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July 13 2008

All four days of Comic-Con schedule are now up. Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku listed for Saturday panel 1-2PM.

[ edited by ProgGrrl on 2008-07-13 04:28 ]

FYI, for those who want to know, here is Saturday in Ballroom 20 (where you will want to be if you want to see the Dollhouse panel): Futurama, The Simpsons, Dean Koontz, Dollhouse, Battlestar Galactica, Chuck, Fringe.
I really wish I went this year. I am kicking myself right now for not buying tickets. Oh well, there will always be a next year.
Great... now I have to figure out how I'm going to get from Hall H's Heroes and Lost panels and up to Ballroom 20 for Dollhouse and BSG (and still get seats...) Not likely. :-(
Dang, I wonder how early we'll have to get there to be assured a seat for Dollhouse. I'm not at all interested in the first 3 panels. Plus, I can't imagine there's much cross-over between Koontz and Joss, and I would hate to have to sit through Koontz.
I'll be parked in Ballroom 20 for the duration unless Comic-Con decides to give away a Golden Go Wherever You Want Whenever You Want Ticket that I can steal from the winner.

At this point, this is my presumptive schedule, although I still need to make some conflict choices, and there are one or two things that are just "maybes".
Lost and Heroes at Hall H? Well, no problem about having enough space now. Now I have to start setting up my schedule.
Woohoo, my guess of rooms for each panel was mostly right except Lost and Heroes in Hall H. I'm glad they're putting the big TV show panels in Hall H now. Saturday looks completely packed with lots of good panels. Even my favorite musician, Tori Amos, is doing a panel. It's too bad I can't go, sigh.
Also, the Cali BCs have posted (scroll down) the info on the location of the after-hours Browncoats spot for Thu, Fri, and Sat nights.
There are so many panels/discussions I wish I could hear but, alas, I'm nowhere near San Diego.


Wish they would start streaming or taping them and release them via online or DVD!
My schedule it incomplete, of course, if you take into account that there's a Red Sox/Yankees series that weekend as well. (Hey, lexigeek, what do we do?! Me, I've just installed some baseball update apps onto my iPod touch.)
Please, please, pretty please! Whom ever attends Joss and Eliza's discussion, take some notes and share with us.

RavenU, will you be there?
Madhatter, there were more or less real-time updates being posted here last year.
Oops! I'm always a day short and a dollar less.
Tori Amos will be there? She did the best piano ballad remake of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." And "Total Eclipse of the Heart," which, admittedly, was not much of a stretch.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-07-13 13:49 ]
A fun Read - Nerd Vegas: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying CCI in San Diego, 2008! (Final Version)

Nope, Madhatter, I don't go anywhere they expect 100,000 people in one place.

[ edited by RavenU on 2008-07-13 15:09 ]
I think someone owes me a 6-pack.
Does anybody here think it would be possible to run from Lost to Dollhouse given that Lost ends at 1 and Dollhouse begins at 1? I hope to God it's possible.
Sorry userpjx, it's not possible without missing something. Hall H is all the way to one side of the convention and Ballroom 20 is in the middle. Just walking from one to the other will take 5 minutes in a normal crowd. Then you will likely have to wait in line, if they are even letting anyone else in the room.
From personal experience at CCI 2007:

My brother and I showed up on the day of Joss's panel at about 7am to find a line of approximately 300+ people waiting to enter the Ballroom. We were forced to sit about 2/3 of the way back, starting with the first panel. Throughout the day, we moved forward towards the stage between panels, eventually parking three rows from the front for Joss at about 5pm (was it 5?).

You were allowed to exit the Ballroom to use the restroom only if you got a special pass from the CCI staff standing at the exit. My brother and I took turns exiting for bathroom breaks and to buy food during the long day in the Ballroom.

The takeaway here is that, if you don't get in the Ballroom initially, you will be waiting outside of it and you run the risk of missing the panel you want to see. So show up early (at least 7am) - this way, you'll be sure to get in, and once in, you can maneuver for better seats. Plus, it beats waiting outside on the floor - at least inside, you have a seat and can watch other panels. I had no desire to see the Futurama panel which took place right before Joss, but the live table read with the actual cast of the show was a surprising treat.
Thanks for the detailed description, AMCsoldier. I don't remember it being so difficult the last time I lined up for panels - OTOH, that was in 2005 . . . Because it sounds more like a descent into hell than an enjoyable time at a fan convention, I may end up sacrificing the Dollhouse panel for a few smaller ones on Saturday; I do intend to make all efforts for the Dr. Horrible/BtVS S8 panel on Friday, though.

I suppose there was a time when this event required only a ticket to San Diego and a willingness to explore something new and rarefied, rather than a military campaign, stores of bottled water, and sharp elbows. Huh.
Not to mention that by the time I got into a line for Ballroom 20 later year on Saturday, the line snaked outside into the path of the hot burning fire orb in the sky.
Temperatures should be in the low 70s this year. At least the orb won't so burninglike this year.
Yeah I've been comparing the weather between Portland and San Diego for weeks now. It's been routinely cooler down there by 5 to 10 degrees.
We have been cooler in LA as well. My family in Oregon gives me daily weather reports. :)
SNT, it wasn't really that bad for Joss's panel last year. I got there only about 45 minutes prior (because of horrible traffic, about which I apparently still can't stop popping a 2,000 yard stare and droning) and I got in with a fairly decent seat. Don't listen to the Con employees, was the sad lesson there. Some people got turned away, when the hall wasn't even full.
*Sigh* I guess I should make peace with missing Dollhouse. So arriving 2 or 3 hours prior for most panels is fine?
We've just gotten word that Kevin Anderson and Rebecca Moesta will be joining us in the Sunday meeting room for the author readings. They will also be signing at the CABC booth at a time yet to be determined, but probably on Saturday.

On a different note, yesterday we finished the design and layout of the merchandise at the booth. We have an incredible array of stuff, and you will be able to shop and go with no problem. We've streamlined a lot (cash register and wireless credit card machine!) and it's going to be a breeze shopping. Don't forget to pick up your exclusive comic too! You can find photos of almost all the merch we are selling starting here or all 4 pages in one place here. We are also putting the finishing touches on a downloadable PDF shopping list. :)
Wow!, danregal, you guys really are outdoing yourselves this year. Color me impressed.
Thanks TamaraC! I think it will be fairly impressive to see at the booth also. If you've seen any of our previous booths, expect some changes. If you haven't seen our booth for a few years, expect to be shocked. (I hope)

Now if only I can get my hands on those Dr. Horrible shirts! We are actually holding one shirt slot open just in case. It'll get filled with another Browncoat shirt if needed, but I certainly hope we get something Horrible. :)

Oh, I forgot to mention that the merch pages look so awesome thanks to our webmaster. She always takes what I ask for and makes something better.

[ edited by danregal on 2008-07-13 20:14 ]
dreamlogic--the folks in the red shirts with "Elite" on 'em are not Comic-Con "employees." They're convention center security, and Comic-Con is forced to use them because their contract comes with the center (when the Con was still at the Civic, it used its own volunteer security force). The Elite guys & gals have never known what's going on, and are reasonably ok at doing their job, as I suspect they're given a grand total of 20 minutes' training in the rush to get enough warm bodies for Comic-Con, so you have to forgive them for sticking to the letter of whatever instruction they last heard, rather than taking full responsibility to adjust to an ever-changing situation. Given the size of the crowds, you can understand why they might be nervous, and take their assurances with the necessary grain of salt. They are but peons.

The convention does not have employees; Comic-Con is volunteer-run [with the exception of the general manager who has a salary because running three cons a year is enough to eat up anybody's full-time life] and the Con itself is a non-profit organization. If you see someone with an all-access badge who's frantically trying to talk into a headset, a cellphone, and a radio all at the same time--that's probably a Con Comm member, running themselves into the ground to put the show on for you. Get out of their way, or offer to help. Volunteering for Comic-Con can be an eye-opening experience.
I wish I could go to ComicCon this year (I've never been) but I got married this year (yay!) and honeymoon didn't coincide with ComicCon. I'm wondering what the going rate for 4 day passes was. This will give hubby and I a better idea of how much money we need to save up to go next year (here's hoping!).
I don't remember if the cost of the 4-day changes over time as it gets later, but when I bought mine it was $75. The real cost of going to Comic-Con is in the hotel and airfare.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-13 21:07 ]
Seeing the schedule and the choices one would have to make, I am now officialy semi-glad I'm not going to Comic-Con. I'd be too worried about what I was missing or where I would have to be next to enjoy what was going on at the moment, I think.

Also, danregal, that's a great collection of things on a booth which seems very professionally run! Kudos :). Do you guys get to see anything of the con itself, by the way? When I co-ran the Dutch Buffy and Angel fanclub and attended conventions to run a booth, I'd sometimes have time to drop into a Q&A if someone covered me. But those were tiny, tiny events compared to Comic-Con, so I imagine it's nigh on impossible there, even if you do have enough people to run the booth in shifts (which I imagine is the case?).
"4:30-5:30 Bones— Join the entire cast (David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor, John Francis Daley) and creators Hart Hanson and Barry Josephson for an hour of behind-the-scenes secrets and the chance to ask them everything you always wanted to know about the hit Fox drama. Ballroom 20
Categories: Horror and Suspense | Television "

The Bones panel with David Boreanaz is Friday at 4:30 in Ballroom 20. If anyone attends, notes and commentary would be greatly appreciated. :)

[ edited by resa on 2008-07-13 23:00 ]
I have Bones down as a maybe. I'm afraid of not getting into Room 6B in time for the long haul of stuff in there if I go to Bones and aren't done there until 5:30.
Does anyone with CC truly sit down and try to program the events so that possibly the "big" shows are staggered throughout the four days, throughout the day, making it not so heart-attack inducing for fans stressing out in their planning? Because just reading through the stress here evident, it makes me not want to go again. My life is stressful enough and no matter how much there are industry people I'd like to see, are you going to pay for a four-day pass, plus travel expenses to only see a few things? Maybe it's the nature of the beast but chaos is not a good time.
kli, as I recall the ones who sent people away when the hall ended up maybe 3/4's full were in blue suits and ties. You're right when you say I have no idea who they worked for. And I don't mean to disparage the great efforts of the Comic-Con organizers. I'm hoping the bitter fact that I wasn't able to get a Saturday ticket because I waited too long means that they've taken the unpopular but necessary step of limiting attendance on Saturday. Last year's Saturday was kinda scary. I think it was good luck that nothing really bad happened.
Tonya J, I think the problem is that there are just too many "big" shows. There is no way to accommodate your tastes vs my tastes vs 98,000 other peoples' tastes. It simply isn't feasible unless you cut the whole thing way down and who wants that?
and who wants that?

All the people who complain about how it used to not be a hundred thousand people or more, heh.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-13 23:42 ]
Well, I guess geek stuff should have just stayed unpopular so that they could have their exclusive party. I, on the other hand, think it is fabulous that the stuff I like is all the sudden POPULAR and IMPORTANT. I don't need to be in an exclusive club where the stuff I like it canceled. I'm happy with mainstream. :)
I have to admit that when I went last year I got more out of the smaller rooms where they had just a couple of the comic book writers and artists talking about their work, these rooms were easy to get into (but sometimes hard to find). The enormous ballrooms with the giant screens that allow you to see the panel of actors, sitting like a number of deer caught in headlights, was not really all that satisfying: the questions were bad, the responses were formulaic, and I was too far away to feel like I was even really there. But of course it is the best chance to see Joss, so of course it is always worth going (I wish I was going again this year)!
I've never considered going to Comic Con. But honestly, I think I'm more jealous of you all that will be meeting up after each day of convention prowling than for any panels you might see. Because the panels, or at least all the interesting parts will end up online either via You Tube or con reports.

But what is this B.O. complaint? Is that seriously a problem??? (Thank goodness You Tube hasn't mastered smell-o-vision...)
Obviously, not having been to ComicCon before I can't attest to the satisfaction (or lack thereof) of ballroom panels vs. small backroom Q&As but from watching video, I have to surmise that the reason why big ballroom panels are more popular (and more hectic) is probably because of the popularity of the shows that host the panels...you know, Joss doesn't HAVE to make an appearance at ComicCon for his work to go well. And he certainly doesn't have to post on Whedonesque. The producers, writers and actors don't have to do any of those things as well, but there they are. And it always seemed to me that in the process of trying to satisfy as many people as possible, a lot of intimacy gets lost. It's kind of hard to really feel a connection with the experience when you're in the back of the room, pinned to the wall by a chair. But at the same time, wasn't it all worth it anyway? If we as fans want to see these shows succeed so much, yet we want face to face time with the people who make them, we just have to understand that we can't have it both ways. What you "get out" of these events (I'm not singling you out, ember) is what you make of it, whether it's gigantic ballrooms or janitor-closet sized sessions.

I know we all wish Joss & Co or maybe Tim Kring and the producers of Heroes would have a smaller room session but the fact that these shows sell out ballrooms is indicative of how powerful fans are, and that's something mighty.
BO is a serious problem. Please remember to shower at least every other day, my friends. It can be overwhelming for those of us who are short as you try to make your way through the crowds.
You should have been at CC last year. They had to close the room for Heroes 90 minutes before the panel began. That's why the shift to Hall H, along with Lost, which I remember didn't even fill its ballroom when they had the pilot long long ago. How things have changed.
Major sigh... I'm a Portland, Oregoner and which I could go to SDCC. :(


You conveniently-located Southern Californianers!
No problem, SNT. I'm with you - the effort to actually make it for the panels you want to see definitely can be described as a military-like campaign of rotating squads, rations, and encampment.

Dreamlogic, last year I did get a sense that it was easier to get into the ballroom as the day progressed. With Joss's panel at 5pm, I'm not surprised that you got in. However, this year, his panel is at 1pm, right in the heart of the lineup, so for this reason I recommend arriving early, especially if you want to be close enough to actually see him, and not watch him on one of the big screens on either side of the stage.

As for the CCI "security guards": I conversed with one while waiting to get into the convention center one day, and I can confirm that they are not affiliated with CCI. Furthermore, I found out that they're rather toothless: they are given explicit instructions NOT to touch convention-goers. This means that, if you're bold enough, you can just walk right on past them. I wouldn't recommend it, as you'd probably incite a stampede, but it's something to keep in mind when they tell you what you can and cannot do at the convention.

Comic-Con is what you make it. Last year was my first year, so I have no point of comparison for prior years, but my review of the experience is decidedly mixed. I loved seeing Joss and the BSG panel. The atmosphere is electric. The Buffy Sing-Along was magical. The crowds, however, can be unbearable. If you're thinking of going, I recommend expanding your vacation beyond the convention. My brother and I visited the beach (first time on a west coast beach - being from Virginia, seeing the sun SET on the ocean for the first time was amazing), swung by the San Diego Zoo, ventured into Tijuana (yikes), and on the last day of our trip, rented a car and drove to Torrance, CA to see Buffy's actual house and high school! It was almost a religious experience, and one that I'll never forget.

[ edited by AMCsoldier on 2008-07-14 03:44 ]
I'm a Portlander too. That doesn't inherently prevent one from going. ;)
And living in Southern California is not really some kind of get in free card. I live in LA and I didn't go last year. I couldn't really afford the hotel rates at the time and a 3-4 hour commute one way really wasn't an option.
So how early do we need to get to the convention center? We're only going on Friday and can miss anything except Joss. I was planning on hanging out in the ballroom all day and then wandering around after his panel.

But we're also staying in LA and taking the train down, so now I'm worried about how early we need to arrive. Does anyone know what time the doors open?
9:30 a.m., according to this handy Fast Facts sheet.
Deadbessie, you have to take into account that thousands of other people will also be planning to get into that ballroom, so the line will start forming before the doors even open for the day. Also I'm not sure how reliable the train is: last year Marti Noxon missed her one and only panel because the train got in late (maybe that means it usually runs on time since she trusted to it, unfortunately).
The Guild
Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, Amy Okuda, Vincent Caso
Saturday AA11 3:00 pm-7:00 pm

I assume this is separate from the Browncoat one?

So is everyone planning on getting in line for the Joss panels right away? I was hoping to look around a bit first, but I guess we can do that afterwards.
I was going to toss this post in the Vampire movie list topic that fell off the page, but I'm putting it here instead. Will explain in a moment. Don't know if any of you watch The Two Coreys, but I came across THIS interview with Corey Feldman after checking the synopsis for the new The Two Coreys episode on tonight. I didn't think much of the factoid revealed in Season 1 of TTC that there might be a Lost Boys 2 (it didn't seem likely), but apparently it's been filmed and is going to be shown at Comic-Con, for those of you who might have any interest in seeing the cast talk about it and can fit it in to your schedule.
kli - Actually, these days the paid Comic-Con staff is about 12 people. I think they do a great job running 3 conventions for well over 100,000 people total and all the logistics involved. They are indeed non-profit, and beyond those few paid, everyone else is a volunteer.

Unlike past years with the gradually increasing price as you got closer to the con, the 4 day tickets went straight to $75. If you buy for next year on site this year, it should cost you only $40 or so. That is always, hands down, the best way to get a ticket.

GVH - Thanks! I think most people thought we were professional looking in the past, but we wanted to up it a notch this year. So the kudos are very much appreciated. With our exclusive comic from Dark Horse, Felicia and the Guild at the booth, and all the other stuff, we wanted to put the best effort possible into showing that the Browncoats are here to stay, and we aren't a weird little cult fan group. We're about more than just Firefly/Serenity. We're about community, charity, quality entertainment, fun, and whole host of other things. The 501st gets a lot of respect these days because they went beyond being a bunch of guys in Stormtrooper gear, and that's my goal for the Browncoats.

As for making the panels, it depends on who you are talking about. We have a committee that does all the pre-planning and (most of the) work setting up the booth. This year our committee is 7 people, plus 2 of the other CABC board members for assistance and our webmaster. We put the call out for volunteers and I think this year we have over 30 people, plus 8 KNTR-specific volunteers. The volunteers will get 2-3 hour shifts and only 1 or 2 shifts all weekend. The committee members will work anywhere from 2-6 hours a day and as many days as possible. We actually have 6 people working the booth at all times, so it takes a lot to staff. This year we will have a KNTR rep/volunteer/PJ on at the booth for all but a few hours of the entire convention.

Personally, I don't like being away from the booth. It's just too much fun. I would like to see a panel here and there, but I actually haven't seen one since the 2005 Serenity panel. Everyone tells me I can go and enjoy one this year, but I feel that it just won't be possible. With all the time it takes waiting in line and such, it would just be too much time away from the booth. And this has absolutely nothing with whether I think everyone else can't handle running the booth, because they certainly can. I just don't like to be away. There's too much fun, energy, excitement and who knows what else going on every second of the convention. (sorry for the long reply here, I suppose you can tell how much I enjoy doing this. :)

To answer your question with very few words...No, I won't see a panel, and yes, we always end up with enough volunteers to help.

Tonya J - Programming at Comic-Con now has a very important purpose beyond having cool stuff to see. They have to get people off the floor so the fire marshal doesn't shut them down. So the more stuff they can program at the same time that appeals to a large number of people, the better it is. This is unfortunate for those who are fans of a lot of different things. It is good for all of us because the show floor is less crowded, and you have the chance to see a lot of stuff you like. Sure, you can't see everything, but in the end it is so much better to have to choose than not have the choice to make at all.

With this convention and others, you have to choose. Spend very little, $75 for 4 1/2 days to see a lot, without a guarantee of any personal contact with stars or guests. Or spend more (possibly hundreds for cons like Creation) and have direct contact with the guests at signature lines, dinners, parties, etc. It all comes down to personal preference.

NYPinTA - Yes indeed. Meeting other Browncoats and Whedon fans is indeed a great thing. Last year we gathered at the Marriott (site of this year's nightly meetup) and stayed talking well into the night. I think we left around 3 AM. It's just a great time, hanging out, meeting new people, seeing "con friends" once a year, and everything else. Plus, no massive crowds at that hour. :)

As for BO, I say shower every day. Might as well err on the side of caution. And good hygiene.

hacksaway - Yes, that signing is up in the sails area with all the other autographers. But they can only have 4 people there at most. So we scheduled an hour during that time for any other cast members to hang out and sign too. And likely they will rotate between the 2 places. This will be especially helpful if people see the signing times, think it's at the Browncoat booth and show up. They will get to meet someone from the Guild and then get told the rest of the cast is a short walk away. Win-win.

And now this incredibly long post is done. And I'm going to get back to work on booth stuff. It really doesn't ever end you know. :)
I just took a gander at the exhibit floor map and I've decided to bring a packet of crumbs with me. If I go missing, please somebody look for the crumb trail! ;)

[ edited by cabri on 2008-07-14 08:30 ]
A crumb trail would be useless, Cabri, as it would be trampled into crumb dust within seconds. Orient yourself by the numbers of the entrances, and if necessary, look up to the second floor opposite the entrances. There's only one set of windows up there, in the middle.
(sorry for the long reply here, I suppose you can tell how much I enjoy doing this. :)


That's alright, danregal :). It does sound like a lot of fun, running the booth. Maybe I wouldn't leave either ;). Plus, you guys seem to have your affairs in order really well. Clear organisation structure with people who seem to know what they're doing. I've been organising things for some time now (usually for my student clubs) and getting something to work this well doesn't happen very often, unless you have exactly the right collection of people, who love to do what they're doing. I, for one, am very glad that browncoats get to be represented that way at this major convention. Should be great pr for the fandom in general.

cabri: if you get lost, make a sound like a dying giraffe. Hordes of Southpark fans'll probably come to your rescue.
*Gwpaapa* *Gwpaapa*
O.o Is that the sound of a giraffe? I never imagined...

Btw, I did make daily spreadsheets of all the panels sorted by rooms and color-coded to TV, comics, etc. Feel free, it's about the 4th post down. I'll update and re-upload if needed next Monday.
It is the sound of a giraffe dying according to the South Park movie script, yes.

PS: Back from press screening of The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger ++

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-14 23:23 ]
danregal: tells you how long it's been since I volunteered for Comic-Con! :)

And apropos of nothing, while I do miss the old days when fans could easily rub shoulders with Jack Kirby (and Alan Moore, and Mike Mignola and Frank Miller and ...), I don't greatly mind these new crowd-crunching times. Comic-Con is the all-nations pow-wow of fandom; everybody's welcome and always has been. And I'd rather be part of a welcoming, unifying crowd than an excluding and divisive one. I've been going for 28 years, and I ain't stopping.

cabri: No worries. Just remember booth numbers--they coordinate with the aisle number and aisle numbers are posted overhead for all to see. Worst comes to worse, you can orient yourself by the density of the crowd (or that giant inflatable Pikachu). If the fan pong is getting noticeable you're at the studios/anime/videogame end of the hall; if you can breathe and walk freely, you're among the comics publishers. :) Oh, and you'll know you've hit the DC booth when the cushioning underfoot gets four times thicker than anywhere else in the hall.

If Hall H and Ballroom 20 are beginning to pall, or you're at all curious about what Comic-Con was like in the old days, I highly recommend searching out any of the panels MCed by Mark Evanier. Especially the Quick Draw and Cartoon Voices.

[ edited by kli on 2008-07-15 03:20 ]

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