Gosh the headache… I wake up an hour after my alarm was supposed to go off (which it probably did without me noticing it) only three hours and a bit after I found my bed in the first place. Conventions can be so much fun once you are up, but doing that is probably the worst part of a Ring*Con day. Without so much as a breakfast I wandered around the convention-area for a while before finally settling down at the first WETA-workshop. This was quite a remarkable thing. The Ring*Con organisation had managed to get two entire Orc-costumes, courtesy of Richard Taylor and his WETA-team, and Rogier Samuels and Carola Brockhoff had selected two people who were to be turned into an Orc, one each day. From what I gathered both demonstrations started quite early and lasted a good three hours but were absolutely packed each day! Rogier and Carola did some amazing work of not only applying the makeup and prosthetics to the selected member of the audience in what must be a record-time, they also answered questions and shared some great stories from being on set.
After that it was time to hook up with the amazing John Leigh for a short interview, look for it on TORn Digital in the near future! Another interview with Mark Ferguson did not happen because he had been having too much fun at the hotel bar the night before. It appears Mark Ferguson simply doesnt want to get interviewed by us because it didnt happen last year either. In all honesty I have to admit that we missed the rescheduled interview ourselves because the auction Mark was hosting at the time lasted a bit longer than planned. Not getting him on camera is turning out to become some kind of tradition I guess… Anyway, John Leigh turned out to be a more then excellent guy to talk to and made up nicely for the absence of Mark who will just have to miss his few minutes of fame on the site now, heheh…
Saturday was also the day John Rhys-Davies arrived in Bonn and we spent some time talking to him and Nathaniel Lees as well. Once again, look for it on the website in the (hopefully) not so distant future! Still without breakfast we went back to the WETA-demonstration to shoot some footage and general b-roll, something we were at for pretty much the rest of the day. Getting footage of the autograph-session was a very time-consuming but fun thing to do although it made us miss supposedly great things like the Team Pictionary Game hosted by Marc Lee, Colleen Dorans hour of fame and some other great things. But to be honest there was just too much to do at Ring*Con this year and that is a Good Thing because there was something to everyones liking.
Then, as the clock almost reached 5 pm I finally had my very late lunch before being able to sit down for a while during Lawrence Makoares panel which for me turned out to be yet another highlight. Lawrence managed to keep the audience interested for almost an hour sharing his stories about working with Christopher Lee, the insane amount of makeup that his roles required, how much fun it was to kill Boromir and much, much more. One of the best bits was where he talked about how the fight scene between Lurtz and Aragorn came to be; it featured some excellent imitations of Viggo Mortensen and Peter Jackson and was pretty interesting as well. It basically came down to PJ listening to a lot of the input from the actors and getting very excited about ideas Lawrence came with such as the scenes where he removes the knife from his leg. Also Viggo Mortensen supposedly wanted to do all kinds of fancy sword moves which swords master Bob Anderson kept shooting down because it was too Elvish.
Unfortunately there was no rest for the weary (which I guess was my own fault) and we ended up doing another hour-and-a-half of shooting interviews for Ringers. Kudos to the guys from LaGarafa Productions who were gracious enough to let us use their stand (used to promote an upcoming fantasy movie called Kriegerherzen, German Ringers should keep their eyes open for that). While doing so we missed another great comedy-hour with Craig Parker and Mark Ferguson, although in the background we could hear all the noise coming from the main hall, which made missing it even worse, heheh..
We did wrap up before the highlight of the day started though; John Rhys-Daviess first panel discussion. Johns panel on Saturday was probably the first and only time the entire main hall filled up and when he came on stage and got a standing ovation before he even said a word the roof came down. It was without any doubt a very intense moment to see the man on stage that was close to attending that last year but bowed out because of other commitments. He came back this year though and it looked like the audience remembered and thanked him for it. A great moment.
John Rhys-Davies kept the audience spellbound for a good hour talking about a wide range of subjects. Once he starts talking about something he tends to keep going on and on, but there was noone that really seemed to mind or even dared to interrupt him. And no matter what it was he talked about it was always interesting. Whether it was about his respect for Peter Jackson, his vision on the part of Gimli as a comic relief or his thoughts on the books themselves he had a very clear and sometimes enlightening vision on it and the audience seemed to be hanging on his very words. Sometimes funny, sometimes dead serious he acted like Gimli and Treebeard and informed the audience about the letter he will write to the Academy if they pass on Return of the King next year, even though members are not supposed to do that about movies they are in themselves. There were many more highlights but I simply cannot write it all down, though maybe someone else has by now…
After the panel it was time for the costume contest and here I fear I have to be slightly critical. I have like many others thoroughly enjoyed watching what must be like 70% of the visitors to Ring*Con being dressed up as their favourite characters. I think it is quite cool to do such a thing, although I wouldnt consider doing it myself (Im too tall really, I wouldnt make a believable Hobbit). The costume contest however lasted too long in my opinion and not to mention the fact that some of the best costumes I have seen this weekend werent even in it. There was some good stuff, I liked the Elrond/Gil-galad costumes and scene they acted out and the winners (three Orcs and an amazingly looking Ent that adapted the Lumberjack-song for their act) were great as well. But I think it turned out to be more like a talent show which is okay but there would have to be something like a time limit on it I guess. Something to ponder about for the organisers because after all; they also learn from their mistakes.
Learning from our mistakes we did not though, because like the previous night we consumed way too much alcohol on the Saturday night. There was after all a Middle-earth party to attend with fabulous performances by Schelmish, Eve and the Breeze and the belly-dancing talents of Medeena. It is rather safe to say that the hotel lobby was a place that remained crowded until the early hours….