Tag Archives: Hall H

San Diego International Comic-Con 2014 Recap

SDCC 2014: Day 1 Recap or “How I just walked into Hall H” (Part 1)

I’ve been super busy catching up on post-SDCC work & life, so my recaps have been slow to come together.  So many pictures to sift through! Without further ado, my Thursday, July the 24th recap … or The “How I just walked into Hall H without waiting in line” Day!

One does not simply walk into Hall H (LOTR Mordor spoof)

Challenge (inadvertently) accepted!!

After getting a good night’s sleep on Wednesday, I was ready to take on Comic-Con’s first full day: Thursday the 24th.

SDCC 2014 Day 1 selfie

I had a custom t-shirt made in order to support my blog while at SDCC, so Day 1’s outfit was set!  The line for the shuttle was loooooong, so it took a while to get my day started.  I had my entire day overly planned, chuck full of options on what smaller panels I wanted to see.  Since I was on the Red Shuttle Route, I was let out next to Petco Park’s SDDC Interactive Zone.

SDCC 2014 Interactive Zone at Petco Park

SDCC’s Official Interactive Zone at Petco Park

Selfie-waiting-in-line-at-the-Amazon-Geek-Boutique-(titled)

I decided to check it out (deviation from day’s plan #1).  I wandered into Amazon’s Geek Boutique, which was promoting Amazon’s new delivery lockers with a Transformer’s themed giveaway.  It was my first non-shuttle line at SDCC!  I ended up winning a poster, which didn’t make the trek over to the convention center without the protection of a tube.  Lesson learned!

Amazon Locker at SDCC 2014

Next to the Geek Boutique, was the Pizza Hut area dedicated to the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  I’m a child of the 80s that loved the TMNT toy-buying machine that were the cartoon series & arcade video games (see #4 of my top Multiplayer at the Arcade post!), so I have some very mixed feelings about the new TMNT incarnation.  There was a line for free personal-sized Pizza Hut pizzas, a couch made entirely out of Pizza Hut boxes, & a pizza shooter with what I am sure was quite the liability waiver.

TMNT-pizza-thrower

I skipped all of that & headed to the X-Men dome-thing sponsored by Norton Anti-virus.  Sure, why not?!  I took a quiz on an tablet which determined that I would be Magneto if I was an X-men.  Next, I was able to pose for this great picture.

Holding Wolverine's hand: I'm thrilled, he's playing it cool.

Holding Wolverine’s hand: I’m thrilled, while he’s playing it cool.

It was then time to head over to the convention center.

How I just walked into Hall H without (really) waiting in line

Is that actually the line for Hall H?

Tents for SDCC 2014's Hall H line appear empty.

Must be an optical illusion … or a different line?

As I was crossing the skybridge, I looked over at the tents for Hall H & saw that they appeared empty.  I figured I must be mistaken, but as I walked up to them only about 10 individuals were standing in chute 1.  Still sure I was looking at the wrong line, I asked a staff member who in fact confirmed this was the line for Hall H.  So, I said, “What the hell, let see what this is all about!” (deviation from day’s plan #2)  I stood in line for 5 minutes before I asked myself what in the world was in Hall H today that no one was in line. I knew people had camped out the night before in order to see Benedict Cumberbatch, for his first SDCC appearance, in the Dreamworks panel.  Surely there was something good after that panel, right?  I checked my events guide & saw that the next panel was for The Giver, followed by Paramount Pictures. Before I could finish placing my events guide back into my backpack, the line was moving!

I initially thought we would then be let into the convention center into a new series of zig-zagging lines, similar to the disillusion caused at Disney World when you have been waiting outside in line & you finally get inside the building/ride only to have a huge sea of continuing zig-zagging line awaiting you, only now with at-least air-conditioning.  To my complete amazement, we were ushered directly into Hall H as the preview of the upcoming Penguins movie was playing.  It was dark, but Hall H was definitely over 50% empty.  As if there was a massive exodus, once Benedict left the building. I happily reaped the benefits!Inside Hall H during SDCC 2014

As soon as the preview was over & the lights came on, signaling the end of the Dreamworks panel, I got up & made my way as close to the front as possible.  I finally found a spot in the second section from the front, next to the bathrooms.  Great seat & vantage point. Disclaimer: Unfortunately, the cellphone I ended up having to buy last minute the night before <see previous post for details> made most of my pictures look as if a drunken baby was trying to use the camera.  The focus was horrible, as was the aperture speed.  I cringe at the (lack of) quality of the majority of the pictures I ended up with, but at last I have some pictures!  Next year, I will bring a back-up digital camera!

The Giver panel

The Giver panel in Hall H SDCC 2014

This panel was interesting because I had not yet read the book, which made me part of the minority of the audience, understandably given this was the panel for the movie adaptation of the book.  What was really interesting is that the panel included the book’s author and actor/executive-producer, Jeff Bridges.  “The Dude” was amazing.  He has been trying to get this movie made for 20+ years!

Paramount Pictures Panel

So many mixed feelings! This panel was a medley of all the movies Paramount was showcasing, so it had a completely different feel than the previous panel.  Here is my wrap up of the lowlights & highlights:

Lowlights
  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
    Disclaimer: I grew up watching TMNT in cartoons, playing the amazing multiplayer arcade video game [so fabulous & memorable that I wrote a post about it!!], so I am definitely coming into this whole topic biased.  I also inform you that I have not seen the movie, but its 19% on RottenTomatoes.com seems validating.  Michael Bay is at it again, & by “it”, I mean trying to ruin my childhood memories.  I spoke about my misgivings regarding TMNT back in a fabulous Female Geek Blogger’s G+ Hangout.  Things that had me very worried: mentions that the script originally had our beloved TMNT as neither Mutant nor Teenage.  I’m sorry, I didn’t know we could change the key aspects of a character at will.  Especially, key aspects in the TITLE!  To follow this means: Mighty Mouse is no longer bound by the limitations of being a mouse nor mighty, or that Two-Face doesn’t need to have two faces!  Nope, I can’t keep going with this insanely flawed logic.  Due to completely justified geek rage vented throughout the internet, these changes were reverted back to the way it was supposed to be all along.  A fellow TMNT fan even brought it up and asked what was with all this alien talk during the Q & A, only to have the following answer given by TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman, “In TMNT #4, the Ooze is described as being of alien origin.”  Yeah, I’m not a xenobiologist, but I’ve seen enough on television & movies to know that just makes the Ooze alien, not the turtles MUTATED by exposure to the alien Ooze.

    TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman at SDCC 2014

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (TMNT) co-creator, Kevin Eastman on the movie panel in Hall H during SDCC 2014.

    Something that didn’t get changed back & should have IMO: Shredder is now a left-over Transformer special effect?!  Ugh.  I was not really pleased with the footage that was shared, either.  Don’t get me wrong, Raphael came off as bad-ass as he should be, but Mickey seemed akin to a Valley girl, which was just wrong.  Michelangelo is cool, not an absolute airhead.  And what in the world did they do to poor Donatello?!  He is not a rejected go-go-gadget lackey!  I just can’t.

  2. Project Almanac (2014)
    Time Travel + Teenagers = Mayhem.  Always.  Especially when the trailer includes the line, “I can fix this!”  No, no you can’t.  Or rather, it hasn’t really happened in movies before, so … Also, I just feel that if you have access to something that results in time travel, you should have at least learned a couple of basic rules, such as don’t go visit a sleeping past version of yourself because you create a paradox & no good ever comes from creating a paradox! (see Back To The FutureDoctor Who, and Harry Potter).
Highlights
  1. Hercules (2014)Hercules SDCC 2014
    Disclaimer: I’ve been a big fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for quite some time, but I went full-on fangirl when he surprised all of us by showing up to promote his movie, Hercules Let me set the scene for you: The screen shows the Hercules title, then the lights go out & everyone is waiting for the trailer only, as had been the case with The Mazerunner earlier in this panel, but then all of the sudden the lights turned back on & there is The Rock, 2 rows in front of me, coming out into the crowd with his music playing.  I was so busy fangirling that I didn’t start taking pictures (which came out horribly, so I didn’t include them in this post) until he was really far away & up on the stage!  He was there to promote his upcoming movie by renting out 3 movie theaters in the San Diego area to screen his movie one night before the scheduled World Premier on a first-come-first-serve basis for those with a valid SDCC badge & who followed his Twitter feed.  I took a video of The Rock’s “panel” but haven’t gotten a chance to upload it nor to create a Youtube channel to upload it to, etc.  So as soon as I get around to that part of my ever-growing To Do list, I will let you know because it was fabulous!
  2. Interstellar (2014)Matthew McConaughey Interstellar SDCC 2104
    How could this panel get any better after The Rock? Well, the lights dim, a clip starts playing of real scientists, astro-physists, & entrepreneurs talking about space exploration, the lights come back on & out comes this handsome fellow: Matthew McConaughey! This was a complete surprise for everyone in Hall H, as well as the first appearance for both Matthew McConaughey and Christopher Nolan!  The trailer they showed looks amazing & I will definitely be seeing this when it comes out.

Entertainment Weekly: Television Visionary Show-runners

EW panel Visionaries: TV ShowrunnersAfter the Paramount Pictures panel wrapped up, I picked up my things and headed as close to the stage as I could.  I scored great seats: just behind the press seats.  This panel turned out to be very interesting.  I’ve watched a couple of EW hosted panels online on Youtube from previous SDCC and have mostly enjoyed them.  This panel had the show runners who were previously writers on shows I loved (hello Veronica Mars, Alias, and Dawson’s Creek!) and currently are in charge of various shows I’ve been meaning to watch (Sleepy Hollow) or already love (Arrow, The Flash).

I honestly have not gotten into Vampire Diaries nor The Originals, but for no reason in particular.  I guess my TV card was already pretty full after adding Doctor Who.  I absolutely enjoyed the Star Trek movie reboot written by Alex & Roberto “Bob”, as well as the show Fox tried so hard to kill, but couldn’t Fringe, but I haven’t gotten around to watching Sleepy Hollow either.  After SDCC & watching this panel along with both main actors in other EW panels, I am definitely planning on catching up on season 1.

It was very intriguing to watch this panel & get some insight into how each learned how to be a show runner from their respective mentors: Tom Kapinos (Dawson’s Creek) & J.J. Abrams (Alias).  Greg Berlanti & Julie Plec know each other from college, while Alex Kutzman & Roberto Orci know each other from high school.  Rob Thomas felt a bit like the odd man out, but in a wonderfully quirky way.  This was such a great panel over all.


To be continued …

So much more happened that day, which I will continue in my next post on Wednesday.  I hope you come back to find out more about the Female Geek Blogger SDCC Meet-up & the San Diego Symphony Video Game Concert, because it was also really great.

I’d love to hear other’s Hall H experiences.  From what I gather, my experience is not part of the norm.

San Diego International Comic-Con 2014 Recap

Lessons learned from SDCC 2014

In the aftermath of my first ever San Diego International Comic-Con (SDCC), I was reflecting on my experience & trying to see how to make next year even better.  I’m definitely going to come back next year! I’m still working on my daily recaps, with special focus on Hall H on Thursday & Ballroom 20 on Friday, but both posts should be up shortly.

So, I’ve broken down my experience into a few categories & listed the Pros & Cons of each.  I hope this is helpful to anyone else who is looking to go to SDCC, too.

Hotel

I thankfully selected the little box stating that I would rather be placed in a hotel along the shuttle route if my 5 choices were unavailable during the Early Bird Hotel Sale.  Staying so far from the convention center, 2nd to last stop on the red shuttle line, has its pros & cons.

SDCC 2014 Red Shuttle RoutePros:

  1. It is much cheaper than staying downtown.
  2. Once you get on the shuttle, it is a short ride.

Cons:

  1. Long waits for the shuttle, especially in the morning & after 10 PM can be at least 45 minutes.
  2. The shuttle is sometimes almost to capacity when it finally does arrive to the hotel to pick you up; you may have to wait a couple of shuttles before actually getting on a shuttle towards the convention center.

Take away from experience:

This year, I came solo to SDCC, so I bore the full cost of my hotel room.  Hopefully next year, I will be able to come with some buddies to help lessen the cost of the hotel room.  While I was thrilled to have secured a room, I will definitely try to get a hotel closer to the convention center next time.  The ability to stop by my hotel room during the day/afternoon to drop off merchandise, shower, power nap, &/or change is even more appealing to me after my 1st SDCC.   I had to take a change of clothes with me for evening plans/activities & change in the bathroom of the convention center before heading out to dinner because I didn’t have the time to wait in the line for the shuttle, get to the hotel, shower & change, wait for the shuttle again before heading out to dinner in the Gaslamp Quarter.  Due to my fibromyalgia, I get fatigued a bit sooner than most, so the idea of accessing my room without much of a wait is definitely moving my hotel situation to a higher priority for my budget next year.  I would rather buy less things & spend that money on my overall comfort while at SDCC.  Also, being able to carry less weight throughout the duration of the day will be a huge improvement & help reduce my overall fatigue level.

Cosplaying

I decided to cosplay as part of my first SDCC in order to try to get the most out of the experience.  This was also my first time cosplaying, so I was a bit nervous.  I described my process trying to decide on who to cosplay as in a previous post <click here to check it out!> & I’ll be posting about the details of each cosplay I wore while at SDCC in an upcoming post.

Pros:

  1. You definitely fit in.
  2. You can interact with fellow SDCC-goers on a different level.
  3. It is fun running into or meeting others who are cosplaying.

Cons:

  1. It can get intensely hot while outdoors & then a bit chilly once inside in the air conditioning or in the evening.  I met a woman who was cosplaying as the Black Widow in a full black pleather body suit.  She almost melted in the sun waiting for the Indigo panels.
  2. Depending on what components your cosplay entails, you may be carrying accessories all day long while navigating the masses on the exhibition floor & in lines. I met a woman who had an almost life–sized TARDIS on wheels.  Initially I thought that was a great idea, until the impracticality of it was brought to my attention: she needed to check it into the coat-check because it was near impossible for her to go anywhere with it.  Come to think of it, how did she get to the convention center with it?!
  3. Footwear: choose wisely!

Take away from experience:

I had a blast cosplaying.  I was by myself, so I had to take my trusty backpack each time I was cosplaying, which contributed to what I decided to cosplay as due to practicality.  If you are going to have an elaborate cosplay, you’ll need an assistant of some sort to help hold your things & navigate the exhibition floor.  You need to be aware of your surroundings.  I came across a lot of people who had parts of their cosplay that extended out in some direction & would end up hitting someone in the face or body because of not taking in account the new dimensions of his/her cosplay.  I purposefully choose to cosplay with sensible footwear & my body definitely thanked me for it!  It’s easy to not notice the actual amount of distance you end up walking during a day, plus a lot of standing in lines.  Both take their toll on your feet & rest of your body.  I will definitely be cosplaying again next year!

Food & Staying Hydrated

This was something I did a decent job of preparing for, but I will definitely be making adjustments for next SDCC.

Pros:

  1. If you plan correctly, you can camp out in line or in a panel all day & not worry about missing meals.
  2. Bringing your own food means saving lots of money.  Convention food is costly & very limited in selection.  If you have food or dietary restrictions like me, you won’t find anything at the convention center you could eat even if you wanted to shell out the money for it.
  3. There are various restaurants near the convention center & the events guide has a list & map to help you choose for the wide selection available.

Cons:

  1. Gaslamp Quarter restaurants close at 10:00-ish, even on Friday & Saturday evenings.  I grew up in Miami & this fact was a huge surprise.  I’m used to restaurants, not just bars with appetizers, staying open on South Beach until midnight or 2 AM.  I missed dinner on Thursday night due to what ended up begin the perfect storm of events: I was in Hall H all day & so I ate all of my pre-determined packed food, I didn’t have time before the Video Game San Diego Symphony Concert that started at 7:30 PM because I underestimated the amount of time it would take to walk up/down 5th Ave in the early evening with everyone else, & I had no idea restaurants would be closed once the concert concluded. I walked to the Gaslamp Quarter everything was pretty much closed.  Thank goodness I had leftovers in my hotel room’s mini fridge from the night before to hold me over until breakfast!
  2. Forgetting to hydrate was a problem on a couple of days.  I was in Ballroom 20 all day on Friday & didn’t realize there were water coolers available for me to refill my water bottle inside the ballroom until towards the end of the day.  Also, standing in line outside means limited or no access to water fountains & you can quickly dehydrate standing in the sun & sweating for hours.
  3. Not packing enough food.  I ran out of my non-perishable snacks on Day 2 & didn’t have time to go to the store & buy replenishments, so I was stuck with having to take time & extra money to eat lunch at a restaurant next to the convention center on Sunday.

Take away from experience:

I will definitely make sure to bring more of my nonperishable snacks & flavor packs for my water bottle with me.  The water fountain water tastes very different from what I am used to, so I think a little bit of single-serve instant tea would help make my hydration more palatable.  Plan dinner with anticipation & make reservations for anything in Gaslamp Quarter to avoid waiting even longer at the end of what is already bound to be a long day of waiting.  Bring more relatively lightweight non-perishables to the convention center in order to save money, time, & energy.

Panels

I had originally thought that seeing anything in Hall H & Ballroom 20 was not in the cards for me.  I was not willing to camp out the night before nor was I going to be able to withstand waiting in a line for over 1 hour.  However, due to the marvel of technology & Twitter, I was able to get into both Hall H & Ballroom 20 with relatively little waiting time on Thursday & Friday, respectively.  By following @Ballroom20Line & @HallHLine on Twitter, I was able to get real-time updates on the line status, capacity, length, etc.

Inside Hall H during SDCC 2014On Thursday, I was able to walk into Hall H right after Benedict Cumberbatch & the other panelist exited the Hall & the 2 minute preview of the new Penguins movie were showing.  This enabled me to get a great seat & stay through the following panels: The Giver, Paramount Pictures, & Entertainment Weekly‘s Visionaries.

Ballroom 20 during Sand Diego International Comic-Con 2014

On Friday, I was able to walk into Ballroom 20 right after the Legend of Korra panel finished.  I maybe waited a total of 20-25 minutes before being let in & finding a seat.  I was able to see the following panels: Bones, Marvel TV, Entertainment Weekly: Brand New WarriorsThe OriginalsThe Arrow (TV), & the world premier of the animated movie, Batman: Escape from Arkham, followed by its panel.

Pros:

  1. If you plan it correctly, stay up to date with the status of each line with anticipation, & have a fair amount of luck, you can check out panels in the big venues.
  2. Seeing footage & the panel guests along with a venue full of equally excited fans is an experience definitely worth experiencing live at least once.  The energy can be exhilarating in the panels.
  3. Free swag.

Cons:

  1. You might need to try to get into the venue 1-2 panels before the one you really want to see.
  2. Being in the venue means you can’t really be in the exhibition floor.
  3. Once you are in Hall H, you must stay inside or you will need to stand in line again.  There are restrooms & food vendors inside of the Hall.
  4. Ballroom 20 provides you with bathroom passes, which allow you to exit & return but only during a panel.  If you don’t make it back before the end of that same panel, you must go through the line again.
  5. Sitting all day can be tiring in its own right.

Take away from experience:

I am glad that I was able to experience both Hall H & Ballroom 20 during my 1st SDCC.  I wish I had been able to check out a bunch of the smaller panels, but time is finite & alas it was not possible.  Seeing the panels was fun, but it did eat up entire days.  This left just a short amount of time to walk the exhibition floor & shop.  Also, because I waited until late Saturday to drop off my sketchbook, I ended up missing on various Sunday panels waiting for the artists to return my sketchbook.

Shopping

The intensity of Point Of Sale purchasing is staggering at SDCC.  I got up-sold on a storage tube because it was less than $1 for the 37″ one instead of the 26″.  Well, now I have an artwork tube that is 3/4 my height & is cumbersome to carry, especially amongst the hoards within the exhibition floor & pretty much anywhere surrounding SDCC activities & venues.

Pros:

  1. SDCC exclusive merchandise is pretty sweet.
  2. There is a lot of variety to choose from & selections from all kinds of genres & fandoms.
  3. Special deals on getting commissioned work from artist.

Cons:

  1. Where did all my money go?
  2. What am I going to do with all this stuff I just (semi-impulse) bought?  I had to buy another suitcase just to transport all my new stuff back with me on my international flights.  If you live in the U.S., you can ship it home, but if you are coming from abroad this is not as practical.
  3. Falling victim to the up-sell.  Case in point, me and the tube!  My thought at the time was, “I can’t lose money on this deal!”  Silly, silly, silly of me.  Everything I bought that could be rolled up & stored in my tube is maybe 12″ tall.  So … think three times about a purchase, if you can.  I ended up needing to buy hard protectors for the comic art boards & original sketches I bought anyway.
  4. If you wait until the last day to buy anything, the selection can be limited.  I wanted to try & buy the Nerdist Convention Hoodie but couldn’t get to until Sunday; there were none left.  I wanted a particular shirt from Her Universe & there were only XL & XXL left.  At the BBC America booth, they had sold out of a lot of Sherlock & Orphan Black merchandise by Sunday, as well.

As I look forward to SDCC 2015, I have a lot of planning to get started on & am really looking forward to returning.  I’ll be recruiting my friends to join me, because I’d like to experience SDCC with a friend or two next time.  I enjoyed the flexibility going solos allowed me, but I’d like to change it up a bit for 2015.  I hope this post has been helpful & I’d love to hear any lessons learned you have to share in the comments below.  See you in San Diego in 2015!

SDCC Countdown series

SDCC Countdown: Ultimate Panel Wish List (3rd & Overly Ambitious Draft)

So, I was without constant reliable internet the last 2 weeks & it was torture!  During that time, I was able to get a glimpse of the SDCC Unofficial Blog’s panel announcements & create my 2nd draft of SDCC Ultimate Panel Wish List. Now that I am back in the world of the inter-webs, I am on geek out overload with all of the SDCC panels announced!  Here is a screenshot of my overly ambitious SDCC Panel Wish List:My-overly-ambitous-SDCC-ultimate-list

Making a list & checking it twice …

So, yeah.  Reality set in once I glanced at my Calendar, after gleefully & blissfully clicking away on all the panels that sounded enticing on MySched.  I have some pretty tough choices, many of which will be made for me by the requirements of overnight camping for Hall H.  As I have stated, my original mindset was plan big & then be flexible.  I don’t want my first SDCC to be overwhelming in a negative way, but I am also (clearly) a wee bit too ambitious.  Oh yeah, and this isn’t even considering Nerd HQ nor GamerCon.  The only off-site events I am already certain I will be attending are the San Diego Symphony’s Video Game Concert, <fingers-crossed> the APPLESEED ALPHA screening (still holding out for more tickets to become available for those on the waiting list), @midnight, The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fan Dinner, & The Voice Tour (just because).

Brand new information:

Toucan Tracker Wristbands for the initial morning panel in Hall H were announced today. This is the first year SDCC uses this system, & only for Hall H, so it will be interesting to see how it all goes.  This now brings a different dynamic of starting the camping out early & then once receiving a wristband, being able to take shifts with your line group mates with (hopefully) less line drama.

Other considerations:

In a previous post, I talked about how I take certain steps to minimize the symptoms of my fibromyalgia when traveling by plane.  I need to remind myself that I will need to be careful not to let my overly ambitiousness cause a flare up of my symptoms during SDCC & then result in me missing a full day, etc. With this reality check, & of course the ridiculous visual of my SDCC panel wish list, I don’t think camping overnight for Hall H or even Ballroom 20 is in the cards for me.  Unless I can find a group at SDCC that will enable me to start off in line until 1 AM, then leave to sleep in my hotel & return in the early morning with food & beverage reinforcements, I will just need to take my chances during the day for later panels in those large venues.


The SDCC planning continues, as I await what NerdHQ has in store.  All in all, I know I will be having an amazing experience & I know that during it I will be able to measure out my energy & time in away that maximizes my fun without costing me a lot of mandatory downtime as a result.

9 days & counting!