Marc Lee at WIZARD WORLD New Orleans
So while briefing the audience about the do’s and don’ts of the upcoming panel and its guests, an incredibly spontaneous idea sprouted from my cerebral cortex and I was anxious to share. I get a lot of giddy moments like that and have been seen cracking myself up in the presence of folks who think I’m having a conniption. I enjoy conniptions. Conniptions are fun. Anyway, it sorta went like this:
Marc: “Hey guys, I have a great idea if you’re all willing. Everyone stand up! Yeah, that’s right, get up…stand up now. Ok, ok, ok, ok…..now give me your best “walker” impersonation”.
The audience began to twist their faces and bodies, groaning menacingly and doing a stand-in-place sort of zombie crawl. I think we had more extras than the damn show. What a sight!
Marc: “Ok, ok, ok, ok …….now when Jon (Bernthall), Michael (Rooker) and Norman (Reedus) are introduced and get settled at the table, I will let out a loud “WALKERS!” At that time, you will all rise from your seats and perform what you just did for me. Cool idea? Huh! Huh! AWESOME?!!! The crowd roared!
So the boys were introduced by me with Reedus being about 5 minutes late. We went on a bit with the panel. Once all three were there and the room died down, I welcomed the guys to the panel and told them how I think they won’t have a chance getting away from this: “WALKERS!”
The room rose to their feet and the expression of sheer fear from Jon, Mike and Norm were precious moments only to see in person. It was a successful spontaneous gesture and I absolutely enjoyed the reactions from both sides of the fence. It will go down as one of the classic panel welcomes from an audience in convention history, imho.
I had the pleasure over the weekend of being one of the moderators for WIZARD WORLD’S numerous national conventions with this one being held in New Orleans. What can I say about New Orleans, both the site of jubilant history and regrettable horror but this weekend brought thrills and joys and a much needed early Christmas gift to the people of this Louisiana city.
My assignments over the weekend were to moderate 4 Trek panels including the special ticketed TNG 25 YEAR REUNION EVENT, THE BOONDOCK SAINTS panel and THE WALKING DEAD panel. I also had the pleasure of holding a platinum ticket only Skype session with Sir Patrick Stewart from his home since he had to cancel his appearance due to an undisclosed motion picture assignment where he’s the main star. I tried my best to pry what it was out of him but he is the trusted gentleman many know him to be and he wouldn’t tell us.
In my years of familiarity with working with celebs, I can generally tell when an actor is “performing” to the audience or not. I prefer hearing new fresh stories I hadn’t heard around the world over the decades and when I come across a new anecdote I hadn’t heard, I am genuinely in stitches when hearing it. The TNG cast have a unique friendship. After 25 years of first meeting each other, they make a point to remain in touch, go out for a meal or anything else when they have the time and talk frequently via telephone. These folks are the real deal when it comes to art imitating life. Whether it’s the camaraderie around a restaurant dinner table or nonlethal bickering amongst each of them in a vehicle, they act on all levels with genuine love for one another. The wonder of such friendship from the eyes of an outsider is a glorious thing to see. If only series regulars from all of our favorite shows were as genuine. One engagement had Gates (McFadden) and I discussing the movies SKYFALL and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. With Gates revealing much of the ending during the conversation, we were unaware that Brent (Spiner) had not seen either of them and covered his ears in an unsuccessful move to block the dialogue. With his exclamation of “Lalalalalalalaaaaa” and the rest of the car laughing, he proclaimed in utter disgust, “I HADN’T SEEN LINCOLN EITHER! WANNA TELL ME HOW THAT ENDS!”
My duties as an MC, moderator, show planner or auctioneer has never dampened my spirits of having never acted. I have no desire to be in the spotlight purposely and many will attest to that. My desires are to entertain those whose general sense of well being has become my responsibility. I find those who have never ever attended a convention before my biggest responsibility because they are more sensitive to the cost of what they expect. I find these to be my final accomplishment as a wise guy, funny man, as well as a smooth operator and if I can do that while watching the smiles, the tears and the laughter of an audience not there to see ME, I have accomplished that goal of giving the people what they want. I shall continue to endeavor to do just that. I love people. I love to see them having a good time. I love fans.
Written By: Marc Lee
Marc B. Lee is known internationally as an amateur Auctioneer and Master of Ceremonies for a number of events including Orlando’s MEGACON, Atlanta’s DRAGON*CON and VULCAN EVENTS operating in Orlando and Tampa. He has been a science fiction fan for over 30 years and his specialized brand of humor and energy has ignited the excitement of every convention-hosting job from here to Europe. For the last 25 years, Marc’s association with many movie and television actors, directors, producers and behind the scenes artists has kept his wit and knowledge on edge and he takes his responsibilities as a party-rouser and pitch man very seriously, realizing how much the average person pays to be entertained. He has worked with well over 500 industry members.