Balloons and Besties

14 June 2018

On Saturday I attended the Oz Comic Con event in Melbourne, I was interested in seeing how the show would go with there being some behind the scenes changes from previous years. I had already noticed several differences such as guest announcements had been slower coming and there weren’t any that really stood out, there was also a lack of pre-show excitement – In fact a lot of the usual crowd and plenty of people I know weren’t even going or had decided last minute to attend, as I had done.

Thankfully I did know a few people who were either going or volunteering and that was enough for me to attend. I enjoy any opportunities I have to see and spend time with friends and sometimes these events are the biggest opportunities so even if I’m not necessarily feeling up to it I know it’ll be worth it in the end because I get to see friends. Plus there was one guest going whose always a great guy to have a chat with – Corin Nemec.

As a whole I thought that the event was run well, I was informed around midday that tickets for the day had been sold out and for that to have happened and there still be room to walk around and not feel claustrophobic was really good to see – if you turn the clock back to the first Melbourne OCC it was basically the complete opposite. There was only really one issue that I had over the weekend and to be honest I think it is a rather big issue as it involved the entrance to the show and if it made me feel uncomfortable I’m sure it would have made others feel the same which is not really how you want your attendees to be introduced to your show.

The issue was that when arriving I had my ticket scanned, had my wrist band put on and then was forced to join basically a huge blob of people waiting to get in, we were all huddled together and it almost felt like being herding like cattle on a dairy farm being told to ‘Push up’ and comments such as “Personal space doesn’t exist here” – not the greatest way to treat people who are paying to enter your show. I never thought I would miss there being queues, but I think queues work a hell of a lot more efficiently than this not only would people be able to enter in the same order they arrived but staff would be able to keep track of those who have already had their tickets scanned, instead of having to grab them to do so before entering. I hope that they decide to do things differently next time!

Other than this issue there isn’t really anything else I can fault, there were massive areas for queuing for both photos and autographs, I didn’t get any of either myself this time around but I did queue with some friends as they got their photos. As with Supanova I like the fact that you can buy your tokens online during the day and the barcode can just be scanned off your phone… Gone are the days of standing in queue at the token booth for an hour or so, now you can just purchase your token whilst standing in the line for the autograph/photo – But there is still token booth available as well.

I thought the system for the photos with it being a round trip seemed to work, although I did speak to a few friends who were getting photos with several different guests and they felt that it was more time consuming especially if they needed to get to another photo straight away (which happens often) normally they would just go from one queue to the next but with this system that didn’t appear to be allowed. I also thought that the scanning out of the photos seemed a little annoying and time consuming too, I guess I understand the thought behind it but I’m not sure if it necessarily works in their best interest – normally you’d just hand your token over to get the photo and then pick up your photo whenever it was ready this system meant that people where keeping their tokens and they had to be scanned out once photos were collected (along with the photo being scanned to) so that the token couldn’t be used again, this wouldn’t be an issue if they’d handed it over like previous so I’m not quite sure why these extra steps have been added.

Things seemed to run smoothly for most of the day, it started off a bit slow but then got busier around midday before people seemed to start leaving around 4pm. I did take note that a lot of the Autograph queues seems rather small and only a few guests had long queues such as David Ramsey who seemed to be signing most of the day, he was being fantastic and gave time to each person getting an autograph even standing in front of the table greeting each of them – there are not a lot of guests who would do that so that was pretty great to see.

I will admit that I was quite impressed with how this event was run, there were no real issues that stood out – except for the issue at the start of the day obviously which I really hope they re-evaluate and change for next time because personally I don’t really like being treated like a farm animal.

Once inside I made my way through to find some familiar faces, chatted to a few friends who were volunteering, then caught up with other friends attending… like Kara who was already at the front of an autograph queue. Visited Exhibitor friends such as the boys at Gifts for the Geek, and Jeff at Go Figure greeted with Hellos and hugs as always! I didn’t even look into their stores though as I was trying not to spend money – of course by the end of the day I had failed but I started off well. Whilst chatting to a friend who was volunteering as a queue minder, Corin spotted me and waved over so I thought I best go and say Hi, so walked over and was greeted with a nice big hug and we had a bit of a chat, just the usual – How are you? What you been up to? Yada yada… but it’s Corin so it’s special!

As it was a fairly quiet start to the day I decided to take the opportunity to walk around, I knew not many people I knew where going to be there but it wasn’t until I was walking around the show that I realised how different it was not seeing as many familiar faces, normally walking through an event like this I’d see plenty of people or have the odd “Smiley” yelled at me, but during my wander I only really saw two or three people I knew and chatted to. Wandered over to see Tom Taylor and say Hey but he was busy at the time so we just fist pumped and I kept going. Then caught up with Kara again and we went over to say Hi to Stewart and Wendy, I always make the effort to say Hi at these events even though they are generally pretty busy. Though this time I wanted to make a purchase as well, as I had seen a new piece by Stewart that I really wanted and they had 3 for $50 – There were only two I really wanted so the third one was for Kara. I brought myself Baby Groot and Spider-Man and Kara got Deadpool, and of course Stewart signed them for us.

Whilst wandering around Kara and I also saw one of the best costumes we’ve ever seen, a Rimmer from Red Dwarf costume with Mr. Flibble… this costume was so well done and dam I love that show so much that this was just great for that reason alone – you don’t often see Red Dwarf costumes so I love it when I do and well this one is just perfect for an event like this – Plus he even had sock suspenders on, so Rimmer! Near the Autograph area there was an awesome Incredibles 2 set up and they were giving away Edna Mode glasses and you could get your photo taken with the family. Kara and I got the glasses and then Jodie arrived so we decided to get photos too – of course! I love our Trio we always have a great time together and aren’t afraid of being different or a little crazier, it’s part of the fun and part of who we are – So we didn’t disappoint with our Incredibles pictures either. Plus we scored an Incredibles 2 badge each for getting photos.

After these photos we rushed off to the Spotlight booth to see my cousin Ashleigh who was not going to be staying long at the show but who I really wanted to catch up with because it had been ages! It was great to catch up with both her and her Mum even though it was only brief – I still love the fact that it was one of these events that reunited us. These events are great for creating new friendships and evolving the friendship family and in this case it did that but also reunited me with an actual family member someone who I have a lot in common with and we have created a pretty great friendship out of it, plus she fits in with my friends so well, she’s as crazy as us as shown by the cape she was wearing that she had just made at the booth – Hehe!

The next stop was at Silver K Gallery to say Hi, and this is where my trying not to spend money went straight out the window because I ended up making my first ever Silver K Purchase. I was never planning on making a purchase, in fact I have spent years visiting and chatting to these guys and always avoided looking at items to buy, but they got me this time with a piece that just called to me and I just had to have it. I’ll admit that I regretted my purchase almost immediately, but at least I have time to pay it off (thanks Colin) and I’m sure once I have it, it will be amazing and I will be so happy that I brought it. Plus I love The Muppets and it relates to one of my favourite songs it’ll will make me wanna sing! Truly if I had the money I would have many more of their pieces as they are just incredible but I kinda need a house or somewhere to put them too. I’m sure that this will not be my last purchase from them but it is my first!

Lunch time came around quickly and so whilst catching up with another friend who was volunteering but was on a break we dragged her along with us to crown for some food, a sit down and a good catch up. Once back at the show, I chatted to Corin again and his P.A. Alice asked me to get her a pair of the Edna classes and a badge, apparently Corin had claimed hers – of course I got them for her. Whilst talking with Corin I noticed he had a few books on the table so I asked him about it, it’s something that he has written himself a biography of sorts so I decided to buy one and get Corin to sign it. The book is called Venice High and I’m looking forward to giving it a read.

As I was chatting to Corin my brother phoned me asking if I was at the show, as he was nearby at a birthday party with my nieces. So I took a break from the show and went out to catch up with them and I’m really glad I did too because I hadn’t seen my brother in a while and it was good to have a chat and catch up a bit. My nieces were actually at a party at Polly Woodside (the Tall Ship near the Exhibition Centre) which was kinda fitting as the kids were dressed up as pirates and I’d just been at the event with all the costume there… Anyway, it was nice to take a break and spend some time with a different family, that and I got to have a look through the ship itself which was pretty cool and something I’ve never actually done before.

Back at the show I caught up with Kara who was walking around with two balloon aliens and a light up sword, she told me that the balloons were free and she felt bad so brought the light up sword and wanted to give it to a kid… I saw the perfect little girl, she was standing with her Dad holding tightly to his hand so we walked over and asked if she would like the sword with very cute nods of her head Kara handed it over, the excitement on her face was just adorable and I’m glad that I was a part of that special little moment – I hope that little girl enjoyed her day! That done and Jodie joining after a photo we went back to the balloon place because I wanted one too.

After some walking around with our aliens on our shoulders we once again ended up over chatting to Corin as Kara went for a photo, Corin liked our balloon aliens though he thought mine kept giving him the finger… that and my alien was a bit slutty because his legs kept popping open whilst the others were staying together – I have named my alien Skittle! Anyway, Corin got his hands on Kara’s alien and we all got a selfie which he then tweeted, gotta love Corin he’s a good guy and someone you can definitely have a laugh with… and a donut!! Corin was given a bag with donuts and was nice enough to share them with Alice, Jodie and I – they were DELICIOUS!! So yummy, nice and hot and so very cinnamon-y, they were just so good. Thanks Corin!!

As the end of the day neared the venue started to clear out and as we were hanging out chatting to volunteers in the autograph area I wandered over to say Hello to Matt Doran (still with my Alien on my shoulders) who I have seen at many events in the past. Chatting away to him and I’m completely oblivious to the fact a friend was sitting on the ground behind him – As soon as I realised who it was I was sneaking in for a hug though! Sneaky friends, but I’m glad I got to see her because it had definitely been a while, even though it was brief because the show was almost finished and the actors were heading off – better than nothing.

Kara and Jodie had decided to go to the movies after the show so they headed off then I did the rounds to say goodbye to exhibitor friends. I had already decided to catch up with a volunteer friend who was down from country Victoria for dinner so once she was ready to go we headed off for dinner…. though I did take Skittle down to the car first!

I tried my best to take selfies with friends I caught up with at this event, unfortunately I didn’t get everyone – I have realised in writing this post that I missed quite a few friends and that disappoints me, I hope that next time I am better and remember to grab them even if I only see the person briefly. The other thing that taken selfies made me realise is that I don’t actually know everyone I see all the time by name – how embarrassing!! I’m sure once I hear their names I’ll remember but right now some just aren’t coming to me and for that I apologise, but here are the selfies I got on Saturday!

I love all of these photos and am glad I have them and the memories created with these people, they’re family, we all are – even if I don’t remember everyone’s names because it’s a BIG family! But the love and friendship is always there even in the crazy stupid expressions. Thanks for Reading!

Complete Guest List: Corin Nemec, David Ramsey, Julian Dennison, Joe Manganiello, KJ Apa, Lauren German, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Katherine McNamara, Keiynan Lonsdale, Jes Macallan, David Sobolov, Wayne Nichols, Tomy Taylor, Dean Rankine, Leigh Whannell, Clare Kramer, Andrew Lees, Christopher Larkin, Tasya Teles and Matt Doran.

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