Paula and I are huge Stargate fans and so while we were in the US for an Affiliate Conference we decided to attend the Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis Convention.
We flew in yesterday from San Diego, to attend the Stargate Convention in Burnaby, Vancouver. We purchased the Preferred Weekend Package for the event which wasn’t as good as the Gold Package but unfortunately it was a last minute idea for us to attend and the Gold tickets were sold out. The Preferred Package got us a reserved ticket (albeit down the back of the hall), complimentary autographs by most of the stars attending and a tour of the Stargate set at Bridge Studios.
There were also a number of extra activities like the Chocolate Fantasy Welcoming Bingo Party with Dan Shea and David Palffy as the bingo callers and the Happy Hours on the Thursday and Friday nights. These were either at an extra cost or included free in the Gold Package so we didn’t attend any of these.
The Room before the Stargate Convention Starts
Stargate Convention Welcome
The room is full of anticipation waiting for the event to start.
Stargate Convention Day One
So our day starts at 2pm on Thursday April 3rd, where host, Adam Malin introduces the first of the music video’s that have been submitted by fans of the show, after which he introduces Dan Shea to tumultuous applause from the crowd.
This is a question and answer time for each of the guests plus they have time to share stories about their time on the show.
Dan Shea – stunt co-ordinator in 213 episodes of Stargate from 1997 -2007. He also doubled for Richard Dean Anderson in 177 episodes from 1997 – 2007. Dan acted as Sgt Siler and carries with him the wrench that is engraved with his characters name. He has performed stunts in 59 episodes of Stargate Atlantis (2004-2007) and doubled for Richard Dean Anderson in 4 episodes from 2004 – 2006. His stunt work can also be seen in a long list of movies that he has been involved in:
- Pirates of the Caribbean -Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
- X Men: The Last Stand (2006), I Robot (2004),
- Fantastic Four (2005), Scary Movie 4 (2004)
- The Pink Panther where he doubled for Steve Martin
Dan Shea is very funny and informative (almost manic at times) and in no time at all his 45 minutes of stage time comes to an end.
David Palffy – Played Anubis and Sokar on Stargate SG-1. David had the audience in stitches with his stories about wearing the black sock over his face as part of his costume.
After David’s stint on stage, which was very entertaining, there were more music videos and a no-minimum auction.
We weren’t going to bid on anything because of the lack of room in our suitcases and the posters were going for some pretty fancy prices.
Then a poster with double photos of Michael Shanks as Daniel Jackson was put up and for some reason bidding stalled at $150.00, so I put my hand up just for the fun of having a bid and thinking this item would be like the others and go for much more, when all of sudden the poster was knocked down to me. So now we have a 1.5 metre poster to carry around with us. We went to Staples and brought a couple of tubes to pack the poster in and we had to take the poster back on Sunday when Michael was appearing so that he could sign it. An absolute bargain and I am delighted.
Once the auction finished it was time for the next guest to take the stage. Adam comes to the stage to announce that Alexis Cruz won’t be available until the next day as he has been held up in the States. So Dan Shea takes the stage in his place and is once again entertaining and amusing.
Time for Autographs
At 6:15pm patrons were called row by row to receive autographs on a complimentary basis from David while Dan signed for those who had purchased autograph tickets.
Now this process of getting autographs takes a long time, in fact we waited around 2 hours for our row to be called. We were in row ‘O’ which was the second to last row in the room.
We haven’t paid for any of the photo opportunities this time around. So we wandered around the prop room museum where we see Adria’s dresses, the Book of the Ori, Valla’s Ori bed, Apophis’s uniform and various other weaponry and costumes, there is also a puppet of Thor. Unfortunately, we are unable to share any of our photos as they had a sign up saying that any photos taken were for private use only.
Stargate Convention – Day 2
The convention starts at 12:00pm today and begins again with a music video submitted by a fan. Then it is time for the first guest of the day.
Alex Zahara – who played a number of roles on Stargate SG-1 (9 different roles in all) such as an Alien leader, Eggar, Iron Shirt, Michael, Warrick, Shy One and Xe’Ls. One of my favourite episodes with Alex is when he played the hippy in the episode ‘1969′ where a solar flare sends SG1 back in time to 1969.
One think we learnt from Alex is that when you go camping in bear country and you finish cooking, make sure you remove all your clothes and put them in a container well away from your tent. The smell of food will bring bears looking for something to eat so the last thing you want to do is have anything that attracts them to you. Another thing is that if moose come into the camp area, keep perfectly still as moose see the outline of tents as a solid object and will go around them.
James Bamford – or Bam Bam as he is known as, is a stunt co-ordinator on Stargate Atlantis and is proficient at martial arts and is skilled in the use of the staff. Bam Bam performed and choreographed stunts on SG-1. He was also stunt co-ordinator on ‘Sanctuary’ and a stunt soldier on ‘Alien versus Predator’. James pays tribute to Heath Ledger which was a nice gesture.
Kavan Smith – Major Lorne on both SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. He is such a likeable character, both on screen and off. And he has such a lovely smile.
Alexis Cruz – Skaara/Klorel on Stargate SG-1. Alexis played the part of Skaara in the original Stargate movie in 1994 and reprised this role for 5 episodes of the series from 2000 to 2003. Not wanting to be tied to a series, Alexis opted to not appear regularly in the series and this gave him the opportunity to also play the part of Rafael in 16 episodes of the series ‘Touched by an Angel’ from 1997-2003. In 2007, Alexis played the part of Martin Allende in the series ‘Shark’.
Alexis is great to listen to and more than makes up for his late appearance.
Autographs were available on a complimentary basis from James Bamford and Kavan Smith and Alex Zahara signed for those with autograph tickets. Once again we have a long, long, wait for our row to be called.
At around 9pm there is a Cabaret with Alexis Cruz followed by James Bamford and Joseph Momoa. There is a warning in the itinerary stating that Alexis’ performance is for adults only.
He takes the stage in three different acts, portraying latino’s in various stereotyped roles. The performance is confronting, funny and thought provoking and can be likened to the show in Australia ‘Wogs out of Work’.
This performance is followed by James Bamford and one of his stuntmen. They show their style with sword fighting and stunt work. Jason Momoa has been held up but he arrived part way through the performance and they show how a sword fight is choreographed and taught to an actor.
Stargate Convention – Day 3
Today is what we have been waiting for. As fantastic as it is to meet the stars and hear about their time on Stargate and what they are doing now, today we go to the Bridge St studio to see the sets used in both SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis.
The tours start at 6:30am and run throughout the morning but we have chosen 9:45am for our tour. We all line up in the foyer of the Hilton Hotel waiting to board the buses. It is raining and bitterly cold so we are more than happy to hop on the bus where the driver has turned on the heating for the trip out to the studio.
We are met by Martin Gero – Writer/Producer, in the parking lot and after a quick introduction on what we are about to see, we thankfully head inside.
Paula and Martin Gero getting ready for the set tour.
Once again we are unable to bring you any photos of this trip as we signed a waiver so you will just have to take my word that it was all totally awesome.
Apparently, part of the set originally was constructed for the movie Blade 3 and it was going to cost them a $250,000 to pull it down so the Stargate franchise brought the set from them for $1.00 – a win-win situation for both parties.
We pass through the first part of the building where there are various props set up and then we come across the Stargate Atlantis set and the stairs that lead up to Weir’s office and the control rooms. It is just amazing to be standing there in the middle of it all.
As we continue through the massive building we pass through the village used in Stargate Atlantis. As Martin explained, the village set is so large that it means they have to employ more extras to fill it for a crowd scene as if they use the 75 people that are usually available the set looks empty.
Next comes the bridge of the ‘Prometheus’ where the group takes turns at sitting in the ‘Captains chair’ for photos and then strolling around the set which is also used for the Daedalus and Aurora simply by having a colour change to the perspex guidance panels.
Then it is onto the room where the ‘puddle jumper ’ is housed. We all take turns to climb in for photo ops and pretend we are flying through the gate to other worlds.
Now comes the biggest thrill for SG1 fans – the set of the SG1 Stargate where Dan Shea and Gary Jones are waiting by the Stargate for photo ops. After going up the stairs to check out the boardroom and General Hammond’s office we are ushered down to the Gateroom for photos.
Paula and I decide to have a joint photo so the photographer takes two photos, so that we each get to stand next to Dan and then Gary.
Then it is back out into the cold and onto the buses to return to the Hilton Hotel.
This has been an amazing visit as anyone who is a fan of a show will realise. Seeing the set and knowing that you have walked in the areas where your favourite stars have walked and worked helps you appreciate the show even more, if that is at all possible.
The buses arrive back in time for lunch and another no minimum bid auction. Then it is time for todays first guest:
Corin Nemec – played Jonas Quinn for 26 episodes of Stargate SG1. I have to say that I loved Corin’s character when he joined the SG1 team when Michael Shanks took a break. He has lost weight since his Stargate days and looks great.
The audience is then treated to a few scenes from the new Stargate movie ‘Continuum’ which looks awesome. This is the World Premier screening of the promo so it is a great thrill for us all to see. I am at a loss as to understand why the Stargate movies aren’t released into theatres instead of being released straight on to DVD. The acting and the storylines are so good and I am sure the Stargate franchise would extend it’s fan base enormously.
The clips are presented by:-
- Brad Wright – Co creator, writer and Producer and
- Martin Wood – Executive Producer/Director.
After giving us the sneak peaks at the upcoming movie and giving away just a few spoilers, the pair graciously agreed to sign autographs.
This actually created a little bit of a drama as the queue was so long we all had to line up outside in the freezing cold. The line snaked around the patio area and took quite some time for everyone to finally get back inside to the table where the guys were signing their autographs. Being in the line meant we missed the Q & A for Chuck Campbell – the Technician in 38 episodes of Stargate Atlantis from 2005 to 2008 and 1 episode of Stargate in 2006, and Martin Gero -Producer, Co-Executive Producer, Co Producer, Creative consultant, Writer, Story Editor. We had spent the morning with Martin and would have liked to have heard his talk but we had made the choice to get Brad and Martin’s autographs.
Gary Jones – Chief Harriman on Stargate SG1. A really nice guy and very funny. He had been up since the crack of dawn to get to the Stargate set in time for the tour photographs and it was now 5:30pm when he was on stage to entertain us all about his time on Stargate.
Gary says he sat in the chair for 10 years saying things like “It’s SGC’s IDC, sir” and that he still doesn’t know what that means to this day. He thought he would get to leave the chair in the episode, Avatar, where Teal’c is trapped in a virtual reality game and a Kull Soldier invades the Gateroom and kills Captain O’Neil and Harriman, who is told to just swivel in the chair and die. So even in this episode he was unable to leave the chair to die gracefully elsewhere.
Jason Momoa – Ronon Dex in Stargate Atlantis. Born in Hawaii, Jason has appeared in 58 episodes of Stargate Atlantis during the 2005-2008 period. He was Frankie Seau in 21 episodes of ‘North Shore’ from 2004-2005 and he also appeared in ‘Baywatch’ for 21 episodes from 1999 to 2001. Jason performs many of his own stunts which are choreographed by James ‘Bam Bam’ Bamford. He mentioned that even today he is noticed more for his role on Baywatch than for Stargate.
Complimentary autographs for today are with Jason Momoa, Gary Jones and Corin Nemec and this process is due to start at 7pm, so once again we have a late night and our row is finally called at around 10:30pm. Chuck Campbell is signing for those who have brought an autograph ticket. So this has been a long day for both fans and stars and we are very grateful that they have given up their time to meet and greet with the fans.
There is a costume competition and the winner is dressed as an Ori Prior. And later there is a Celebrity Dessert Party for Gold Patrons exclusively.
Stargate Convention – Day 4
Sunday is the last day of the Convention and there are NORCO tours for those fans who have purchased tickets and then 20 lucky fans are having lunch with Michael Shanks and Lexa Doig and being taken to a secret location. We find out later that these 20 fans got to see a full screening of Continuum which is being released in July.
We have opted to meet up with our Affiliate Marketing mentor, James Martell, author of the Affiliate Marketers Handbook, his wife Arlene and two of his children Adam and Victoria. We have arranged to meet at the White Spot Restaurant. It is once again a miserable cold rainy day so we walk through Metrotown in an attempt to keep a little dry as of course we don’t have umbrella’s and raincoats. It is close to 2 miles from the Holiday Inn and would have been a nice walk on a sunny day.
We are students of James and follow his methods in our Affiliate Marketing business. The main purpose of this trip was to attend the Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas in February, but as we are both avid Stargate fans we decided to stay on and attend the Stargate Convention in April as well. So this has been a lengthy trip and one that we couldn’t have done without the Affiliate Marketing business which allows us to continue our business as we travel around as long as we have our laptop.
It is so lovely to meet James and Arlene face to face, we have a long chat about business and family. Lunch is very pleasant and the food is delicious, Adam has waffles with blueberries and the rest of us have hamburgers and fries.
All too soon the meal comes to an end and after we part company, Paula and I head back to the Convention in time to catch the last of the auctions in which everything is going for very high prices.
- Bruce Woloshyn – Digital Effects Supervisor,
- Rainbow Sun Francks – Lt Aiden Ford on Stargate Atlantis
- John Smith – Executive Producer
have all completed their Q & A sessions and it is now time for:-
Michael Shanks – Dr Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG1 for 197 episodes between 1997-2007. Michael’s role as Daniel Jackson was played by James Spader in the movie ‘Stargate’.
Michael is married to Lexa Doig (who had a supporting role in Stargate playing Dr Carolyn Lam) and has two children with her, Mia Tabitha and Samuel David, he also has a daughter named Tatiana with Vaitiarie Bandera, who played Daniel’s wife Sha’re on Stargate.
Lexa Doig – Dr Carolyn Lam. Lexa became the resident doctor on Stargate after Dr Janet Fraiser, played by Teryl Rothery, was killed in the episode ‘Heroes’. Lexa is a little nervous at the start of her appearance but soon warms up to the audience who are very fond of her and help her to feel more at ease by talking about her life with Michael and her children. She really is delightful.
It is autograph time again but this time we don’t have to wait until our row is called. At last we are able to go to the front of the queue for the autographs as I purchased a poster at the auction and got priority placement in the queue. We are also able to have our complimentary autographs done by Michael and Lexa at the same time and then we join the queue for Rainbow Sun, Before long we have all our autographs and are able to head off back to the hotel.
This has been an amazing weekend for us and we thoroughly recommend the experience for all Stargate fans. Next time we will only go if we can get Gold Passes as the wait for autographs is much shorter. So we will try again for the 2009 Convention.