London Film and Comic Con Winter 2014
Another weekend, another convention. Run by Showmasters, London Film and Comic Con is a signing event more than a convention, though people interchange the phrases. A convention is really more like a themed event, say at a hotel where you will normally stay as well and where there will be evening parties, meet and greet opportunities with the guests and other things going on.
These signing events are more generic, will have a range of actors from a variety of films and shows, comic artists and writers, cosplay and authors too.
There are two LFCC events each year now, the main summer show in July and a winter one which is usually in October.
Although marketed under the same brand name and organised along the same lines, they have a very different feel to each other. The summer one is packed with guests, a lot of whom are pretty high profile, depending upon what your particular choice of viewing while the winter show has fewer and arguably less high profile guests so doesn’t attract as many people and to a degree is therefore a more pleasant experience.
I try to be quite selective with who I meet partly for financial reasons and partly because I’d rather meet people I actually have an interest in than just because they were in a few episodes of a show. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stargate, Star Trek, and Game of Thrones are my main interests although as I’ve met most people from the various Trek franchises now I’ve added Battlestar Galactica to the list along with a few random people from other things.
I’m not going to bore you with a list of everyone I’ve met. For one thing, it’s too much of an ego thing and after all dear reader, you probably don’t really care and secondly, unless you’re into the same shows and films as me you may not have heard of some of these people.
When the line up for this show started to be announced I was waiting for anyone of interest. In the end the only people I had any real interest in meeting were Katee Sackhoff, Michael Trucco and Ryan Robbins who had all been in Battlestar Galactica.
Expecting more guests to be announced I booked my photoshoot ticket for Katee with weekend entry tickets as she was enough of a reason to attend. Unfortunately as the weekend arrived there was no-one other than the previously mentioned three and knowing that this show is always quieter than the summer one, I realised I could easily get everything done in one day and may have wasted a Sunday entry ticket.
So I arrive as the doors open at 9 to find a somewhat bigger queue than I was expecting. Possibly not surprisingly. Due to the chaos and incredible numbers that attended the summer show, with associated problems some had even getting in, a number of people had probably thought it would be the same and arrived early. Someone was even there at 6:30am I understand.
The queue moved quickly and I was soon inside. Although not really necessary I had asked for my friend Michael who was in before me to pick me up a VQ (Virtual Queue) ticket for Katee just in case i needed it. Knowing this was in hand, I spent a little time taking photos of the car displays at the entrance and arranging to meet my friend.
Then it was time to head to the guest area where I randomly bumped into another friend, Robert and had a quick catch up. Katee and Michael hadn’t arrived yet but Ryan was there and with not much of a queue so I thought I’d go and meet him first. That’s when things took a slightly negative turn.
Sometimes it’s possible to get a photograph with the guest at the signing table rather than pay for a professional photoshoot. Many guest are happy to do this and while some aren’t for a variety of reasons, there will usually be a sign up saying “No Posed Photos” or “No Photography” etc depending upon what is or isn’t allowed.
Ryan happily posed with the two people in front of me but then just as I was about to say hello to him, the agent who represents many of the guests came along and told him and the crew person sitting with him that there were to be no more posed photos as they had to sell more professional photoshoots.
We are often told by the organiser that it is down to the guest or agent and not about selling photoshoot tickets. Clearly this was not the case here and I wasn’t going to be bullied into spending more money than I’d budgeted for. This wasn’t his fault though and he was great to chat to and was more than happy for me to take a photo of him though which came out really well.
By this time Katee had arrived so I went and joined her queue. As she admitted later in the Q&A she was extremely jet-lagged but had a lovely smile for everyone, was really chatty and found it quite amusing when I said how I’d rediscovered Battlestar after I’d met Aaron Douglas a few years ago and talked to him about it. She said he could sell anything to anyone which is probably very true.
It was still quite early in the day and my photoshoot with Katee wasn’t for another 45 minutes but my friend Bunny had arrived so we went to meet up and have a quick chat with her.
I wanted to go to the Q&A session with Katee and Michael Trucco but was willing to queue early to get a good seat so headed over to the photo area to try and get through that quickly but noticed there was already quite a queue which would take a while to get through and there wasn’t much of a queue for Michael Trucco so joined that first.
I believe this was the first UK show he had done, which is pretty unusual for a BSG guest after the show finished so long ago so it was great to meet him. Like the others he was really friendly and also thought it was amusing how I’d rediscovered the show. I’m also a fan of the Big Bang Theory and asked him about his experience when he appeared in an episode of that which he was full of enthusiasm about. Stupidly I’d forgotten to ask Katee about that too as she’d appeared on it a few times although it did come up in the Q&A.
I finished speaking to him just nicely in time to get to the photo area and join the back of the queue which they cut off just after me. That was a relief as I’d have to wait until near the end of the day for the second session and wasn’t sure how long I wanted to stay. Of course when it came to my turn she was totally gorgeous, arms around each other and a super photo, which I’m a bit shy to post here.
Quick dash over to the talk area then where Bunny and Michael were already waiting for the queue for the talk before to go in. We had a good half hour to wait but that was the idea, to make sure we were right at the front and would have our choice of seats behind the first three rows which were reserved for gold pass holders. Unfortunately that didn’t work out quite as planned.
We chose to sit on the right of the aisle and promptly found the view partially blocked by a tall person in front and someone with a video camera who had been given permission to film and stuck it right in the eyeline of Bunny who was seriously not happy and understandably so after going to the effort of being at the front of the queue.
Thankfully the talk was very good right from the opening comment from Katee about whether Michael came the night before!! If you get it, yes you’ve got a dirty mind too. She blamed it on the jet-lag. And so it went on from there.
Obviously it was all heavily biased towards Battlestar Galactica but there was a range of questions and apparently it was only when Katee wore her BSG flight suit on The Big Bang Theory that anyone knew she had kept it.
And then she broke the heel of her shoe which caused things to get very silly. The talk was short but interesting and there was good interaction between her and Michael.
After the talk it was time for lunch in a local pub. Nice to get out for some air and it was a good couple of hours (slow service for some reason) to chill and chat. Decent food too.
We then wandered back in to look round the stalls which is hard to do at the summer show due to the crowds and while there’s always interesting things to look at I’m good at resisting spending on stuff as I don’t really collect the things that are available. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out by not being into comics and things in a big way but we all have our different interests and I’m learning.
I also took the opportunity to take a few photos of cosplayers which I often forgot to do when it’s crowded. This is what people who don’t go to these events often poke fun at, people dressing up as characters from films, TV shows, comic books, video games or whatever they feel an affinity for. While not something I’ve seriously considered doing, the effort that goes into a lot of these costumes is incredible. Many are hand made with people spending weeks or months on them and they really bring a sense of fun to the show. It’s just not the same when you don’t see Batman chasing The Joker around or a random zombie trying to take a bite out of you when you’re not looking. Bunny spotted some excellent ones cosplaying as characters from her favourite comic Rat Queens too which was unusual.
And so things started to wind down. We went and found somewhere to sit and chat while others went to late photoshoots and I decided that there wasn’t really any reason to go back on Sunday despite having a ticket.
Not everything was perfect however, while better than the summer, they still need to work on communication. There was a health and safety issue during the talk which was so ridiculous and should have really been sorted out in advance of anyone going in and there’s been some controversy over the price of one of the guests changing during the day so that some who were there early paid less than those who met him later in the day. That will no doubt rumble on but didn’t affect me directly.
Overall it was a decent show. Nice that it was quieter so there was plenty of time to hang out with friends and no rush to get anything done as you could pretty much walk up to any of the guests when you needed to with few having lengthy queues.
And it’s just a couple of weeks until the next one.
A gallery of my other photos can be found here or by clicking the gallery link on the right.