Fan: Hels
Date of meeting: May 3rd, 20043
Place: UK
Event: Collectormania 5

Firstly I’d like to say a big thank you to this site for making me aware of this convention in the first place. Without you I’d never have known this was happening, I’d never have met Brad and I certainly wouldn’t have been writing this report now.
(you are welcome ~Kat)

I’m something of an online community junkie and when I’m not posting messages to my online pals I enjoy computer games especially those of the Myst series. So it’s not surprising then that one of my favourite sites holds a friendly community of Myst addicts. Recently one of our new members was asking for hints on playing the Myst III Exile game , I think you see where this is going now, and it all started me off thinking of Brad (again , lol) so I decided to go surfing for online images to drool over , interviews to read , and reviews to agree and disagree with.

I remembered this site, I’ve lurked a number of times before, and besides it was top of the list on my Google search. Much to my delight I noticed that Collectormania5 would be coming up in about a week’s time (phew! Only just spotted it) and although a bit of a trek of about 2 hours drive I decided I really, really wanted to go. I got my older son in on the act too because he wanted to meet Joe Pantiliano from the Matrix. I’m not one normally to approve of the pestering power of kids but I got him to work on poor hubby over this and between us it did the trick . I’ve never been to a convention before so I tracked down and book marked the relevant site to check details and most importantly the forum for fan comments and advice, you can’t beat first hand experience. I got quite worried at one bit because I read that Brad was prone to cancelling , he could be moody , quirky , unpredictable but this seemed to be balanced out by loads of people declaring him to be a sweetheart , charming and very accommodating , I decided the risk was worth it. Hey if you were stuck at a table endlessly scribbling away and holding just about the same conversation with hundreds of people over four days you’d have your highs and lows too.

The only day we were able to go was on the final day , bank holiday Monday , and I couldn’t bundle my family into the car fast enough , if there were going to be queues I wanted to get a ticket in time though from what I’d read it was likely to be pretty quiet. The main attraction days were Saturday and Sunday , apparently , when the costume competitions were taking place and the hoards were likely to be in. As far as I was concerned the quieter the better, less queuing time with bored kids and longer to speak to Brad who, let’s be honest, was the only real reason I was there. We found the place relatively easily , we’ve been to Milton Keynes several times before , we have friends down there. Having travelled down in the car and having only once stopped for the toilet I was in somewhat need to relieve myself again but I we’d got there at midday and I reckoned that if there was a queue situation , we needed a ticket and presumably Brad needed a lunch break so I made straight for his area in order to secure one. Heck once I’d done this I could go to the bathroom, brush my hair , touch up my makeup , generally compose myself you all know what I mean. Things really were quiet , many of the guests had smaller queues and to my complete and utter amazement there was only one party of people waiting for Brad. The crew member responsible for his line told me now would be a good time to see him as they expected demand to go up again (as proved to be the case). So there I was, bladder at bursting point , hair like a stork’s nest (it had been raining outside) and no previous experience of talking to anyone at any convention ever! I had planned on meeting a couple of other guests first to calm down , get used to the whole thing and then move onto Brad when I was in a less flustered and starstruck frame of mind. Fate decreed differently I suppose.

Maybe I could have said that I’d come back in a bit once I’d got myself sorted but it was a bit late now because the party ahead of me had just left and Brad was stood there looking at us , peering over his glasses with a slightly crooked grin and his arms open gesturing us forward. Well I could hardly leave could I, I mean how stupid would that look? Of course my tongue turned completely to rubber at this point but a couple of deep breaths later and it seemed to get working again although it wasn’t in complete synch with my brain. I’d paid for a couple of autographs , I wanted him to sign one of the booklets out of my Myst III Exile game and then I decided what the heck, I’d get an 8”x10” too. I definitely didn’t want one of the Chucky photos (well it ain’t really Brad is it?) , I wasn’t so keen on the Dune one , the Billy Bibbit one was poor quality so I ended up with Wormtongue which I suppose was the best choice from my kid’s point of view. Speaking of my kids I think Brad spotted that I was a bit flustered and so homed in on my boys first to give me time to come round , what a pro he is! They too know him best as Saavedro from the Myst game but also as Wormtongue (they are 13 and 9 by the way). Darling hubby was quick to point out to Brad that we’d come all the way from Sheffield just to see him (yeah like Brad really is likely to know where Sheffield in England is!) but all the same Brad mockingly scolded me about dragging the kids down there on a school holiday when they could be out enjoying themselves. Composure now more intact I told Brad that I was really a big fan of the Myst game series and how amazing I thought his portrayal of Saavedro was , again one of those tortured souls who had been separated from his family at the hands of evil doers. When you play a computer game you expect any acting to be so so but it doesn’t really bother you because you’re more interested in solving the puzzles and playing. His performance was something else, proper acting in a computer game , I had wondered why somebody of this calibre was bothered about doing this kind of stuff? For the first time ever I’d bothered to read the credits on a game to find out who the actor was and this was the first time I’d sat up and taken notice of the name “Brad Dourif”.

I’d read in various interviews about his Saavedro role and he’d said that he’d jumped at the chance of it as he’d been a huge fan of the previous games in the series. At first I thought, yeah , yeah, he’s going to say that kind of stuff isn’t he but as it turned out it was the truth. I think he found our conversation something of a change as the majority of fans that day seemed to be LOTR orientated (he was sat with the other LOTR actors). I asked him about his Saavedro role (of course) and which ending he personally envisaged and would have liked to have seen. There were several possible endings to the game and even the “nice” proper conclusion was a bit open ended as to what happened to the poor guy. Just like me Brad had hoped Saavedro was reunited with his wife and kids, aw! how sweet is that? Big old softie lol. Brad seemed quite keen to ask me questions like had I played on Uru Live (another game in the Myst series) . This immediately told me that he was a seriously big fan of the game because the live version had never been fully open and properly running , only a privileged relatively few had played. The game was horribly full of bugs (the programming kind not insects ;-) ) very difficult to play , but enormously compulsive and loved by those who were there because we got to interact with other players online. My mind started racing, had I actually been playing or speaking with Brad online and never known? I’ll never know because people’s character names are anonymous but the very thought sends tingly feelings down my spine ooohhhh! The plug was pulled on the game earlier this year , much too early in the eyes of diehard fans , and the Myst community went into mourning. So it seems did Brad.

The queue was now building again behind me so me being the polite and fair minded person that I am said my goodbyes to Brad, got a photo with him and went off to go in search of a much needed lavatory. Good job I did those pelvic floor exercises after I gave birth to my kids. Something still gnawed at my mind, there was something still left unsaid , I had to go back.

We went round some other guests , Stuart (my eldest) got his autograph and photo with Joe Pantoliano and was grinning from ear to ear, my younger son , Brien, got an autograph and photo with Brian Blessed and I just had to get a picture of Ray Park one of the most perfect creatures on God’s earth! Hunger kicked in , McDonald’s beckoned but I could barely eat a thing , the unfinished business still bugged me. After lunch I decided I really had to go and see Brad again.

The rest of my family took off to browse the trade stalls whilst I set off on my return mission. I went to the information board and my heart dropped a little way to my stomach, Brad was leaving soon, last call for his fans! How long had that notice been there? Had I already missed him? The LOTR actors for some reason had been shoved out of the way down a corridor, slightly panicked I tried to remember which arm of the mall I had to go down. The place was like a rabbit warren. I took off down one aisle then a way down I realised I should have been on the parallel aisle on the other side of a big department store which, of course, was shut. So I had to go out the exit at one end of the mall across the back of the building and in the correct entrance , talk about a detour. Would have been just my luck to have missed him! Fortunately he was still there and only a small queue, the crew said it was ok for me to speak to him again even though I wasn’t parting with any more money lol. Brad is a big fan of the Myst genre , I’m part of a community of serious Myst fans, they’d all told me how jealous they were of me and to send there best wishes to Brad. I’d done everything *except* tell him about that site, well if you don’t ask you don’t get in this world do you? I asked him , fan to fan, if he’d pop over to our site or send us an official message or something. He said he’d be delighted and asked me if I had a card. Well I ain’t the kind of person that goes round carrying cards damn it so I asked him if he had an official point of contact where I could remind him of his offer. So here is where you take a bow , Kat, he mentioned this site by name and said if I mailed via you he’d get the info!

So who knows guys, we may get some info on one of Brad’s hobbies out of this , the fact he’s a Myst fan anyway is no secret , it’s been published in articles. Even if nothing comes of this I had the best time and I’m thrilled to bits that I share a hobby with him. I certainly daren’t call him a fellow nerd or else I’ve have to dodge all the rocks whistling past my head! ;-)

Hels xx