As soon as we got to the conference center and I turned on my camera, the low battery light started flashing. Already I was kicking myself for not having charged it the night before. I had brought along a charger, but there just wasn't time to go back to the hotel and sit for a couple of hours while it recharged.
So I tried to use the camera very sparingly. No review of photos taken. Turn it on, focus, push the button, turn it off. That worked for exactly 18 pictures. Roughly 2 hours of the morning.
I did manage to get a couple of pictures of Chewbacca. The actor who plays him, that is, not the actual furry suit itself. There were plenty of OTHER people wearing those.
Our first real disappointment of the weekend came Friday morning. Scheduled for the huge conference hall which held 6500 people was an event about Watchmen, the new movie from Warner Bros. It was scheduled for 10:50, so my friend and I headed over to the line a little before 10. The line was pretty long when we got there; I estimated there were about 1500 people in front of us, so I figured we were in good shape. By the time our line had wound around some, and we were close to the building itself, there were easily 3000 people behind us, so we were feeling sorry for them.
With about 20 people between us and the door to the hall, a staffer came by to announce that the hall was full, and no one else would be allowed entrance.
We later found out that they showed bits of the movie, and everyone got a free Watchmen T-shirt. Oh well.
Since we missed out on Watchmen, we headed upstairs to the other screening rooms, where we had the choice of a Joss Wheedon discussion or a "Visionaries" panel consisting of the directors of several TV shows including Lost. My friend was already set on the Visionaries panel, but I had decided to see Joss. That was, until I saw the line. Both events were more than two hours away, but the line for Joss Wheedon was already humongous. Having just missed out on something despite standing in a long line, I was not anxious to do that again. So my friend and I both went to the room where the Visionaries panel was to be held.
I don't even remember who was there when we first entered the room, but we sat through his discussion. Then we sat through the panel discussion with the director and voice cast of the new Spiderman animated TV series. That was pretty cool.
Right before the Visionaries panel was to begin, I exited through a side door to use the restroom. On my way back, Stan Lee walked right past me. In case you don't know who that is, Stan Lee is the creator of many comic book heroes, including Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. I flipped on my camera, and took a quick shot, catching the back of his head. Then I thought it would be a good idea to run ahead of him and get a shot of his front. I got set up for the shot, pushed the button, and the screen went blank except for the words, "Recharge Battery Pack."
The Visionaries panel was a lot of fun. The two guys that produce Lost were there, along with the producers of Chuck, Pushing Daisies, And the Sarah Connor Chronicles. These are all shows that I watch and enjoy, so it was a very entertaining hour.
It sure would have been nice to have my camera ready though later in the evening, when Kiefer Sutherland and several other members of the 24 crew had their panel discussion. At one point, I was actually about 5 feet away from Jack Bauer himself, and I got some really crappy pictures on my camera phone.
They showed a few clips from the 24 mini-movie that will serve as a prequel to season seven, and it looks great. Then they had some questions from the audience.
The most entertaining one by far was when some kid got up and said, "I've noticed that Jack says the word 'Dammit" a lot. I'm wondering is that in the script, or are a lot of those ad-libbed? And could you do me a favor and say, 'Dammit, Cameron!" [The kids name obviously was Cameron.]
Kiefer immediately obliged with a trademark Jack Bauer dammit. He then answered the question saying that since the network won't allow profanity, he needed to come up with some sort of expletive that would adequately express his frustration on matters ranging from not being able to control his 16-year-old daughter to having the potential of a nuclear bomb going off in Los Angeles. He also talked about his being well aware that many college students have turned it into a drinking game, taking a shot whenever Jack says dammit.
As the kid walked off, and the next questioner approached the microphone, Kiefer grabbed his own mic and yelled, "Dammit, Cameron, don't you walk away from me!"
The crowd erupted -- it was fantastic. I have to say, Kiefer Sutherland seems like a really cool dude. As the event was closing up, he made a point to say how thankful he was for all of the fans of the show. Afterwards, with staffers trying desperately to get people out of the way, and get Kiefer out of the room, you could tell he didn't want to go. Even with event personnel trying to cajole him, he kept taking and signing as many things as people were stuffing in front of him, furiously trying to get it all done in a short time.
By the time I got out of the 24 panel, the exhibit hall downstairs was almost closed. My friend had not gone to the panel with me, so I went looking for him. Turns out, he had managed to position himself right next to the G4 booth, as they were interviewing the two producers of Lost. His wife called him to tell him that every time the camera focused on Carlton Cuse, my friend could be seen right over his shoulder. Pretty awesome.
First thing I did when we got back to the hotel that night -- recharge my camera. Saturday was the main day we had come for -- big-time panels on Heroes and Lost.