I attended my first Star Trek convention as a fan of the show. Having gone for one day back in 2011 to help promote A Klingon Christmas Carol, I knew roughly the layout of the land but I had no actual idea what it meant to attend the convention as a fan.
My friend, Diana, ended up being my weekend partner-in-crime. We met George Takei, shopped, and thoroughly enjoyed the Q&A sessions.
First, let me just start with overall weekend impressions.
— I was very impressed with the convention staff, the timeliness of the Q&A sessions, and the overall professionalism throughout the weekend. Convention staff all looked professional, were easy to find, and friendly. The schedule was tight packed and rarely, if ever, ran behind. There were some technical hiccups here & there but, overall, there is a reason they can charge what they do… CBS/Paramount is protective of its property so when they sanction an event they don’t do it lightly.
–Many of the attending actors were right in the thick of things for all 3 days. The hallway that housed the autograph tables was humid and warm (outside was even worse) but the actors were consistently pleasant, upbeat, and kind. I understand they are getting paid and it is a job for them but it was truly a credit to the good humor and professionalism of Garrett Wang, Robert Picardo, Armin Shimerman, Denise Crosby, Connor Trineer, Dominic Keating, and Chase Masterson. Watching Garrett Wang (Harry Kim, Voyager) be utterly charming non-stop for 3 days was pretty inspiring. I have no idea how crazy they thought we all were when they left each night but Robert Picardo grinned every time he passed by me and it seemed genuinely delighted. He probably thought I was batsh*t insane… admittedly, I thought I was, too…but, hey! Trek convention!
–The fans kind of blew my mind. Okay, look. I’ve been to a few conventions now and Q&A sessions usually make me want to rip my hair out. No matter what people are told they will always ask weird, uncomfortable questions they were explicitly told not to ask. Not so with Star Trek fans. Not only were the attendees well-versed in Trek but they clearly follow the careers of the actors and, at least from my perspective, asked great questions.
So that was my overall impression….Now, a brief play by play….
On Friday, I caught the tail end of Terry Farrell’s Q&A (Dax, DS9). She was incredibly charming and engaging and bubbly but I really slid into my seat to see Armin Shimmerman, who I personally loved from Buffy. Armin began by saying he planned to be totally honest and he really delivered. Apparently, Seinfeld fans, his experience on the show was so horrible it ranks as 1 of only 2 acting jobs he would never want to repeat. His candidness was pretty fantastic.
Friday was also the day I got my Star Trek Cookbook signed by Ethan Phillips (Neelix, Voyager). I was overjoyed. I’m not really into autographs but since so many other Trek actors have recipes in this cookbook, I plan to turn it into a Star Trek autograph book. 🙂
Ethan Phillips spoke a lot about acting post-Star Trek and he said the one thing that stuck with me the most all weekend with regards to being a character actor. As one, he indicated that 90% of the time he’s doing comedy which is fine but that 10% when he gets to do drama he really relishes. Casting just doesn’t work that way for character actors a lot of the time and it really touched a nerve with me as an actor…and a character actor, to boot.
Saturday, I went full on ridges and uniform. It’s not often you get to see a Klingon drinking a peach green tea lemonade…. but it happens at Star Trek conventions. Saturday is generally the busiest convention day so all the costumed folks really come out to play.
THAT BORG COSTUME, RIGHT?
Sunday, we go Original Series style in the Klingon Assault Group and give our foreheads a break. I also got to hold a disruptor as big as me. Sometimes, you need a lot of firepower to take down a really wily red shirt.
The weekend shopping situation was pretty sweet. If you like Star Trek stuff, they definitely delivered. I had the hoodie already but I got the Next Gen comm badge to punch it up.
And can we just talk about how cute the kids were?
I would absolutely do this again. Star Trek fans are a blast. The actors are gracious with their time and enthusiasm. Next year is 50 years of Star Trek… we may just have to wrangle up the funds for Las Vegas…