From Bleeding Cool's Trip To Australia's Supanova Con

Vicki Isitt writes for Bleeding Cool.

I've survived San Diego Comic Con. It's a hectic, fast-paced marathon that runs like a flawless machine where every volunteer and attendee knows what's going on and where they need to be.

Supanova is not San Diego. That's not to say Supanova is disappointing, it just has room for improvement.

Here's the run down on how Supanova went this weekend.

By purchasing a Supa-Fan pass you, punters are granted access to the opening night, which really just means the chance to pre-purchase autograph and photo tickets. You also guarantee yourself access to the major panels over the weekend. Basically, you want a Supa-Fan pass if you need to attend any of the panels.

The major guests in attendance this year were James and Oliver Phelps, Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin, Edward James Olmos, Wil Wheaton, Peter Facinelli, Jim Kelly, Chandler Riggs, Rainbow Sun Francks, Cliff Simon and Jamie Alexander. All were signing autographs, some doing photos, and some Q and A panels.

Some of the show went well, some of the show went less well. Here's the good and bad.

The Good:

–          When you purchase a photograph ticket you are give one of the allotted time slots so you know when to queue up.

–          Queues for panels are relatively short, everyone with a pass gets in, and everyone has a fair chance to be picked to answer a question.

–          There were a good range and variety of "Supa-Guests"

–          If you like Cosplay, you're pretty much set for the weekend.

–          The split between those in costume and those not is pretty much 50/50, so however you choose to dress you'll blend in fine.

The Bad:

–          When you purchase an autograph ticket, you don't get an allotted time. You have to check the boards for when the Supa-Guest is returning to the stand and often you'll get told the line is full and to come back later.

–          If you've purchased a photo with a guest, don't expect it to be printed any time soon. Come back in a few hours or even the next day – but don't expect to be told any of this – if you ask when your pictures are due you can expect "I don't know" or just a shrug.

–          Apart from the Dominos food stand in the hall, there's only one food outlet on the premises so queues to eat will be long at any time of day.

–          This next point can perhaps be construed as good, depending on your perspective, but after every panel the hall gets emptied. This means that if you want to watch 2 or 3 panels in a row, you'd have to re-queue each time. Great news if you only want to see one panel. Bad news if you want to see many.

–          Unless you want to pre-purchase photo or auto-graphs, opening night isn't worth attending.

My recommended improvements for next year:

–          Allotted autograph times

–          Allotted photo pick up times/numbered photos rather than the staff just waving them in the air and hoping they get recognised.

–          A better and more detailed map of where each of the panel rooms are.

–          Cheaper tickets and autographs.

–          More guests.

–          More knowledgeable volunteers.

–          More VIP/Media access.

–          More events for non-Cosplay attendees.

Here's a picture of a couple of British people hanging out in Australia.

That's me in the middle, posing with James and Oliver Phelps of Harry Potter ginger-hair infamy.

And here's a transcript of the Phelps' Q&A panel for the Potterheads reading this.

Q: You two went to the Collingwood vs Carlton AFL (Australia Football League) game on Friday Night. How did it compare to Quidditch?

A: It was different! I'd seen AFl on TV before but it's hard to grasp what the hell is going on, especially when you don't know the rules, but we had a great time. As for difference to Quidditch, a bit difference I suppose, but it was really good fun. We always find that when you're in a new city if you hang out where the locals go you get a good grasp of the city, and we had a really good time.

Q: When you played Fred and George, did you ever go on and play each other's characters?

A: Playing twins, there's always that thing that we could switch around as that's what the characters do. But it was only the second film, in a big great hall scene for a rehearsal that we switched sides of the table. It's the only time we ever switched roles as it were. But that's later transpired to being asked in interviews "I read in a newspaper that you changed roles and they found out and they had to reshoot six months of the movie, how to you talk about that?" "Er…no." "But wikedpia says it's true!"

Q: Which Harry Potter film was your favourite?

A: I'm going to say the Goblet of Fire for me. That's when we were like 18/19 when shooting anyway so we got to go to the big bright lights of London as it were, and I got to grow my hair pretty long…much to my grandmother's disgust. But we had such a great time doing that movie, we did a few stunts which was pretty cool, learnt how to ballroom dance which I never thought I'd do, or have done since…but it was fun to do. That film by a small majority, but not a lot.

Q: What's your favourite animal?


A: Er……….a penguin. There was a documentary on Frozen Planet, and there was a great segment when the penguins were building their nest and this guy was taking forever waddling up and putting pieces down, and as he went away this little guy turned around and nicked it. I think they're pretty comical.

We saw a guy dressed as a penguin when we were leaving the AFL game playing bagpipes. It was probably the most random combination I've seen in my life.

Q: When you were filming, were any pranks made?

A: Yeah, we did a few. If you're good enough to dish them out you've got to receive them, you know? So luckily we did alright avoiding them.

There's a bit of a long winded one if you don't mind that? Basically my friend Antony, we've had a prank war going on for about six years, its non-stop and you'd think we'd grow out of it but we haven't. Basically Anthony was Rupert's double – though he likes to tell girls he's a "stunt double". So, anyway Ant and I had this on-going banter and he came on one of the promotional tours, and we were in Finland and had a night out. Oliver and I had to get up early so we went home early, but Ant stayed up until quite late. Very late. We ended up saying that the press had been saying our entourage had been tearing up the city, running wild and they were going to chuck us off the tour, and sending us home and that he might lose his job. And this was on the day of the international release of the 6th Harry Potter film.

We'd already been planning this the whole morning we were doing the press junkets while he was really hungover in bed. And he was at the stage where after a night out, you know you get emotional? And so he came downstairs and we were telling him what was going on, and we got the whole Warner Bros team in on it as well, so he was literally staring at his phone waiting for his boss at the studio to say "Don't come in on Monday." And it was literally possibly the funniest thing I've ever done, that was six hours long, and so eventually one of the guys from Warner Bros just said, "Ant, I can't do this anymore, they're having you on", and the relief just came back to him. It was very funny.

Q: [to James} What was it like to play and dead person? What was your reaction when you read it?

I mean, it was possibly the easiest day for me on set. It was Oliver and Rupert really, they made that scene work. I just lay there. I fell asleep in rehearsals.

Q: What do you reckon the twin's boggarts are?

A: A penguin. I'm not sure actually, no idea. Filch maybe?

Q: Which Australian animal are you most terrified of?

A:  James: I'm afraid of getting plane and seeing…

Oliver: No, no, no, Australian animal

James: Of getting on a plane, and seeing a wombat.

Oliver: Flying…?

Q: Did you get a choice in which twin you would be?

A: We had no idea actually. We came to the read through of the first movie not knowing who was who, and we saw the main casting direct and asked that we don't know who's who. So she walked around the table to David Heyman, J.K Rowling and Chris Columbus were all sitting there. They're talking for a couple of minutes, and we like to think they were talking about 'oh remember that massive important boardroom meeting we had about who's playing who', but the casting director came back and said "James you're Fred, Oliver you're George", so yeah, it was easy as that.

Q: What is your favourite Fred or George quote?

My favourite one is a George one, where it's the biggest awkward moment for any couple trying to sneak a little kiss. Where he just comes in with "Morning", that would be my favourite.

Q: How did you feel about dying your hair orange?

Oliver: Yeah, it wasn't the normal thing for a lad from our town to be doing…especially ginger of all colours, it was odd. But we got used to it; every three weeks we got our roots touched up and they bleached your eyebrows.

James: The weird thing was though, I was at a football – soccer – game, and my friend was saying "what are you up to tonight?" and I replied, "I've got to go to London to get my roots touched up." Real macho thing to say at a football game.

Q: If you were able to take one magic spell/item from Hogwarts into the real world what would it be?

Definitely a portkey, because we came down from L.A and that took 17 hours on a plane, so to just touch something and be here…

Q: Last time you were in Melbourne I was part of a group dressing you up as fireman and giving you cork hats. What is the weirdest thing you've done with/for a fan?

A: That's definitely up there. I don't know if it's with, but we were shooting up in Newcastle and we were walking down the river – myself, Oliver, Sean Biggerstaff who played Oliver Wood, and our Dad. And all of a sudden these fans recognised us and screamed after us, so before we knew we were running, so we got chased for about a mile, so by the end we were like 'why are we running?….We don't know", and we turned around, then they didn't know what to do either…

Q: In an interview a few years ago you mentioned someone had given you a bra with potatoes in it, what other weird things have given you?

A: Someone once sent via airmail special delivery a watermelon to sign and send back. It tasted really good though.

Q: Who is your favourite cast member?

A: There are so many……maybe Julie Walters. She played our mum so she was really great to work with.


Q: Who were some of the characters in the Harry Potter series you wish Fred and George had had more scenes with?

A: I think Michael Gambon, who played Dumbledore, was one of them. He's such a funny guy in real life, and a genuine nice bloke, it would have been great to do some one on one scenes with him.

Q: What made you audition for Harry Potter?

A: A friend of my mum's saw it in a paper being advertised, and we thought 'could be in a film and a day off school…' That was pretty much it!

Q: Have you ever played the Harry Potter lego games?

A: Yes. Very funny. Oliver and I did the voice for the actual EA Games so getting to see how they're made was a really cool, thing to do. Plus, I've seen myself as a lego character so that's something ticked off the list.

Q: The twins have the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. If you could have one product what would it be?

A: When we were shooting, there's one called The Pimple Cream, I think if you marketed that you'd be minted.

Or, there's another one called Pimp My Broomstick. That's pretty cool. If you watch that scene you can actually see it, there a broomstick with huge exhausts on the back and stereo system.

Q: What was it like filming the Quidditch scenes?

A: It wasn't quite as interesting as it looked in the film I have to admit, but it was fun. You'd literally be on a crane with a guy operating it, and you'd be as high as the ceiling and move all around. They'd show you a cartoon animation of how they want the scene to look.

Q: Did you do your own stunts in the Harry Potter movies?

A: About 90% of them. What was really cool in the Goblet of Fire when they put their names in they get blown back, and the beards come out. We did the bit where the take off which was great, we got the harness and stuff, and then we were thinking can we do the crash as well, but the stunt doubles were like, 'no, we'll do that." But they did it twice, and the second time Bradley, who was my (James') stunt double dislocated his elbow, so I was like, "thanks Bradley!"

Q: Do you remember the first day of filming, and what were you feeling being not only on a movie set, but a set for Harry Potter?

A: I remember like it was yesterday. We were in a small town in Yorkshire, the middle of nowhere, and the first thing we shot was the last scene, where Harry gets on the train. So that made us aware straight away that they don't film things in sequence.

So, we knew it was a Harry Potter movie, but it was our first ever job so we were just scared to be honest with you. I was petrified. But when you see all the crew working and all the background guys, it was really fun and I'd love to go back to that little place again 12 years later.  I remember there were loads of press trying to find out what the Hogwarts uniform looked like, so they gave us us gold umbrella so we'd all walk like that {umbrellas in front of them}, very surreal.


Finally, here's a picture of people queuing, and another of some other folk who made a bit of an effort.

And that is Supanova.