First some background...
When Futurama first started, I really liked it. We have a local media con up here (covers new movies, comics, whatever's hot at the time, etc.) called WonderCon held up in Oakland every April. That year, there were 2 panels I really wanted to attend - The Futurama panel hosted by Bill Morrison and Phil Lamarr, and the Kevin Smith panel to talk about Dogma and other stuff.
We arrived a little late, but all that we missed was the intro to episode 2. They showed the episode then answered questions and talked a bit about the series, including the deleted scene at the end (which is on the dvd) with the Crushinator. It was great to learn details of such a promising new series. Later that evening, Bill was in the artists alley and I had him do a Bender sketch from the episode we saw earlier (with the Theme Park quote). http://www.tcp.com/~prisoner/tmp/bender.jpg
A few weeks ago, I had read all the reviews of the European Futurama DVD set. It sounded cool and there was still no release date for a domestic one. Someone in a chat room had turned me onto a new UK-based mail order shop (BensonsWorld) which I was eager to try out so for the heck of it, I ordered the UK set from this place. Really nice folks. The dvd set arrived in just under a week, so I preordered the DVD set for my favorite British tv series (SPACED season 2) from them as well.
My DVD Covers: http://www.tcp.com/~prisoner/futurama/dvd1-small.jpg http://www.tcp.com/~prisoner/futurama/dvd2-small.jpg
While waiting for my order, I was reading the message board for one of my favorite shows being axed (Special Unit 2) and saw mention of Futurama also being axed and mentioned gotfuturama.com and peelified. I started frequenting both and saw mention of the Paley festival somewhere. On a whim, I asked my friend if I could crash at his place for the night and just drive down that thursday. I figured I could head down Thursday afternoon (5-6 hour drive from the bay area), hit the event, crash for the night, and then hit the import game stores to pick up some Japnanese games and maybe a Japanese xbox controller while I was in LA. Maybe hit Curry House or Fatburger too while I was down there. So, on a whim I bought 2 tickets. 2 friends said maybe as they'd come down as well. Both ended up flaking in the end so I just drove down by myself. It took about 6 hours.
About 2 days beforehand, someone on peelified slipped me Phil Lamarr's e-mail addy. I didn't know if he remembered what we'd talked about before. I had read that the stars at these events were mobbed by the attendees so it sounded like unless I contacted someone beforehand, if they didn't hear me shout their name at the event after, they'd all take off and I'd be out of luck of talking to anyone.
I don't know if I should mention any of the stuff which happenned at the event. I was surprised they allowed no pictures inside the event itself so I wasn't able to get a good shot of all the people who were present. There was some very entertaining moments and it made me really happy that I went. One of my favorite parts was when they went to show the first ep. ("Hell is other Robots", as the cast was going to sit down, John DiMaggio said in a Bender voice "This better be good!"
After the event, a whole bunch of security people (who were standing around the theater making sure people didn't whip out cameras and other stuff during the event) stood on the edge of the stage to make sure fans didn't go past them. When the event ended, people like Matt Groening came forth and signed a few things and was instantly mobbed by people. The rest of the crew seemed to be left alone except for a few people talking to this or that person (a handful went to Maurice LaMarche and to John DiMaggio.
I flagged Phil Lamarr down who was randomly chatting to a few people in the back behind the security guards and he asked "Kent?" I showed him the dvd's I brought to get signed and my pen. He dragged Billy West forth and I think Billy was the first to ask the #1 question I heard that night - "Are these bootlegs?" I guess because there's no domestic release, that's the first thing that comes to people's minds. I then approached John DiMaggio and Maurice LeMarche. They were really anal about pictures, but Maurice didn't care. He had his friend take one while we were still inside.( http://www.tcp.com/~prisoner/futurama/maurice-lemarche.jpg
) I had a chance to chat with some of the other people who worked on the show and a bunch of the other staffers were hanging around in the aisles and I was able to get them all to sign it. (Well, I showed them the DVD and I asked 1 of them to sign it as I recognized his name, and the others wanted to see it, saying that none of them had openned the sets due to not knowing how to play PAL dvd's. As they passed it around, various people signed it, saying things like "I signed your cover because I did the first Zap Brannignan episode." "I signed your cover because I created the Robot Devil." "I did the Slurm episode." That's cool. After meeting and talking to people for a while, the security team escorted Matt out of the area. After I was able to meet David _X
_ Cohen ( http://www.tcp.com/~prisoner/futurama/david-X-cohen.jpg
) (Who asked me what I thought of the audio commentary, if it wasn't boring and such on the DVD's) and a few others and get some more pictures. Lauren Tom ducked out quick which was sad. I would've liked to have met her/gotten a pic with her.
After thanking the amazing Phil Lamarr ( http://www.tcp.com/~prisoner/futurama/phil-lamarr.jpg
) for everything he had done for me, I started walking towards my car to call my friend I was crashing with. On the way there, out of the underground parking lot, I saw 2 guys chatting with someone in his car and handing him a huge piece of construction paper. On closer look, I recognized it was Matt. He's the one person I completely missed inside, and he saw that I recognized him and said "What, you have something to get signed too? Hurry up, I gotta go!" I whipped out my DVD's and he said in an offended tone "Are these bootlegs?" then a look of recognition came over his face and he cheered up and said "Wow! The UK dvd's! How are they? I haven't seen them." He started doing a quick Fry sketch and someone pulled up behind him and wanted to pull out so he started panicking and rushing to get done, he finished up and I thanked him. Ah, now my dvd's were complete. I called my friend and headed to his place to check out "Jet Set Radio Future" on the xbox (Just came out that day) then headed off to sleep.
The next morning I ate breakfast at "Norm's" (horrible food, I was feeling bad until dinner), did my usual Torrance shopping trip at all the import game stores, then headed back home. No time for Curry House on this trip. I had dinner at the amazing Harris Ranch on I-5( http://www.tcp.com/~prisoner/futurama/harris-ranch1.jpg
). (It's one of those places you drive by each time you go down Interstate 5 and keep saying you want to try but never even turn off the exit. I finally did this time and I was so glad that I did. I had the most amazing RibEye Steak dinner.)
All and all, it was a good trip. I wished I could've taken more photos. I also wrote this in 2 different spots (I wrote the first half right after I got back, and wrote the second half now that I have all my pics developed and scanned in) so excuse the poor flow and if it's boring.
Anyway, these were my impressions of the event and considering the low cost for gas and ticket prices, as well as having a free place to crash for the night, it was worth the drive. I also want to thank Phil once again for being so incredibly cool and putting up with me.
If you guys want to see the rest of my pictures from the trip as well as my pictures from the Game Developer's Conference, they're all at: http://www.tcp.com/~prisoner/futurama/