laurie31 (laurie31) wrote,

MegaCon Report (Part One)

Okay, this is taking way longer than I intended, so I'm posting what I've done so far :)

MageCon Part One

Even now, I cannot believe I did this. I'm having a hard time writing the report because it's all so surreal.

Saturday morning I got up at 4:30 to go to the airport. I was so excited! I was out the door by 5:00, and at 5:30 I was sitting at the gate. I didn't know how long to allow for parking and security.

My flight left at 7:00, so now I had 90 minutes to sit there and think. It was dark and I was sleepy, but I was also sooooo excited! This was real. I was actually going. In only a few hours, I was going to meet MMD and JB! I had focused mainly on JB up until this point, but now I'm thinking about MMD too. Wow, she's an Oscar-nominated actress! What on Earth will I say to HER? I actually start feeling like I'm going to throw up just thinking about it - LOL! So I decided to think about other things instead. But of course, I keep coming back to imagining what I will say to JB and MMD.

Finally the flight boards, and we have a nice uneventful flight. We arrive early! Since it's only 9:00 (and MMD doesn't appear at the con until 11:30, and JB at 12:00, and my friend Mick1997 won't be there until 10:30 or so) I take the time to find the place where I need to check in when I come back. The only flight back home is at 7:35 and the panel discussion is over at 6:00. Brad was very worried that I would miss the flight home. If I do, there's not another one until the next AFTERNOON at 2pm. So missing the flight would be all kinds of bad. I promised I would not linger after the panel - I promised to be out of there like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight! I would go straight back to the airport and come home. So...I find the Delta check-in counter, and go out the nearest door and catch a cab. This was really easy. There was a line of taxis right there. There were TWO toll roads between the airport and the convention center, and the traffic around the center was really heavy. IN addition to MegaCon, there is a truckers convention, a tae kwan do event, and a couple of other things. It took 25 minutes for me to get there. I'm noting this, and thinking I hope it doesn't take me this long to get BACK!

So, I get dropped off at Hall C and I go inside. This place is HUGE!

I went to a tiny con in Birmingham once, about 15 years ago, but it was nothing like this. There are TONS of people here. Most were wearing regular clothes, but lots had on various costumes. There was even a guy in drag. I am from a tiny little town in the deep south. I'd never seen a guy in drag before. This guy was about 6'3" and dressed as Little Bo Peep or something. It was all white and frilly and he had 6" platform heels. I wanted to get a pic, but I was too chicken. Sorry - lol. I'm now really wishing to see Mick, because these peole are scaring me! LOL. I take a deep breath and remind myself that I came here to see JB (!) and I won't worry about the scary costumed people anymore. I decide to go into the main hall and check out the dealers. I also want to look around and find where the autograph signing will be. The hall is packed! There are literally hundreds of dealer tables. Mostly there are comics and anime stuff, which doesn't interest me. There were a few tables of BSG stuff, but I'm not too tempted by any of it. There are pictures (which I mostly already have - lol) and the ships like they sell at Target for $5, only here they are $10, and there is a artist who has a sketch of Lee in front of a Viper. It's $50, but what would I do with it? Also there is a beautiful painting of the entire cast. Prints of it are $550! Holy cow! I admired it, but again, I wasn't tempted. Way too rich for my blood!

I found the autograph tables. There is a long row of them against one side of the hall. Many celebrities are already there. Each has a table and a big roped-off square in front of the table for the line. MMD and JB already have people in their lines! Wow.

I decide to call Mick1997 and see how far away she is. It's still an hour before MMD comes out, but there are LOTS of people in her line. Mick is lost in Orlando. Her internet directions weren't quite correct, and they can't find the convention center. FINALLY she arrives :) It was really great to meet her and her family :)

After they picked up their tickets, we hauled it over to MMD's table. It was right at 11:30 by now, but she wasn't out yet. We decided to get MMD first and then go to JB, as he was to start 30 minutes after she did. Finally she came out at 11:45. We stood in line until about 1:00 to get her autograph. While we stood there, JB came out to his table, which was right next to hers. I couldn't believe I was actually seeing JB with my own eyes! Wow! When we got up to MMD, I truly had no idea what to say to her. I simply told her my name and said it wonderful to meet her.

She wasn't posing for pictures, but we snapped some of her from a distance. We wanted pics of her signing, but there was a person from the Con there who said no pictures at all. We think this person misunderstood, that it was just no POSED pics, and candids would have been okay, but we didn't risk the wrath of this person.

MMD was really nice to Mick's kids. They told her they were going to DisneyWorld and she said she had just been there yesterday. I will let Mick tell you the rest of the stuff with her kids, but we were both really impressed with her. I do wish I'd managed to say something about how I loved Laura Roslin. I was thinking (later) how the show hypes characters like Kara as being stong women, but really Laura Roslin is the strongest female character. Oh and learn :)

Then we went to get in JB's (Very Long) line. He WAS posing for pictures, which meant his line moved slower than MMD's but we didn't care, as it meant WE were going to get a pic too!

We were completely excited beyond words. JB was RIGHT THERE and we were going to talk to him and get his autograph and get our pictures taken with him. I thought I would just DIE at the thought. We noticed that despite the lines being long, and the little roped-off squares being small, that everyone was lined up very neatly and there was no pushing or complaining about anything. Everyone was very nice :)

At 1:45, JB took a break for lunch. He was to appear from 12-4:30, but signs told that all the celebrities would have lunch breaks and other breaks as needed. (they ARE only human after all). I would think after nearly 2 hours of signing your name over and over you would need a hand massage!! LOL

While he was gone, everyone sat down and made themselves comfortable. Mick's kids were hungry, so her husband took them off in search of food. Mick and I weren't risking losing our place - we had been hoping we would make it to the table before he went on break. There were only 7 people in front of us now.

However, we decided it would be good to see him when he was "fresh." He came back at 2:25 and before we knew it, there we were standing in front of him! I'm looking at him and I can' t believe my eyes. There is Jamie Bamber. Right there. And I'm talking to him. To borrow his word, I was totally gobsmacked! He looked up at me and smiled, said something generic like "How are you?" I am thinking, "Oh. my. goodness. TALK to the man already!" so I manage to say hello to him from Olga from Poland and Silke from Germany and Ciao from Mel in Italy.  I also then say that my friend Jane asked me to ask him if he would consider running in the Big Sur marathon. His eyes light up. "Big Sur.." he said. "That's beautiful!" Then he looks contemplative and says, "I said I would never do another marathon. But Big Sur... That's tempting." I told him Jane said it was the most beautiful marathon in the world. He said that he would think about that. I tell him that Jane lives in Monterey, so I believe she has ulterior motives in hoping he would run ;) Then I hand him the pics I brought and tell him how to spell my name :) I had a pic of Lee and Laura that I had MMD sign - I thought it would be cool to get a pic signed by both of them. but I also wanted a pic of just Lee, so I had one of those too. Then, (and I almost chickened out showing him my Bill/Lee pic, because I didn't want him to think I was TOO weird - lol) butI figured what the heck - you only live once! And this opportunity wasn't coming again anytime soon. So I pulled out the pic and said, "This is what we WISH had happened at the end of Sacrifice." I wasn't sure what his reaction would be, but he was really interested. He picked the pic up and studied it intently. I could imagine he was thinking, "I never posed for this!" so I explained that I had photoshopped Bill out of the morgue with twice-dead Sharon and put him in sick bay with Lee where he belonged! JB actually laughed out loud! He just kept looking at it! I think he liked it! I wish I had given him a copy! LOL! So, he signed it for me. I told him it wasn't fair, that Lee got all of the hurt but none of the comfort. He wrote "Finally..." on it :)  and then, then...I got to pose for a pic with him. Oh. My. Gosh. I handed my camera to Mick and stepped over beside him. He put his arm around me (he did that for everyone, btw) and I put my arm around him <dies> His pink sweater was SOFT!  [OMGOSH! OMGOSH! OMGOSH! I'M TOUCHING JAMIE BAMBER! AND JAMIE BAMBER IS TOUCHING *ME* ]  Then Mick showed me the pic to make sure it came out. Shameless confession: I almost lied and said it was blurry, so I could redo it. But I hadn't gone completely gaga, so I didn't - lol. Then Mick got her autographs and pic. Mick had her husband and kids with her as they were on their way to DisneyWorld. As we were leaving JB's table he called after her, "You have a lovely family!" How nice of him to say!

Here is JB signing Mick's pictures :)

Wow, what an experience! Next, Mick and I floated off someplace in search of food, because it's almost 3pm now, and I had breakfast in the car on the way to the airport at 5am. I thought there might be a food court with the typical junk food offerings, but there wasn't even that. There were some carts, with things like doughnuts and soft pretzels. But we were starving so we ate it. We got pretzels and fruit smoothies. There was a BSG trivia game at 3pm that we thought we might go to (we both decided we'd be too nervous to actually play but it might be fun to watch) but the Q&A panel with JB and MMD was at 5pm and we decided we would go on early to that room and get good seats! So we did. A lot of other people had the same idea. We were surprised by how many people were already in there. Then we checked our con program and found there was a program at 4pm in that room. Oh. *That's* what these people are here for. It was about how to make your own costumes and props, and even your own R2D2. It was actually pretty cool, although I doubt I'll be building an R2 unit of my own anytime soon - lol. There were very realistic-looking blasters and such, that were made from wood, PVC pipe, and black paint. Really interesting. However, not what we were there for. When it was over, we waited for the costume-building crowd to leave and we were going to move up closer. We were on the 3rd or 4th row, but we figured, the closer the better! Well..NOBODY LEFT!!! Apparently we weren't the only ones willing to sit there for 90 minutes in order to get close! LOL! I had thought I might run to the restroom really quick but outside the doors was a HUGE crowd waiting to get in! I didn't dare leave! Someone else had left and she nearly didn't get back inside - the guard had remembered her leaving, though, and let her back in.

At this point, there is murmuring that the room is too small. Well, DUH! I knew that when we got in here over an hour ago. I guess the con people have noted that the crowd outside and the room inside are not going to be a happy combination. The room has those movable divider walls. They decide to take the walls down and make it one big room. Well, that's great and wonderful, but we've been sitting here for 90 minutes and if they try to move the tables for MMD and JB as well, it's not going to be pretty. They start hustling around moving the wall. I'm getting a bit nervous, because this is supposed to be from 5p-6p and I have to be out the door at 6pm, or risk turing into a's now after 5 and they're still setting up! They decide they can't move the tables because of the microphones and all. There is great rejoicing among the early arrivers. Finally the wall is gone and they open the doors and the crowd pours in. The now-doubled-in-size room is nearly filled. Wow. At last MMD and JB come out.

There are two tables set up on either side of a podium. They quickly figure out that the people on the far side of the room won't be able to see like that, so they take it upon themselves to move the mike from the far table, so they can sit together (which makes more sense anyway) and be seen by everyone. It's 5:15. Okay. I am not leaving early. I will have to hope for the best.

MMD: Thank you for coming!

(crowd): Thank YOU! (applause)

Person in crowd: We love you!

MMD: We hope you do, because we want to do more!

(wild applause and cheering)

MMD: (as they move microphones and such) Jamie and I are really good techies. Nobody else has to work on the set when we're there. We do it all.

(they sit and pick up their microphones)

MMD: Testing...1...2...

JB: ...3....4...


JB: I wish I could sing, becaue I know you can

(They are both holding their microphones, and it does look like they are about to perform - lol)

MMD: I was just going to say - we're about to sing! What's that song about the winter? Two people? Never mind...

JB: Baby, it's cold outside!


MMD: Yes!!

MMD: We'll do it at the end.

JB: But baby, it's cold outside!

MMD: (sighs, like in the song) So....

JB: We really can't stay...

Someone says: Don't say that!

JB: That's a lyric from the song!

MMD: Oh, that IS a lyric!


JB: I guess we're here to answer questions, isn't that the brief that you got, Mary?

MMD: Before we start...we met a lot of you today at the tables. It's really been a pleasure to hear your comments about the show and feel your committment. When you're sitting there signing, you don't really know who you'll meet or what'll happen. And I think both Jamie and I felt today that it was a particularly kind and gentle group of people, so thank you. We appreciate that.

MMD: So basically, we're here to answer anything that we can. Sometimes we can't, because of spoilers, etcetera. So if you just want to throw some questions out there, Jamie will answer all of 'em.

Someone in crowd: Congratulations on Season 4!


MMD: Oh, thank you. We're happy.

Question: This is for Jamie. I was wondering how long it took for you to master an American accent.

JB: You're very kind. It's a work in progress and I haven't mastered it. It's...ah...something as actors we take on occasionally, and it's a lot of fun to do and it's a discipline, and you try and get so comfortable that you forget about it and sometimes you forget about it just too much and I can hear it coming through. It's just another aspect of the character that is a challenge to take on. Thank you very much for that.

(look how MMD's looking at JB...Guess the pretty isn't lost on her!)

Question: There's a bunch of us that put a message on sci-fi, and it's about Adar, because we're very intrigued about how you came up with the relationship between Roslin and Adar, so can you talk a little about that and what you think the relationship was like and why she stayed with him so long.

MMD: Yeah. I think it was one of those situations that...oh...I think some single women find themselves in, particularly when they're working in high echelons of power. There was a very close working relationship. Unfortunately he was married so the intimacies of that relationship were pretty private and mysterious. But I think that she had a great deal of respect for him as well. Unfortunately though, there were a few areas where they kind of disagreed, and that happened just prior to things falling apart for all of us, that relationship would have evolved, I think that it problably would have ended. There's a bit of a power struggle in the relationship (and something I couldn't hear). I just thought that was interesting, so...

Question: (more about Adar; I can't hear it very well)

MMD: Yeah, I was telling him about it. Remember when Jamie and I used to be in scenes together? Waaaaaaaaaay back? What's with that? Anybody - write to them and ask them!

JB: Yeah.

MMD: We're always saying, 'What happened to us?'!"

JB: There was that scene where you wrote "Olympic Carrier" on a piece of paper and put it in your pocket.

MMD: Yes! That was about Adar! That's right.

JB: That's what he used to do; he used to write it down and put it away

MMD: He used to write things down and put it in his pocket.

Question: (for JB) What is your favorite line from the show?

JB: (thinking) My favorite line from the show...

MMD: I think it's, "Laura, I love you!"


JB: It's subtext. It's in every scene. I love Laura.  (I love hearing him SAY "Laura"...sigh...)

JB: I don't know. I love the way that Eddie growls. How about (he switches to imitation of EJO) 'you gotta roll the hard six'


JB: Whatever that means.

Question- how did you get these parts? What did you think when you first heard about it? And how has it been since the show's gotten more popular? And how will it affect the rest of your life and your career...

JB: It might be all we do (laughing) speaking for myself. Mary?

MD: That's a lot of questions. I'll just deal with the first part (laughing). We were sent these scripts, and I think all of us were surprised by the level of...brilliance in the writing. I think, I think it's true for any actor in the group, I think that's what drew us to it. I personally kind of giggled when I heard that they'd offered it to me. I happened to be at lunch, that cliche, I was at lunch at Spago in Hollywood with my agent, which I never do, I'm serious, one and only time, and he sat down and said, "We have an offer for you," and I said, "Oh good. How much?" and then they told me and I said "Oh, that's very nice. What is it?" And they said, well, it's a mini-series, and it's Battlestar Galactica and I just laughed because it was preposterous to me. I couldn't put myself in that world, it's so pristine and I'm so earthy! But I took it home and read it and that's basically all it took for me! Jamie?

JB: Ummm...nobody made me an offer! And I wasn't anywhere near Spago! (laughter) I was doing a God awful TV show in the UK and I had a little break and I was contemplating life and what was going to come and I thought, well, let's go to LA and see what happens. So my manager shot me this script on the first night I was staying with him and he shot me this script and it said Battlestar Galactica and I had sort of a...sphincter-contracting moment. And I thought, that's just not right! I don't want that anywhere near me! But he didn't have anything else for me and I'd come all the way from the UK so I thought I'd read it and I forgot after about the first page that this was something that I used to watch as a kid because it really was an incredible script, the miniseries, and I really didn't think anything about my childhood memories about the show and I was really keen to audition for it, and I had to do a preview with the casting director and I went to do that and I got through that one, and I went to the producers, and then to the directors...

MMD: And he had to audition for me!

JB: Ms. McDonnell called up from across town...

MMD: I said, "I like that man with the accent! Might we get him?"

JB: I was wearing a Domino's cap and I brought pizza

(applause and laughter)

JB: No, it was an amazing two weeks, because on the last night...I tested that day and I got the call that I'd got the role, and so it was a life-changing couple of weeks. It was very memorable for me.

Question: (about Lee - I can't hear the first bit) all kinds of corners you get shoved into. First he's against his dad, then he's against everybody, then he's fat, then...

JB: You know, the honest truth is, it's my fault! Because I'm always asking for more corners, because the one thing about this character is he's kind know...he's the good guy, if there IS a good guy in this show. I think we're all mixed up and we're all flawed. Mary's a good guy and Eddie's a good guy, and Apollo's a good guy, and when you play those characters... I find myself trying to push them into the most awkward positions possible, because then you really find out whether they are good or not, and the thing about our show is that our characters are gray; they're never black, they're never white, and the only way that you really break Apollo down is to really put him into the most awful situations and that includes the relationships that he chooses, the relationship with his dad. They're kind of repetitive, but that's what life's like, you know? We find that the relationships that we're in do repeat themselves. They are what they are. And no, I embrace it. I'm very grateful to the writers and the producers that they sort of allowed me that breadth to go into those places because I think a lot of TV shows wouldn't let the sort of young meat actor become fat...or suicidal...or all the things that I've been allowed to do. So no, I think that's very much, I think that's the test of the character. You have to do that to...

Question: How heavy was the fat suit?

JB: How heavy was the fat suit? Um...well, the actual facial prosthetic looked like a piece of flounder. (laughter) and it was probably about that heavy. A good fish meal. A good fish supper. And then it got stuck to my face, and I wore lots of layers of clothes and things. I wore Grace Park's pregnancy belly. And when I came back to do the beginning of Season 3...There were two pregnancy bellies. There was THE pregnancy belly, a sort of 7 months pregnant one, and there was the sort of "after pregnancy" belly. And they forgot which one I was wearing! So suddenly I grew. I couldn't fit into any of my...ANY of my uniforms! And they said, "Listen, it's not us! You've obviously just eaten too much!" It took me two weeks until I saw both those things and I said, "What's that?" "Oh that? That's Grace's other belly." (dramatic pause) "Grace's other belly...THAT'S the one I was wearing at the end of last year! Somehow you mistook them. was a deal, it was fun. It was hard work. The prosthetic melted all the time and the camera work had to be very very precise and I couldn't use all my range of facial expressions so it was quite interesting as an actor. It was something...I actually applaud the writers...It was actually Michael Rymer's idea, our Australian, sort of artistic director. He came up with it.

MMD: You know, it's interesting they haven't asked any of the women to get fat.

JB: Well, Grace wore a pregnancy belly...

Question: (about working on other projects while not shooting BSG, mentions JB will be on Cold Case tomorrow night)

MMD: He's competing with himself

JB: No, you can watch both. A really interesting double-header. (laughter) Yeah, I start out as a dead terrorist and end up as a...what episode is this week? angry son.

MMD: Usually, for example, we stop shooting right before Christmas. You are just beginning to see the second half that we finished...

JB: Yeah, I think the episode that is on tomorrow we would have shot in...October?

MMD: Yeah, October, November...yeah, October, right. But in fact the actual show isn't ready until about a week before because post-production on this show is very intense. And they are very very brilliant in the editing rooms and the sound editing in particular is outstanding.

JB: It really is.

MMD: It takes a long time for this show to get finished.

JB: And all that CGI work takes time, so...we're lucky, we get a lot of time I think between the actual shooting, the principle photography, and when it airs. Often it's several months. Cold Case, for example, I shot in January and it's on four weeks later, so they turn around way quicker.

Question: (for Mary, about how she created the character of Laura Roslin - was it pulled from anyone in real life, or from other characters or created from scratch)

MMD: I basically modeled her after Hillary Clinton. (laughter) I'm teasing! (more laughter)

Someone shouts out: I thought Hillary was stealing from you!

MMD: NO! Hillary has not thrown ANYONE out of an airlock!


Someone in audience: Wait until she becomes president!

MMD: (laughing) I'll have to take her out to lunch!

MMD: No, I think, in answer to your much...what was your question?

Question: What gave you the idea for the character? How did you create it?

MMD: To me, the root of this character was her unpreparedness. Ironically, that's what I was interested in. I was interested in what happens to a woman in middle age, who's had a certain career that she's comfortable with but she basiclaly flew pretty "under the radar" for the most part. She's a rather shy human being. It was a very big job, but it wasn't a flashy job and suddenly she's put in front of everyone and has to take on leadership and has to deal with some very male, traditionally male issues in the world, like when to kill and when not to kill. To me, that was a fascinating thing to take a look at inside myself, and how does one grow into power? Where is power inside onesself if one hasn't prepared for it or trained for it. And I think there's a lot of women my age certainly, and a bit older, who came into positions of power later on in life, somewhat ill-prepared, you know? Fortunately, some of us were raised thinking we could do whatever we could do, but in general I think a lot of my generation started to realize that they could be in a world of men productively, maybe by the time they were in college. Now women now, girls are being raised to think that way from the very beginning, from the moment they're born. I knew there would be a disconnect in there somewhere and I was really fascinated by that and it kind of grew out of that struggle, she grew out of that struggle. Just like Hillary. (laughter) The thing with Hillary...she has no idea!

Question: When you signed on for the role, were you aware at that point that your character woudl be extended? That there would be the cure and that you would be on the show a lot longer? Or did that come...

MMD: Yes. I knew. I knew that. I just couldn't tell anyone.


MMD: That is one of the first conversations we had. My question, my only question really, at breakfast with the creators was, okay well, what about the breast cancer and how long...when...what happens here? And he said, well she struggles with it the entire run, perhaps. So I knew that I was in for the long haul on some level. Of course it could change at any moment, we all know. At least you've got something you can trust...

Question: Do you ever find yourself saying "frak" in real life?

JB: Frak no!


JB: We're not that frakkin' rude!

MMD: Frakkin' A!

JB: The answer is yes, it's really sad.

(and tune in tomorrow for more of this! :) )
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