Saturday, August 3, 2013

SDCC 2013 Recap: Preview Night - Lawn Con, Screenings And A Very Packed Show Floor!

Like last year, Red Dot Diva's hotel room was host to a mini United Nations. There were roomies coming from East Coast USA, Canada, New Zealand and the Red Dot Island. And this year's home base was the very swanky, very nice Hilton Bayfront Hotel.

Except for Jasmine, who arrived late Thursday night, all the roomies and good pal Chelle were in San Diego by Tuesday afternoon, 1 day before Preview Night.

Rheanna and Dee managed to get Comic-Con 2013 passes for Sunday only, but they had lots of activities planned for themselves. And as the week went by, Red Dot Diva noted that they turned out to be very adept at the sport of celebrity spotting. ;)

That left three roomies + Chelle with access to Preview Night, and they decided to kick off the day with a hearty breakfast at the Broken Yolk. The cozy restaurant would soon become the roomies' favourite breakfast stop that week.

So serene. But only for a short while!
The morning of Preview Night was a beautiful day - all bright sunshine and blue skies. The convention centre seemed so so quiet, and Hall H line appeared deceivingly peaceful, like a serpent poised to strike at some poor fan's heart. Red Dot Diva knew that all this was going to turn into mayhem in less than 12 hours.

The surrounding area was already being decked out with promo banners and the area near the tram station directly opposite the convention centre was being used for promoting a few upcoming TV series like "Dracula", "I, Frankenstein" and "Blacklist". Then, there's the "Ender's Game" Fan Experience stationed outside of Hilton Gaslamp too.

Even the city trolleys were utilized for "training" Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as they pulled regularly into stations that have been renamed in Dothraki.

Petco Park stadium, adjacent to the Omni hotel, had a giant "Once Upon A Time" banner on its facade and was also getting prepped up to be one of the best places to be that weekend - Nerd HQ 2013.

It was about 11 AM when Sara and Felicia proceeded into the convention hall to get in line for the 3 PM badge collection. Red Dot Diva was waiting to meet a friend who was arriving from NYC, so she headed back to the hotel to have a rest.

On the way back, she stopped to check out the WB's "Lawn Con" situated at the park right in front of Hilton Bayfront Hotel. The WB had pitched it as a "fun family-friendly" off-site event but Red Dot Diva thought there wasn't that much fun in that area during the entire weekend.

"Lawn Con" (or Yawn Con, in Red Dot Diva's opinion) - was mostly static displays of colourful gigantic blowups of "Teen Titans" Beast Boy, Cyborg, Raven, Robin and Starfire .....

... Lego statues of The Joker, Batman and Robin and a cute Lego diorama from "The Hobbit".

And oh, the Scooby Doo Gang's Mystery Machine was parked there too. But there wasn't really much to do at Yawn Con except take photos of the figurines and she wished that the WB had repeated last year's live stage, which would have definitely been far less boring.

As the afternoon wore on, and badge collection officially opened, there were signs of more human traffic walking towards and lining up outside the convention centre. The professional and press line was already long when Red Dot Diva arrived to collect her badge, but it moved very quickly. This year, the badge collection stations were on the ground level instead of upstairs at the Sails Pavilion.

As she was waiting in line for her badge, the main thing that went on in Red Dot Diva's mind was: which Comic-Con bag would she snag? Turned out, she got the one for "Arrow". Which was definitely better than TBBT or yucks, "Revolution".

As announced earlier, the bags were backpacks with rolled capes that one could unfurl and wear. They looked cool in the promo photos but Red Dot Diva thought the bags ended up being one of the most impractical things ever.

The straps could not be converted into handles so that one was unable to carry them like normal bags or sling them over a shoulder. If you were already carrying your own backpack, it would not make sense to carry that too as an extra backpack. And if you did carry those bags as a backpack, every time you wanted to store a purchase or swag, you had to unstrap the entire thing instead of being able to dump your stash in. It was almost as if you needed to drag it like a sack alongside of you.

After walking through the show floor just once, Red Dot Diva never carried that Comic-Con bag ever again.

After getting her press pass, Red Dot Diva scurried upstairs to join roomies Sara and Felicia, who were already seated at Number 2 and Number 3 of the Ballroom 20 Line for Preview Night Screening. It must have been about 4 PM at that point in time and the line was only about 40 people deep. That grew to more than 150 or so in about an hour.

The ushers moved folks up to the front of the Ballroom 20 barricade at about 5 PM, and not long after, with a loud "Welcome to Comic-Con!", everyone was allowed inside the hall.

Preview Night Screening of four new TV series kicked off without much fanfare at about 5 minutes past 6 PM. It started with "The Tomorrow People", followed by "Almost Human", "The 100" and ending with "The Originals". (Read a previous pre-SDCC post on the preview screenings here.)

Red Dot Diva watched three of the previews out of the lot and there will be a separate post on what she thought of the previews later on. "The 100" was the one she was least interested in, so as soon as "Almost Human" ended, she and Chelle headed into the Exhibition Hall before it closed for the day. Chelle wanted to check out the signing schedule at the Marvel booth, while Red Dot Diva was aiming to hunt down David Mack's biceps. ;)

Man, was the show floor crowded!! Red Dot Diva did not remember it being so packed on Preview Night before!

As they did a quick stroll-by, she noted the usual suspects gawking at WETA's booth, which was poised right in the middle of the show floor, and its giant display of Azog the Defiler was the first thing most attendees see when they enter the hall.

At Marvel's booth - which had generally the same layout as last year - Red Dot Diva managed to take a quick snapshot of two "horny", hunky Asgardian soldiers guarding Thor's hammer Mjolnir. There were just so many people milling around the area!

But best of all, she found an awesome likeness of her favourite "Hugh Jackman-style" Wolverine cosplay before she scooted back to Ballroom 20. He's superb, isn't he?

By that time, Sara texted to say that they were in the hotel room getting ready for the night's Ballroom 20 camp-out. Chelle and Red Dot Diva decided to continue to watch "The Originals" preview. She did not manage to catch that episode when it was aired in April so it was nice to watch it on a big screen. Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies ... Yum Yum!

When that ended, she hurried back to the hotel room, and to save some precious time, everyone decided to order in some Hilton Bayfront late night room service. It wasn't much and was still a tad pricey, but kudos to Hilton for having the smarts to feed their Comic-Con attendee guests through the night!

With yummy in their tummies, the United Nation roomies were all set to kick off Comic-Con for realz with the first camp-out of the weekend!

More recaps coming soon!


  1. Hmmm, you inspire me! Maybe I should include Preview night next time.

    1. I love Preview Night. It's actually useful if you want to nab some exclusives before it gets REALLY REALLY Crazy-Crowded!