I, for one, had a fun day at this event; we also met up with another friend, and the three of us went to say a quick "hi" to René.
I don't go to cons that often...I just see if there's something not that far away and if I'm
interested in whoever's going to be there. Worth travelling for me are Nana and René; those are the two I'm most interested in, and it really was nice seeing him again.
Let's talk a little about what the whole thing looked like:
First, it took place in the biggest shopping center I've ever seen in my life. I had a feeling we walked miles inside that thing until we found the right place. They had the usual tables in the middle, four rows of them, I'd say, or five, with all kinds of stuff for sale, like videos and DVDs and cards and cardgames and figures and pictures and badges and everything. At the two ends of the rows they had the tables for the actors; there was a little room behind the wall they were
seated in front of, where they could go and eat or relax a bit, but other than that they were out there, signing and being photographed. On the one side there were the Harry Potter kids, like the twins and the boy who plays Neville and the guy from the second movie, who played Tom
Riddle, and Anthony Head from Buffy; on the other side, there was Roxann Dawson, René, then George Takei, two guys from The Matrix, and Elijah
Wood, although he apparently only came one of the days.
We went up to René, and I said we just came there because I wanted to say "hi" and that Marguerite told us to do it in any case... we were the "offical welcome-to-England team" as there was no one else. We chatted a bit, and also took a picture of proof that we were there.
Personally, I was interested in the play he's going to do on Broadway, so I asked him about that, although there was really not that much time left to talk -- I surely would have loved to
hear a little more about it because I'm a theater-nerd and I especially love Broadway. I just asked him if he'd really do it and his face lightened up a bit, like he's really looking forward
to doing it, and of course he said yes; I asked him about when he'd start and he said they'd start rehearsals in January and that the play would open April 1st.
I've always thought René is very classy and a very interesting and nice man and it was a pleasure to see him. His line for autographs was not that long, so it was easy to get through to him. Surprisingly enough, people were really crazy about Anthony Head -- when we came there around noon, all the autograph tickets for him were sold and they allowed nobody to walk up to him anymore, other than the ones with the tickets... I mean, I like Buffy too, but because Head is English, I thought he would do more things here so that people would rather go and see the actors who weren't necessarily around anyway...but whatever -- lucky us!
After a rather long dirve (3 hours), we arrived at Milton Keynes at about 9:45 a.m. Rob and I were excited (me more than him) so we braved the cold and went in. The guest list was very impressive: it included Anthony Stewart Head, Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis, Corey Feldman, and of course René. So we went primarily to see René and Anthony. We would have liked to have seen the Lord of the Rings guys but all the tickets had been given out, so we were disppointed. With that, we got a ticket for Anthony and went in search of René. After a short search we found him.
Thankfully, we only had to queue for about 15 minutes. I was quite nervous because he is one of my all-time favourite people from Star Trek (the other being Armin, who I met last year). I stepped forward after purchasing my photos and shook his hand and I melted. He smiled and I could have died on the spot and gone happy. I said "hi" and asked him to sign the photo to "Maria." He gave me an inquisitive look, so I went on to say thank you for the reply to my e-mail. He laughed and said "That was you," and "Thank you for saying that I look good in lilac" (I referred in my e-mail to the robe he wore in Frasier). I asked if he would mind if I had a few photographs to show the people on the list and to share with them. He said "Sure," and Rob took two (unfortunatley one didn't come out). I said thank you very much and I was really pleased to meet him and hoped that I would meet him again soon. He said to pass on his regards to all on the list. Then we had a 4-hour wait to see Anthony ahead of us. The organisation of the event could have been better and it is hard to have it in a mall because you get mixed in with the shoppers too. On the whole, I came away very very happy I go to meet who I wanted to meet, although some people, unfortunately, weren't that lucky.
I attended late afternoon on a couple of days at Collectormania 4. It was a novel arrangement. The dealers' tables and actors' tables were open plan in a shopping mall! It was a bit of a goldfish bowl, as families doing their weekly shopping stopped and stared at what was going on. This also added to the congestion. It was a bit different to going to a convention in a hotel or sci-fi memorabilia event in a purpose built exhibtion/conference venue where attendees are sci-fi fans who pay an admission fee to get in.
Initially I thought it seemed a bit too good to be true that there was no admission charge. It seems that the promoter made their money on the autograph charges instead -- £15 for every item. At British conventions we are used to paying £10 for a signed photo from the actor with one personal item free of charge and £5/£10 for additional personal items thereafter. It was a bit disappointing, as I had brought some personal items with me for Roxann Dawson to sign but in the end decided it was too much to pay. Although I found some bargains at the dealers tables instead.
The signing queues for Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3) and the Buffy actors, Anthony Stewart Head and Iyari Limon, were never-ending and by midmorning their autograph tickets had sold out. It was also good to see Peter Weller (Robocop) and Robert Davi (Licence to Kill, Die Hard, Predator 2) in person. There was a feature about Collectormania 4 on BBC2 television on the Saturady night with Robert Davi as the main guest. The Star Trek actors' tables were quieter (René Auberjonis, Roxann Dawson, and George Takei), although George Takei had a steady stream of people and of course this was a generic movie/TV event rather than specific to Star Trek. I noticed that René had his Odo costume on display on a tailor's dummy which was a nice touch and René seemed very affable and friendly with everyone who came to his table.
Anyway I will be better prepared what to expect if I go to this event in six months' time. Also, some of the actors' photos provided by Collectormania weren't the best, so I think it is a good idea to bring a photo of your own choice. I still prefer conventions, as there is the opportunity to listen to and have a Q&A with the actors during their guest talks rather than a few seconds, interaction while they are signing photos at signing events such as Collectormania.
Photos by Katharina Steinberg and Rob Sutton