The After Earth Panel was a Success
I’ve been doing convention panels since 1981 or so and rarely get flustered let alone nervous. And yet, this morning I was definitely feeling some butterflies as we stood backstage getting ready for the After Earth panel.
Friday night, we met in the Omni’s Jimmy Carter Presidential Suite to meet one another and review the run down. Peter David and screenwriter Gary Whitta were insisting on cupcakes and sure enough, there were two dozen assorted gourmet cupcakes awaiting us. We were shown what video and still images would be displayed and then went over what we would be saying. Interestingly, producer Caleeb Pinkett told the story of how he and Will Smith conceived what ultimately became this film and at what stage it was handed over to Gary to turn into a script.
There were lots of leftover cupcakes so I suggested we bring them to the panel and give them away to fans asking good questions. This went over well even though it meant going off the script.
Saturday morning, Mike and I had a lovely breakfast with the film’s Director of Photography, Peter Suschitzky. We chatted about our work and where things in life overlapped and I was pleased to learn he not only shot The Empire Strikes Back but The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We then met up with the others and our handlers from Sony. I’ve never had handlers before but I was perfectly happy to have these three women handle me.
We met up early and were walked over to the convention center and entered the back of room 6, a 1000 seat venue which was rapidly filling in with kids in white bunny ear hats. Apparently, we were being followed by Adventuretime and these kids were here to secure seats. While many interested in AE were frozen out, there was little that could be done.
Finally, it was time, as Ralph, a DJ from the legendary KROQ took the podium and began introducing the audience to the world of After Earth. Then we were introduced and the butterflies vanished as I slipped into panel mode.
The next hour zipped by and for a detailed rundown, I recommend you read the coverage at Cinema Blend. To get a better understanding of the work we did on the Bible, check out this video at the AE webpage. To see more in the coming weeks, make sure you like the AE Facebook page.
The cupcakes were a big hit and got some nice laughs so it worked out and the questions were thoughtful and insightful so overall, the panel was a major success for all concerned.
Our handlers escorted Mr. Suschitzky, artist Beni Lobel, me and Mike to the Sony booth where we signed the comic book exclusive and an AE logo mini one-sheet. The fans zipped by steadily and many admitted they had no idea what the film was and were on line for the latest giveaway although once we explained it to them, they were excited.
Suddenly, it was Noon and my brief period of celebrity ended and I returned to being one of the thousands wandering the convention center. Still and all, the amount of attention and detail given this film, from inception through this experience convinces me Overbrook has incredible faith and enthusiasm for this project in addition to confidence in us, which was a fabulous feeling.