Fans from around the universe descended on the beautiful Burbank Marriott Airport Hotel over the Feb. 15-17th, 2013 weekend for the 18th installment of Creation Entertainment's legendary Grand Slam: The Star Trek/Sci Fi Summit. This storied event, hosted as ever by Creation Entertainment CEOs Gary Berman and Adam Malin and Creation Talent Producer Stephanie Dizon, promised to put together an exceptional smorgasbord of luminaries from Star Trek and TV and film science fiction, as well as a historic 25th Anniversary Reunion of the entire ST:TNG cast.
Friday opened with entry into a sprawling vendors’ complex which wrapped around an entire Convention Center building at the hotel and into several ballrooms as well. On display and sale were noteworthy collectibles running the gamut from posters, lobby cards, original artwork, framed and matted signed photos, T shirts to collectors’ plates, jewelry, model kits and action figures. Some rare Mego Trek action figures from the sixties were spotted as were gorgeous art prints signed by Trek and sci fi celebrities. Attendees were presented with in-depth schedules and soon the programming day began inside the huge theater, beautifully adorned in banners, theatrical velour and theatrical lighting.
Jeff also spoke about his work on The 4400, which was produced by Ira Steven Behr, DS9's amazing and prolific show runner. He lamented the death of his character on the show. He found out the week before he filmed the episode by reading the script, a rude discovery. Shot in Vancouver, the show offered Jeff an opportunity to experience location shooting in the Pacific Northwest. On working with Avery Brooks: it was Weyoun's first episode. As he got into makeup and costume, he was rapidly imagining the affectation of a new character. He walked onto set with a cup of coffee, which was considered a huge faux pas. Avery walks up to Jeff and says, "There's no coffee on the set!" But he impressed Jeff. He never saw Avery miss a line- the man was technically precise. As a director, he thought of Avery as more loose and relaxed. On Scott Bakula, Jeff describes him as the best leader he had ever seen on a set. Scott was always vigilant about all aspects of production, looking out for the entire team. Scott made it his business to thank every member of the production team at the conclusion of each shooting day. Jeff also mentioned his new film Would You Rather, a harrowing melodrama that is currently in limited release at Laemle Theater in Los Angeles. Oh, and the Shran Andorian antennae are radio-controlled mechanisms that are remotely operated by an off-camera technician.
Next up was the hysterical return of Connor Trinneer and Dominic Keating, two of our favorite Enterprise actors. Looking handsome and fit, the dynamic duo talked about great (and dangerous) times on the set of the show. Dominic recounted hazardous stunts, one of which blew out his left knee. They had stunt doubles, but there were still ample opportunities to get hurt. Evidently Scott Bakula wore a "Save Ron Moore!" badge on his uniform, unseen to all but the most observant viewers. Of course fans in the audience had caught this little Easter Egg. Connor bemoaned the fact that Trip died frequently, only to be brought back to life.
The camaraderie between these two guys was obvious as they constantly traded jokes off one another. Connor mentioned a new web series he is working on. Asked about highlights on the set of Enterprise: in the last episode, they had a scene in Engineering that had some great closure to it. They also have had a great time at conventions, despite some menacing seven-foot-tall Klingons serving as security guards! Judging by the standing ovation the boys got on their departure, it's obvious fandom's love for Enterprise hasn't diminished at all.
Next up, Creation offered a brief video mix, including a preview of Stephenie Meyer's new sci fi epic The Host (which looks great). They also showed a kick-ass music video salute to the “Mirror Mirror” episodes of Enterprise, and a funny Kirk/Spock "bromance" love video set to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”
Bruce was asked about Claudia Christian being replaced for the 5th season of B5, and expressed frustration with how it occurred. The show also moved over to TNT and was going through a management and network change. Fans generally agree seasons 2-3, the heart of the "Shadow War" arc, was the high point of the series. Bruce was treated to a vigorous round of applause as he departed.
Rene recounted reading for Robert Altman for the role of the Priest in the movie version of MASH. Altman liked his take on the character and he got the role. He was glad not reprising the role on TV, choosing to not want to typecast himself. The relationship of Odo and Quark was recalled fondly; but the dark quality to the characters was part of what Rene liked so much, the instability and neurosis of it. He did not, however, like the makeup, which he described as very uncomfortable. Taking the makeup off was painful on many occasions. He had a closet full of Odo face masks that looked like something from Silence of the Lambs! An enjoyable time with Rene for sure.
Creation capped the day with a visit from Rod Roddenberry, son of the Great Bird of the Galaxy himself Gene Roddenberry. Rod is the executive producer of the film Trek Nation, and was on hand to update the audience on Roddenberry.com projects. Rod discussed The Mission Logs, his podcast that has been running for about a half year now, with co-moderator John Champion (John has done media coverage at Creation events for several years). One of their current ongoing discussions is Gene Roddenberry's Humanist vision, which tackles moral and ethical dilemmas that humanity is grappling with. Rod had the unique perspective of watching his father's ethical and moral evolution from the vantage point of being his son. It's obvious Rod is carrying on his dad's legacy of examining, defining and trying to tackle the challenges we face as individuals and society. Rod comes off as a well-spoken and fascinating young man.
And with that, Day One of Creation's Grand Slam: The Star Trek/Sci Fi Summit concluded, with fans anxious for the next day that would be chock full of amazing celebrities and the 25th Anniversary ST:TNG Celebration.