This is maybe the most geek-heavy panel of all time. Con Man, the IndieGogo-funded web series, brought Alan Tudyk, Nathan Fillion, writer PJ Haarsma, Mindy Sterling, Tricia Helfer, Felicia Day, Casper Van Dien, Nolan North, Alision Haislip, Michael Trucco, Sky Haarsma, Seth Green, and Wil Wheaton to Hall H on Thursday! Seriously, you guys; it’s massive. And what could be better than Chris Hardwick to moderate this whole shebang?
Mr. Hardwick took the stage yet again, now adorned with Hall H lanyards. He talked about how the show was funded through crowds, $3.2 million worth. Amazing, really. “It’s like the Laff-a-Lympics” of every person you love in one place. This is the first webseries ever to take the stage at Hall H.
After Seth Green started rearranging where everybody sits, Chris brought out all the panel, plus makeup guys Barry Bishop and Billy Brooks.
“This is now the first and last webseries in Hall H” – Nolan North, following all the seat-shifting.
Nathan Fillion then chastises Alan Tudyk for wearing a Wash costume. Then he takes off his jumpsuit and Hawaiian shirt (with ketchup blood) to reveal his Con Man pilot character.
A sneak peak of the series, only edited 20 hours ago:
Spectrum looks like a great show; why did a network cancel it? Wray Nerely hates it because it’s the best thing he ever did, and now he’s got to go to conventions. People are way too obsessed with the past. Sean Astin. Casper Van Dien is the bartender. Wil Wheaton is a jerk. Mindy Sterling is an acrobat. Michael Dorn as himself! Tricia Helfer is acharacter that’s supposed to look like Tricia Helfer. Amy Acker’s in it! Joss Whedon! Milo Ventimiglia! Henry Rollins! Pigeonholing is a hole in the pigeon!
Tudyk talks about how crowdfunding gave them the freedom they needed to make the show the way they wanted and honor and poke fun of cons.
He did pitch it to television, but they turned it down. Hardwick says “Did you tell them to S on a D afterward?” “Can we say ‘S on a D?'” said Fillion.
Alan Tudyk truly can’t get over the 7,000 people in Hall H excited about this webseries.
Hardwick was ALMOST in it, but he’s on cable “it’s not a big deal. I talk about zombies and give out points.”
Michael Trucco: “We were all excited to be in it. I told PJ I will be the busboy who brings butter to a table. It was such a no-brainer man.” Trucco plays a cop who pulls Fillion over and had a page-and-a-half scene that became a five-page scene.
Seth Green: “I said I’d do whatever. I play a comic store owner who gets Michael Dorn on stage to do epic interpretations of things” and then Alan does a really culturally insensitive thing.
Tudyk: “I don’t think Nolan North said a sing line I wrote” talking about sticking to the original script. North plays the world’s second best motion-capture performer.
Did he like having that much responsibility? Tudyk didn’t “glide” into it seamlessly. He pretty much had everybody asking him things. “It was really overwhelming.”
Con Man is 120 minutes, made up of 4 half-hours or 12 ten-minute segments.
Alison Haislip found out less than 48-hours prior to being cast that she’d been cast. She plays the assistant to Fillion’s character who brings the FaceTime phone because he never shows up to anything.
North: “I was their fourth choice.” Tudyk and North met on Young Justice and Uncharted. He made up his character Jerry Lansing, a pompous actor who calls everyone by the wrong name, and Tudyk put that character in the show, in lieu of the one he’d written.
Casper plays the perpetual bartender. Everywhere they go, he’s the bartender everywhere. “The first school of acting I went to was for my jaw, and luckily I didn’t have to speak in this.”
Tudyk: Casper’s role is much larger if we do more of these. Same with Ventimiglia’s character.
A lot of people play versions of themselves. Like Sean Astin, and Ventimiglia. Wil Wheaton plays a smuggler.
Helfer: Not playing a Cylon this time. She likes conventions, the creepy doll kind. She goes on a date with Tudyk’s character. Apparently has physical comedy as well. “Alan got me to kiss in a way I’ve never kissed before.”
Then Seth Green had to go to another panel, cuz he’s not busy or anything. Hardwick yelled at him about it, rightfully.
Sterling: Had never met, or even knew who Alan Tudyk was. “We weren’t friends, I didn’t know him, I didn’t owe him anything…” [Laughter] She got sent the script and loved it. She plays Bobbi, the colorful wannabe agent/manager who likes to sleep around and wear wigs. Alan would mouth her lines for her. That was nice of him.
The original idea was just to make a 30-minute episode, but the fans were so enthusiastic (and generous), they were able to do four.
Were you amazed at how quickly you could burn through money? Tudyk wrote things that could have been less expensive, buuuuuuuut he wanted to do it all-out. Then he told lots of stories about the spaceship sets and a real cave and things.
Felicia Day: “My middle name is webseries.” She felt the script could blow up the world the way Dr. Horrible did. She plays Karen who works for the convention in the first three ten-minute episodes. She met Tudyk at one of Joss Whedon’s Shakespeare readings. They did Cleopatra with Morena Baccarin as Cleopatra (I’d like to see THAT!) “Cons feel like coming home and you form a family on a set and a con and this is the best of both worlds.”
Wheaton, sporting a Ravenclaw tie: “Can you believe we’re in Hall H together?!?!” He got texted by Nathan Fillion one morning to tell people on Twitter about the IndieGogo campaign. Months go by, and everyone he knows is working on the show, and he’s getting sadder and sadder. Then he got an email about doing a part, and he asked “What’s Chris Hardwick doing that he can’t do it?” Chris then blushed. Hah. He gets to be in a scene with better and funnier actors and he gets to say one line and it’s awesome. His part also will be expanded if they make more.
Alan Tudyk got let go by his agents because he wanted six months to go do Con Man. “The suck it list is just growing!” said Hardwick. Chris and Alan were in a pilot that didn’t get picked up. “It’s better that no one got their grubby corporate mitts on it,” says Hardwick.
Big ups to P.J. Haarsma, the novelist who co-wrote the script and produced, and his daughter Sky is in the show-within-the-show, Spectrum.
The first person made a flight suit from Con Man, SOMEHOW. Playing Alan Tudyk playing Wray Nerely playing Cash. Amazing. Then Alan signed the Hawaiian shirt for her. “Ironically, she’s never going to Wash it,” saith Chris Hardwick.
Tudyk: The most rewarding in thing is watching actors take something he wrote and made it funnier than he could have imagined.
Some of the hardest parts of filming – Tudyk: “Approaching some agents of some actors” who would just immediately say no. Productions can have high production value for the web. Hopefully this will give people a better idea that it IS a viable platform.
Day and Wheaton talk about how genuine and authentic web content can be compared to big-studio stuff. There’s an overarching passion about content when you make it yourself compared to the top-down way Hollywood makes stuff.
Part of the original idea as that Nathan Fillion play the character who went on to great success. “It just fits” says Tudyk. Because of Fillion’s schedule, it was easy to cast him as the character who has to be gone a lot of the time. Fillion was dying to work together with Alan again, and it was never in their control…until now.
Who’s someone you wanted to work with and did? Fillion: “Joss Whedon. You know I auditioned for Buffy (as Angel). Didn’t get it…. Bones, or as I like to call it, The Other Castle.”
“We don’t know what the next season will be, but hopefully we can use someone else’s money.” – Alan Tudyk.
Fillion is a fan of Walking Dead and Game of Thrones and he did a photo shoot with his friend’s wolf-like dog. And Tudyk is a huge fan of Gotham and he was a goof around Robin Lord-Taylor. “So that was recently.”
Who else were you nervous to meet?: Haislip – “Wil Wheaton;” Hardwick – “Harrison Ford;” North – “Nolan Ryan,” he was named after him and was scouted by the Texas Rangers; Van Dien – “Reggie Jackson, who hit on my wife;” Helfer – “Dan Marino;” Sterling – “Warren Beatty” who invited her to a Christmas party and never heard from him again; Day – “Jean-Luc Picard… he has no other name;” Wheaton – “Billie Piper,” good choice, Wil!
Right before the end, Alan introduced Billy and Barry, who did VFX and makeup, respectively, to a huge round of applause. And they’re a couple! That’s awesome! And Barry proposed on stage to Billy! The Frigging coolest thing that has ever happened! WOW!
“That is how you end a panel!” shouts Chris! Legitimately amazing.