Monday, April 28, 2008

The Rift aftermath

Last Saturday I went to The Rift, the world's first all-Torchwood convention. I was a guest, along with Joe Lidster, Phil Ford, Richard Stokes, Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd, Kai Owen, Keith Topping - and the legend that is James Marsters. Had a great time, it was so much fun. We all got brought out on stage at the start to say hello, which was terrifying. As we waited to go on, we all panicked - including the actors - about the roar that erupted from the audience. We debated the best thing to say or do on stage, so I suggested that scene from the Exorcist - just walk on stage, piss yourself, say "you're all going to die", drop the mic (WHUMP, feedback), and walk offstage again. Some of us (coughEveMylescough) were very, very tempted to do this for a laugh, but cooler heads (and empty bladders) prevailed.

The thing about these things is, even though you know every single person is there because they love the show, it's still a LOT of people, and you have to stand up in front of them and be entertaining. So naturally you start thinking things like "what if I mess it up, if I can't think of anything to say". Which makes you freak out, and increases the chances of that happening. But we all coped really well, especially those of us on the writer panel, because we were on at 3pm and had all been to the pub for lunch. Tongues were loosened. Babies and twisted Weevil dress up games were mentioned (okay, they were both me). And only one of us accidentally swore on the mic - I don't want to say who it is, but his initials are J.L., his name rhymes with Poe Kidster, and his actual name is Joe Lidster. If you're clever, you can figure it out from those clues.

It was lovely to meet everyone, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And it was especially cool to meet James Marsters, who is a force of nature, really enthusiastic and fun. Gareth was lovely and funny as usual, and Eve and Kai are a hilarious double act, roaring into a song or dance or comedy sketch at the drop of a hat. We all ran up to the balcony to heckle Gareth, because he was the first to do a q+a, but then we ran away again, Eve alternately giggling and screaming with laughter, and trying to hide behind everyone. This was the view from the balcony, which you can clickyclicky for biggybiggy:


The actors had special signing sessions, because they had photos and all sorts, but us writey and producey types just went out and mingled in the main hall area now and again, and did informal signing thingies (writers don't have glossy headshots of ourselves, that would just be weird). I did 3 signing sessions, one of which took me by surprise. I'd just come out to have a look around and mingle, and a couple of people came over with things for me to sign, which was all cool. I led them over to the edge of the stage, so I could lean on it and write properly. Signed three or four things, then a few more, and thought hmm, I didn't realise it was that many people - I looked up, and there was a queue of about twenty people. I thought that I'd somehow managed to block some other event, so asked "you're not all here for me, are you?" But they all nodded and smiled, I was amazed.

We went over to a different area, to keep away from the stage, and I signed all sorts of stuff, books, magazines, posters, printed out stuff, slide mounts, autograph books, even a copy of Severance - no body parts yet, although I did sign a hand back at Gallifrey in Feb (will post that report soon, it's a biggun, ooh matron, etc). It was lovely, and the queue kept growing and growing, I felt really flattered and touched that so many people wanted me to sign things. Because I'm just some bloke really, who happens to have written for telly, and don't consider myself special or amazing or anything. Although I *am* hardcore.

I tried to write something funny or strange on everything I signed, so apologies to anyone who just got a "Hello!" or "Best wishes!" or something, I totally ran out of jokes. And I hope everyone who wanted me to sign stuff found me, I popped in and out as regularly as I could. What was fascinating to me was how many people said they read the blog - I know lots of people read it, but it's quite bizarre to actually meet them. You look at the stats, but somehow it doesn't seem real. But there they were, real as anything. So hello to you all, glad you like the blog - say hello in the comments if you were there.

And sorry to anyone who I asked to spell their name about 20 times, but I've signed lots of things where someone has said "make it out to Jim", then I write "Jim", but it turns out that the correct spelling is J'Ymme, or something. Also sorry for the several occasions where I made a mess out of signing my own name. I am so used to keyboards now, that a drunken chimp is probably better than me at using a pen. I should hire one. Want me to sign that? Sure, talk to my chimp. Don't look him in the eye, he'll think it's a challenge, and try to mount you. Oh God, he's killed another kid - call the chimp that dumps the bodies.

During the q+a, someone asked what research we did, if any. I mentioned something about the warhead storage thing, but totally forgot about the other thing: I needed to know if I could realistically (well, TV-realistically) take out the landlines and mobiles for a large city, and spent several dull, complex hours online reading about it. I'll go into more detail in the next Torchwood Writing Process post, but to summarise in advance: it's kind of possible, but extremely difficult and unlikely. So I combined some research, and fiddled it a bit.

Going to events like this really makes me appreciate my job, because I get to meet people who see and enjoy my work. I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who took the time to say hello, say nice things, or ask me to sign stuff. You're all fab, and I hope you enjoy the other stuff I'm working on. I mean, I really hope you do, because I'm writing bloody everything on telly at the moment, and you'll get sick to death of me otherwise...

31 comments:

Cen said...

*grins* I'm glad you had such a good time at The Rift! I wish I could've gone! I would have, but I couldn't afford the roundtrip plane tickets. Thanks for sharing!

Ooh, finally got to see your Doctor Who episode! It was so brilliant, I am in absolute awe of you. *blushes*

Carlo Conda said...

Good to hear you had some fun, James.

Mame Dennis said...

:( there was soooo much going on and I didn't get a chance to say hello. But the panel was great. Thank you so much for coming. It was a fantastic day!

Jewels said...

I promise you, you didn't all look terrified on that stage at the start. Just incredibly scared, that's all (confronted by a couple of hundred screaming women, I don't blame you, though).

Jason Arnopp said...

Even though I know plenty of girls who love Torchwood, I'm still pleasantly surprised by the sheer ratio of lovely ladies at this event. And I wonder if this will lead to the show being thought of differently. After all, ask most critics and they would've predicted the gender-ratio to be the exact opposite. Hmmm. Yes.

Lucy said...

You "combined some research and fiddled it a bit"?? WHAT??? You mean Torchwood is NOT a documentary???

Damn you, Moran. I'm coming for you.

Ooo er.

Joseph Lidster said...

"And only one of us accidentally swore on the mic - I don't want to say who it is, but his initials are J.L., his name rhymes with Poe Kidster, and his actual name is Joe Lidster."

Sssh!!! I don't think anyone noticed...

Anonymous said...

Hiya!
i have a feeling i may have been the first to have you sign - big woman with a stick and tattoos on her face? We found your 'Sleeper' episode in the Torchwood magazine for you to sign and i was very pleased about that, as i'd brought it with me for just that reason.
We are always conscious about not taking up too much time with guests and try and keep conversation to the minimum but it was very nice to meet you. i was very interesting in the writers' panel and enjoy it a lot.
Hope you keep going to Cons & such, people LIKE writers!
Jill/'Lovejames'

deborah said...

It was nice meeting you and I greatly enjoyed the panel.

You seem to be the writing equivalent of John Barrowman and on a campaign to take over every programme on every channel :)

And why not?

"And only one of us accidentally swore on the mic - I don't want to say who it is, but his initials are J.L., his name rhymes with Poe Kidster, and his actual name is Joe Lidster."

Fret not , by the time Kai Owen came offstage on Saturday evening even the most delicate of ears were well used to the on mic use of naughty language.

Glad you had fun

Danny Stack said...

Ooh, and that venue looks all gothic, too, or is just the pic? Nice one!

nessaja82 said...

I'm glad you had a good time and I agree with jewels. You didn't look terrified. Not until you saw my camera anyway. *grins* It made for a great deer in the headlight look, you know.

No seriously, you did a great job as did the other writers. I really enjoyed it.

Thank you for a great time!

Rosby said...

I *wish* I could've been there, but age/work/money/Barrowman having drained my expensives got in the way. Next time I'm winging it over so fast I get whiplashed. But I'm glad you had a great time!

I am so used to keyboards now, that a drunken chimp is probably better than me at using a pen. I should hire one. Want me to sign that? Sure, talk to my chimp. Don't look him in the eye, he'll think it's a challenge, and try to mount you. Oh God, he's killed another kid - call the chimp that dumps the bodies.

Oh, God. *clutches ribs*

*wipes lemonade off the monitor*

Rosby said...

Ahem. I meant "expenses" and "whiplash*. Damn typing fingers.

Keith Topping said...

"Writers don't have glossy headshots of ourselves..."

Speak for yourself!

xxx

K

Just said...

Personally I'm not at all surprised you guys were so popular because without you, there would be no TW! You've done a fantastic job this season (once again). Thank you so much for putting Wales and Cardiff on the map and giving us all those wonderful characters! I should have hugged you but I'm too shy so take a cyber-hug!

Not entirely sure why you were worried about swearing. Didn't you hear the stuff young Gareth was talking about! Naughty boy that he is! And Kai - speechless! In Welsh too!

Just said...

Incidentally, did anyone find out who writes the BBC American Captains Blog? It has an awful lot of Jack and Ianto references and as you can imagine, the fans love it! Would be nice to know if really feeds back in because it's being written by one of the writers. By the way, what happened to Gary Russell?

Lina said...

James,
Sounds like a blast, sir! You got to run around and giggle with Eve Miles and I'd say that's every boy's dream. And you had a Queue. You're extra famous!

Just,
I asked BBC America about the blogs once (when they were lagging and I thought I could "volunteer" to be part of their web team). I got an email back saying thanks and all, but someone official writes it. So at least it's not some random BBC America person. They didn't say any hint as to who though. My guess would be it's one of the many awesome Big Finish writers.

Just said...

Thanks lina. I heard a rumour it was Gary Russell and this is why I missed him being there. Wanted to find out if it was him!

duskwillow said...

Great recap!

We couldn't tell at all that you were nervous!

And I laughed so much when you were explaining how you were trying to be all subtle, showing up at work in your Dalek t-shirts, when you wanted them to ask you to write a Doctor Who episode. Ha ha, brilliant!

And only one of us accidentally swore on the mic - I don't want to say who it is, but his initials are J.L., his name rhymes with Poe Kidster, and his actual name is Joe Lidster.
You obviously weren't there in the evening when Kai taught us how to say "fuck off" in Welsh. :D
And that was before Gareth changed lyrics for "Summer lovin'". Ahm, not sure if that's even appropriate to repeat here. *smirk*
Best evening entertainment ever!

(writers don't have glossy headshots of ourselves, that would just be weird)
Yeah, what's up with that?
There weren't even general Torchwood pictures to buy.
Still, I loved all the funny messages you lot wrote on that Captains Jack and John picture I had you sign, they're hilarious.

I thought that I'd somehow managed to block some other event, so asked "you're not all here for me, are you?" But they all nodded and smiled, I was amazed.
LMAO!!!
Hee, I was there when you asked that.
Like I said - you're a funny guy, why the hell wouldn't we want an autograph!

And my offer still stands - I'm sending you candies if you find out for us who's writing Captain's BLog on BBC America. Please. Pretty please? With little chocolate cyberman and jelly babies on top?

I am so used to keyboards now, that a drunken chimp is probably better than me at using a pen. I should hire one. Want me to sign that? Sure, talk to my chimp. Don't look him in the eye, he'll think it's a challenge, and try to mount you. Oh God, he's killed another kid - call the chimp that dumps the bodies.
LOL
Dead babies. Killer chimps. What will you come up with next Moran?!

- Cris

fsmn36 said...

Well, I only just found your blog thanks to The Rift, but I'm glad I did! Alas, I am one of the ones that would have enjoyed an autograph, but it was rather hard to find you guys in the crowd. Your panel was great though, and I actually really enjoyed your response to the warhead question--that your phone rang and you shut down your computer. Very amusing.

Thanks for coming and sharing with us! I always love to meet and/or hear from the people behind-the-scenes as well as cast. I hope it was a good experience for you. And I suspect, I may now become a regular on your blog.

Eledh said...

Hiya! I was at The Rift and I've met you and you sign my book and you were so kind and nice and cute and you wrote that I'm the winner of the Today's Most Intresting Name Contest. Lol.
It was wonderful to meet you. So... Here I am saying Hello.

Eledh

cs-whitewolf said...

Caught you at The Rift, brought my TW mag along just so I could nab you writers for an autograph ;) we do love you guys as much as our actors, for where would the show be without ya'll?

Thanks for being so awesome! ...and um, you want to tell us more about these twisted Weevil dress up games? ;D

random00 said...

Kind of disappointed I couldn't attend, but the lack of funds and general availablility kind of skewered that plan. (It also doesn't help I live in Western Canada...)

Glad to hear you had a wonderful time, and you shouldn't be so surprised at the amount of fans you've cultivated. Your writing is certainly some of the better stuff out there.

Anonymous said...

I was at The Rift, but didn't see you or any of the other writers around to get autographs. Damn.

It was a really good day though!

BaaBaaDoodle said...

Thank you for the great report on the Rift for those of us who couldn't be there!

I just read you will be at the Gallifrey One conv. in LA in Feb 2009, along with other luminaries! Yay, I'll have to try and get out there, unless you plan on making a few stops on the east coast first.

James Moran said...

Blimey! Hello and thank you to everyone who came to say hello. Blogtastic.

Cen: Thank you! I'll be at Gallifrey next year though, which is a bit closer...

Mame: That's okay, it was quite hectic out there. And bloody warm, too, don't know how you all coped in the hall all day.

Jill: Hello, was lovely to meet you too. I'll go to as many of the things as I can wangle invites to!

Deborah: I see a grim, terrifying future where every single episode of every single TV show is written by me, and starring shrinking violet John Barrowman. Oh, it may sound fun now, but we will abuse our power, you'll see. Heard about Kai and Gareth's show, sounds hilarious. Don't know why we were trying not to swear, though, considering the show we were there for... I am the fuckflaps guy, after all.

Keith: I've told you, stop selling those "glamour" shots of yourself at conventions, it just upsets the youngsters. Show some decency!

Just: Will try and find out... As for Gary Russell, we sold him to some Russian mobsters. Still not quite sure why.

Duskwillow: I scribbled on a few faces, even put moustaches on one, was that yours? See above for the blog thing, will ask around, because I want sweeties.

Fsmn36: It was a fab experience, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hopefully next time we can take more questions from the audience, I could have gone on talking nonsense for much longer.

Eledh: Hello! And when I had finished signing everything, yours was still the most interesting name, so your title is unchallenged.

Cs-whitewolf: All I know is, there's a whole wardrobe of outfits that are specially tailored to Janet, and only Jack and Ianto have a key to it. And at the weekends, when everyone's gone home, it's dress up time. Somewhere there are photos. I've said too much already.

Just said...

Just: Will try and find out... As for Gary Russell, we sold him to some Russian mobsters. Still not quite sure why.

I hope you haven't because I am rather fond of his writing! But I would love you forever and send you loads of kisses and hugs and even possibly my first child if you could find out....

I look forward to seeing you again at some point! It would be great if someone decided to organise something in Cardiff - hint hint!!

Georgie said...

Hey James,

Glad you had a good time @ The Rift.

I certainly did too, was just amazing from start to finish!

You signed my poster "Death to babies" XD hehehe, gave me a chuckle :P

You were in such awe when everyone came huddling around you for an autograph, bless ya ^_____^

Thanks for coming!

Georgie x

Stevyn Colgan said...

Well done on the viewing figures, geezer.

Eledh said...

Eledh: Hello! And when I had finished signing everything, yours was still the most interesting name, so your title is unchallenged.

Yay!
I'm happy to hear that. I'm very very proud of my name, so...
Anyway, I hope everything's all right after The Rift.

Sharon said...

Am just catching up on this, bad me *lol*
It was a great day, wasn't it? It's the first con-type-thing I've been to and everyone I met was lovely... and yeah, I can imagine it must've been a bit scary but you all hid it well ;)