I went to my first LFACC last year, but only attended the Friday. This time I decided to be brave, and attend on both Friday and Saturday. The Saturday has a reputation of being hard going to due to the sheer volume of people, and I personally experienced the dangerous heat on the day I visited last year. Kudos to Showmasters for nailing the organisation of this event. They laid on extra space, kept signings, photos and talks on one floor, so there were no major jams on stairs, and generally made it an incredibly cool event to attend. I loved both days, and am planning to do all three days next year.
One of the biggest things for me from the weekend was being able to meet some online friends. As much as I love my collecting, and the great guests I met, it meant more to me meeting these great people pictured, plus some others I sadly did not get pictures of. The banter with friends at events like these helps make them special.
Now on to the event itself. This year I will cover it day by day.
Friday 29 July 2016
Before meeting any guests, I visited the display of Suicide Squad costumes which was very impressive, and took some pictures.
First up was Laurie Holden who I best know from The Walking Dead. She was the first person I wanted to meet, and as I approached her desk I took a few quick pictures. Some guests do not have posed photos at signing tables as they have paid for photos with attendees. Laurie clearly did not like any photos being taken, and a guy behind me was asked to stop taking photos, and had to delete the photos from his camera. This was all going on while she was signing for me, so although I met her, and got her signatures, it was not a great experience. Shortly after this, more signs went up about no photos, etc. Halfway through the morning I did see Laurie for a pre-booked photo, and it was a much more pleasant experience. I was pleased to add Laurie's signature as number 15 on my Walking Dead poster, also add her to a 10x8 already signed by Jeryl Prescott, and also on a nice 8x10. I ended Friday by attending a 30 minute panel talk with Laurie which was very good.
After Laurie, I then joined the queue next to her for my other main person of the day, Sean Maher. Very handy their signing desks were next to each other. He was popular that morning, so had little time to chat, but enjoyed meeting Sean, and he became the sixth cast member to sign my Firefly cast picture (3 more to go), and signed Firefly and Arrow (Shrapnel) solo pics. I took a few pics of Sean while he was signing, including my three pictures. I don't get many opportunities to add to my Firefly cast picture, so this was a welcome opportunity.
One of my main goals for the weekend was to meet eleven of the twelve Game of Thrones guests at the convention. I already have a signed pic by Daniel Portman, so did not need to meet him. Originally, five of the guests were supposed to be attending on the Friday, but two got moved to Saturday, that meant only three on Friday, and eight on Saturday. I knew Saturday was going to be busy. lol.
I started off with Kristian Nairn who is a giant of a man, but such a lovely guy to meet, and talk to. His recent storyline had a dramatic finale in the show. I took a picture of him, and he kindly posed for a nice picture with him over his table. He signed a pic for me and for a friend with great inscriptions, and another friend's poster. I will add a section lower down the page for all the bits signed for friends. Great guest to meet.
After Kristian I moved over to the delightful Ellie Kendrick from Game of Thrones who I also enjpoyed in Being Human and Upstairs Downstairs. She was also lovely to talk to, and kindly let me have a picture taken with her. She signed an 8x10 for me, and my friend's poster. I was just saying to a friend, it is easy to get caught in the moment at events like these, and until I saw the picture, did not realise Ellie had her arm around me.
The third and final Game of Thrones guest for Friday was Kae Alexander. She was also awesome to talk to, but I was unable to pose for a picture with her. She did tell me it took ten hours to apply the make-up for her character which is a gruelling process. She also signed an 8x10 for me, and my friend's poster.
At this point, it was like, wow! Not quite 10:20, and I had met my most wanted guests of the day I thought might be tougher to get depending upon crowds. I then had my 10:35 photo op with Laurie Holden, spotted some friends for a chat, then had a break in one of the coffee areas.
When I grabbed virtual queue tickets earlier, one of them was for Jeremy Renner who was probably the biggest name attending. He was not due to start signing until 13:00. At 12:15 I was told to come back at 12:45. I did, and discovered he had cancelled attending for that day. As I already had a busy day planned for Saturday, it seemed prudent to use the money for Jeremy on others I would have liked, but had not budgeted for. In the end I met three for less than the price of Jeremy.
The first of these was Quentin Pierre who is probably better known to Star Wars fans. My interest was his appearances in Space 1999 as a security guard. This show was part of my childhood, and meeting Pam Rose recently renewed my interest in it. Quentin signed a picture for me, and posed for a table picture. Not the greatest picture in the world as I was a little stretched over his table, but glad I met him.
It was then over to a different signing area, and I met the brilliant Julian Sands, who is a recognisable face from so many productions. My interest at this event was his recent appearances in Gotham, the DC show. Would loved to have got many of his pictures signed, but had to stick to the one I had budgeted for. I got his Gotham picture signed, and he kindly posed for a picture with me.
I then met a charming chap called Jamie Harris. He has appeared in a number of productions but I best know him from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which is one of Marvel's tv shows.He was a really nice chap, who was fun to talk to. He signed a pic of him from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and he kindly posed for a photo with me.
I then had the chance to meet another great actor who has entertained me in many roles, Keith David. Again, someone I would have loved to get several things signed for, but was limited to one 8x10 from The Thing. I was asking the staff member with him if I could get a picture with him, and she said no-one asks her that, so I said come on then, and took a picture of her. :-) Keith was a lovely chap to meet, and kindly posed for a picture with me as well as signing the 8x10.
I had two more to meet but decided to have a little wander, and explore some other areas. As a former comic collector I wandered into the comic zone where many artists had tables. Much familiar stuff, but only one jumped out at me, and caught my attention. A project called CCTVYLLE. I enjoyed meeting founder and creative director Gianluca Bonomo, and we had a nice chat, plus had our picture taken. I bought issues 0 and 1 of the comic. The comics are signed on the inside by Gianluca.
On the way back to the signing areas, could not resist a detour to the prop shoots, and had a picture taken on the Iron Throne. Finally! A chair that fits my arse! Surprisingly comfy.
After having a nice sit down, went back to the signing areas, and met an awesome guest Michael Emerson. I know him best from Lost, but he has been in many great shows. Loved meeting Michael, really friendly, and happy to spend time with fans. Had a nice picture taken with Michael, and he signed a Lost picture.
My final signing guest of the day was Amir Arison. He is making a name for himself in The Blacklist right now, but I remembered him from American Horror Story. I loved meeting Amir. He was probably one of the highlights of the weekend for me. We had a good laugh and joke. I took some pictures of him, but did not get a pic with him.
Amazingly, it was only 14:45 by now. I finished the day wandering about a bit more, and also attended three fun 30 minute talks that were free entry - Carl Weathers, Kim Coates, and Laurie Holden. I did not get any pictures from Laurie's talk, but took some for the other two. They were all entertainig, but Kim Coates was a legend in his talk. Very funny.
Throughought the day I took other pictures which you can see here. It was a lot of fun, and many people were having a great time with their cosplay, plus the extra space meant everyone had the opportunity to have a special day. Ialso saved a little time by picking up my diamond pass for Rutger Hauer on Saturday during a quiet spell.
Saturday 30 July 2016
With Saturday being busier by default, today was all about the guests (Game of Thrones especially with eight guests I needed to meet), and meeting friends (pictures at top of page). I took very few extra pictures on the Saturday. Many had the same idea of an early start, and there was already about 200 people ahead of me when I arrived at 06:15. By 07:15, the queue was snaking round inside the holding area many times, and a buzz was building. The great virtual ticket race was gearing up. lol
Already armed with Rutger Hauer's diamond pass, and having an idea of where everyone would be, it was straight to the signing desks to get the virtual tickets for the day. As you can see from my picture at the top of this page, I did well and managed to get some low numbers which served me well. With some Game of Thrones guests moved from the Friday to Saturday, this area was heaving today. It soon became apparent that most of the Thrones guests would need some kind of queue control, and the area was busy all day. Faye Marsay in particular had a huge queue form very quickly before any ticketing control was introduced. She crosses over with Doctor Who fandom, so two huge sets of fans wanted to meet her.
As I was in early, I chose to queue for Faye Marsay first, and was not too far back in the line. It was just a matter of waiting for everyone to arrive, and start signing which was probably about 09:30. Faye played a great character in Game of Thrones, and I would have liked to have got her autograph for Doctor Who, but was limited by my budget. I enjoyed meeting her, and talking about both shows. She kindly posed for a picture with me, and signed a 10x8 photo as well as my friend's poster.
I decided to give the Game of Thrones area a little breather, and a chance to settle down with so many people there early. Next up for me was Elden Henson who is one of the stars of Daredevil on Netflix. He was busy at the time, so little time to chat, but he kindly posed for a picture with me, and I got a Daredevil picture signed.
I now had a run of three guests I was primarily getting for friends, although had personal reasons for wanting to meet them.
First it was Alan Austen who is best known to Star Wars fans. At the beginning of June I attended a small con in High Wycombe, and met Martin Ballantyne. Martin and I friended on Facebook, and shortly after Alan friended me as he was friends with Martin. As much as I like the original Star Wars films, I do not collect in that area but a friend wanted his signature, so I was pleased to meet him on behalf of my friend, and also say hi as we are connected on Facebook. I took a picture of Alan with my friend's signed picture in it.
It was then over to see Kjell Nilsson who I was getting on a Mad Max 2 poster for a friend. Would have loved a signed picture myself, but had a budget, and stuck with it. Kjell kindly posed for a picture with the poster.
It was then over for a big guest, Jack Gleeson from Game of Thrones. For a while before the event, a number of us had talked about Jack being a very busy guest. We were working on the basis it would be as busy as last year, so possibly difficult to get. As such, I pre-ordered a signed photo of Jack from Game of Thrones some time back with the idea I would get my friend's poster signed via another friend who had a diamond pass for Jack. When I hit the signing area first thing, it was possible for me to grab a low number virtual ticket for Jack, so I decided to meet him for my friend myself giving me a chance to meet one of the big names from the show. The photo he sigend for me is awesome. I chose the image as the cuntish sneer was priceless. The guests are asked to sign the pre-ordered items during quiet times. Jack was brilliant to meet, and a really nice lad. He did an awesome job with my friend's poster, and although I did not get a posed photo of him, I took five pictures of him while he was signing the poster. You can see my friend's poster, and the sigs I got at the bottom of the page. I raised an eyebrow or two with a request for a special, ahem, inscription, but it made Jack laugh.
I then met the big name from the selection of wrestling guests attending - Adam "The Edge" Copeland. I do not actually watch the wrestling, but have seen Adam in The Flash. I loved talking to Adam, he is such a nice guy, and we talked about the CGI used in making Atom Smasher work on screen, plus Adam kindly posed for a picture with me.
Finally, it was time for me to meet my main guest of the weekend, Rutger Hauer. I Have been a fan for many years since first seeing him in Nighthawks, then the awesome Blade Runner which remains a favourite film to this day. He has brought some amazing characters to life but is also a free spirit, and amazing personality, so also brings great ideas to roles. I took some pictures of him with someone else, and one of him signing a True Blood picture for my wife. As I had a photo booked with him, I did not ask for a photo with him at his table. It made my day talking to him, and he was keen to engage. He signed two photos, one for me, and one for my wife, plus a poster for a friend. He added inscriptions to each. Later that day I had my photo op with him, and also attended a 30 minute talk he gave. As a diamond pass holder for Rutger I had fast access to his queues, and a seat in the front three rows for his talk.
After meeting Rutger, it was back to the Game of Thrones area as I had six more people to meet from the show to finish my autograph mission at this year's event. It was gone 11 by now, and with lunchtime approaching for the guests, plus an afternoon Game of Thrones talk they were going to be involved in, I decided to try getting through them fast. I probably did it quicker than I needed to in the end. Sometimes knowledge misleads the owner. :-)
Sam Coleman was first, and he was a nice young chap to meet, full of life. He played the character who turned out to be the young Hodor. Sam posed for a quick picture with me, and signed a photo.
I then moved along the table, and met Anton Lesser who is a veteran actor, and face of so many roles over the years. Another charming chap who kindly posed for a photo with me, signed a picture, and my friend's poster.
It was then over to meet a top, top man, Joe Naufahu. I loved meeting Joe, he has a wonderful energy, and was full on meeting people, even insisting on having pictures with everyone. I loved how he stood on the customer side of the table all the time rather than sitting, allowing him to do the pictures, cuddle, shake hands etc - real interaction. I took a pic of him before meeting him, so you can get a visual idea of him. Pleased with the signed picture.
I have always been fascinated by the people behind masks and make-up as they bring life to the most amazing characters on screen. As such, meeting Richard Brake was a pleasure after his Game of Thrones work. He kindly posed for a picture with me, and I got a signed picture.
Next up was Natalia Tena who was very busy at the time, so I was rushed through a lttle. She was not allowing posed pictures at her table, so I took some pics of her. She was lovely to talk to, but when I asked for my picture, and my friend's poster to be signed with her character name as I do with everyone, she just signed both with her simple signature. I put it down to her being busy. Better than nowt.
It was now lunchtime, and I had just one guest to meet before Rutger Hauer's talk at 15:15, Gemma Whelan. She had already left the signing area, so I spoke to a member of staff at her table, and was told she would be back at 13:15. I already had a virtual ticket low enough to get me in the first batch of people to see her, so was happy with this.
All my guests and money were done. That just left attending Rutger Hauer's talk which was excellent, having a final look around, and meeting up with some friends. All in all, an excellent couple of days I thoroughly enjoyed. Looking back my planning helped me enjoy it, but Showmasters deserve some credit for vast improvements this year, and putting on a great event. The only thing I would do differently is possibly take three days instead of two, but definitely take things a tad slower as the extra space makes it easy to get around, and meet everyone.
My friend's Game of Thrones poster -
Final mix of pictures -