Garry Chalk ~ Mecha Con Report by Candi Santora

Event: MechaCon 2.0 2006
Where: Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
When: August 11th-13th.

Thanks to Candi Santora for her report and her pictures!

For those who don’t know, from Beast Wars, Garry Chalk voiced Optimus Primal, Scott McNeil voiced Rattrap, Dinobot, Waspinator and Silverbolt, and Alec Willows voiced Tarantulas.

Thursday morning, despite discovering that the News was reporting terrorist action in London, my mom, brother, his girlfriend and I made it to the airport and breezed through the increased security. Our flight took off at 11:30am and we were on our way down to our pit stop in Atlanta, GA. We eventually touched down in Louisiana after our two smooth flights and headed for our room to relax. Not much else went on since the Convention wasn’t opening until Friday morning.

Friday, we headed down to the lobby and found Scott McNeil with a few fans. When he wasn’t so busy and swarmed by fangirls, we eventually made our introductions and got pictures with him before he was pulled away. Then we picked up our pre-registration packs and returned to our room. Scott was the only voice actor I saw all day, but I knew we’d see the rest at the dinner.

Friday night held the opening ceremonies dinner where formal or Asian attire was required. It was good food and fun times. Scott actually arrived on time because every other event he attended he was late probably because people constantly delayed him and crowded him in the hotel halls. Lisa Furukawa Ray was our musical guest for the evening and she performed her beautiful music while we ate; some of her originals along with songs from Inuyasha and Kingdom Hearts. Just awesome music. However, the bad news we received was that Richard Newman was not going to be able to attend the convention because of a schedule conflict. So that was stinky and disappointing.

After the dinner was the MechaCon house party where people in their animé costumes danced (or ran) around the room with their glow sticks that the DJ was handing out. We were sitting off to the side just watching everyone, waiting for an actor or two to show up, but after 45 minutes or an hour, we decided we’d probably have a better chance bumping into one if we just walked around the halls. So, just as we stepped out of the room, there was Garry at a table across the hall talking to some staff members or friends. We patiently waited until he was done and then we jumped in and started chatting. We must have stood there for about an hour, give or take, just laughing and joking around. It was my brother’s, my mom’s and my third time meeting him so we felt more comfortable around each other. We just treated each other like normal human beings and talked about all sorts or topics, and Garry had us laughing to no end, of course.

Afterward, Garry invited us to the hotel’s bar where he was meeting some of his own friends or colleagues and sat at their table. We found our own, noticing Alec behind us, and everyone kept to themselves and didn’t bother each other. We had our drinks and talked amongst ourselves. Well, I had water because I don’t like alcohol. Scott wandered in eventually, but sat on the other side of the room. When Garry was ready to leave to his room, he kindly stopped by our table, made some comments and whatnot, then went over to Alec (I assume because I didn’t watch him), and stopped back to us to exchange good nights and sweet dreams. He was very kind. It wasn’t about until 11:30pm or midnight when we got back into our room. But it was a great evening.

Saturday! Saturday was the day for the Beast Wars Q&A Panel, but before that earlier in the day, we had been waiting for an elevator to take us up to our room. One opened and behold Scott was in it on his way up also, so we joined him and a few other people. He started to pull some comical voices and dialogue that had us all laughing which is typical for Scott. And that was one of the greatest things about this convention (if you stayed at the hotel) because we’d constantly bump into the actors (something I learned at the OTFCC in ’03). So, the Q&A panel was awesome. The best I’ve ever been to so far. They gave away some really cool prizes; 10th Anniversary Beast Wars toys, Beast Wars and Beast Machines DVD’s and Beast Mahines posters. It was such a riot!

Afterward came the autograph session. Now, everyone who has seen the gifts I drew for them was right. They absolutely loved them. I didn’t know what to say, and neither did they! LoL For those who haven’t, here are some links to view them in my dA gallery:

Cybertron’s King Kong

Transmetal Rattrap

Transmetal Tarantulas

Alec’s reaction was VERY flattering. He couldn’t stop thanking me and commenting on my talent. It was real honor to hear it from him. He seemed so overwhelmed that he had to give me a hug. He’s such a sweetheart. Scott was looking over, astounded also. Alec and me after getting through the drawing of his BW character, TransMetal Tarantulas. He also asked me to sign it. I told him I did on the drawing, but he insisted that I sign the glass that it was framed on, so I did. LoL. Scott’s reaction was similiar when I gave him his drawing of TransMetal Rattrap. He must have sat there like that for 30 seconds or so. I was shocked. He was very sincere about his compliments and had to get up and run over to get a picture with me. LoL He’s a very nice guy. They all were. Alec saw it and said, “Mine’s better,” and had us all laughing.

Scott also had me sign his like I did with Alec’s.

Garry’s turn! Same reaction when I gave him his painting of Primal. They’re so sweet!

After signing his like the others, he practically squashed me with a bear hug, then started kissing my arm and thanking me. LoL Hilarious. They really appreciated the artwork, and after that Alec made sure he wouldn’t forget my name because he said it everytime I ran into him. And there was one time later on where we bumped into Scott again and he told me that Alec couldn’t stop crying over his drawing and talking about it. Awe, he’s so sweet. And I blushed, of course. LoL It’s different getting compliments in person than it is on-line, but I do appreciate all of them, so many, many thanks to everyone who has!!!

Later on Saturday evening Garry invited us to eat with them at the diner down the road. VERY good food, but for some reason I couldn’t eat it all. I felt awful but at least they weren’t paying for it; we were. Heh. Lisa was there, as well as Brittney Karbowski, Scott, Brett Weaver, Doug Smith, Alec, the MechaCon mascots, and some staff members. It was a very nice time out with some very nice people.

Sunday held two more events I was interested in. But first I had been ordered by an on-line friend (from another Tfs board, her handle is NightShade) I was able to meet to watch the Transformers G1 movie they were showing in one of the video rooms. About 10 minutes after I walked in, Garry comes strolling in and sits down in the row next to us. We quietly made ourselves aware and he was happy to see us. After 20 minutes or so, he was ready to leave (because he’s seen the movie many times, as have I) and asked if we were enjoying it and if I had a nice time at the dinner Saturday night. Then he said he’d see us later (meaning at the North vs South Dubbing Panel he’d be participating in) and headed off. So, that was considerate of him.

Then we waited for the North vs South Dubbing panel at 3:30pm, which had all of the actors on it, so that was awesome, and another great time. As you can imagine, it was a non-stop laughing time. The guys, and Brittney, were awesome. And, of course, someone asked Scott to do his Kagome scream again. He didn’t even argue this time, probably because he knew it’d be the last since this was the last event before the convention closed at 5pm.

When they were done, there was little time for autographs, so I didn’t even bother. Instead, Garry came up to us and asked what we were doing later. Totally awesome. We didn’t know because none of us knew the area, but when we got together, Brett suggested we stop at an ice cream shop called Borden’s, a place I believe he said he used to go when he was younger because he used to live there. He didn’t come with us because he and his wife were leaving that night. So, just us four and Garry, we took a cab to drop us off downtown and we just started walking around. Unfortunately, nothing was open at all after 5pm, and there were barely any people out, even driving around. So it was just the five of us, Garry leading the way back toward the hotel. I wish I was that good at directions. LoL It was impressive to me because I get lost very easily. We did stop at Borden’s, and we all loved the ice cream we had. VERY good ice cream. Then we continued walking, talking about all sorts of things here and there. Beautiful evening for a walk, though it was a bit muggy and humid, it cooled down a bit when the sun started to set. We got back to the hotel around 8:30pm and sat outside for a little bit, cooling off. Then we went back inside, hopped on the same elevator, shook hands and kissed cheeks good night, and went on our separate floors to our rooms. Then us four ordered pizza and watched TV. LoL Mmmm. Pizza. Good pizza; Papa John’s.

Monday morning was a little sad. My mom and I went down to the hotel resturaunt for breakfast. As we were paying and leaving, Garry showed up and decided to give me a playful noogie. LoL We discussed when our flights were, which were at the same time around 11:30am and at the same airport, of course. So we said we’d see each other later, left him to eat breakfast in peace and went back to our room to gather our luggage and my brother and his girlfriend. Came back down, found Garry and Alec outside, grabbed our own shuttle since they weren’t leaving right away and headed off to the airport. Caught up with NightShade and her mom there, went through security and sat down at our gate.

Eventually, the guys came through, having some difficulty with the security and I felt bad, but as they waited for Scott, we chatted with Alec (who shook my hand again, made it a point to call me by my name, and saying he’d hang up his drawing) and Garry. Then the time came to go to our separate flights, and I must admit that after saying, “Safe trip!” to them and Garry calling back, “You too!” I missed them already. Never thought I would, but I did. Pretty pathetic, eh? LoL And when we got to Atlanta again, I was hoping I’d see someone who knew us, but it was useless. The guys were heading for Texas and we were at Atlanta. Totally opposite directions. But everything we did made up for it. It was a spectacular time and I’ll never forget it. I missed my cats and rats too much to turn back. LoL

  Meeting Garry by Candi Santora

From left to right: Garry, Scott, and Alec. And this was when someone traded their lunch with Alec for one of the prize toys. LoL

Here you can see some of the prizes lined up on the table.    

The North vs South Dubbing panel at 3:30pm.
From left to right: Brett, Scott, Doug, Brittney, Garry, and Alec

Garry’s turn! Same reaction when I gave him his painting of Primal. They’re so sweet!    

Optimal Optimus Primal (Candi Santora) and Optimus aka Garry.    

This one was when Garry was grabbing one of the prizes to run it out to the
winner in the audience.

From left to right: Garry, Scott, and Alec.

For the StargateFans, Garry (Chekov) and Scott ~
who has been in several different episodes of SG1.

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