We All Stand Together Pt 3

In my articles about the 2018 Edinburgh Comic Con, I have gone through the set-up and the first full con day in Part One and Part Two.  Now let’s look at the second and final day.  For the second day running, I was up by 06:30 and what does that 0 stand for? It’s Oh My God! It’s Early! With no apologies to Robin Williams, as that joke never gets old and when you have to get up at that time, you’ll take anything.

Once again, we were on the road by 07:00 and into Edinburgh within the hour.  Thankfully, on the second day, there is usually little to do until the doors open unless you are part of the ticket team in which case, it is one of your busiest times.  This year I would have been of little help as I was moving like John Wayne after an extremely long cattle-drive, so I was barely able to hobble around the halls to see what stalls there were and if anyone needed any help from the crew.

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The time passed swiftly and it seemed like I had hardly met anyone before it was time for the first panel.  Once again, I was introduced to a subject that I was aware of but not really knowledgeable about and that was the field of fan films.  Now, I have seen Judge Minty and Strontium Dog, but I had not seen any of the Star Trek fan flicks so the explanations about the productions and the work done by the various fan companies by Nick and Craig were of interest to me.  We also were able to watch two of the fan flicks, Close Encounter and Intrepid.  Both movies were enjoyable to watch and I happily recommend them to any fan of Star Trek.  My only negative is that while I am fiercely proud of my heritage, a Scottish Vulcan is not something that I think the world is ready for yet.  And although it is a week later, I am still kicking myself that I did not recognise Lunan Bay as the spot for the on-location shoot.

On the Sunday, we only had 15 minutes between each panel so we had little time to go off and do our own thing, but for the next panel, I was thankful that was the case as I was so glad that I did not miss a single second of the Game Of Thrones panel.

And my memory is now kicking in to remind me that the first ECC where I was a volunteer, I was lucky enough to witness the Josephine Gillan and Pixie Le Knot Game Of Thrones panel.  At that panel, I was reduced to a quivering heap of laughter.  However, at this panel, I was transfixed as I was treated to a masterclass in acting.

The panel members were Dominic Carter, Fintain McKeown and Clive Russell.  And forget the other comics guests, the other actors, the stalls and all the rest, this panel was the Koh-I-Noor in the crown of Edinburgh Comic Con 2018.  The panel ranged from Craiglang to Chekov and from Coward to The Cherry Orchard.  Dominic lead the panel into discussing how the costume could influence your performance with the fact that Game of Thrones does not stint in the costuming as all the costumes had buttons, hooks and laces that you would expect to find in any 16th Century rather than the velcro and zips that you find in most costumes.  We also took a fascinating diversion into the lighting of sets and how that can affect the performance of an actor depending on whether you are lit as a major part or minor.  And even being advised or not advised if this is “your” scene can have a subtle but significant impact on the performance.

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Clive gave us an interesting insight into the world of green screen acting can be seen as an artificial device as you have no audience to perform to so you have little to gauge how good or bad your performance is.  Dominic added to that by describing the fight scenes where he was facing hordes of imaginary monsters and had to hope that his sword swings were roughly in the right direction!

And then…oh my word…then Fintain spoke of the unrequited love between him and Spikey.  None of us knew where this was going until Fintain advised us that Spikey was his horse during the filming and he held us all as he described the relationship between a man and his horse, when he was atop his horse, atop the lonely mountain gazing over the open valley.  A beautiful moment for all of us and a beautiful moment for Fintain.

This panel truly was worth spending all your money, time and effort in getting to see.  This isthe sort of thing you normally have to get into posh clothes and pay £50 a ticket to hear at a theatre you would rarely visit and we got it as part and parcel of the convention.

For me, the next panel was a bit of a come-down as I have to confess that I had not heard of Paul Amos until he was announced as a guest, but he was witty, urbane, self-deprecating and probably holds the record for the most air miles collected in the pursuit of a single role.  However, it was still an enjoyable panel and I was glad that I did not miss it.  For those like me who were wondering who he is, Paul is best known for his role as Vex in Lost Girl and as Jacob Frye in Assassins Creed.

Some here will be calling to hand in my geek credentials at this point, but I say ha to you and ask you to tell me whose music was blasted out in 8-bit glory in Manic Miner? When you know that, then you are beginning to learn my young Padawan.

At this point in this con, it was off for lunch I went.  After lunch I was fortunate to help to facilitate another two workshops where the first was hosted by John Farman.  As Gary Erskine’s workshop took you through the creation of a character, John’s workshop took you through the entire production arc of a comic from conception to point of sale covering aspects such as commissioning artists, editing, publicity, publication, proof-reading  and promotion. Once more, this was a missed opportunity by many as it gave a great insight into the workings of an independent publisher and also helped me to add to my meagre knowledge from behind the scenes in comic creation.

The second was another Gary Erskine character creation workshop which I went into detail about in part two.  This was another great workshop and I was amazed to see the inventiveness of those who attended and I hope to meet any of them in a few years’ time and hear how these workshops had helped to inspire the.

Once the two workshops were complete, I was able to return to the main floor and I saw that the con was beginning to wind down.  I made a final circle of the main hall and picked up two War Picture Libraries and both issues of Flintlock.

After that, all that was left to be done was the de-rig and this is always a case of many hands make light work.  This year, I could not believe the amount of compliments we were getting from traders and guests alike. While many cons will expect the volunteers help to de-rig and tidy up, it appears that few expect the volunteers to help the traders or set up the props.  For us, it seems incredible to not help traders as helping the traders to get packed more quickly means that we get away more quickly, so by helping others we are helping ourselves.

It was still a great note to end on with that amount of praise for the con and the team.  And I hope that I get to do the panels and workshops again in 2019 as that was a great learning experience for me.  Also, getting to chat with Ian Kennedy every so often eased the pain of not being able to see everything. Did I tell you I got a few things signed by him…?

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