go and set up for our interview with Claudia and we wanted to leave at least a half hour for us to get things ready.

The panel consisted of Claudia, Ben, Joe Flanigan, Rachel Luttrell, Paul McGuillion and Jason Momoa. They were all great together! We were really enjoying the panel which included the great question of “have you ever met someone famous that you geeked out for?” It produced some great answers!

Sunday Supergate PanelClaudia told a story from when she was waitressing in London at a small cafe that was frequented by the late Princess Diana. Claudia had never seen the princess in the cafe before so she wasn’t really paying close attention when she came in. Apparently security set up menus all around the princess as if to provide a barrier. Claudia demonstrated by taking everyone’s name plates and setting them up around herself. She said she was walking past the table when she heard, “excuse me. Is this enough for coffee and a scone?” Claudia turned around and came face to face with Princess Diana! She said she just stared at her for a moment like a deer in headlights, pointed behind her and said, “Alice can help you” before scurrying away!

You can watch our footage from the Sunday Supergate panel HERE!

The Interview

The Interview RoomI know this is what you’ve been waiting for! We set up for our interview in the same room where Craig Damon Photography did Ben and Claudia’s photo ops. Craig Damon was very nice and let us use his backdrop and lights! We set up four cameras, two on Claudia, one on the reporters and one on the ground just to record sound. We weren’t about to leave anything to chance!

We prepared ourselves, went over the questions one last time, jumped around to get our nerves out and waited for Claudia to come.

Again, nervous doesn’t begin to describe what we were feeling but we were confident after our interview with Gary that things were going to go well. We could do this.

Claudia came in and we introduced ourselves. We all sat down and made small talk while PlayItGrand adjusted the cameras. We were just about to begin when we looked up and saw Ben peeking around the corner!

He looked at Claudia, then me, then Spacegypsy1 before saying that he shouldn’t be there. “Of course you should! Come here honey!” Claudia exclaimed and motioned for him to have a seat next to her.

We were all squealing inside our heads at this point. We invited Ben to join us for the interview, readjusted the cameras and away we went!

We made our formal introductions on camera and asked Ben if he had ever seen CBO. He said that he hadn’t because he wasn’t allowed to. This lead to some ribbing from both us and Claudia until Ben agreed that he’d check it out.

Ben pops in to Claudia's interview!All joking aside, we realized Ben would likely be leaving soon so we asked both of them about their current projects. “Laundry,” said Ben. “Organizing the sock drawers,” laughed Claudia. Ben went on to talk about Going Homer, his new project before he was whisked away quickly by his handler.

Soon it was just us and Claudia again. You can see what we talked about when you watch the interview. I won’t bore you with the details here. Instead I’ll tell you what it was like doing the interview.

Once you get over the initial shock that you’re actually having a conversation with Claudia Black, talking to Claudia is like talking to a close friend that you haven’t seen in a while. She’s very relaxed and she makes you feel relaxed. Conversation just flows easily with her and she’s not afraid to take it in new directions. We talked a lot about the series she’s developing, INC and about how she’s having to take on different roles (producer, writer, etc.) for it. We talked about how she handles motherhood and her career and what her goals for the future are.

As the conversation progressed we all relaxed more. We were signaled by her handler that we had time for one last question so we picked a good one for all the fans out there! It ended up being a two part question when Claudia inadvertently answered the lead in to the actual question. I think you’ll like the answer! I’ll tell you this, it was a question that she was famous for not answering!

We wrapped up the interview and presented Claudia with a box of FrangoMintsFrango mint chocolates. Frango’s are fantastic chocolates that can only be found at Macy’s (what used to be Marshall Field’s) in Chicago. At least, the ones you buy in Chicago are still the only ones made from the original Marshall Field’s recipe. They’re fantastic. Claudia was excited about them and said she wanted to see Chicago. She wants to come and do improv with Second City (famous for producing many of the great SNL actors). We told her to let us know and we would pack the house!

Claudia was quickly whisked away by her handler. We wanted to ask her for a special favor but there just wasn’t time. As she was leaving Claudia said to find her in the autograph line and if it was something she could do for us there she would!

We thought she was gone when she poked her head back around the corner (obviously having momentarily escaped her handler) and told us, “this was a really great interview! I’m not just saying that to be polite either. It was really enjoyable!” Mission accomplished.

The Rest of Sunday

The rest of Sunday was rather quiet compared to the rest of the weekend. PlayItGrand and I went to the Stargate Gate Support panel featuring Gary Jones and Colin Cunningham. They were hysterical together! When asked why Major Davis never got promoted, Colin pulled out a pocket sax and played a great little jazz number while Gary narrated the reasons Major Davis never changed rank.

Never fear WormholeRiders! The video of this panel will be posted soon so stay tuned!

After the panel we met up with Julie Caitlin Brown about talking to Claudia and were told when/where to find her on Monday. Oh, and my husband and I sat next to the Ghost Hunters while out to dinner. Like I said, you never know who you’re going to see at Dragon*Con!

Monday, September 7, 2009- Farscape PanelMondayFarscape

Ben and Claudia were slated to be on the Farscape panel Monday morning. The great thing about Monday panels is that everyone leaves on Monday so the panels, if they aren’t cancelled, are rarely packed.

PlayItGrand volunteered to cover the coinciding Stargate panel for WormholeRiders while Spacegypsy1 and I covered the Farscape panel. You can view that panel here shortly.

We decided that we would try and catch Claudia before the panel to see if she had time afterwards to record a surprise for the sites. The staff members told us that Ben and Claudia were not early birds and would probably stroll in around 9:55 for the 10:00 panel.

Spacegypsy1 and I went and took a look at the ballroom. Given that it wasn’t packed we decided to stay on the ground rather than going up into the catwalk. At 9:30 we went backstage to wait for Claudia, figuring that even if we had to wait until right before the panel at least we were back there in time to catch her or her handler.

No more than five minutes later in strolled Claudia and her handler! “Hello ladies!” she called as she crossed the room. We greeted her and she started talking to us as if we were old friends! Unfortunately, since our conversation was “off the record” I can’t tell you what we talked about out of respect for Claudia. Sorry!

What I can say is that “hanging out” with Claudia before the panel was lots of fun! It really was just like hanging out with a friend. She and her handler were wonderful to talk to! What makes Claudia so fantastic is that she really is just a normal down-to-earth person and you realize this when you talk to her. You feel like you could just hang out with her like you would with any of your friends. It’s strange to put into words but I can say that Spacegypsy1 and I wouldn’t mind just hanging out with Claudia again! She’s tons of fun!

Claudia graciously agreed to meet us after the panel to film our special surprises.

Farscape Panel- Monday

MondayFarscape PanelThis time the panel was Ben, Claudia and Lani. Virginia had a morning flight and unfortunately could not be there. As expected the panel was great! We heard Ben and Lani’s theories on how the Scots were taking over Dragon*Con due to the number of kilts worn and the late night bagpipe music outside of Lani’s hotel room. Coincidentally, I was wearing my kilt that day and had talked to Ben before the panel so he was looking in my direction when he said it!

MondayFarscape PanelA fan asked if any of them had ever gone to their high school reunions. None of them had. Ben said something to the effect of just never really wanting to go, to which Claudia piped up that she’d go with him! Lani told Ben that he should buy her chocolates and flowers if he took her. Claudia said she just wanted a corsage because she had missed her prom!

You can view the entire Monday Farscape panel HERE.

After the Panel

Spacegypsy1 and I quickly packed up our stuff as the panel ended and went out into the hallway that led to the backstage area. Down one end of the hall was a door that led outside where they’d drop the stars off via van. At the other end of the hall was the door leading backstage.

Claudia and her handler came racing out the backstage door and flew past us. Claudia said she would be right back so we waited in the hallway, unsure where she went. After a few minutes we started to panic, wondering if she had gone out the doors to the vans, if she was coming back or if she ran out of time and got whisked away to whatever she was scheduled for next.

So we waited. Claudia and her handler came back and as they were walking towards the backstage area (we were racing to get back down the hall at that point) we heard her ask her handler where we were. She was looking for us just like we were looking for her!

We got settled very quickly, set up our camera and Claudia very graciously recorded welcome messages for both Claudia Black Online and WormholeRiders! I admit it was something we thought on Sunday to ask her to do if the interview went well and we wanted to keep it a surprise for everyone. We hope you enjoyed it! Click HERE to see the surprise!RadioStar and Oogie Boogie

Well folks, that, in a very large nutshell, was Dragon*Con 2009. I recommend that everyone go at least once. It’s unlike anything else you’ve ever been to. It was a great experience for all of us here at WormholeRiders! We’d like to thank all of our viewers for their continued support. We couldn’t have done any of it without you! We hope that our coverage of Dragon*Con 2009 has given those of you who weren’t there a chance to experience it along with us.

Later Gators!

RadioStar

Note: Currently, all four main convention hotels are SOLD OUT for Dragon*Con 2010 but you can still find rooms at the overflow hotels by clicking here!

You can purchase your tickets for Dragon*Con 2010 HERE! Please note that as it gets closer to the convention date the ticket prices will go up!

Samantha

4 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes at Dragon*Con 2009

  1. Ladies, thank you so much for your hard work and hustle. I enjoyed your interview on CBO. Thank you so much.

  2. Hiya Radio!

    This is truly outstanding and wonderful report. It is filled with such detail and great images, it made me feel like I was there! Thank you for this!

    Best Regards

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