Hey Y’all! I apologize for not updating sooner. Things have been going very well at Portus.
We left off before the Podcast Palooza. We started the podcast with a Panel of representatives from each of the podcasts. As I mentioned previously, there were representatives from SnapeCast, AlleyCast, Fandom Forecast, SpinnersCast, MuggleCast, Travis from the Hogs Head and me. The panel was moderated by Zorb from SpellCast. The panel was fun. We talked about our podcasts, our favorite moments, the future of our podcasts and the future of the fandom. I started off sort of nervous but got much more comfortable as the panel continued. What is funny is that I wasn’t nervous at all when I gave my presentations, but for some reason this thing got to me a bit. Oh well. All in all, it was a fun time. The folks from AlleyCast put some pics of the Palooza up, so check them out.
We had a half an hour to do our Live Podcast and we did it with Travis. We spoke a bit about our thoughts on the theme of Deathly Hallows. Greg and Travis speculated it was death, and I disagreed and spoke a bit about faith and trust. We then had audience members come up and talk about their thoughts on the theme of Book 7. All of the comments were well thought out and interesting. I enjoyed giving out lolly pops to the audience (“Don’t be a Dum Dum, listen to HPPROGS!”). Once we get a copy of the podcast, we will put it up for you all to listen to. I know the panel will be online as well.
After our podcast, we hung around for the rest of the podcasts. We had a wonderful time sitting at the “merch table” talking to different conference attendees, podcasters, and HPPROGS listeners. Speaking of “merch”, the “Always” t-shirt has been a HUGE HIT here. We brought a bunch with us and they “flew off the shelves.” It was incredibly gratifying to see people walking around the conference in the t-shirts. It was even crazier that there were a bunch of people who came *to* the conference with the t-shirts they bought off our website. We also brought the “Hogsmeade is For Lovers” t-shirts. Those have been popular, although not quite as universally appreciated as the Always shirt. In any event we are thrilled with the response to our t-shirts. Stay tuned for some new original designs and ideas.
We had to get up early the next morning because there was a small press gathering for *stay calm, Penny* JIM DALE!!!!! We, as well as around 12 other “press people” and featured Portus speakers sat around a table and talked to Jim. I hope to get an audio of this press conference and hopefully we will be able to play parts for you. We talked about the process of recording the books, other books that Jim has narrated, and Jim’s thoughts on the conference. I gave a personal plea to Jim to record “The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” by A.A. Milne but he sort of laughed at that- I thought because he didn’t recognize it as a work of literature, Greg speculates because Disney now owns Winnie the Pooh. All I know is that it is a beautiful piece of children’s literature and Jim Dale’s voice would do amazing things for it. Jim spoke about the dumbing down of children thanks to prolonged computer and video game usage and how he hopes that his book narrations help pull children away from their computers and game consoles.
I also asked Jim about his use of accent and dialect versus just voice (I can’t leave my profession, I apologize). He spoke about the stereotypes and characteristics of people who live in different geographic areas of the UK and how those same stereotypes helped him create the accents and dialects of the different characters in the books.
After the question and answers, each of us had the opportunity to take our picture with Jim. The Portus people took the pictures so I don’t have the links to them yet but you better believe that when I get them, I’ll post them as soon as possible. Jim graciously bent down to my five feet so that I wouldn’t look so short and I nearly died from happiness.
After this, Jim spoke to all of the attendees here. He related that he was fascinated how this conference is like a scene out of the Harry Potter books. The wizards and witches are dressed up and doing their thing; while the muggles (the non-convention attendees) sort of just ignore us all, just like in the books! I had a laugh at this because obviously he wasn’t here on Thursday when the conference began and the muggles at the Hilton Anatole got their first glimpse of the Portus attendees; they were most certainly NOT ignoring us.
Jim then gave a reading of several chapters from the Harry Potter series. All I can say is WOW. If I was a fan before, it was nothing compared to how I feel about Jim Dale now. It was amazing to see how he actually acted the parts out as he read them. Jim is a stage actor, and unfortunately this doesn’t come across in the audiobooks. He also informed us that he has to remain completely still while recording or else the sound quality is sacrificed. He read selections from Books 1, 2 and 3 (including the Sorting Hat scene from Book 1, which was simply amazing). It’s really hard to put into words how incredible it was to see this, it was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend.
The rest of the conference flew by, but not without me giving my iPod to Jim Dale to autograph. Bearing his signature, it will now remain in it’s plastic case forever. There were lots more great sessions, movies and the ball. It was really spectacular. We’re going to do an episode early this week with out first thoughts, and we’ll go into greater detail about Portus, how it was different from last year at Prophecy, and give you details on next year’s gathering in San Francisco. Stay tuned!