Sometimes I actually stop and wonder if our expectations of the guests are too high or unreasonable.
The thing is, they're human. They have good days, and bad days. They might be hung over, they might have just lost out on a role after five auditions, or they might just be feeling a bit under the weather due to eating in strange restaurants, or due to jet lag, or due to having spent the last month filming at night and having to be awake at 9 in the morning to get ready to be on stage and entertain us.
And yet, they have to be "on" for every second that they're in front of us, their fans. They can't let it slip, because if word gets out that they treated a fan badly at a convention - and it will
get around, because we talk to each other - they won't be invited to others, and they'll lose a revenue stream. If producers who pay attention to fandom - and some do - see that this actor or that actor is no longer popular among science fiction fans, the odds of them getting future roles diminishes.
Three more quick stories, both from last year's Dragon*Con:
I got in line for John Rhys-Davies' autograph and picked a picture. Now, Mr. Rhys-Davies lives on the Isle of Man. When it was my turn, I mentioned to him that when I was a teenager, I used to collect stamps. When I ran out of Canadian stamps that I could afford, I switched to the Isle of Man because I thought their stamps were quite beautiful.
JR-D: Fantastic! Do you still collect?
Me: No, I gave it up when I started university.
JR-D: Pity. I'll bet you've never met someone who's on a postage stamp. Me and the Queen, we're like this. (At this point, he held up his hand with his index and middle fingers touching.)
Me: When I use that phrase, I usually say (and here I held up my fingers similarly, but with my thumb at a right angle) that I'm the one over here (touching my thumb with my other hand).
John Rhys-Davies has the most wonderful booming
laugh I've ever heard.
A few minutes later, over at Saul Rubinek's table, I picked out a photo from his TNG guest appearance in "The Most Toys".
SR: Ah, a man with impeccable taste.
Me: I really admire how you stepped in at the last minute, when David Rappaport committed suicide, and did the episode.
SR: And you're knowledgeable, too!
Me: But there's one thing I can't quite remember.
SR: What's that?
Me: Back in the 80s, you did a series of detective movies on CBC...
SR: Benny Cooperman. How the hell
do you know about Benny Cooperman?
Me: I'm Canadian, and I'm older than I look.
I bet he never expected anyone at a science fiction convention to bring that
up. (The "I'm Canadian" thing is relevant, because the Benny Cooperman mystery novels are by a Canadian, set in Canada, and CBC, which produced the movies, is one of our national television networks.)
On the Saturday - and I remember specifically that this was late Saturday afternoon - I got in line for autographs from the cast of Being Human
(the Canadian version, not the UK - and yes, I call it the Canadian version, because it's shot in Montreal
). The first cast member that I got to was Sam Huntington. I picked out a photo of all three cast members (since all three were there - and I'd neglected to get Meaghan Rath's autograph when she'd been at Polaris a few weeks earlier), and handed it to him to sign.
Me: I just wanted to share with you that I started watching your show with my ex-boyfriend... over Skype. He lives here in Atlanta, and I live in Toronto. We'd pick a show to watch together, and I'm really glad he chose Being Human
SH: Over Skype! That's... hey, guys, get over here and listen to this!
At this point, he called Sam Witwer and Meaghan Rath over from their tables and had me repeat what I had told him. (This is the same ex I mentioned earlier, who was surprised to learn that I knew KRAD
SH: Is he here?
Me: He had to work today, but he's coming by tonight, and he should be here tomorrow.
SH: If you can get here before we have to leave tomorrow, bring him by. We'd love to meet him.
And he signed my photo with the dedication, "To Lance - Skype it up!" Unfortunately, by the time my ex arrived on Sunday, they'd already had to leave for the airport.
Oh, okay, one more... back in 2006, we'd had Richard Hatch from BSG as a guest. That same year, he was at Dragon*Con. Now, I'd co-chaired our convention that year (this was the same year that Garrett Wang was there, when my elevator story took place), and we'd met briefly when I arranged to get him up to his room via an alternate route when the elevators had 30-minute lines to get upstairs (as three of the hotel's five elevators had broken down by Saturday night).
If memory serves, that was also the Dragon*Con where I finally met Evil_Admiral
in person (I keep thinking that if I refer to him, he'll come back to the board, like Candyman or Beetlejuice
). Now, I hadn't yet watched BSG, but Evil_Admiral
was a big fan. We were wandering through the autograph room when I saw Richard at his table, with nobody around. The woman who had been his liaison at our convention had asked me to say hello for her if I had the opportunity, so I turned to Evil_Admiral
and said, "Hang on a sec, I have to pass a message along for someone," and dragged him over to Richard's table.
Me: Hi, Richard!
RA: Hi, Lance. How are you? (Yes, he remembered my name. Yes, that shocked me too, even though it was only about three weeks later.)
Me: Good, thanks. Kim asked me to say hello.
RA: Kim! Lovely woman. Say hi for me.
Me: I will. By the way, this is my friend Brad...
At this point I thought Evil_Admiral
was going to faint, but he held it together until we were away from Richard's table... at which point he turned to me and said, "Richard Hatch KNOWS YOU???" (Yeah, he recognized me three weeks after we met. Not too difficult for someone who has to memorize things for a living, I'm sure... it wasn't the first or the last time that's happened.)
And just for fun, I did it again a few minutes later when we bumped into George Takei (who'd also been at our convention three weeks earlier).