September 9, 2010

Dragon Con Part 2: David's Story

This was the first year any of us here at 2Story Props had attended Dragon*Con. I personally have been intending to go for years (since about 2004), but never got the opportunity because it can be a pretty expensive trip even if you’re splitting a room with someone. Last year, shortly after Dragon*Con 2009 ended, we decided to go to D*C 2010 as a group. It was not long after that we started our ODST project.

Wayne arrived in Atlanta earlier in the day on Thursday to secure the hotel room and to scout around a bit. Jecca and I had arrived later that night (around midnight Eastern Time). The rest of the crew arrived throughout the day on Friday. Early Friday morning (around 5:30) we hopped in line to get our passes. The doors wouldn’t open until 8 or 8:30, but getting in line as soon as possible is always a good thing with big conventions (I myself had attended other large cons before, but never D*C). Fortunately the line was relatively short at that time – about a third of a block long. So we were pretty close to the front.

Around 6am Eastern Time.

After we got our passes (and after having endured the Pac Man labyrinth), we returned to the room for a short rest and then to suit up in ODST. Jecca suited up in her female version of the new Mad Hatter costume as well.

The pile.

We would end up hitting the con floors at around 9:15am. I have been watching D*C photo albums on the internet for years, following my friends’ ventures throughout the convention. I was well aware that if you had a good costume, you were going to get photographed a LOT, but oddly I wasn’t prepared for it. The moment we hit the main part of the Marriott 2nd floor lobby we were bombarded with camera flashes. At that time we didn’t have a game plan as far as seeing anything in particular, but we did want to walk around and get a feel for the convention. Our efforts were thwarted, however, because we couldn’t move 10 feet without being stopped for photos. And every time we stopped, 10-15 more people would get in on the photo op, so we would be standing there for some time. What an amazing experience.


Jecca's female Mad Hatter costume.

We soon realized the one negative aspect of being photographed so much – we had a photo shoot with a friend to get to at 4pm, but getting there was troublesome as we kept getting stopped for photos. It was certainly welcomed and we gladly stopped, but it just seems that Dragon*Con is no place to make plans of any sort (if you are wearing a costume, that is!). I had experienced only a very small fraction of this kind of attention back when I was with the 501st, but at D*C I definitely felt that the hard work we put into the ODST paid off.

Ryan Jones, me, Jecca, and Wayne.

At 4pm we had a small photo shoot with 2Story Props friend and professional photographer Chase Gustafson. We headed a few blocks away from the convention to a parking deck that had some neat backdrops. We don’t have the photos back from him yet, but they’ll end up in our Flickr album at some point. I’ll make an announcement regarding that when I get the photos.

We initially wanted to enter one of the bigger costume contests, but due to the amount of stuff happening just on Friday, we decided that the Hallway Costume Contest would be the best choice, as it would free up the rest of our night for dinner with friends.

Photos of all the entrees.

Saturday morning began by suiting up in our Rocket City Ghostbusters gear and heading to the parade gathering location. There we met up with the other franchises and joked around for a while before the parade began. The parade included 7 Ecto-mobiles, including the Denver guys’ awesome Lambo-doored Dodge Magnum Ecto-mobile. The parade was definitely one of the highlights of our first D*C experience, and we’re already gathering ideas for next year’s parade as far as our Daft Punk project goes.

During the parade, my POV.
S7000008 post-parade group photo.

After the parade, I switched out into my Halo Reach live-action Marine gear. This was a quickie costume based on the live action “Patrol” commercial for Halo Reach, featuring three Marines in Legacy Effects-style ODST armor in a snowy field talking about a Spartan battle. I was excited about this costume because it was a simple variation of the gear we already had, so it would be a nice (and comfy!) third costume for D*C. And I’m excited to say that there is yet a third variation of the Legacy Effects ODST costume in the newest live-action Halo Reach commercial “Deliver Hope,” which will likely be worn at Dragon*Con 2011. While out on a patrol of my own, I happened upon Volpin in his amazing Mass Effect armor and had a short chat with him.

2Story Props meets Volpin Props.

Halo Reach "Patrol" version of the LE ODST armor.

Saturday afternoon, about half of our crew (including Jecca and I) went to the Star Trek: The Next Generation panel. I knew the crew of the USS Enterprise was way more laid back than their characters, but man, Family Guy had it spot on.

Saturday night we met up with the guys for dinner at the Mellow Mushroom in downtown ATL, a few blocks away from the convention hotels. Taking orders and serving such a large group all at once meant a long dinner, and then it took a while to gear up for the Crunch Bar Awards. But our wait was well worth it when 2Story Props co-founder Wayne was awarded with a golden PKE meter for “Best Representation of a Ghostbuster” among all the members of the GBFans forums. We here at 2Story Props are very proud of this accomplishment, and we’re all proud to say that the RCGB have added another award to their mantle.

By Sunday, I was hurting. A lot. Our ODST gear isn’t heavy when worn for a few hours, especially because the weight is distributed all over your body. But over 10 or so hours, the weight definitely starts causing soreness. The proton pack’s weight is helped by the alice frame that is specifically designed to diminish the effects of weight, but again, after so many hours in that, it definitely starts to get heavy. But you don’t feel it while you’re wearing it – you feel it once you take the costumes off. So on Sunday, Jecca and I went civilian, though Wayne suited up in his khaki RCGB jumpsuit and hit the floors again for more photo ops.


We ended up leaving Sunday evening. Back when we first started planning our Dragon*Con stay, we both assumed that it would be best to leave Sunday so we could get back to work the next day or so (at least on my part), so we booked the hotel through Saturday night. It probably ended up being the better choice, though we did miss the Masquerade on Monday, because we are all very, very tired. We feel it was a spectacular first D*C experience, though, and our hotel is already booked for next year (all four days this time).

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