On Friday Feb 7th, the evening before the start of the convention I was extremely excited and nervous. Excited because I would have the chance to meet some Doctor Who guests: Tony Curran (He played Vincent Van Gogh in the episode, “Vincent and the Doctor”), the 7th Doctor Sylvester McCoy, and most excitedly, Karen Gillan. Throughout the day I had managed to get some homework done but at around 8:00 pm my mind was consumed with thoughts about meeting Karen. “I hope I don’t cry.” I told myself. “What if I trip?” I worried. I also had the privilege of giving Tony Curran and Karen Gillan, Doctor Who 50th anniversary medals that were made specifically for a virtual charity race. “Am I going to be allowed to give Karen the medal? What if she doesn’t like it? I will only have about a minute to speak to her, I hope I can explain to her a little bit about the medal and not just shove it in her face.” I finally managed to fall asleep around 3:30am(I had a dream I lost my convention ticket…) only to wake up at 6:30 am. I headed to the convention center at around 8:00 am to start a day that would be filled with waiting, though to be honest, waiting in an hour in 34 degree weather was my least favorite part of the day.
After entering the building and being allowed to wait inside, those of us with VIP tickets were given free reign before the event opened up to those with general admission tickets. I spent the whole hour with other VIP ticket holders waiting for Karen to arrive. I have to admit I was a bit annoyed, until she finally arrived. She was so tall I could see the top of her head, even with a crowd around her! And she looked beautiful and she was rocking her short hair. Once she sat down, things started moving quickly. I swear I almost stopped breathing when she looked up at me and smiled. But I had a job to do so I quickly handed her the Doctor who medal and explained I participated in a virtual charity race and that the directors of the race wanted her to have a medal. I had my medal on so I showed her what it looked like and she graciously took the metal, as well as the letter, I had written her. (Yes, I wrote her a letter. I figured if she read it at all, she would probably throw it away, but at the same time, I figured this will probably be the only time I see her…). Obviously, I didn’t get to spend much time with her, but even just standing there for a few minutes talking with her and seeing her smile put me in a great mood. Logically I knew she was an actress-Amy Pond does not exist, but at the same time it felt so surreal, Amy Pond is just a fictional character, but obviously she has Karen’s face!
After getting Karen’s autograph, I went up to get Sylvester McCoy’s autograph and he was such a sweetie, however, embarrassingly, I could feel that my nose was beginning to get runny so I hightailed it out of there after getting his autograph. I did not think the Doctor would appreciate me getting boogers on him…
Finally I went to Tony Curran’s booth. I choose a picture of him dressed as Vincent Van Gogh from Doctor Who and he signed his real name of course, but at the bottom he signed, “Vincent.” When I gave him the medal, he immediately opened the bubble wrap that surrounded it and then asked me to place the medal on him! He was so excited that he shouted to his Defiance cast members, “I got a fucking medal.”
Afterwards, I tried to go and find some food, but the hamburger I ordered was inedible so I ended up having a snow cone for lunch…I then went back upstairs and talked with a kid dressed up as the Doctor and then a woman about our excitement and love of Doctor Who. Even though I was VIP and would be guaranteed a seat to the Doctor Who Q and A portion, I decided to go into the Defiance Q and A, especially since I wanted to see what type of character Tony Curran was playing. I was surprised to see Tony walk into the Q and A proudly displaying the Doctor Who medal I gave him. I wish I had sat closer to the stage so I could have taken some pictures! In terms of the Q and A session and he the rest of his cast members were extremely funny. In fact, I think I need to check out the show Defiance…
Next was the Doctor Who Q and A with Sylvester McCoy and Karen Gillan. They were both fantastic. Karen Gillan tried on McCoy’s hat and of course she looked absolutely adorable and then they couldn’t decide who should sit where so they flipped McCoy’s hat (I think she called tails…but I can’t remember) in order to decide where to sit. I have to say they got on so well together. They were both so charming and funny. My favorite part though, had to be when little kids went to talk with Karen Gillan, some even managed to sneak in a picture with her, even the moderator could not say no to cute 7 and 8 year olds asking for a selfie or saying, “my friends don’t believe I am talking to you. So I need to prove to them I am here with you.” Even though I sat towards the front, I was still not close enough to get any decent pictures, especially since the lighting in the room was atrocious so I just sat back and enjoyed the show.
The photo op lines were extremely disorganized. There was only one room and one photographer taking pictures. It was a mess. But things finally got sorted. My first picture of the day was with Karen Gillan and Tony Curran. Tony saw me with my Doctor Who medal, and opened his jacket and pulled it out, Karen said, “Oh yeah” and it looked like she was looking for her medal, but because of the pace of the photo op (the process was like herding cattle) she had no chance to grab it. Next I had a photo op with Sylvester McCoy and of course I checked to make sure there was no danger of my nose leaking. He has the biggest and sweetest smile.
Finally I had my solo op with Karen. It was a bit stressful since there were so many people wanting her picture. In fact she had been taking pictures earlier, but because of the interest people had to be turned away and told to come back in the evening. But I remember after getting the picture taken and as I was leaving, she shouted, “Thank you!” and immediately had to prepare for the next person…
All in all, I had a great time. I spent a good portion of the day waiting in lines and the photo op lines were extremely disorganized, but I still managed to see everyone I wanted to see.
Here are some tips for those who plan on going to conventions where there are well known guests in attendance: if you have the money, get VIP. VIP allowed me to get in line for Karen’s signature before things got to hectic. Pre order your convention tickets and your photo ops! If you don’t, you will be waiting in line for hours and chances are the tickets might sell out. You can’t do everything, so make a decision about what you want to do. In my case, I was not interested in buying merchandise, if I had time I would buy some, but it was not a priority, as a result I decided to stay where the action was to ensure I was able to enter the Doctor Who Q and A. There were weaknesses to this convention: the venue was way too small and the photo op lines were a mess. But as an attendee, you cannot control the way the event is organized. I went in assuming things would be chaotic and as a result I had a game plan.
All in all I had a great time, and I hope that more Doctor Who guests will come to the Dallas area in the future!