On the way to Pasadena, I witnessed a rainbow showing starkly against a grey and rainy sky…a good omen, I hoped. After arriving in Pasadena around 6pm to meet the rest of the team for dinner, we eventually all started to trickle in. Some of us brought supplies, some of us just brought ourselves, but eventually we all came together at Gordon Biersch for dinner.
Over dinner we discussed last minute items, such as some VIP’s that had just called us that afternoon, volunteer setup, and so on. Once we all had our assignments, we broke from dinner to get the theater set up for us. Several people, such as Kelly, Alison, and so on stayed inside to do some last minute goodie bag assembly. I, on the other hand, stayed outside with one of our volunteers, Wendy, to do crowd control.
One thing I’ll say about Whedon fans, they rarely need crowd control. If this screening and last year’s “Can’t Stop the Serenity” screening have taught me anything, it’s that Whedon fans are the most patient bunch of folks on the planet. People began to line up a little after 8:00 PM, even though we couldn’t let them in the theater until around 9:40 PM.
While I was outside, I helped sell goodie bags with the two Susan’s (Weber and Fox), Wendy, and Suzanne, and I had a great time interacting with the crowd. Most people seemed very happy to be there even with the wait. Thankfully, it wasn’t too cold or it might’ve been worse, but overall the weather cooperated with us despite a few sprinkles.
Once we allowed people into the theater, there was a mad rush for good seats, as was to be expected, but eventually everyone found their place within the theater. Before the show started, we all went down to the front so Marsia could introduce us. Then Maria came out and introduced our special guests, James Leary (Clem), Camden Toy (various baddies) and David Fury (writer/director). While I’d met Camden Toy at the Browncoat Backup Bash, I’d never met the other two, so this was a real joy.
Once introductions were out of the way, we all settled in to watch the show. Unfortunately, we were without the theater’s projectionist, so someone on the theater’s staff had to muck about with the DVD player. This led to several delays in starting both Once More with Feeling and Smile Time, but most people didn’t seem to mind too much.
Eventually, Once More with Feeling began, and the show was in full swing. It was amazing to see and hear everyone get into the show in some way, whether singing along or just waving a glow stick. Watching hundreds of people wave around glow sticks and blow bubbles was a real joy to behold, and singing along with the songs was fantastic. Also hearing everyone cheer for David Fury was a real treat.
During the first episode, Kelly and Marsia did the ticket drawing for the prize drawing at the end of the show. Marsia then tried to convince Kelly and I to go down to the front of the theater and do some theatrics, but we said no. She eventually convinced a couple of other folks – who weren’t a couple – to do it instead.
After Once More with Feeling was over, we had a short intermission so folks could go to the bathroom, and during this time I nearly fell asleep (I was exhausted after all). Once that was over, we eventually started Smile Time. Now this was the first time I’d ever seen Smile Time, so I was unsure what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect the funniest Buffy-verse episode I’d ever seen. I think my favorite part was the fight between puppet Angel and Spike. I was nearly rolling on the floor.
Once Smile Time was done, Marsia tried to announce the drawing winners over the DVD menu, which wouldn’t shut off (again, thanks to the lack of a projectionist). Once the winners were announced, we tried to shuffle everyone out of the theater so that the theater folks could clean up after us. Out in the downstairs lobby, I got to have a small conversation with David Fury, and I told him how much I enjoyed all of his Buffy and Angel episodes, which I did.
After giving the prizes to the winners and taking some pictures with the VIP’s, our crew – with Camden Toy in tow – went to a nearby diner called Conrad’s. While most folks ordered food, I just got coffee since I was too exhausted to eat. Eventually we left Conrad’s about 2:30 AM Saturday morning, and I got home around 3 AM.
Overall, despite some minor issues, I’d say the screening was a success. We made a lot of people happy, had a lot of fun, and raised a good amount of money for a worthy charity. I just hope the next one isn’t as exhausting as this one.