March 16th, 2004
Ninjatron is going to talk about Canada's premier TransFan gathering.
On March 12 and 13th, 2004, I attended TransformersCon, the Canadian Transformers convention held in Toronto. I can honestly say that it was an incredible event, and I really want everyone to know how much fun I had there.
Friday: Epic Trivia Battle!
The Friday of the convention was quite unique, to say the least. The dealer room, which was promised to be very large, was only to be opened on Saturday, not Friday. So you might be thinking "No dealer room? How great can it be?" and that's understandable. But, let me tell you, I had a blast on Friday, and it really set the tone for the entire convention that I'd like to stress in this report. And that is that this show wasn't great because of the Transformers, it was great because of the fans.
I started off by doing some part trading, where fans gather over large surfaces looking like war-torn battlefields to exchange Transformers parts and accessories in order to hopefully find the pieces they're missing. I brought a few parts that I had no use for any more and was able to help a few people out. In exchange, I obtained the few parts from Power Master Optimus Prime that I had been missing for awhile. Classic Transformers episodes played on a TV in the background, which was later playing episodes of Transformers Energon which had not yet made its Canadian TV debut at that time.
A demo for the upcoming Transformers video game for Playstation 2 was on display for those that wanted to play it, along with some impressive promotional artwork. The game actually looked pretty good, and the people seemed to enjoy it.
Nearby, someone brought their recently purchased Energon Megatron and Landmine toys and had them up for display. It was just to tease us all, of course. Also pictured, Scorponok crushes Superion's head. I approve.
Some very cool customized Transformers toys were on display as well. Check out that awesome Modern Predaking!
The fun really started with the Transformers trivia contest. There were two different contests, the first for Generation 1 trivia, and then one for Beast Wars/Beast Machines. Here you can see jlvatron reading the questions. I tried my hand at both. It started off with 2 teams, with one team eventually being eliminated, leaving the other team to fight amongst themselves for the top honors. Each team member had to choose a level of difficulty (Easy, Medium, and hard) and square off against someone in the same level. Of course, I always picked hard. I was on the Decepticon team in G1 trivia, and while I did answer a hard question correctly, our team was eliminated. And quite baddly, I admit.
However, when it came time for Beast Wars/Beast Machines trivia, I fared much better, and lead my team to victory. We were further spilt from a group of 6 to two groups of 3, and I then faced off against Eli, a 13 year old who had actually come in 3rd in G1 trivia despite the obvious handicap of not being alive back then. I had to crush him, of course, but it was all in good fun. The final question was a written response for the remaining 3 participants. Now, I had a very sore wrist at the time and so written responses were not my specialty, but I managed to achieve an honorable second place. Both trivia contests were a total riot and so much fun. Everyone had a great time, even those who were just watching.
Here's a shot of me grinning evilly with 1st prize winner Larry (who insisted on being called "Optimal Optimus" during the trivia) while holding our plunder. I won a copy of the rare Shockwave cover of Transformers G1 volume 2 issue 1, which I had autographed the next day by anyone from Dreamwave that happened to be there that weekend.
Saturday: Dawning of the Canadian Soundwave!
Voice Actor David Kaye had a panel in the morning. David is, of course, the awesome voice of Megatron in Beast Wars, Beast Machines, Armada, and Energon. I have seen him before at other conventions which I reported on for this website, but here at TransformersCon was the first time I had seen him conduct a panel by himself, and it was great. He talked about his roots in radio, the difficulties in dubbing anime, and some funny moments in the booth while recording Beast Wars. The highlight was when his father, who had joined him for this convention and was sitting in the audience, got him to bring up the time when Alec Willows (Tarantulas) was moving his hands around a lot and accidently stabbed Venus Terzo (Blackarachnia) in the eye with a pen he was holding. She hit the floor and all of the guys rushed over to her to the rescue. She looked to be in great pain but was actually laughing so hard. David was very entertaining and has an obviously enjoys being Megatron. He even seems to genuinely love Transformers and even has a bit of a collection going.
When the panel was finished I asked David if he could hold up my Megatron artwork while I took his picture. He liked the artwork a lot and asked me about how it was done.
Several members of Dreamwave Productions were there for a panel, discussing the past, present, and future of their Transformers comic book projects. From left to right are More than Meets the Eye & Energon penciller Joe Ng, writer Adam Patyk, president Pat Lee, and writer Brad Mick. They answered a constant stream of questions from the fans, many of which centered on upcoming profile book releases and future projects regarding Beast Wars. While there wasn't much in the way of earth shattering anouncments, it was very informative and great to see Dreamwave come out and see their local fans. They were very accessible and friendly all day, and I was able to talk for a bit with Pat about drawing and colouring and taking care of your wrist, which I really appreciated.
Here's a shot of me with Joe Ng. I first met Joe at last year's TransformersCon. He's a great guy with a lot of talent, and I'm not just saying that because he's probably reading this. Hey Joe! Also pictured in the background is TransformersCon organizer Colin, who did a fantastic job that weekend. Hey Colin!
After getting some autographs and talking with some fans came an incredibly fun event that I didn't even know was going to happen. Originally there was a scheduled to be a fan discussion panel, with myself as the panelist. What we got instead, however, was something that I will personally remember for years and years to come.
It was a script reading, where members of the audience tried out their voice acting skills in an audition process for various Transformers roles. The winners were to perform a this live script as their character, along with David Kaye performing as Megatron! The auditions themselves were often hilarious. It was very informative as well, as David was sharing some secrets of the business. It was cool to hear him doing voices for other characters as examples too.
I made an attempt at auditioning for the role of Starscream, which I did not land. Then I tried out for Soundwave. I was a bit nervous and didn't think that I totally had the voice down. Up to this point, the audience had judged the competitors by their applause, however when the Soundwave auditions were finished, David Kaye personally selected me for the part right away. Woah! I was Soundwave!
The script, written by jlvatron, was a funny little story about these different Transformers brought together in a mysterious place. They end up finding out that it was a fan who transported them there using magic in order to complete his Transformers collection. From left to right are Katie as Blackarachnia, Micah as Jazz, C.J. as Rattrap, Michael as Starscream, me as Soundwave, and Gus as Grimlock.
Let me tell you, folks, doing Soundwave's voice in something like this was not easy! Soundwave has little variation in pitch to his voice, and it was all digitally manipulated on TV, which I obviously didn't have access to. I had to speak without any charisma in a very monotone fashion while all of these punchlines bounced off of me! One of my lines was "Get a life". Wow, how would Soundwave even say anything like that? But that's part of what made it funny, and I just loved every last second of it. I actually got to perform along with David Kaye, a guy that I've been a fan of for a long time! It was totally amazing.
Afterwards, all the voice actors gathered around and got each other's autograph. We also got a prize for our performance: Takara Myclone Transformers! I got Sideswipe.
And that was pretty much the end of the show. As things were winding down, I got a lot of complements from my performance from random people who were in the audience. "You're awesome, Soundwave!" and the like. I said goodbye to David Kaye as he was leaving and his father went over to me and said that I was really good!
The only major purchases I made at the convention were 3 Armada Autobots, Hotshot, Smokescreen, and Blurr, neither of which I had gotten around to picking up when they were in stores. I also got the convention exclusive version of Transformers G1 Vol 3 #1, which I had autographed by all the Dreamwave staff on hand. Not a very big haul at all. But you know what? For me, it wasn't about that. It was about the people. Canadian Transformers fans are really a great bunch of folks, and I'm proud to consider myself one of their ranks. The whole weekend had this positive vibe about it, and no amount of typing would ever do that justice.
After attending both this year's and last years show, I can say with much certainty that TransformersCon is not only a local alternative to paying the big bucks and making the trip out to The Official Transformers Collector's Convention, but it's also an amazing convention in its own right. Hope to see you there next year!