CGEF: Articles: Paley Festival review by Priz
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
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:
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.(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 (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
After thanking the amazing Phil Lamarr (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 (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
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