Just some quick rambling thoughts on SDCC 2013:
Got a late start for Preview Night, so only had about 90 minutes on the floor, and I spent the bulk of it snapping photos of the Sideshow Collectibles on display. I had a small list of sketchbooks to get for my friends, so I got about 3/4 of the list done on Wednesday. Did too much wandering around, and found out the hard way that the buses stopped running at 10pm on Preview Night, and the trains quit running just before midnight, so I ended up taking a taxi back to the hotel.
The lines for both Ballroom 20 and Hall H (where the bigger panels are always held) were growing on Wednesday. The main interest I had on Thursday was the X-Files panel with Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in Ballroom 20 at 3:30pm, but seeing as I'd have to basically get in line by 4 a.m. and suffer through 4-5 other panels I wasn't interested in, I decided to sleep in and just wander around. Covered a short Q&A on "The Europa Report", a film available on MOD (at their Movies On Demand lounge in the Hard Rock Hotel) currently (and before it gets a later theatrical release). While wandering around, I came across many cosplayers, so a few photos were taken. I did finish up my sketchbook shopping for friends, and also dropped some benjamins for a pre-arranged Adi Granov commission. As 6pm rolled around, I dared to check the line for the Dexter panel in Hall H, and I only had to wait 15 minutes to get into the Dexter panel for its final season. Score! Enjoyed the Dexter panel, and snapped a few shots of the cast (including Doakes!). The rest of the evening was more wandering around in the Gaslamp District while scavenging for some dinner. Towards the end of the evening, I checked on the lines for Hall H, and again, it was already long by 11pm. Still I held out hope of getting up by 4am to get in line for Hall H for the Veronica Mars panel at 11:15am.
So I tried getting up early, but my body would not heed the alarm clock, so I finally end up at the convention center around 7:30am, and I did a walk-around to see how long the Hall H line had grown, and it was so long that I promptly got back on the bus, and went back to the hotel, and slept for another few hours before coming back. The other reason the line for Hall H was so long was because of the 2 big panels of the day would be "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones", plus the Kick-Ass 2 panel, and the Sony panel (Amazing Spider-Man 2) in Hall H. So, more wandering around, saw some neat costumes. Then it was time for the Marvel cosplay shoot in the afternoon. Being a Friday, the turnout was good, but not huge, though I liked many of the costumes worn by the cosplayers. Took some shots at the Marvel cosplay shoot, but not of every subgroup, as there were plenty of other photographers snapping away with gleeful abandon. I decided to try my luck with Ballroom 20, as I was interested in the Joss Whedon panel around 6pm, but I got there around 4:30pm, and literally walked right into the ballroom for the "Almost Human" panel, followed by the "TV Guide Fan Favorite" panel, and finally the Joss Whedon panel,. so that was good timing, with no line-waiting on my part. Then a nice surprise as they also showed the new "Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox" cartoon right after the Whedon panel, so I stayed for that. Finally bounced out of the convention center and got some dinner, and walked around the Gaslamp District some more, then checked out the lines for Hall H's Saturday panel,. which led me to the Marina area where there was a big boat party going on, and few celebs showing up, and I took a few celeb shots, nothing too exciting (Jennifer Morrison, Julie Benz, the dude with the long hair on "Shameless"). finally, I called it a day knowing that there was no way I was getting into Hall H for Saturday's awesome lineup.
It's the huge day for panels in Hall H, but I slept in, and finally got down there around noon, I think. I wander around for a bit, take some photos. Then there's a 1pm Q&A with Fede Alvarez, director of the "Evil Dead" remake at the MOD Lounge at the Hard Rock hotel. As I enter the hotel, who do I see posing for photos with fans, Ken Jeong (Chang on "Community", Chau in "The Hangover" trilogy), he's also my Facebook Celebrity Doppelganger, so I take a really bad shot of me and him for a quick photo. I rarely do the "take a photo with a celeb" thing, but I couldn't resist this opportunity. After that bit of serendipity, I show up for the Q&A, take some photos, some notes, shake Fede's hand and mosey over to grab some free diet cokes and some energy bars and chips provided by the MOD lounge.
Then it's time for the Marvel vs. Capcom cosplay shoot, and I'm late to the party, so I just took a few shots here and there. And then it's time for the much better attended DC Cosplay shoot (Saturday is the big attendance day in general for all conventions), expertly directed by Bill Watters. A lot more photographers are in attendance, so I take it easy with the photos. Grabbed a few here and there. After the DC shoot, I wandered around until I got to Ballroom 20, and again there was no line to get into the room, so I checked out "The Vampire Diaries" panel for a few minutes, that show has some pretty ladies on it, and they were all on the panel too.
Then I went back down into the Exhibit Hall, and noticed that the Marvel booth was abuzzed with fervent activity. The "Captain America: Winter Soldier" cast (Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Emily van Camp, etc.) was at the booth signing for some lucky fans, and the stage had screens that showed the attendees what was happening on the stage. After that bit of craziness was ended due to the cast needing to be in Hall H for the 6pm Marvel panel , there was a Marvel cosplay contest at the Marvel booth, so I stuck around and snapped a few shots of the contestants in the contest. The photos aren't too good due to the contestants having no idea where to stand for photos on stage, so it was a mess. Spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering around, with far more cosplayers in attendance, so I shot some photos until it was time for dinner. And then it was time to shoot the Masquerade contestants in the special Photographer's Room around 8pm, so I would spend the next 3-4 hours waiting and shooting each of the contestants on a stage, with constant light setup with a group of about 40 other photographers, as the contestants were paraded onto the stage one act at a time after they got off the main stage in ballroom 20. But it was getting late, and I couldn't muster the energy to wait for the winners to be announced (they took a long time to deliberate, and by then my contact lenses were fogging up on me). so I called it a day and went back to the hotel.
It's getaway day, so I pack up my luggage and check it with the hotel and check out of the hotel before heading down to the convention center. Since there are no panels in Ballroom 20 on Sundays, the line for Hall H was just as long, and I would have liked to have gotten to see the panel lineup for Sunday (mainly the Community panel), but it wasn't in the cards. I spend most of the day wandering around, taking photos of cosplayers, finally pick up my Adi Granov commission around 4pm. One thing to note, he's from the UK (I think), and they draw on A4-sized paper, which is almost an inch wider than the normal 11"x17" or 11"x14" paper size used by US artists. Doh! So I ended up not being able to use my 11"x17"plastic top-loader art holder that I had awkwardly carried around with me all day, and had to buy a $7 poster tube to keep the artwork in relatively good condition while roaming around the exhibit hall for the last hour. Finally 5pm arrives, and they shoo us out of the convention center. There's a "Friends of CCI" meetup at the Harbor House at 6pm, but it's behind the Manchester Hyatt, and my bus picks me up at the Hall H end of the convention center, almost half a mile from the restaurant, with the buses service stopping at 7pm, it's just not in the cards to get to the meetup, so I head back to the hotel via the bus, re-pack my stuff entirely once more so that it'll be acceptable for checking in a bag for the trip, and carry 2 other smaller bags with swag and camera gear. Finally we board the redeye flight to Atlanta, and I make it back around 6am. Whew.
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