Yesterday I attended a Stargate event held here in Melbourne, this event named Return to the Gate was to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of when Stargate SG-1 first started. For this event we had three members of the original SG-1 team cast Richard Dean Anderson (RDA), Amanda Tapping and Michael Shanks with the addition of Corin Nemec and Gary Jones. These are all guests that I have met before but when the opportunity arises for me to see Amanda again I will always take it, of course when Amanda comes for a convention I also know that a lot of my good friends that I don’t get to see all that often will be there and that is another opportunity I can’t miss out on.
I have to admit that for this event I didn't feel any of the usual pre-convention excitement I usually feel before an event especially when one of the guests is Amanda who I admire so much. Maybe it was because I had met them all before, or perhaps it's just got to that stage having attended so many events over the years - I hope this is not the case though! Another thought could just be that I have worked an event for the last ten years in October and the event didn't run this year and I simply felt like something was missing... Either way I'm still glad I went and I was happy to be surrounded by fellow fans and spending time with amazing friends...
For this event I decided to go VIP, for various reason but I am very happy with my decision, it included Autographs from all the guests and some photos, I also got a decent seat and enjoyed a special VIP panel with all five of the guests which was great for entertainment value as these guests are all fantastic and hilarious. This was the first time I had ever seen Amanda in person with the short blonde hair look and I love it and am so happy I finally had the chance to see and get photos with her with that colour and style. The guests were all happy as they entered for the VIP panel, they had just enjoyed a nice brunch with all the Platinum ticket holders though – RDA was happily snapping photos on his phone as they entered. As many times as I’ve heard the stories of the shenanigans that went on during the filming of Stargate they are still entertaining and laugh worthy. We got to hear about upcoming films they’re involved in such as Corin and his movie Snatched and Gary with his movie Eggplant Emoji… And as they left the stage the fangirl in my internally squeed when Amanda gave me a cute little wave.
Photo Op time and I had spent the previous evening and the morning trying to think of ideas for another funny photo with Amanda and then my friend Ash came up with the best idea that at first I wasn’t too sure about but then once I’d spoken to Deb the photographer and got her opinion I was all for it… Now Amanda and Michael single photos were up first and Amanda was first and because of my photo idea I was getting super nervous, but really why? It was a breeze… I go in we give each other a huge hug, love a good Amanda huggle! Then the conversation goes something like this… “Now I have an idea, you remember the last photo we got together with the…” and she’s nodding “So I want to do the reserve” and Amanda goes “Oh like this…” poses… photo is taken – Easy as anything although there was so much laughing from the both of us and Ash who was off to the side watching… and Amanda too because then I got a nice photo with her and our faces are red but… so worth it!
Side by side comparison from my two funny photos with Amanda – left photo original and right the reverse! Comparing these two photos I find it brilliant that Amanda and I basically have the same expressions as each other... The photos look awesome as a pair.
Next was a photo with Michael, where I just asked for a silly photo or more specifically I said “Can we pull silly faces?” to which he responded “I always do” which is kind of true. I must admit though, that I do not like this photo at all… unfortunately I wasn’t ready when they took the photo and blinked my eyes so I just look completely drunk or stoned… but as it was funny faces anyway I didn’t bother saying anything… In hindsight I probably should have but oh well. Next on the photo agenda was RDA and Corin, already have a few photos with RDA and given the prices I decided against one this time but I had to get one with Corin, Corin is a hoot and such a nice guy and the last photo of the two of us together was at a party after an event where I was signing his shirt right at the crouch area so decided we needed a proper funny one together – this one turned out well thankfully. After these photos it was then time for the group photos the duos and trios and the whole set… I was umming and ahhing about getting a trio but then in the end decided to go for it… the chance may not arise again and I’d hate to regret it so I decided to get it and I’m glad I did as that is definitely a good addition to my photo collection. Amanda, Rick and Michael in the same photo with me, pretty awesome just too bad Chris wasn’t there.
Next up where the panels and we started off with Corin and Gary, these guys are funny and what a great choice for a joint panel. We got to hear some fun behind the scenes stories from Stargate and even other not behind the scenes stories… Corin explaining how the scene where Jonas was eating the banana in space in the episode Decent was interesting and when he explained how he was banned from using props unless it was scripted after he was seen in the background of a scene peeling and eating an orange. Gary explaining how if he ever actually typed on the keyboard when filming it was so loud they told him not to actually type so most of the time he ended up just moving his shoulders to make it look like he was typing. And the funny story about in an episode where the world was about to end and his character was sitting there reading a magazine because Gary had zoned out during a scene, whoops! When someone asked Gary what other character in Stargate he'd have love to play he responded with the MALP.
Next up was Michael who entertained us answering question which mostly related to the fact that his character died so many times in Stargate plus some other stuff but that seemed to be brought up the most. I was distracted at the end of Michael’s panel when I looked over towards the door and saw Amanda making faces through the small window… Amanda’s panel followed Michaels and started with her taking a seat in the row before ours to watch her own intro video microphone in hand she was commenting to those around her that Carter was her favourite character and that she was so excited to meet her, basically she was being a goof and that’s one of the reasons we love her. Amanda answered many different questions regarding Stargate, Sanctuary, Supernatural, Travellers etc… She compared acting and directing and explained the difference to her. There were a few stories she told that I had not actually heard before one was the backstory behind the famous MacGyver Solitudes blooper from Season 1, she explained that she just said it and RDA was unreactive and wasn’t until later when he said it was funny. She commented that she had never seen MacGyver and that when she did she wished she hadn’t because all she could think of when she saw RDA was the hair.
Another of the stories Amanda told that I hadn’t heard before was regarding her costume in the pilot episode and how they had original set out a costume that included a push up bra and low-cut top and that even though she thought it would cost her the job she said that she couldn’t wear it. That there was no way she could play the character wearing that kind of costume, thankfully it was okay and when asked what she would wear she said give me the same as the guys. Not only was it slightly inappropriate to have the costume that way Amanda also didn’t want to degrade women in the Airforce/Military that way either. Way to go to stand up for women in television, I’m glad to have been there to hear her tell this story. Following Amanda and last but not least was RDA, who stood to watch his Intro video with Amanda at his side before she left the stage to Rick himself. RDA answered questions relating to both MacGyver and Stargate including some fun behind the scenes stories and then finished off his panel by apologising to us for the American president and saying how much he loved Australia and that he would be back again.
The event finished off with the autograph session, included with my ticket was an autograph from each guest so I purchased an extra Amanda autograph and then decided to get one of the Gifts for the Geek posters for the event with all the guests on it, fortunately a friend had brought one earlier and decided to get her group photo signed instead so I brought hers and then another friend liked that idea and decided she wanted to do the same thing and brought a poster and all the autographs too so we all lined up together for Autos and as always it was a laugh, well whenever my mate Jen and I are together hilarity ensues. Amanda was first and we had a little chat, I wanted to know if she knew my actual name and was quite impressed when she did because not many actors actually know it they only know me as Smiley and then I just had to make an I love the hair comment. Had a good chat to the other guests as we went through and then joined the RDA line… Chatting to the people around us because hey that’s how you met new people. When speaking to RDA I said I was worry that Paul was unable to make it due to not being well and hoped he was better soon, we also chatted a bit regarding Sea Shepherds and I had to comment on his glasses which were a nice pink colour and he explained his daughter brought them for him… awwwww!
We hung around for a bit chatting with friends, we don’t get to see each other often especially those from instate or overseas and even those from the country so we were having a good catch up session before disappearing off to have a nice group dinner.
I will say that this was probably the best event I have attended run by this particular organisation, I have attended events in the past and not necessarily had a good time or the events haven’t quite run as smoothly or efficiently as possible. There were a few negatives throughout the day, the confusion over the change in scheduling for panels was frustrating whilst we were upstairs getting our photos we missed the announcement that the lunch break had changed and panels would start earlier so we had to make a run down the street for some lunch and the staff member that we spoke to about this issue was rather rude. I also thought it would have been better to have had a break between panels rather than all four in a row. The only other issue was the lack of signal for the EFTPOS machines when buying tokens but this is something that was out of the organiser’s hands and they did do their best to get the payments through, running upstairs to get reception. Oh I did think that the prices were a little much as well, I mean I still brought photographs and autographs, but the prices were a little more expensive than usual… although that is something that has been happening across the board at all events.
Complete Guest List: AMANDA TAPPING, Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Corin Nemec and Gary Jones.