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article imageFan Expo Canada: Odds and ends Special

By Michael Thomas     Aug 31, 2014 in Entertainment
Toronto - While Fan Expo Canada provides numerous opportunities for shopping, autographs and photo-ops, there were plenty of interesting panels to see as well. Here are quick summaries of four of them, followed by photos from the event.
Doctor Who: Life Inside a Dalek
Put on by the Doctor Who Society of Canada, this Thursday event, true to its name, looked at the actual humans who operate the Doctor Who creatures from inside. There were five such operators who entered the convention room in style — inside of their respective Daleks. After a number of jokes involving "extermination," the people inside the Daleks came out.
Daleks created by the Doctor Who Society of Canada  as seen at Fan Expo Canada on August 28  2014
Daleks created by the Doctor Who Society of Canada, as seen at Fan Expo Canada on August 28, 2014
The event was very loosely structured as the Dalek operators told funny stories from their time in the contraptions. One involved the actor Giancarlo Esposito, who was persuaded to get in a Dalek and use its spray gun (it just sprays carbon dioxide). He used too much force when he sprayed and almost knocked over an entire wall of celebrities signing autographs. In less destructive stories, one operator mentioned being stopped by a policeman — not because he had broken a law, but because the policeman was a Doctor Who fan.
Crowd Funding with Kickstarter: Funding Your Dream
Many comic books at Fan Expo probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for Kickstarter, and a Saturday panel held an "advanced" class on how to make sure more Kickstarter projects turn into success stories. Featuring Robin D. Laws (creator of Hillfolk, Eric Lang (a man behind many successful Kickstarter campaigns), Rachel Richey (who helped get Nelvana of the Northern Lights reprinted via Kickstarter) and Kickstarter staff member Craig Engler.
The panelists offered a number of "best practices" for making Kickstarter projects successful, including:
  • Be plugged into the community your project caters to. If you're making a web series, know your fans and the other people who are creating them. If it's a toy, know of other toymakers, who might be able to give you tips. The idea is to be engaging with people, not just blindly promoting.
  • Speaking of promoting, don't be afraid to do so. People want to hear about cool things, and statistically, they could back your future projects too. According to Engler, 7 million people have funded a Kickstarter project, and 2 million are repeat backers. Though on the extreme end, Engler said he knew one guy who's funded over 1,000 projects.
  • Aim for a big "day one." Data shows that most projects receive a lot of funding for the first and last few days, with a huge dip in the middle.
  • Plan your project like a business. While too little success can kill a project, so too can too much success. If you're soaring above stretch goals, don't be tempted to add too many new perks or you'll never be able to finish everything.
  • Think of the people who fund your project not as customers or clients, but as partners. They're investing in your idea.
  • Be careful with "early bird" rewards and limited editions. If you don't communicate how these things will be distributed or set artificial limits without consultation, you might start to attract an influx of negative comments.
  • When starting a project, there's now a (completely free) feature where you can get Kickstarter staff to review your idea. They can help you out with any issues you may have.
Celebrity Q&A session with the cast of The Walking Dead
Sunday morning saw a packed Constitution Hall as Norman Reedus (Daryl), David Morrissey (The Governor), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Danai Gurira (Michonne) and Michael Rooker (Merle). The no-holds-barred session got plenty rowdy (including a fan giving Reedus a squirrel-themed gift).
The cast members spoke quite positively on their experience on the set, saying that the show really brought all the actors together. Cohan said that the things they do in the show are so intense that when something bad happens to a character, Cohan feels "sympathy pain."
Reedus spoke about the strangeness of celebrity — he described a surreal-sounding day in which, while on a plane, he had to eat his lunch in the one of the bathrooms because people were constantly taking smartphone photos.
Gurira, meanwhile, spoke of a time when she hurt her legs while running through some extremely uneven grass, while Rooker said that the toughest part of being on the show's set isn't the acting or dealing with the film crew, but dealing with snakes and bugs.
EP Daily Live
Canada's EP Daily is really the only television show that keeps up-to-date on all that's cool in movies, TV, comics and video games, and the panel — featuring hosts Victor Lucas and Marrissa Roberto plus correspondents Ben Silverman, Shaun Hatton, Steve Tilley and Raju Mudhar — looked on the show's past and future.
First and foremost, Lucas highlighted his new-ish EPN (Electric Playground Network), which Lucas described as an "end game" as EP Daily and Reviews on the Run got bigger. While those two programs are the network's flagship, they've also partnered up with Arcademy and DC Comics.
The group also discussed movies, where Tilley talked about his dislike of 3D in general, and some of their favourite films of the year including Begin Again and Snowpiercer.
On the video game side of things, they talked about 2014 being the year of pushed-back games, like Batman: Arkham Knight and pretty much everything Nintendo is doing. They also spoke about the genre's need to be more inclusive and diverse — as Silverman put it, not every hero has to be a white guy with a baseball cap. Hatton said that his favourite game of all time is Phantasy Star, which features a completely believable and non-sexualized woman as a protagonist.
While the panels were fun, there was plenty more to see across the two convention buidings.
The Lady Cassandra O Brien  far less dangerous in a glass case.
The Lady Cassandra O'Brien, far less dangerous in a glass case.
A Sand Person poses at Fan Expo Canada.
A Sand Person poses at Fan Expo Canada.
Groot and Rocket from  Guardians of the Galaxy   in Lego form
Groot and Rocket from 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' in Lego form
A life-size Batmobile from the upcoming video game  Batman: Arkham Knight
A life-size Batmobile from the upcoming video game 'Batman: Arkham Knight'
This version of Venom was all too happy to pose for the camera.
This version of Venom was all too happy to pose for the camera.
A group of  Batman  cosplayers dressing up as Penguin  Harley Quinn  Poison Ivy and the Riddler
A group of 'Batman' cosplayers dressing up as Penguin, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and the Riddler
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