|Russell Payne at "Hollywood Comes to Blackpool"|
Just back from POD Event's "Hollywood Comes to Blackpool" at the Norbreck Castle Hotel's Norcalympia. Had a great time, the organisers really looked after the guests, it's the little things that count- I was asked constantly if I needed anything, people brought me water, coffee and biscuits, I was given cake and they even gave each guest a nice engraved award. Ten out of ten for being good hosts, thank you to Neil, Amanda and all the POD staff and helpers. The event was not a comicon as such, but the majority of comicons aren't really comic cons nowadays, this was more accurately billed as a "Film, TV and Comic experience" and was raising funds for charity.....although ironically it had more comics on sale there there than I've seen at many comicons.
This was officially the nearest convention I've ever been a guest at. I often drive 5 or 6 hours to a con, but I can see the Norbreck Castle from my bedroom window. I was there in less than five minutes. It was sponsored by Dominoes, so I also had the slightly odd experience of ordering a pizza the day before and having it delivered with a flyer that had my face on it.
Sat with me and fellow local John Watson (also currently co-writing a book with me) in guest alley were actors Michael Henbury, Sandeep Mohan and Phil Hodges, and voice talent Marc Silk. All nice people, Marc was particularly good fun. His CV includes an astonishing number of characters - Aks Moe in Star Wars, Johnny Bravo, Scooby Doo, Pingu.... so he's good value for money - like having 53 guests in one. I did a panel with Marc and we all just sat back while he taught the audience how to speak like Scooby Doo.
|Marc Silk voice actor extraordinaire|
|Michael Henbury (Labyrinth, Willow, Return of the Jedi)|
I'd just had a particularly short haircut so was trying to avoid sitting under any bright lights, it's difficult looking down and drawing without showing everyone your thinning hair. I think some people thought I was cosplaying as Cadfael. As usual, I spent most of the day behind a table, so didn't really get chance to look round, but there was plenty going on - Jedi Academy sessions teaching kids how to use lightsabers, photoshoots with green screens, movie showings, cosplay competitions, charity auctions, model displays and loads of trade stalls.
The event wasn't as packed as it could have been, but it's always difficult getting word out for a first time event, and everyone that did go had a good time. All went smoothly and the guys who did the MCing (Kerry King Neale as Ursula from the Little Mermaid and Chris Kemp as the Riddler) did a fantastic job of holding it all together, working all day long doing Q&As, cosplay announcements and general enthusing.
The music was great too, at one point they played the theme from the old Monkey TV show- "Monkey Magic". Ace. Hopefully POD can build on this year's success with their future events. As long as they have some more free cake, I'm in.
(Thanks to Darrell Till for taking photos and generally helping out!)
|(left to right) Phil Hodges, Darrell Till & Sandeep Mohan|