Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

As Dragon*Con drew to a close this year, rain was pouring down in Atlanta. Compared to year’s past, it was kind of a letdown, but a fitting way for Con to end.

Monday, September 5

This Labor Day is the first one in my three years of going to Dragon*Con in which I planned a pretty full day of panels for Monday, which typically ends around 4pm. Although I knew traffic would not be what it had been the previous few days, I still went down early, I suppose hoping that there would be several people to mingle with as we waited for the first panels to begin, or as they were checking out of their hotels. But compared to the night before, it was a ghost town as I went through the Mariott Marquee, awaiting my first panel of the day. The beginning of the end, as it were.

Martin Landau

The first panel of the day was with one of my very favorite people to meet in the three years I’ve been going to Con– Martin Landau. The Oscar-winning actor was a true pleasure to meet the day before at the Walk of Fame, and I eagerly awaited his panel this morning, which ranged from his career in theater to his work on the TV series, “Mission: Impossible” (as well as his very strong feelings about the movie franchise, in particular, when it came to having the original TV cast make cameos in the 1996 original), along with his work with everyone from Tim Burton (“Ed Wood”) to Alfred Hitchcock (“North By Northwest”) to Woody Allen (“Crimes and Misdemeanors”). If Ralph Bakshi’s panel on Sunday provided this amateur filmmaker with a master class in independent filmmaking and maintaining a unique, cinematic voice, Mr. Landau was a lesson in acting, longevity, and above all else, loving what you do. It was a truly profound delight.

Eureka! It’s “Eureka!”

Just down the hall from Landau’s panel in the Mariott was my second panel of the day, this time with the cast of the SyFy science-fiction comedy/drama, “Eureka.” My mother and I began watching this show over the summer, partially because of the guest spots not only by my own favorite geek girl, Ms. Felicia Day (who sat in on the morning’s panel along with Colin Ferguson, Chris Gauthier, and Jordan Hinson), but also the suddenly red hot Wil Wheaton (who was out and about at this year’s Con, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to meet him). If you haven’t watched it, and you enjoy your sci-fi with a healthy level of geek and imagination (think “Firefly” by way of “The Big Bang Theory” in tone), I urge you to check this show out on Netflix Instant. This was definitely a fun panel to watch, as Ferguson led the quartet through a series of riffs and back-and-forths that mirrored the easy chemistry this cast has on the show, as well as gave me another chance to hear Ms. Day discuss her own web series, “The Guild,” when one attendee asked about the possibility of “Eureka” finding a second life online (the show will be concluding its run on SyFy in 2012). Next to Sunday’s “Buffy” panel and Friday’s Shatner panel, this was among the most entertaining panels I went to this past year.

After the “Eureka” panel, I took one last stroll through some of the dealer rooms before heading over to the Walk of Fame one last time. I only had a couple of people I wanted to see, mainly because I was short of money, but also because a lot of people had already left, but it was worth it to not only meet Felicia Day again (and get my picture taken with not just her, but also with fellow “Guild” girls Amy Okuda and Robin Thorsen). Sadly, I wasn’t able to meet Wil Wheaton, who was right next to the “Guild” table, but had a massive line that, unfortunately, had been cut off by the time I got there.

Once I finished up at the Walk, I went to grab a bite to eat while looking around through the main hotels one last time, partially to see if I could meet up, at least for a little bit, with some of the friends whom I knew were coming this weekend; alas, I was unable to find anyone. I then headed to the Hyatt for my final panel of the weekend, which followed in my increased interest in the Independent Film track this year as several local film workers shared their expertise when it comes to film sound. As a recording major in college, it goes without saying that this was a panel I was really interested in, and I took quite a few notes. Because it was one of the last panel of the Con, the panelists took the liberty to go beyond the typical length of these panels. While the information was certainly interesting, however, I decided to head home in the rainy weather a little bit after 4pm– there gets to a certain point where even the most interesting subjects can wear out their welcome.

Overall, this year’s Dragon*Con was a mixed bag, which is partially why it’s taken me so long to finish writing about it. There were some disappointing panels (namely, Saturday’s “Back to the Future” panel) and celebrity meetings (Christopher Lloyd, Julie Benz, and not getting my pic taken with Loni Anderson). There was an overall gloom not really helped by the weather by not being able to spend more time with friends and loved ones (not enough time with Ron on Saturday; my mother not being able to make it; no seeing Shelley, Kesley, Ian, and many others). And, of course, there were people I didn’t get a chance to meet: not only Wil Wheaton, but “Harry Potter’s” Tom Felton, Ralph Bakshi, Stan Lee, Carrie Fisher, Ernest Borgnine, “Star Wars: Clone Wars’s” Ashley Eckstein, James Tolkan, and many others (another year…hopefully).

All that being said, Dragon*Con continues to be one of the all-too-brief highlights of my year. Hopefully, 2012 will be more consistently enjoyable, and I’ll be able to share it with more people beyond just writing about it, and taking pictures of the Con experience. August 31 can’t get here soon enough.

Thanks for listening,

Brian Skutle
www.sonic-cinema.com

Dragon*Con 2011
Day 3
Day 2
Day 1

Dragon*Con 2010
Day 4
Day 3
Day 2
Day 1

Dragon*Con 2009
Days 1-4

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