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It occurred to me this week that I hadn’t done a slideshow for HLWW9 yet, so here it is. Gave me a chance to play around with Garageband a bit more to create the soundtrack.

Download link:
http://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/al8an4

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Cruel, cruel con committee scheduled party animal Richard Ridings to be first on Sunday. What a man, 8:30 in the morning and he gave us his best and that was plenty good. He talked about how proud he was of Freya during the concert and thanked us for giving her a good reception. He also talked about various directors he had worked with, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam and others, and about working on the sets of some of the movies he’s been on. He also talked about working on stage and said that having been in the original London production of The Bouncers, he was very impressed when he heard that Adrian was in an LA production of the play. It is a real test of an actor’s skill.

Val’s panel opened with my vid of Kronos. He talked about various projects. For Under the Tuscan Sun, he almost didn’t take the part because there were no lines. He was promised that it would be worth his time and even thought he eventually had only one line, it was. Lots of screen time and a great showcase for his talent. Someone asked about his experience in playing dark characters and he said he couldn’t take them home with him at night, but having such an interesing role gave a certain glee in going to work each day. I asked about The Plant and he talked about it a bit, explaining the plot for those who hadn’t seen it.



There was a short panel on Highlander: Reunion with Don, Lizzie, Peter and David. David, always his own worst critic, said he didn’t think it worked, no Highlander. They talked about how unusually bight the set was, not like a normal HL set. Peter also mentioned the contrast between the brightness of the set and the emotional tone of piece which was pretty dark at the end with lost love, getting older (for Joe) and the inescapable violence of the Immortal world. When asked about web distribution for mini-episodes they had divided opinions. David doesn’t think there’s a way to make it work, Peter was fairly optimistic and Don is pretty adamant that this is the way things are going to work in the future.



Peter’s Q&A opened with my vid, Methos: Man of Mystery. It was great to see him watching and enjoying it. Talking about Riverworld he gave some background information about the world as it was written in the books and as it will be in the mini-series. In the books his character is the main character but in the series they’ve developed an original character, a photojournalist, to tie the plot lines together. This character died in a terrorist bombing and his search for his lost love is the thread that ties the other characters and plot lines together. He also talked about working on 24. When asked if Emerson was dead, he said since the show stopped sending him scripts, he’s pretty certain his character is dead.

The auction. Adrian and Peter gave us another fantastic show, camping it up and leaving every laughing hysterically. Richard gave us a Shirley Temple impression that we’ll never forget. Peter danced on a table and danced with a lucky bidder. And I managed to pick a great photo of Peter and Adrian from Vancouver that’s now framed and sitting next to my desk.



Because things always run a bit long on Sunday with the auction and last of the autographs and the raffle winners’ photos and the two War of the Worlds panels were combined into one and the game panel scratched completely. Since I’m not a gamer I didn’t really mind that. Too bad that Stan and Adrian’s panel was also a little abbreviated. As they were just getting stated I asked when they had last gotten together and they said it had been a couple of years. They talked a lot about the character of Richie, how he developed over the years, and about his relationship with Duncan. Stan also told the story of how he got the job. He had just been let go from a sitcom pilot and as he was leaving the studio parking he was hit by another car. He had audition scheduled for Highlander and almost blew it off, felt like he was on a stream of bad luck having just lost a job and had his car totaled, but a friend insisted on driving him to the interview.


The War of the Worlds: Goliath was great. David, Lizzie, Adrian, and Peter were joined by the movie’s director, Joe Pearson. We got to see some great production stills and some early, unfinished footage. Joe said that it was somewhat more of a dieselpunk movie than steampunk, a distinction that I got but was lost on some of the audience. Whatever you call it, it looks very, very good.

The closing ceremony is always a little sad. I had such a great time, it was hard to see it end. Cathy Butterfield, who was sitting near me, gave me some whiskey so I could join in on the toast. I think I’m going to continue to make sure I’ve got some spirits handy at the next con; I really liked joining in like that. So it was dinner with a bunch of Highander fans and winding down in the bar. It was a fantastic con, the best one yet for me.

For the rest of my Sunday pictures, go to:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/valoise/sets/72157617480689913/
valoise: (Default)
Instead of posting my report on Sunday, I thought I'd say a bit about the vids during the con. Several weeks prior to the event I was asked to help put together some song videos to be used to introduce some of the panels. In addition to one I was planning for the vidding history panel, I had the beginnings of one about Amanda. This one I altered for the Duncan's Women panel and added clips for Anne Lindsey and Cassandra. I can't tell you how much fun it was to watch Lisa and Lizzie as they watched my vid. And they enjoyed it!

Valentine Pelka's panel was more problematic. Some of the vids used during the weekend had been previously been created by others and really fit the session. Dar and I and Aine could not find an appropriate one for Kronos. Out of respect for Val, we didn't want it to be slash and all Kronos vids that I could find were Methos/Kronos slash. So I tentatively promised that I would make one without any idea what I was going to do. Then it hit me. No villain acts without believing in what he is doing. After all, Kronos might argue, what's so wrong with trying to rule the world? And I remembered the song Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood. I emailed the lyrics to Carmel, got her approval and hashed it out in one weekend. No streaming for this one - Youtube objected to the music choice - but you can download it at:
http://www.sendspace.com/pro/7ilkuy

Two other of my vids were also used during the con, all of which are on my youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/varmstro2. Loved to watch Peter watching my Methos: Man of Mystery and having him laugh and comment on it later. Dar had playlists set up for Saturday and Sunday when we were between sessions and I know some of my other vids played then, but I don't know which ones.

The vidding history session on Friday started slow with just a few people in the audience but more and more drifted in until there were around 25 by the end. Lots of good questions afterward about how to make vids so I'm adding links below to sites with good information. For the livejournal pages, look at the tags and memories. The Foolish Passion BB (fpvideos) has LOTS of great tutorials.

http://community.livejournal.com/vidding/
http://fpvideos.proboards.com/index.cgi?
http://www.animemusicvideos.org/guides/avtech/glossary.html
http://community.livejournal.com/mac_vidding_101/
http://www.animemusicvideos.org/guides/avtech/index.html
http://jarrow.livejournal.com/882354.html

As for making vids, most computers come with simple video editing software, either Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. Read all you can about making vids and give it a shot. You will need some kind of software for making clips of the video source material and, if you are working with dvd sources, some kind of software to rip the dvds into files on your computer. So, look at some of the above sites, join the boards or lists or livejournal communities and ask questions and give it a try. And watch vids, lots of vids, to see examples good and bad of how it's done.
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Adrian was first out of the gate, bright and early at 8:30. He answered questions about times he had been hurt on the set. Someone asked the flip side of that – had he ever hurt anyone else. He said very rarely, once he cut the back of a stuntman’s hand and perhaps a few minor incidents, but he generally tried to be mindful of what he was doing. Sometimes actors aren’t so careful with stuntmen, he supposed their misplaced aggression is sometimes a problem with ego.

Talking about martial arts, he said it was important to the body to keep active, to keep the joints moving, even if you feel stiff or have sore joints. When asked if he would ever consider doing a tai chi dvd of what we did in class, he considered it and said that IF he ever did that kind of project, he would want to be filmed alongside of his Shao Lin master, not to try and be the teacher or present himself as a master.

As for Budino (his dog had joint surgery earlier this year) he is making a good recovery and is living at Alex’s parents’ house in Hungary. From the back of the room David A. asked Adrian about his study of mime and reminded him that at Leeds he had done the hilarious mime of passing through in airport security.



For the next panel Jason Haight-Ellery from Big Finish joined Adrian to talk about the Highlander audio project. The four that have been produced are Adrian and another actor reading from a script, kind of like an audio book. If they sell well they will consider fully casted audio dramas bringing more HL actors into it. By the end of the con 160 cds had sold in LA; I’ve just received mine in the mail today since I preordered it long before I knew they would be available at the con. Adrian talked about how doing audio drama is in some ways closer to working theater. In television and film camera work and editing can to a lot toward telling the story. In audio the actor has only his voice.

David, Ken Gord and Don Paonessa had a short panel on how they worked together. The biggest thing I came away from that session was a sense of just how complicated post-production is and how much it has changed in the years since the show was made.



After a short break the 3 Horsemen came on stage. Three very different guys who share camaraderie that is readily evident to the audience; it almost felt like Val and Richard and Peter were having their own private reunion and we were crashing their party. They talked about working on Highlander and about riding and working with horses, both on Highlander and on Queen of Swords. Adrian joined them they talked about filming Revelations 6:8. One thing they mentioned was that some of the explosions were so big for the quickening, that some people thought unexploded ordnance left over from WWII had gone off.



The autograph session went pretty well. I got some nice comments from some of the guests. David and Peter remembered me from past cons. Sharon G. and I were in line with Lisa at the same time and we all talked about winning apple pie with Lisa in the auction at Indylander. Adrian wrote a nice note about Pounds for Peace.

My video started the Duncan’s Women panel and Lizzie and Lisa both watched and liked it. They talked about Duncan MacLeod’s love life and when Adrian joined them on stage they really gave him a hard time. He acknowledged that with a room full of women, we were going to always that their side instead of his.


The panel on To Be/Not To Be involved almost all of the guests at the con. Stan said that he was very grateful for getting to come back to Paris to film more Highlander and had made a conscious effort to savor the moment. To select the clips for the final montage Don sent Adrian a disk with the clips he wanted to use, Adrian commented on the selections and they narrowed it down and got the final approval. When asked if there were any actors they had wanted to use in the final episodes but had been able to get, Donna stepped up to the microphone and said that initially they had wanted Sean Burns to be the angel, when that didn’t work the had talked about Rebecca, which also didn’t work out. They hadn’t thought they would be able to get Roger Daltrey, but when all was said and one, he agreed to do two episodes for the price of one.

Then they played the final montage. When the lights came back up I noticed Lizzie dabbing at her eyes and she wasn’t alone. Many of us were very touched by that. John Mosby said that as a journalist covering television he had seen a lot of series endings, but the Highlander finale still stands up as one of the very best.

We had the meet and greet with the guests next. The style for this event was very free-form. No tables and chairs, just everyone milling around the room. It worked pretty well for me, if there wasn't a guest around right where I was I wandered around until I found an interesting conversation. I did notice some newbies hanging back, unsure of what to do. Whenever possible I tried to move them along, get the guest to focus on them. Biggest problem I saw with this style was the tendency of select fans to try and monopolize the time and attention of particular guests. It's a mixer, try and mix.



The Valentine Pelka Fan Club had a brief meeting. Val was sweet and funny and very relaxed. He talked about Fake Identity, the film he has coming up with Val Kilmer, and that he has a new agent and things are looking good for him right now. We asked him about his writing. He is currently working on a novel, says it's a very dark one. There were also two portfolios of his drawings at the fan club table and I am very happy with the drawing that I purchased. Now I just need to get it framed.



The concert. I’ve never heard Lizzie sing better, Richard and Peter and James and David also sang. Adrian was our wise-cracking MC. Braun did hilarious stand up, Lisa read her ode to Dr. Anne and Stan read his piece from Evening at Joe’s. Just these performances alone would have been great, but four others were the highlights for me. Ken Gord’s take on Highlander and k’immies and conspiracy was hilarious, TACI (The Abramowitz Code Identity) kept cropping up for the rest of the con. Donna and Gillian, with help from friends, presented the HL story idea that was developed during their writing workshop, complete with dolls to act out the scenes. Valentine did scenes from his John Lennon play that were absolutely riveting. Finally, Richard’s 15-year-old daughter, Freya, came up and sang for us. Wonderful, wonderful evening.
valoise: (Default)
Maxed out almost 4 memory cards on the camera, but I've narrowed down them down to the best 254. No energy for con reporting; this is going to have to do for a couple of days. In looking through all my pictures it dawned on me - I didn't get my picture taken with any of the guests. I was too interested in chatting with them and it didn't occur to me to hand the camera to anyone. Richard would have done it in a heartbeat.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/valoise/collections/72157617447462412/
valoise: (Default)
My Friday morning started pretty early, I was excited for the con to start, excited for my vidding history panel, excited to get more information about my volunteer duties, excited about the tai chi class with Adrian. Just excited and bouncing off the walls in general!

I checked in with Dar to first, since I was to act as her back up if needed in the control room. Also popped into the dealers room and help unpack a few boxes. After my panel was done I got a primer from Aine on running the video camera, since that was my afternoon assignment and even though vidding and still photography are my hobbies, I had never used a video camera before.



The vidding panel went very well. Started with only 2 or 3 people, but I had planned for a slow beginning and had the narrative part of the history at the beginning. By the end we had shown 14 vids, mostly older ones from 1996-2002, and had 25 or so people in the audience.



The opening ceremony was brief and then it was off to my tai chi class. What Adrian actually showed us was chi gung (or qi gong) and it was great. The two short workshops tai chi workshops I'd had in the past couple of years were not nearly as good as Adrian's class. He was a great teacher and maintained a great balance between pushing us as much as possible and respecting our individual limitations. Words cannot describe how grateful I am that he agreed to teach a second session. I missed Brandon's Q&A and most of Ken's panel, but it was worth it.

For the rest of the afternoon I was running one of the video cameras and trying to pay attention to what I was doing and the guests, while sneaking the occasional photo. I enjoyed James Horan's articulate discussion of his work, Highlander and otherwise. Donna and Gillian had great stories about Highlander and about the writing process.

David has been working a lot lately and therefore a lot to talk about. One project is for German tv production company and is a story about a young woman who was orphaned as an infant and taken to New York. As a grown woman she goes back to Israel to find more about her background and discovers that she's actually Palestinian, disrupting everything she ever believed about who she is.

The one I was really interested in came out of a script he wrote based on King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry (one of my absolute favorite books as a child). The Al Jazeera children's chanel loved his script and wanted to try and develop an animated series about a couple of foals that lived in the dessert. This put him in an ethical dilemma. Should a Jewish man from LA work on a series for Al Jazeera. He consulted a number of persons whose opinion he trusted on religious and ethical questions and decided to move forward with the project.



He met with the producers, who were from Lebanon, and had them come to his house for dinner. He also traveled with them to an Arabian horse ranch in Arizona. When all was said and done he had broken bread with them, played music with them, found common ground on many issues and had revelations of his own on the separation of individuals from their cultures as a whole.

F. Braun McAsh came out next and was his usual entertaining self. After his panel was done I talked to him a bit about the Reclaiming the Blade movie and the resurgence of European martial arts. Always fun to talk history with Braun.

Then it was time for the Pounds for Peace meeting. Adrian was extremely appreciative of all our efforts. Several people talked about their experiences and/or the money that they had raised for PEACE. He is a very insightful man and a couple of things he said to me have me thinking about additional ways in which I might raise money for PEACE via the Pounds for Peace effort.

Finally, we had the premiere of Eyeborgs. I enjoyed the movie and thought that Adrian's performance and the great CGI were the strongest points. Hope it does well in London at the film festival there.

So that's Friday. Saturday and Sunday were both so jam-packed with activities that each day will probably take 2 reports. For more photos go to:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/valoise/collections/72157617447462412/
valoise: (Default)
Here's the first of my con reports. I arrived around 11 in Wednesday morning and had lunch with Mary Glynn, Elaine and Terry while waiting for my room to be ready. Gayle and Lois joined us later.

Then it was time for my day trip to the LA Times. The editor of the editorial pages, Jim Newton, had invited me to come in anytime I came to LA so I arranged for an informal tour. Not many fans had arrived yet, but Terri Hutson, who lives in the area, and John Mosby and I had a really great time. We sat with Jim in his office and he gave us a little history about the Times and how the editorial staff operates. It sounds like they have a good relationship with the publisher, a position of respect which leaves them free to voice their positions on the issues. As Jim showed us around we saw various award winning stories and photographs prominently displayed. He also showed us various meeting rooms and office spaces in the building and we made the rounds of all the departments of the paper. Many of these spaces have been used as movie locations in the past. In fact, one of their best meeting rooms was transformed into Eddie Murphy's apartment in the movie Dreamgirls. As we left I got some shots of the fantastic lobby with its murals and spinning globe.



Had dinner in the hotel bar. So many people came drifting in, Aine, Karen Scott, Karin, Ina. . . Rich Ridings and his daughter Freya came through and we sent them off to Dennys for dinner, an American food experience I guess every visitor should have at least once.

On Thursday I kept running into more and more friends, great way to start the day. I went with Sharon Gobioff and her husband to Berverly Hills to window shop and stroll down Rodeo Drive. Lots of tourists and not too many shoppers, but it was fun and in the few shops we went into the employees were very nice and very friendly. Driving back through the neighborhood, past the gates to Bel Aire, everything looked just like a movie set.

That afternoon we had the volunteer meeting and then registration. More and more friends arrived, too many to list. I just love Highlander cons and all the friends that I see there.





After dinner I met up with Dar to make sure all the vids I'd made for the con and the panel were working fine and at the fan meet and greet we got the flash drive from Andrew that had his vid on it for the panel. Hanging out in the bar meeting old friends and new, great evening and a sign of the great time I was going to have this weekend.

August 2017

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