Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Botcon 2009, pt 1

Highlights of this year's Botcon were, for us, more about the experience and events than any specific news revelations unveiled by Hasbro or other convention guests. We had such a blast, our heads are still spinning trying to process it all! Below is a video from Thursday at the convention center, the night before the the sales floor opened.

All things considered, we thought the lines moved in a very orderly and efficient fashion as compared with previous years, even with the much increased attendance.

The first gallery (below) features the "Sights of Botcon." It's an assortment of many of the things we saw throughout the weekend. I'll try to give you a brief rundown of what's included. To the right, that's me next to Tyrese "Left Cheek!" Gibson, who made a surprise appearance at the end of the second Hasbro panel. Other treats of the weekend included the Botcon Exclusives, the "Animating Animated" panel with Matt Youngberg (Producer), Derrick Wyatt (art director) and Marty Isenberg Transformers Animated lead writer and editor. Fans enjoyed a panel by the Transformers movie writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, that's them on the right talking to Animated writer Marty Isenberg, following their autograph session. Also seen were panels by Stan (You've got the Touch!) Bush and Vince DiCola (TFTM musical score), Greg Berger (G1 Grimlock) and Michael McConnie (G1 Tracks and Cosmos), Hasbro and the G1 cartoon series writers panel. Shown here the Generation One writers panel.

The video below is a clip from the G1 writers panel: (from left to right) Flint Dille (TFTM... Writer), Paul Davids (Cosmic Rust...), David Wise (Key to Vector Sigma...) and Bryce Malek (editor) each take their turns answering questions from one fan: How they kept straight all the different things going on to "fit into continuity." He also asked about their most and least favorite characters and if any Transformer's personalities were based on personal friends.

Unfortunately, this clip ended just before Flint Dille stated how the new Autobot characters were based on the '85 Bears Mike McMahon, Mike Singletary, etc! Too funny.

Although photographs from the Transformers Movie writers panel Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, were hard to come by, I did take notes of the highlights, which you can read below. Stay tuned the Unicron.com report from Botcon 2009, Part 2 is coming up next!

Orci/Kurtzman: Started panel with discussion of how hard they worked on ROTF the second writer's strike was done. They locked themselves in a hotel room to write, write, write... Shooting began 4 months to the day after the strike ended.

Thanks to the fans for involvement! Still amazed at the level of fan enthusiasm.

Question about differences between writing Transformers versus Star Trek:
Star Trek and Transformers are very different franchises. Signature characters in transformers are millon dollar a minute CGI creations. Whereas Kirk and spok are the best actors in their price range! :) What do we like writing better? I don't know, we'll see when we do the third (Transformers) film and have Megatron vs. the Enterprise! We'll see who wins!

Talking about Shia's accident, it wasn't his fault. Media didn't emphasize that the car that struck him ran a red light before colliding with him. The fact that he was able to continue filming was amazing. When you watch the moive, especially the third act, notice he's doing these stunts with a seriously smashed up hand. The guy's a trooper!

Q: about deciding about new characters for ROTF
A: 3 ways new characters decided upon for the film
1.) carry over from first movie: Ravage, Soundwave, Arcee
2.) Michael Bay had ideas, wanted new character personalities to fit story needs.
3.) Hasbro suggested character personas that they brought in.

Q: Dinobots in the third one?
A: Maybe

Alex talked about working with Hasbro. a constant flow of creative energy and back and forth dialog. Never had anything forced upon them. Shown options, what can be done. It was like being shown an enormous menu and getting to choosing exactly and as many characters as best suited the story of ROTF.

Q: How do you react to blog criticism?
A: They had post production meetings. Lets talk about critiques. Was their too much humor, did we not spend enough time on the robots? etc

Many lessons learned from the first movie, what worked, what didn't...Now that we have seen what the geniuses at ILM can do, push the envelope... Alex motioned to Bob Orci and said, he handles criticism better than I do. Probably because often time, fans were right with their critique.

Q: is the big guy with the wheel Demolisher or Scavenger?
Greg Lombardo: I know why you're asking, but we cannot say until you see the film there is a reason why he has two names.

Q: What are the chances of seeing Unicron?
A: (Bob Orci) I think there is a good chance of that. Especially if you fans raise a stink!

Q: About deciding upon Soundwave's alternate mode
A: He was tricky, we look at Humvee with giant speakers... Ultimately, his form was decided upon by knowing he has to do with sound and the transmission of communications stuff...

Q: Will we ever see the Autobot Matrix of Leadership in the live movies?
A: That is a very good question. thank you for asking. Next question! :Crowd erupts with applause and lgughter.

Q: About selling the concept of "female" Transformers.
A: It took no "selling" to the studio or Bay. No explanation of femaleness of robots needed or given. They just are.

Q: About silver Corvette being Sideswipe and why this car selection.
A: If you know Michael, you know he loves cars. He actually considered keeping Sideswipe a Lambrogini, seeing as how he has 2! (Crowd laughter!) But we actually get very little say as to car selection and this is the magnificent beauty that he chose. We took aspects of his personality and put it in that phenomenal looking car.

Q: About Skids an Mudflap:
A: About them, Ice craem truck we can't reveal too much about why he is the form that he is, much is dictated by what Michael Bay thinks is funny. You'll learn more about why he has this form in the story of the movie.

Q: Another questions about Unicron in TF3
A: Kurtzman asked why? Seriously, why do you want to see him?
A: Fan responded with awesomeness of scale, a planet transformer and Unicron's ultimate place within the mythology of Transformers.

Q: Why do Transformers mostly turn into humanoid form?
A: It turns out to be a result of co-evolution to similar forms in silicon based life forms

Q: Will there be a grand explanation of the nature or development of combiners?
A: Michael wanted, well, that is if there are combiners in ROTF! :) He wanted to sell it on seeing it, without the build-up. Make it make sense story-wise without having to have a long winded explanation. It's another logical fit, getting back to the evolution of silicon based life forms. You want the real explanation? Well, it all started in the techno-swamps near the Taurus states of Praxus... Crowd applause and laughter!

Q: Fifth vote for Unicron in TF3! Then fan asked, studio was not originally into the idea of robots talking... did that influence the decision to keep Bumblebee from talking?
A: No, there were a number of things that informed that. 1) ET like interaction... 2) We knew that Prime was coming in the middle of the movie, and the first first robot you hear speak needs to be Prime.

Q: Is the helicopter Decepticon seen in the trailer Grindor or Blackout?
A: That's a spoiler...Not comfortable talking about that until you're seen the movie.


And that wraps up the highlights of the Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman panel. Stay tuned, Part 2 of Unicron.com's report from Botcon 2009 is coming up soon!

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