It was Saturday morning, wearing my Star Trek costume (top made by Kate’s mom), my make-up done, hair flat-ironed, I was ready for anything… or so I thought.
There was one goal for me that weekend – to meet Patrick Stewart and tell him that he inspired me to become an actor.
Growing up, my brother and I were raised by a single mother who worked really hard to make sure she kept a roof over our heads/food on our plates. As a result I got to spend a LOT of time in front of the television, which made me happy enough. I enjoyed normal kid shows like The Brady Bunch, Punky Brewster and Rainbow Brite and I also enjoyed ‘more grown up shows’ like Night Court, Matlock and Star Trek The Next Generation.
My favourite character on Star Trek TNG was Captain Jean-Luc Picard. There was something about him that I found powerful, yet gentle. He was also smart, funny, witty, empathetic and caring (to name a few). He demanded a lot from his crew and they gave results.
When I was old enough to realize that the Captain was a fictional character my admiration changed but stayed strong because there was something about the way Patrick Stewart took that role and made it his own that spoke to me on a deeper level. It could not have been easy for him to ensure his character always came from a place of truth – especially when you’re saying your lines to a stick with eyes at the top (aka – what the actors had to deal with when they were conversing with characters via the ‘view screen’) but Patrick Stewart did.
His acting elevated the show and gave a strength / backbone to each episode.
I’ve known I wanted to be an actor ever since I was given the role as Mrs. Big Toe in grade four but it wasn’t until Patrick Stewart shouted “There are four lights!” that I realized there was more to the craft than I ever could have hoped.
Back to the Goal
So, there I was Saturday morning, poised to get a photo and/or signature from S.P.S. (‘Sir Patrick Stewart’). I waited in what I thought was the line to purchase a photo-op but turned out to be the line for people having already purchased tickets for Stan Lee so I left that line to find another one and was told they only take cash so I stood in the ATM line only to have that ATM ‘run out of money’ so I went to another ATM line, got up to the front, put my card in, followed instructions and then the ‘ok’ button wouldn’t work. The guy behind me tried it as well and it wouldn’t work for him either. I started the process all over again and for some reason this time it worked (the definition of insanity) – so I went back to a new line and chatted with some very friendly people but after a little while I found out that they had all already purchased their photo op. with the Captain (I was in the wrong line again!)…
All throughout this process I had been asking volunteers/workers where to go/what to do and had been given a lot of conflicting information. I finally found the place to buy a photo op. and went to go in but was told the photos with Patrick were sold out for that day and he was no longer doing autographs. So I left to find my friends. We had some lunch and hung out / took in the convention. We enjoyed the afternoon.
At some point I found out that you can pre-purchase tickets! so I ran back to get in line to buy one for Sunday. I met some awesome guys again (seriously the crowd was FULL of amazing people) while waiting and felt excited to finally be in the right place at the right time but when I got up to the teller I was told that pictures with Patrick were already sold out – for the entire weekend.
Dejected I went back to my friends knowing full-well that this was all my fault because I hadn’t taken the time to figure this sort of thing out beforehand.
Soon after that we left to go back to the hotel to chill before the Star Trek TNG reunion. Nath figured we should get an itinerary together for Sunday and it was then that we realized S.P.S. would be signing autographs while we were supposed to be getting pictures with Wheaton who I think is a hilarious/awesome guy all around and I like him for more than his role as Wesley Crusher – I like his blog too.
But all was not lost re: S.P.S.
Nath had an idea.
It involved waiting until the final panel of the convention… and asking S.P.S. a question.
As Sunday wore on I became more and more tense, what if we could get into S.P.S.’s panel? What if we couldn’t get seats close enough? What if the question pickers didn’t choose me?
This was the ‘last’ thing at the convention and there would be no other chances…
Sir Patrick Stewart
As soon as S. P. S. was on stage I began to look around for someone with a microphone. I put my hand up and made eye contact with a runner (who was really nice/awesome), she came over to me and just like that, I was in the cue… so I crouched low in the aisle and waited.
My thoughts began to run away with me, mostly about how there were somewhere around 7,000 people in the audience and AND I was going to get to ask the man (who in my childhood inspired me to become an actor) a question I very much wanted to know the answer to. With dry mouth and a heart threatening to beat itself out of my chest, I began to wonder if I was even going to be able to speak … then the moderator said, “next up is a question from Michelle,” and I was on…
Click here to watch the video if you like. It’s 3:48 minutes long and his answer is insightful, touching and honest. As a side note, I’m grateful he stopped me near the beginning to find out where I was standing, it helped ground me so I could focus on the task at hand.
When we were back in the hotel room Nath mentioned that so many factors could have gone wrong and the clock really was ticking down, just like in a movie but this was real life and it was incredibly wonderful that everything worked out in the end – yippee!!!