Stargate Universe cast & crew say good by to the fans after only 2 seasons. I say thank you.
First & foremost, thank you to the amazing crew of writers, directors, producers & behind the scenes staff of this series. Without your work, none of this would at all have been possible.
To the cast, I am sure some of you I will cross paths with again over the years. I wish you all the best of luck in future endeavours, but dont be upset if I always remember you as ".*insert character name here* from SGU", it is not that your new work is not good, its just that Stargate Universe was so amazing. To the few of you that I may not cross paths with again, thanks. Not just for your work on the show, but being so terrific off it. I have met every main cast member, and many of the secondary part time cast, each & every one of you was great in person. It is not rare to meet great & friendly actors or actresses, it IS rare for the entire cast to be that way, especially such a large cast. Your encounters with me is what drove me to give the show a chance, YOU made me a fan.
May 9,2011 is a day that should be mourned & celebrated in television land. Mourned, because it is the loss of another terrific, creative & entertaining program that will very likely end up getting replaced by some subpar fluff wrestling program or reality show. Celebrated, because for 2 years we were treated to television excellence, each month, the shows & scripts became better. The rough potential the early episodes showed blossomed to pure excellence as season 2 carried on its way to the premature series finale.
I found it painful & comforting that the show would end with Eli Wallace manning the ship by himself. Although Rush has always been the unofficial captain of the ship, Eli was more often than not, the one getting the Destiny out of any variety of sticky situations. It was painful in knowing we'll never get to see what the outcome was. Did Eli survive? Did the ship survive? Its comforting to know that with Eli at the helm, the Destiny's passengers will likely have succeeded in this daring task, as he will most certainly put the ship & the crews interests ahead of his own if it came to that.
So many questions still to answer. Does Dr. Park ever regain her sight back? Does TJ find a cure for ALS? Would Varro & TJ ever get together? Or are Young & TJ destined to end up together? Will Eli ever find someone? Will the ship ever finish its journey? Will the crew ever get home? So many uncertain questions without answers. Answers that we will probably never get now....UNLESS....Syfy has a brilliant epiphany down the road, sayyyy in a yr & 1/2?? Maybe Syfy sees some of their programs struggle that they hoped would thrive, with openings in the schedule, they resurrect SGU. Take into consideration time to write episodes, get cast together (assuming the majority are available?) & film it, they could be ready to return in about...3 years. Coincidence? Even if its a 1 off movie, it could wrap up loose ends.
Of course, the likelyhood of such a situation happening is low. A lot of luck & chips need to fall into place. Notable cast may have found stable full time roles on other projects by then, leaving large gaps in cast. Would the writers be able to string together a script in time? Not to mention Syfy admitting they made a mistake & giving the show 1 more chance.
The sad truth is, its probably the last we will see Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle), Col. Everett Young (Louis Ferreira), Eli Wallace (David Blue), Lt. Matthew Scott (Brian J. Smith), Master Sgt Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith), Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque), Camile Wray (Ming Na), lt Tamara Johansen (Alaina Huffman), 2nd Lt Vanessa James (Julia Benson), Dr. Dale Volker (Patrick Gilmore), Adam Brody (Peter Kelamis), Dr. Lisa Park (Jennifer Spence), Col David Telford (Lou Diamond Philips) & the countless other part time cast members that fill out the cast of the show, all in 1 place.
I wont say good bye to this show, because I still have naive blind hope something will resurrect it (afterall I waited 2+ years for a Dead Like Me movie..and finally got 1). All I will say is, hopefully Elis' calculations are correct & we all get to see you all again when you wake up in 3 years.
But it will take even more luck & work than even the likes of the characters have had in surviving as many near deaths as they have.
Last month, a post made by a site called deadline.com stated that Syfy, a station allegedly for science-fiction television, was going to cancel 1 of the few shows, on their quickly depleting list of original programs.
Stargate Universe (aka- SGU) cast & crew learned this news not thru a phone call, but a tweet. A 140 character or less update on their livelyhoods & careers. While the utter lack of class Syfy station has shown to their possible former employees is appalling, and should be a red flag warning sign to anyone who in the future thinks of working on a project for them, what is actually more disturbing is that they let this news slip out to a website to tell the world first. They didnt even have the respect, decency or professionalism to tell those who it affects themselves. They let a website tell it, then later used a 140 character or less post on twitter to confirm it. It really makes you wonder how Syfy president Dave Howe was ever given the job if this is how he handles such major issues.
The amazing part is that the station has currently 6 actual sci-fi style original program shows to its list. Of it, there is really only 3 they have that can without question say they outperform SGU at this time.
"Being Human" 1st season- Unproven
"Caprica" Already Cancelled
"Eureka" which started with 4.1M for the shows premiere episode, and is down to 2.5M now in its 4th season.
"Haven" in only its first season Unproven.
"Sanctuary" one show that has managed to capture an audience.
"Warehouse 13" which started with a 3.5M opening & has dropped off to 2.4M for its S2 closing.
While the numbers for SGU are below that of Eureka, Sanctuary & Warehouse 13, the fact still remains that Syfy had very few shows they can call their own & are often filling their television voids with marathons of shows that fans have very likely watched already, dont care for specifically, or more likely, already own the box sets of. Even the most ardent Star Trek fan can only sit thru their favorite versions of the show so many times.
This is a station thats been so desperate to fill time, it has resorted to adding Professional Wrestling & a reality game show about video game players to its table of shows. While I have been in the past a pro wrestling fan & have nothing against those that still are, reality is, it has no right being on a network solely devoted to sci-fi programming. But, it is a ratings juggernaut for a station & has low costs to them as WWE picks up much of the production costs. There in lies the problem. Syfy has sold out. Its no longer about creating programming for a subsection of society that tend to be loyal to a fault for products they like. Its about whoring themselves out for ever last penny they can, even at the cost of the stations soul.
This station has very few of its own shows, so why cancel 1 that has held its own in season 2? While season 1 saw a sharp drop in ratings, season 2 has been steady. There is something to be said about a show, on a station where almost everything it airs has massive ratings drops, is holding its own & not losing viewers. While season 1 was finding its feet & at times, may have been a bit long in getting to its points, season 2 has been intense, full of action & arguably amazing. If S1 was "decent", season 2 has been "absolutely amazing". If fans from S1 were to rejoin, they would be blown away at the changes & character development that has happened since then. but we may not see it develop beyond, because as it stands right now, its to be terminated at seasons end... despite being probably the best show currently on the network & arguably, one of the top sci-fi shows on all of TV.
The question is "what now?" for the show.
Various campaigns thru twitter & facebook have popped up to "Give SGU another season" & it certainly is a campign that has garnered a lot of attention. One campaign has garnered over 8500 fans on facebook (probably be 10,000.. if they hadnt spit in the face of the fans by alienating them thru actions depicted by the leader whom told a cast members mother to 'fuck off" in a disagreement), while smaller campaigns have popped up ranging from a few dozen to several hundred. These campaigns are so passionate about what they are doing, they now find themselves at odds over how to best promote the concepts & gameplans to save the show. But I am not going to get into the politics of fandom in here...this is about coming up with a gameplan for the show. This does show however, excessive devotion. To fight this hard, so hard you are even fighting with yourselves, means you want to see the idea succeed. It might be self destructive, or, it might be healthy.
While shows that are cancelled arent all that often saved by their networks, or new networks, it does happen. I can vouch for that on 2 different fronts. Two of my all time favorite shows, Dead Like Me, and Robson Arms both came back from essentially being dead for short lived returns.
DLM managed a straight to DVD movie to quell its fans & while it was not anything near the 3rd season fans screamed for, petitioned for, wrote into Showtime & MGM for, and even held rallies for outside the offices, it was something...even if it was a hack version of something (try to not rant about Sarah Wynter's lack of acting skills right now...*deep breath*). The shows fans fought hard and got something.
While Robson Arms was the little show that could. It first fought just to get on the air. After season 1, it sat, with no 2nd season announcement for over a year. Its second season aired 19 months after the final episode of S1 aired. It fought & clawed its way back from death to manage not just a 2nd season, but a 3rd too, before again, meeting an unjust fate by CTV. The fanbase for them was admittedly far smaller than DLM or SGU. But they were devoted & let the station know what they wanted....and they got it. The reality is, fighting sometimes works.
All that being said, stats dont lie, lots of shows have campaigns to resurrect their programs, and most fail. But I can tell you, from my personal experiences, it can happen.
SGU is 1 that could have that lifeline to draw from. It has some things going for it, such as it is a Canadian based show. This means a Canadian station could look at a show, with an already developed fanbase & jump in & just fine tune things to their liking a little. The most likely choice for this is "Space" the Canadian version of Syfy (they have many of the same programs on), but Space isn't known for creating its own shows too much. In fact, they have already come out & said its not feasable. Like Syfy, who gets their approval from the pursestrings of a bigger media conglomerate (NBC), Space also is under the umbrella of a media conglomerate, CTVglobemedia, arguably the largest such television empire in Canada. Besides Space, the CTV empire is responsible for over 20 other stations from basic cable to pay per view channels in Canada. It is, without question, the most viable solution for a home for SGU to end up on if a Canadian company steps up.
The question becomes, how to convince them to run with the show.
Well, the first fact is simple. SGU is filmed in Canada. As a Canadian station, Space is obligated to show a minimum amount of Canadian content. Sure, they have quite a bit already, including EVERY...SINGLE...SHOW Syfy carries right now, but this would give the CTV empire 1 more, which they also could move to their flagship station CTV for any variety of schedule filling needs (a weekend afternoon filler, or late night marathon materials)
The second fact needs to be about financial potential. They are business people afterall. Can they make a profit from this? Or, at least make it financially sensible thru selling off international distribution?
The U.S. has 10Xs the population of Canada. It is also the primary financial centre for television. Ratings in America count exponentially more than ratings in Canada. So for a Canadian show to do well, they theoretically need far beyond 10% of the domestic numbers to warrant labelling something a success...unfortunately, the budget of the show still needs to stay comparable...so suddenly, you need to have better results than even that assuming U.S. numbers struggle to rise. That is where it gets complicated...proving that is possible without being able to show it first. I dont know what the numbers are on SGU showing on Space, but theoretically, if its doing about 150,000 households or more, it would be doing approximately 1.5Xs better here than in the U.S. currently, where its doing about 1.0M households a week. Those numbers may not be enough for CTV to take a chance on it by itself. This is where the idea of a split cost idea with a foreign station may come in.
Why couldnt the Canadian company work on a split deal with another country that admires their Sci-fi programming? Hello U.K?? We might have a business proposition for someone there. With a split cost between two stations in two different companies, it becomes quite financially feasable...then take into consideration distribution rights still in the rest of the world...well, how could it NOT look appealing?
The complexity of striking a deal to get the shows rights might be confusing as well. If Syfy has the rights, what might happen could be a deal where CTV, for the Space Channel, buys the rights from Syfy, in agreement, they give Syfy a deal on the U.S. rights for broadcasting it, taking away some bargaining power for looking for the best financial situation in the U.S. market.
Maybe, there is even a deal, like how other shows from other networks have done it. Where CTV, for the Space Channel, doesnt actually buy the rights, but instead puts up some $ for the production costs to Syfy to continue making the show.
If MGM is the owner of the shows rights, what do they want? Do they barter a deal where they get to choose the U.S. distributror? Do they get a nice deal on DVD sales? Or do they simply look at it as a dead asset that they can turn into liquid asset now & sell for whatever they can get?
Theres still even outside all of those question, the possibility that maybe they cant work out a deal to generate a 3rd season...so what about a few straight to DVD movie like Dead Like Me or Firefly managed? Simply to wrap up loose ends & complete the story? Correct me if I am wrong, but the sales for Dead Like Me: Life After Death were financial gold for the company. I vividly recall it being in the top 3 in Canada & top 10 in the U.S. opening day on Amazon. In the top 5 in Canada after a week & top 20 in the U.S. Unfortunately, Firefly was not something I followed when it did its movie, but I recall hearing a lot of buzz about it, I am sure its sales were just as incredible. If they put together a 2 or 3 movie set to wrap up the storlines (although its being suggested the creators are saying they cant do it with anything less than a season...you take what you can get).
How can you, the fan get involved? The obvious answer- BUY SGU PRODUCTS. But also, make your voices heard. Let the stations know, let advertisers know, hell, even let the cast know, that they are wanted back.
Any potential suitors will want to see a healthy show. So alienating & abandonning it is not the best avenue. Support is. Buying the DVDs is good, buying episodes online is good, but in the end tv viewers matter the most. ALSO, key battle point people often overlook.....
MAKE NOTE OF WHAT PRODUCTS ARE PAYING FOR ADVERTISING TIME!!
Seriously. This can make a difference. If you see a product being advertised during an episode, whether its first run, or a repeat, make note of it, and definitely let that company know that you saw their ad on an SGU broadcast. Whether its a short email to their site, or a phone call into a comments/questions/complaints line, let them know. They are, afterall, the ones who pull the pursestrings open or closed. DO NOT take commercials lightly, they have more influence than most board members. If the products tell Syfy, or other stations "we are getting a lot of recognition off this show..." trust me, they will find a way to magically come up with the $ in their budget to keep making it.
Theres a lot of questions that I personally cant answer, but this does show that there are a multitude of potential options still out there for SGU to breathe more life. It is just a matter of whoever is holding the keys, to hand them to someone willing to take over.
Saving SGU is a real possibility. It will just take all hands on deck to steer the Destiny to that outcome... to complete its mission.
Buy SGU Blu-Ray, DVDs & single online episodes on Amazon
(U.S.) http://amzn.to/fNmE0K (Canada) http://amzn.to/elGBzq
Want to learn more about the campaign or the cast? Check them out on twitter or facebook.
Helping to resurrect SGU campaign twitter accounts.
Cast's twitter accounts
http://twitter.com/AlainaHuffman - Alaina Huffman (Lt. Tamara "TJ" Johansen)
http://twitter.com/AtleastLevesque - Elyse Levesque (Chloe Armstrong)
http://twitter.com/BrianJacobSmith - Brian J. Smith (Lt. Matthew Scott)
http://twitter.com/Cpbinder - Carl Binder (crew- writer)
http://twitter.com/DavidBlue - David Blue (Eli Wallace)
http://twitter.com/Ivonbartok - Ivon Bartok (crew- producer/director)
http://twitter.com/jbowyerchapman - Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (Private Darren Becker)
http://twitter.com/Julia_Benson - Julia Benson (2nd Lt. Vanessa James)
http://twitter.com/JulieMcNiven - Julie McNiven (Ginn)
http://twitter.com/limajamil - Jamil Walker-Smith (Master Sgt. Ronald Greer)
http://twitter.com/LouDPhillips - Lou Diamond Phillips (Col. David Telford)
http://twitter.com/MingNa - Ming Na (Camile Wray)
http://twitter.com/PatrickGilmore - Patrick Gilmore (Dr. Dale Volker)
http://twitter.com/PeterKelamis - Peter Kelamis (Adam Brody)
http://twitter.com/SpenceJen - Jennifer Spence (Dr. Lisa Park)
Want to tell MGM or Syfy or Space how much you want this show to continue (being respectful works better than crude & angry letters with these people....and thats coming from ME)
Email Charles Cohen Executive Vice-President of MGM email@example.com (also believed to be a Stargate fan)
Email the Syfy Station firstname.lastname@example.org or post on their facebook wall http://facebook.com/SyFy
Contact Space Channel on their facebook wall http://facebook.com/SPACEchannel
10- Anytime I saw Tom Hardy
Quite literally 6 months ago I did not know the name Tom Hardy. With a role in Inception firmly on his resume now, and a 3 month pit stop in Vancouver to film This Means War with Chris Pine, its hard not to know the man who has already been penned in to a role in the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises now.
What makes Hardy so memorable is, he truly likes everyone. He doesnt let Hollywood politics decide who he will & wont be nice to. Some of the people Tom was friendliest with while here were autograph hounds & paps. Always said hi, chatted with us & didnt at all seem phased by the cameras being focused on his work while he was on set.
Everytime I saw him, he made the meeting memorable. Whether it was chatting for 20 minutes about filming stunts on other films, or play sparring with a pap while in fight make up just after a scene, Hardy was always an adventure to meet.
Even with the miserable Reese Witherspoon trying her hardest to make people hate the film, Hardy and his free caring personality likely won over far more people than Witherspoon alienated.
9- Getting Stargate Universe cast going to & coming back from Gemini Awards.
The entire cast (minus 1 or 2) of Stargate Universe went to Toronto for the Gemini Awards & a couple promotional events. Knowing now that the show was going to be prematurely cancelled, I am glad I took this 1 last chance to meet them.
Almost every single member (Alaina Huffman being the 1 exception, as her husband frowned with disapproval) was happy to stop, sign & take photos with all that were out there. Robert Carlyle & Louis Ferreira chatted with us before departing, as did the likes of Julia Benson, David Blue, Ming Na & Brian Jacob Smith.
Upon their return, the group was just as excited. Patrick Gilmore regaled us in how the weekend unfolded. Telling us about stories with cast members in the hotel playing human bowling. Elyse Levesque talked about the show & that her group "Coupla Hot Chicks...Maybe Three" would soon be working on a new video. Julia Benson chatted at length about Canadian television & many of the challenges of it.
Each cast member seemed genuinely happy to see us. It is a rare thing for us to have an entire cast be so great. I am truly disappointed this show was unjustly cancelled so soon.
8- Roger Waters in Vancouver
One of the largest living music icons came to Vancouver this year. Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame was here for a show.
Waters just the day before coming to Vancouver made a very public statement on his facebook page telling anyone who would listen, that he would no longer be signing anything but albums, and would only personalize, in an effort to prevent reselling.
With little to no notice, the hounds of Vancouver were ready for this still. Armed with albums, CDs & official tour merchandise, the man who just 2 days earlier told the world he didnt want to sign for professionals, willingly did it every time he was seen. In fact, his only issue was whether the item was something official or not. If it was an album, CD or item from the tour, he would sign it without hesitation. Items that he may not have received any payment for however, he did abide to his newly enforced rule.
Even on his 3rd time stopping, with many of the same faces coming up, neither his handler or him griped about it, he did it with a smile on his face & thanked most people for coming...even though he had to know that most of them were still professionals.
Funny story, I had the chance to go for him in Toronto, and didnt. I admit, it was one of the less smart things I have done in my hounding career...certainly near the top of the list for this year.
7- The 2010 Leo Awards.
Sure, its not the Academy Awards, but in Vancouver, there is probably no larger annual awards event than this. The Leo Awards celebrate TV & Movies in British Columbia, and it actually gets a reasonable list of talent at it.
With stars like Twilight castmates Chris Heyerdahl & Jodelle Ferland, former Smallville star Kristin Kreuk and Sci-fi stars Amanda Tapping, Lou Diamond Phillips, David Blue & others there, it gives local hounds a chance to see a lot of the local actors that you dont always get to see because of their shows being primaraily done in studio.
This year, I did far better than my last endeavour to these awards...mostly, because I was more prepared. Getting lots of autographs from the cast of Sanctuary, Stargate Universe, as well as Jodelle Ferland, Lorne Cardinal & Kristin Kreuk, the day was a big success.
It was also the first time I would meet the girls from "Coupla Hot Chicks.. Maybe Three" (Elyse Levesque, Devon Weigel & Leah Gauthier) so, all in all, pretty great day.
What I really like about this event is that the public is welcomed to stand right up near the red carpet, where the entertainers do their interviews & can get autographs & photos right there. Considering it is at a venue that has on multiple occasions over the years gotten in actual fist fights & called the cops on autograph seekers, it really says a lot about the class the Leo Awards has to essentially tell the staff at the venue "back off its all good".
6- Getting Simon Pegg at the movie theatre
Recently, Vancouver has had some notable names in town for films. While the attention for filming Mission Impossible 4 will certainly be centred on Tom Cruise, his co-star, Simon Pegg made the biggest impression so far with the locals,
On his arrival to town, Pegg signed several items per person at the airport. Later that week, he tweeted he was going to see a movie. The detective skills of the group went to work & 3 of us summarized it was going to he at this theatre & this was the showtime that made sense.
Sure enough, the Hott Fuzz & Shaun Of The Dead star, came out from the movie & was greeted by 3 of us waiting for him. He happily took the time to sign and do photos with. He joked with us that it was some good detective work.
He thought so much of our skills, he tweeted about it moments later. http://twitter.com/simonpegg/status/10519962170953728
"Kudos to the enterprising young Canadians who figured out what cinema I was in and waited in the lobby. That's quality stalking that is."
I have seen Pegg 1 more time since then, and he againw as all class, signing without hesitation... even with the handler for Jeremy Renner there chirping about people selling. Neither Renner or Pegg seemed to care. Maybe 2011 Pegg can make the list again?
5- Stephen Colbert brings The Colbert Report to Vancouver
Yes, this did happen during The Olympics. I am aware. But this was not an official Olympic event, so it is technically, a different event.
Stephen Colbert, the satirical pundit on the Comedy Central hit show "The Colbert Report" brought his show to Vancouver for 2 days during the Olympics. Colbert brought the show up north after his show & the city of Richmond had some back & forth banter when Mr. Colbert (a major sponsor for the U.S. Olympic Speedskating team thru donations from his fans at Colbert Nation.) attacked the city for unfairly giving Canadians the chance to practice on the Olympic rink and not other nations in advance of the games.
With a setting in the middle of a field in a small park only a couple minute walk from the Olympic Village, Socchi World, Canada Hockey House & GM Place, it was a huge party type atmosphere at the free admission event. Thousands of fans came both days to the event. many came with signs, and some, like myself, came with items for him to sign.
The first day Mr. Colbert arrived moments before his taping in a van & pulled up along the impromptu road to the impromp pathway they had set up for him to get in. Colbert got out of his van & immediately starting signing for fans. With a mob like mentality of dozens of people pushing & clamouring to get their item infront of Mr. Colbert, he never once got annoyed, concerned or upset over the mob like mentality, infact, seemed to perhaps eat it up. He signed his way thru the mob & signed down the fence till he was into his tent where he prepared for the shows. Upon leaving the venue after the show ended, Colbert was less receptive to signing, as he only signed 2 total items (1 being mine) & was soon on his way.
Day 2 he again showed up, with security a little more prepared this time, the autograph chances were more limited upon arrival. But he made up for it during breaks & after the event, as he signed everytime he would go to or come out of his tent during breaks on the backside of the stage where some people chose to stand, since the front was literally 100s of people deep. After the show ended, Stephen did 1 final massive signing, where he went all the way around the back, back across the front, around the back again, along the pathway & off into his van. It is hard to imagine that anyone didnt get an autograph from the man if they truly wanted 1.
4- Getting Jim Beaver to sign his book "Life's That Way"
As a huge Supernatural fan, when I found out the man that plays Bobby Singer had a book out, I was curious. When I found out the material in it, I was eager to find it. I am not a big reader of books. It was in fact, the first book (that wasnt filled with stats or top lists) that I had purchased in more than a decade without the intent of reselling it.
The book is a collection of emails (most of them in the raw form, some revised slightly) to his friends & family over the course of a year updating them on his wifes battle with terminal cancer that eventually would claim her life, their daughter coping with the major changes, and his own feelings & fears. It is a very moving, and real book that makes you cry as often as you smile.
My next goal was to get it signed....but that turned out to be more of a challenge than I ever expected. It appeared after I bought the book, tracking down Mr. Beaver turned into quite the challenge. On no less than 2 occasions, I thought I had him. Even with back up on 1 occasion, he managed to sneak by (not on purpose).
On the last unsuccessful mission, I actually let my friends paranoia get to me & thought maybe Jim was being deceptive in tweets to avoid being seen coming in. What happened next I would rather not get into again...but lets just say, Jim & I had some words in private (not bad, just miscommunication & just dont feel like repeating the details) where I explained how I felt about a situation, he described that he meant no ill will...and it ended with him offering me a time & place to get the book signed.
It was early morning & he was heading back to Los Angeles after filming an SPN episode, and sure enough, he came out of the drop off vehicle, instantly saw me standing there & immediately came over to sign my book, my photos & my friends photos. He apologized for any confusion, I apologized for even making an issue out of it. He went on his way.
Most stars would simply shrug their shoulders at your misfortune & would not think twice of it. But Mr. Beaver went beyond what was expected by responding to me, then exchanging messages & offering a solution. You really cant ask for much more form someone.
3- Conan O'Brien in town with his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On TV tour.
While 2010 saw the end of the shortened Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien, it was a sort of blessing in disguise for his fans in other areas of North America. After a couple months of sitting around & tweeting, the man who has become "Coco" to his legion of fans decided to take his show on the road.
O'Brien embarked on a 32 city tour. The idea of the tour was not for him to get rich, but to give his devoted staff, many of whom followed him from NYC to L.A. when he changed NBC timeslots, work after the sudden firing. Coco had 2 Canadian stops on the tour, 1 in Toronto, and 1 in Vancouver. The Vancouver stop ( a 2 show stop) was the 2nd on his tour & came just a day or 2 after TBS announced they had signed the funnyman to a deal to man a talk show for them.
I was lucky enough to see his first performance here in Vancouver, and from someone who often gripes about the price of live events, the $100 price tag for my last row in the lower level ticket, actually seemed like a deal by the end.
What made the event more special was the fact O'Brien was exceptional with autograph requests, photo ops & even joked around with photographers & fans alike when approached. By the 2nd day of his show, Conan was familiar with me, and still, didnt hesitate to sign for me, or take a 3rd photo with (1st looked dreadful, 2nd had too much light...so 3rd time was the charm). Stories of him signing & taking photos with fans on the patio of the restaraunt he ate at the day after his 2nd show tells you all you need to know about how cool he was.
Shortly before he left town, I saw him 1 last time out with a friend getting into a cab after hat shopping. Most celebs dont go out of their way to acknowledge people they have only seen a couple times. O'Brien however, in a cab on his way back to the hotel, several blocks from where I had just seen him, rolled down his window, gave me a smile & a wave as he drove off to his destination.
2- The 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
If I took the names that were there individually, probably 1/2 my top 10 list would be made up of this event. But I decided it was 1 event, and even though the likes of Sam Worthington & Michael C Hall probably deserve their own spots, they go in with this entry.
Like the Olympics, it was a long, nearly non-stop event that saw me get little sleep. unlike the Olympics, every day started & ended with a 1 hr bus ride to & from to where I was staying. Also, unlike the Olympics, where the amount of autograph hounds numbered in the low teens, this was an event where the hounds numbered in the 20s or more at times.....along with 100s or 1000s of onlookers & fans.
The likes of Sam Worthington & his "I dont care what you are doing with it" attitude, signing everything put in front of him & doing it with a smile, and some smart ass comments, like when he called me a "lying fucker..... I dont care, just curious really, its all good" after I insisted I didnt know what his graph was worth, then proceeded to keep signing, or how a really cute Japanese girl asked him to take off his sunglasses for a photo with & without hesitation he repllied "sure, if you take off your top" & although I am sure he was serious in the trade off, he didnt actually demand the trade off & still removed his glasses for their photo with anyways, made the lack of sleep most times worth it.
It was exciting to get Michael C Hall, who was my top priority going on & see that he was a really nice guy on top of it. Even in the press row of his after party, Mr. hall took the time to answer a couple quick questions for me on camera & posed for a photo with.
With the effort every adventure at TIFF takes, getting ANYONE, at times seems like a small victory. Like the night I got ONE autograph total. Sally Hawkins. She ho was a mere couple inches away from leaving me shut out that night, but came back to sign for me when she realized I was the only 1 standing out there with an actual item of her to sign. Good thing she did, because the rest of the night still goes down as my WORST TIFF night ever. Names like Clint Eastwood, Anthony Hopkins, Matt Damon, Woody Allen & Josh Brolin were out, 3 of themw alked right past where I was, NONE of them stopped to sign. if it werent for Hawkins, it would have been a complete disaster.
Of course TIFF has all sorts of cool 1 off fluke hounding ventures. Like when I got Jill Hennessey on a street corner after her & her sister had done an impromptu busking performance infront of a building for a TV interview. Or meeting Yeardley Smith at 1 party, while waiting for people coming to another party across the street. But at the end of the day, its the premieres, the airport & the parties where success is had mostly.
While all anyone really cares about at the end of the day is how well the Eastwoods, DeNiros, Springsteens & Hopkins of the festival were, its the small little victories that make the Fest fun & rewarding. A 4 hr nightmare trip thru Hamilton & Toronto transit inconveniences that shut you out of 2 other events can be redeemed slightly by 1 great outing at the Easy A premiere & running out of items for Emma Stone... an event that I didnt originally think I would be doing because of scheduling conflicts. Or the night that I got over 20 autographs from two A list celebs at 1 premiere, Megan Fox & Mickey Rourke both were exceptional signers that night & I did so well with them, I started helping out other hounds with their stacks.
My stats this year were up from my first TIFF. While the quantity of elite names I got was smaller than I really hoped for, it was still IMO a great success, a lot of that can be put on the shoulders of Sam Worthington, Michael C Hall, Mickey Rourke & Megan Fox.
1- The 2010 Winter Olympics.
I looked forward to this for 8 years, and it lasted less than a month. Now almost a year has gone by & I have had a chance to reflect on it, it was pretty awesome....even with the severe foot aches, lack of $$ & occasional lack of sleep.
How many times in your life do you get to experience a massive worldwide event in your hometown? For most, MAYBE once? Maybe. For me, its been twice now, Expo 86 was the first major event in Vancouver I experienced. It wasnt a hounding venture, but it was a major building tool in my youth. Now the 2010 Winter Olympics. A combination of hounding & elite sports in my town for 17 days? Its as if Christmas came 17 days in a row for a sports fan & autograph hound.
For every Lindsey Vonn, Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky & Katerina Witt I hounded during the games. The names people know & idolize, there was the likes of Shiva Keshevan, Britteny Cox & Slovakian Womens hockey team, who in many cases, probably wouldnt be recognized in their own countries, let alone Vancouver with 2000 other notable names roaming the streets. They were often just excited that someone recognized them & I loved that rarely seen humility in an athlete. They truly appreciated anyone that noticed them, they didnt scurry away into an awaiting vehicle, or look for an alternate pathway to avoid people, they ate it up. It was those experiences that overshadowed the Jaromir Jagr, Shawn White & Steve Yzerman's of the games.
I got to experience hounding the Gold Medal winning mens & womens Team Canada hockey teams...on their home turf the day they won their medals. Theres literally a handful of people & I really do mean a handful, in the entire city who can claim the same. It is certainly an experience that might never happen in Canada again, at least with the elite of the elite in the tournament.
My totals during the games were far less than I had envisioned (budget had a lot to do with it) but I got a lot of cool items signed, some were profitable, some were clearly for keepsakes, and the best thing of all is, 75% of them I got less than a 10 minute walk from my house.
With 2010 in the books now, 2011 will be full of new experiences that I probably never expected to have. The only real sure thing I knew going into 2010 was that the Olympics were coming, but I did not know how good or bad they may be. Everything else on the list... was an unknown surprise before the eyar started. Can 2011 be better than 2010? Unlikely. But, I also didnt think 2010 would be as good as it was either. I guess we'll see in 12 months just what was worth talking about.
The cast of SGU was well represented at the 2010 Leo Awards. With 17 nominations, they had plenty of their cast on hand as nominees & presenters.
There was no less than 7 cast members in attendance for various reasons. Among them Julia Benson (WINNER- Best Supporting Performance by a female in a Dramatic Series), David Blue, Patrick Gilmore (Nominee- Best Supporting Performance by a male in a Dramatic Series), Elyse Levesque, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jennifer Spence (Nominee- Best Supporting Performance by a female in a Dramatic Series) and Brian J Smith.
The cast members were exceptionally accomodating with autograph requests on the red carpet. Many of them even taking the time to pose for photos with fans & dealers alike, despite not being on the media side of the ropes.
As always, Lou Diamond Phillips was front & centre in the class department. His castmates were all terrific, but LDP was truly a step above everyone at the awards, as autograph request after request, photo request after request, random questions about the show, poker & general life were asked, all answered as well as he was capable of. His performance on the red carpet has earned him a spot in my Best celebs list.
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.