25th ~ 27th March, 2011
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.


 

 

GREETINGS FROM DOUGIE!!!

A lovely video from Fan-Sapien and Puppy 'SillyKris!!!

 

Click on the thumbnail to see a larger image

THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF GLENNIS SIVERSON

© 2011 Glennis Siverson. All rights reserved.

Convention Report

by Lauren Maurer

After two years, Florida Fan-Sapien Lauren finally gets to meet Dougie!


Disclaimer: All the details - including (supposedly) direct quotes - are written as best as I could remember.

INTRO

I've been hanging out on the Del Toro forums since sometime in about 2008. So, I've been a Fan Sapien for a little while now - but had never actually met Doug Jones. So, when I found out he was going to be at MegaCon this year, just a couple hours from where I live, I knew I had to go. Fortunately, new Tank member "SillyKris" is also a Floridian, so we arranged to meet up at the convention.

Saturday morning I was hauling up the Florida Turnpike, trying to get to Orlando. I knew Doug had a Q&A at 11:15, so that was my goal. But although I made great time on the road, when I got to Orlando I found International Drive (the major road leading to the convention center) was a parking lot. And, speaking of parking lots, all the parking even remotely near the convention was FULL. Ack! I called Kris, who'd already gotten there, and told her I wasn't sure if I could make it or not.

After being herded from parking lot to parking lot, I finally ended up a good twenty minute walk from where MegaCon was happening - and Doug was on in fifteen! I hoofed it halfway across Orlando (or so it felt), got to the right building, and then jumped in line to get my one-day pass for the con - checking the time about every thirty seconds. By the time I got into the con, it was just shy of 11:30. I was hoping maybe I could still sneak in the back of the room and catch the rest of Doug's Q&A session. So, I headed down the hallway, looking for room 230. I passed 228 ... and hit 232 (whaaa?!).

I turned on the spot a few times, trying to figure out what I did wrong ... but couldn't figure it out. Then I saw two very approachable-looking older women in Steampunk costumes (which rocked, by the way), and asked if they knew where room 230 was.

"Oh, down the hall, and make a right," one of them said, at which point I was about to break into a sprint. "But if you're looking for Doug Jones," she said, stopping me midstride, "he's not there."

I froze on the spot for a second. "Well, where is he?" I asked. The women shrugged.

"Missing."

"... Missing?"

"Yep. Missing. Gone AWOL."

So, at this point I called Kris, to confirm that Doug was indeed missing ("How can he be missing???"). Not sure what else to do, I headed for the room, where I found Kris in the front row. Waiting.

Q&A

Since we'd never met before, Kris and I spent a little while on introductions and the like, and went over our respective care packages we'd brought for Doug: I'd brought several bags of cough drops since we knew he had a cold, some Easter chocolate for him, and cookies for everybody at his table (I didn't know how many to expect). Kris was similarly prepared with an excellent assortment of goodies.

On the plus side, I hadn't missed the start of the Q&A. But that's because there was, as of yet, no Dougie to miss.

Fortunately, soon after we'd settled in, there came an unmistakeable voice from the back of the room:

"Sorry! Sorry guys, I'm here now - I made it!" Enter a gesticulating and apologetic Doug, followed by a somewhat harassed-looking but apparently amused Derek (or maybe he wasn't following so much as herding; it's hard to say). Kris and I exchanged grins, and I bounced happily in my seat. Doug! I was finally seeing Doug in person!

We took our seats, and Doug got up on the dais, and looked around.

"All this for me?" he said, surveying the setup. "Can I just sit on the table?" he asked - and then sprang up onto the table and sat, legs dangling over the front. "There, that's better." I was, I expect, grinning like a fool at this point, because Doug was right ... there.

"Ohmigawdit'sDOUG!" I think I giggled a few times to Kris.

The DVD with Doug's "sizzle reel" was MIA for some reason, so at first Doug sat up front and gave everyone a quick run-down of his career. At some point, I think when the missing DVD arrived, he was coughing and apologized, explaining that he had a bit of a cold.

"You should give him his cough drops now," Kris said, nudging me in the shoulder.

"But he has no idea who I am," I protested.

"So?"

"Well ... alright."

So shortly after the video started playing, I popped up out of my seat.

"Psst. Doug." Because he was sitting on the table on the stage, his kneecaps were at about eyeball level, so he had to lean forward to look at me. "Here," I said, handing him a bag of cough drops. He gesticulated his thanks (which, you know, Doug is singularly articulate that way) and set the bag on the table - then did a double-take.

"Wait, I know your face," he said, taking my chin in hand. "What's your name?"

"Lauren," I said - although I started signing my name when I wasn't sure it would come out audibly on the first try.

At this point there was a flurry of gesturing, face-cuddling, and other general tokens of recognition that have, alas, all become a blur in my head. Suffice it to say, Doug was thoroughly aware of who I was (which, by the way, I was completely touched by that).

"It's been years!" he said.

"Yep," I said, with a laugh. "I've been in the Tank since when Hellboy II came out."

"Oh, it's so good to finally get to meet you!" he said, and I got my face cuddled some more (with no complaints from me). I think I promised to visit him after the Q&A, then I (reluctantly) floated back over to my seat and sat down.

Kris looked over at me. "Well, that looked like fun."

"Heehee," I giggled.

The whole Q&A was great, but since I think there's video of it I won't go into a play-by-play here - although I did appreciate that the Fan Sapiens in the audience got a shoutout from Doug for knowing his first film with Guillermo Del Toro - that'd be Mimic.

Care Packages, and First Encounters

After the Q&A ended, Doug drifted back to his table - at the insistence of the cool and collected Derek - with fans in tow, like a Pied Piper. Kris, her friend Colette (whom I got to meet after the Q&A), and I dutifully followed, eventually getting in line at Doug's table. There were so many people who wanted to see Doug! I was impressed, but I wouldn't say surprised - who wouldn't want some Dougie-time?

Kris was a little bit nervous to meet Doug, and wanted me to go first.

"What's to be nervous about?" I said. "Didn't you see what happened at the Q&A? He's like, the most non-threatening person on the planet!" Nonetheless, I certainly didn't mind going first ...

When I got up to the table, I introduced myself to Derek (who's a rockstar in my eyes, by the way), and then it was time to say hi to Doug.

"On orders from a certain feisty Scotswoman [Ed; That would be Webmaster Helen, who is quite tickled at being called 'feisty'.], I have brought you a care package," I said, handing over Doug's bag of goodies. I made sure he knew he had more cough drops in the bag, and admonished him to share his chocolate chip cookies (like he needed to be told; the next time I saw him he was plying his fans with said cookies). There's Love!

"So," I said, "the reason you recognize me is that, when Hellboy II came out, I got a friend to take a picture of me in the audience, holding a sign, and then I sent you the picture. This sign," I said, producing it from my bag. Naturally, then, Doug insisted we should take a picture together with the infamous sign - a great way to get my first Dougie-hug!

After we took the picture, Kris and Colette got their turn with Dougie (I'll leave it to Kris to go into detail about that; but it was definitely priceless).

One of the things I admire most about Doug is that he gives each person his complete and undivided attention. When he's talking to you, you might as well be the only person in his universe. That's something very few people can do, and it makes you feel more appreciated than I can put into words. I hope with practice I can learn from his example.

After more face-cuddling, head-petting, and other general appreciation from Doug, we were encouraged to come back and visit later. So, thoroughly Dougie-fied, we scampered off in search of food.

Kris looked like I felt: In a happy post-Dougie daze, just sort of floating.

"Heehee," I giggled again (always the articulate one).

Here I am in 2008, a recent college grad and new Fan Sapien, showing some Dougie-love
(The theater wasn't empty; I just waited 'til the credits to take the picture!)

 

So, here I am in 2011. Since that last picture was taken, I've gotten my first master's, moved into a new apartment, gone through several jobs, changed career fields a few times; I've had some major highs and some major lows. A lot has changed in my life, but one thing definitely hasn't - there's still Love!

Back For More

Although we did explore the rest of the con, after a few hours we naturally returned to Doug's table to visit more. I told Derek a story about Phantom of the Opera I'd promised him earlier, and we three perused Doug's photos, pondering what we'd like to get autographed. Ultimately, I decided on a photo of the Faun with Ofelia from Pan's Labyrinth, since of Doug's films that was the one that's had the most profound impact on me personally - and it's the film that got me started down the road to Fan Sapien status.

Looking at the picture, Derek nodded. "That's what he does," he said.

After Doug got done signing things for the three of us, we took more pictures. This time, since I had my hands free, I was able to hug back properly. I also received appreciation for my "kitty hat."

We each had some more one-on-one time with Doug, but since there was - as always! - a line of people anxious to be in Doug's presence for a little while, we took off again. But, of course, once more Doug encouraged us to come back later, when the con was winding down.

"That's what he does." It is indeed.

Me getting Bosied by Doug. There was discussion of the hat ending up on Doug's head, but I think it worked out better for everyone this way. I think I look silly, because I'm trying very hard not to giggle.

So, at the very end of the day, as they were turning the lights out in the convention hall and herding everyone outside, we made our way back over to Doug's table - where there were still people coming over to visit, including two very nice people from Atlanta who'd worked with Doug on [The] Candy Shop, and who'd brought him a fantastic coat that they'd made for him. As we all were ushered out, I popped over to Doug's side to say goodbye: I was only there for one day of the convention, so I expected this would be the last time I would see him. We hugged again (which never gets old), and we started to say our goodbyes. But then, Derek was kind enough to clue me in to the afterparty happening that night at a nearby club (rockstar, did I mention?). I told him we'd be there, and with that we parted ways.

Party Time

After going back to the hotel to get cleaned up and have dinner, the three of us headed to the party. We had no idea what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to find ourselves at a packed, themed party. We had to admit, though, we weren't sure we should expect Doug to be there. It had been a long day, and if we were tired, we figured he must be exhausted.

Still, we made three new friends while we were in line - David, Sam, and Sean, from Jacksonville - and chatted while we waited to get inside.

Once we were in, we saw a section labelled "VIP Seating," and there was not only Derek but also dear Dougie. We roamed around for a bit, getting a feel for the place, and at one point thought we should go wave hello to Doug so he knew we'd come to the party. But when we got close to the VIP section, we saw both he and Derek were absent.

Figuring Doug had probably gone to his hotel already for some well-deserved rest, we went back to hanging out and just enjoying the scene.

But then, a very tall, skinny figure went walking by. Unable to make ourselves heard easily in the club, Colette and I just tapped Kris and pointed, saying, "Doug, Doug, right there!" We got her to turn around, and in unison, the three of us yelled, "DOUG!"

Doug turned on the spot, looking around to see who'd called him.

"Oh, hi!!!" he said - and we were greeted with hugs. "And who's this?" he asked, turning to look at our three new friends.

Now, we'd mentioned to the guys while we were all in line that, with Doug, it's hug at first sight, so they should expect to receive Dougie-love if we happened to encounter him inside the club. And Doug didn't disappoint. The guys all laughed as Doug went around the circle meeting and hugging each of them (Afterward, when Doug walked away, Sam stood blinking a few times, and then said, "I love that guy." The power of Dougie!).

Time to Say Goodbye

We chatted a bit - mostly about how he could still be standing after that whole day - and he confessed that he was just making his rounds one last time before calling it a night. So, happy to hear he was going to get some rest, I wished him a good night, and told him I was happy to have finally met him. Since I was leaving early the next morning, this time it really was goodbye. Now, not that I wanted to say goodbye, but as goodbyes go, this was one of the best. Remember I mentioned before that Doug has a talent for making you feel like you're the only person in his universe when you have his attention? Well that goes double for when it's time to say goodbye.

I already knew from experience that Dougie-hugs are the best, but a goodbye-hug from Doug would be especially hard to beat. I got cuddled, and petted, and told lots of very sweet and encouraging things. As Doug says, "There's Love!" So, of course, it's no surprise that you really feel it then. And while I was sad that it really was goodbye, my first dose of Dougie-love will be more than enough to tide me over - until next time!

So, a heartfelt "thank you" to Doug for being every bit the kind-hearted and generous person I believed he would be - and much, much more. Absolutely, there's Love!

~Lauren (a.k.a. "Tigermind")

Lauren Maurer
April, 2011


© 2011 Lauren Maurer. All rights reserved.

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