March 31st, 2005
Ninjatron is going to talk about the #1 Canadian Transformers Fan experience!
It is the year 2005!
On March 25-26, 2005, the city of Toronto would once again play host to Canada's very own Convention dedicated to the Robots in Disguise, TransformersCon! As I've chronicled, last year's convention set the bar pretty high in terms of excellence. Could this year's show possibly be a match? Oh yeah! Let's take a look at the FRENZY of activity!
Friday: First we Crack the Shell...
I was really looking forward to the convention, but in my haste I hit a big snag along the way. When I arrived for the Free Fan Friday events, I found that the button on my camera had somehow popped off, meaning I couldn't take any pictures. That really sucked. Lucky for me Colin and JLvatron have allowed me to use some of their Friday night pictures in this report, so I want to take the time right now to say thanks to those cool dudes for helping me out.
The Free Fan Friday was a great chance to catch up and talk with other fans, many of whom only see each other once a year, and take part in some fun events. Here's a customizing panel with some really amazing fan-customized Transformers toys.
Much like last year, trivia played a huge part in the festivities. There was a G1 trivia and a Beast Wars and Beast Machines trivia. JLvatron runs the trivia and some of his questions are insane! I didn't fair very well this year, but it was a lot of fun. Check out Lunatron wearing her Terrorsaur costume!
Somewhere in between trivia sessions, I also hosted a fan panel. There are no pictures of this though. But it did happen.
The big news is that I found the camera button at home that night. Whew.
Saturday: ...Then we Crack the Nuts Inside!
On Saturday the dealer room was open and ready for business, so I took thorough look through it all as soon as I got there. There were plenty of brand new Transformers from the Japanese Galaxy Force line available for sale, as well as Transformers from every previous line.
Check out the awesome Galaxy Convoy out of the box and striking a pose for the convention attendees. Next to him are some original, customized, hand painted, hand sculpted, Transformers PVC figures that were available for sale. Amazing work here!
Here are Joe Ng and Alex Milne, former Transformers comic book artists for Dreamwave Productions and all around cool dudes. Joe is being interviewed by Paula from YTV. Funny thing happened here between shots. Paula comes over to me and asks what I had bought. I said I had bought an Optimus and a Megatron. So she says, in a very hyper active way, something like "Oh so you're going to have your own little battles in the bathtub where you go (laser noises) **peshoo!** **peshoo!** **peshoo!**?" I said "Um.... Exactly!" Now that I've met Paula in person, I've gotta say, she is really cute!
Optimus himself was here! Garry Chalk, the voice behind Optimus Primal in Beast Wars and Beast Machines and Optimus Prime in Armada and Energon, was the special guest. I'd been looking forward to seeing Gary at a Toronto convention for years and so it was a big thrill to finally see and hear the voice of Prime during his question and answer session. In fact, I was the first person he called upon to ask him something. I asked him that, since Scott McNeil and David Kaye have said some interesting things about Garry during their convention appearances in Toronto, if he would like to take the opportunity to return the favor. He threw around some playful jabs and ultimately said "I'm here, they're not! Ha!"
Garry was very entertaining and informative during his panel. He talked about things like the audition process and how different it was to work on shows like Energon when compared to Beast Wars. He also finally spilled the beans about the next Transformers series, "Transformers: Cybertron", the English version of Galaxy Force. Garry is set to once again return as Optimus Prime! He took part in a test voice session about 2 weeks before the convention and said that he was very impressed with the look of the animation. However, the people responsible for the show made the previous cast members audition again! Garry didn't understand, since he has been playing the role for so many years, but the producers wanted Optimus to sound "hipper and edgier". Garry thought that was ridiculous. How do you make Optimus Prime hipper and edgier? So Garry starts going "Word up, Megatron! Their ain't enough room on this planet for you an' me, homes!" It was one of the funniest things I'd ever heard.
Next up the a panel made up of former Dreamwave Productions employees. There's Post Production Manager Matt Moylan, pencillers Joe Ng and Alex Milne, and writers James "Brad Mick" McDonough and Adam Patyk. To my knowledge, this was the first time such a panel took place since Dreamwave went out of business. They couldn't divulge all of the details due to legal reasons, but there was discussion regarding why and how Dreamwave closed up shop and some of the comics that could have been. The Beast Wars comic sounded like it could have been really great had it seen release, and there is hope that somehow the story will see the light of day in another capacity, along with some of the other incomplete projects. I'm happy to say that, despite some of the harsh feelings that some folks may have over not getting Transformers comics anymore, everyone from the panelists to the audience remained professional, which is more than I can say for some of the annoying and overzealous fans who aren't even attached to the situation that I've encountered over the Internet.
After that there was a short panel hosted by Karl Hartman and Pete Sinclair from the Official Transformers Collectors Club advisory board. They announced that BotCon 2005 will be held in Frisco, Texas, on September, 22-25! This was a really huge announcement and it was great that they chose TransformersCon as the place to first unveil their plans. We also got an up close look at the first exclusive club premium figure, a red and translucent blue recolour of one of the Energon Superion Maximus combiner pieces. I know some people were disappointed when the first pictures of this guy appeared on the net, but I have to say that, in person, this toy looks a lot better. All subsequent members of this combiner team will also be in this colour sceme and there's going to be a story to explain why. I'm looking forward to seeing what the finished combined figure will look like, and what else the new club has up its sleeve.
While waiting for the next event, Garry chatted with the fans and was being an all around cool guy. And check out Wayward in her Constructicon Bonecrusher costume!
And now for the event that I was waiting for all year, the voice gala auditions! Last year I auditioned for the part of Soundwave, and won the once in a lifetime chance to play the character in a live script reading with David Kaye. I had a whole lot of fun doing that, so I was bound and determined to be a part of it again this year with Garry.
The characters in this script that we could audition for were Kup, Warpath, Waspinator, Beast Machines Scavenger (a free-for-all voice since he never appeared in any animation), Frenzy, Shrapnel, and TAI. Rounding out the cast was Bonecrusher, to be played by Wayward, the Oracle, performed by the writer JLvatron, and of course, Garry Chalk as Optimus Primal. Each potential voice actor was only allowed to audition for two parts, but I only had my sights set on one; Frenzy. So I got up to the microphone, said "First we crack the shell, then we crack the nuts inside!" in my best little punk voice, and won the part!
Sitting beside me here was Jason, coincidentally a former student of mine who I hadn't seen in a few years. He played Scavenger and did a great job. The dude in the stylish orange antlers is Aernaroth. He was another repeat performer who played Starscream last year and was the grizzled old veteran Kup this time.
Once again I had a great time and it was such an incredible experience to be able to perform with Garry Chalk, a guy whose work I've admired for years. The story took place after the end of Beast Machines, where other Transformers arrive from off-planet to find Cybertron looking very different! It was full of comedic moments. Frenzy was a fun character to play since, unlike Soundwave, he actually has some sort of personality in his voice that I could play around with. I was seriously tempted to say "Beeyotch!" after every line though. After we were finished, people told me that they really liked what I did with the character. From Soundwave to Frenzy, I'm moving up in the world!
As the show was winding down I took one last spin around the dealers room. Aernaroth and Random Ferret, who were running a table and selling all sorts of crazy stuff, showed me something they knew I would appreciate. It was a cane sword. It's unsharpened, but very cool looking. I understand that it may be considered odd to buy something like this at a Transformers convention, and that the fact that this was made available for me to buy at a Transformers convention in the first place may also be considered odd, but I had to have it.
And that was the end of the show!
Stuff I bought.
I did pretty well for myself this time. Since I hadn't bought any Transformers in a long time, I used the opportunity to pick up some of the more recent toys that I'd missed out on or were about to go out of retail circulation. In addition to aforementioned cool sword, I took home an Energon Megatron, Energon Optimus Prime, Energon Omega Supreme and Omega Sentinel, Energon Downshift, and Armada Powerlinx Hotshot. Getting all of this at the convention instead of in stores saved me a lot of money. I also was awarded an exclusive Japanese Spychanger for my role in the voice gala. It's a translucent green version of X-Car/Crosswise.
There was one other item that I purchased, but this is a special case. Why? Because I'm in it!
Being made available for sale at this year's convention was a special DVD documentary all about Last year's TransformersCon! Produced by Evantainment, this documentary was previously only available as a bonus feature on a Transformers DVD set produced for the UK.
It features interviews with David Kaye, Pat Lee, and convention organizers Colin and Derek Douglas. There's also some great footage detailing several other aspects of the convention, like the trivia contest and the custom artwork. It's a very well done little documentary, and I only wish that it were longer.
Hey look, there's me! I'm on DVD! You can hardly see me, but there I am!
Better yet is the bonus footage, which includes David Kaye's panel and the Dreamwave panel in their entirety, and, the ultimate highlight (for me, at least), the Voice Actor Workshop! My performance as Soundwave has been immortalized! Now, people will be able to make fun of me about this forever. Seeing it on DVD and hearing the voice I did is quite surreal. I can't believe I sounded like that!
Having this as a keepsake for that time is awesome. I'm really glad that I bought this, and I'll gladly buy a DVD featuring this year's convention too.
So that's it for the 2005 TransformersCon convention report. It was an amazing show that was well organized and the other attendees were awesome. I want to thank everybody who was involved in making this experience as great as it was, from the people in charge, to the guests, and all the other Transformers fans who I talked with over the course of the show. You can bet that I'll be there again and in force for 2006. See you next year!
-JLvatron's gallery- -Colin's gallery-