Auto Assembly 2013

So, back in August I attended Auto Assembly 2013; the largest Transformers convention in Europe.

That's right; my blog does claim to be about "Film, Tea and Transforming Robots" but all too often is full of that filming malarky. So for those (like me) who can't get enough of everyone's favourite Robots In Disguise, the snaps in the slideshow below hopefully provide a little glimpse into what went on the day I attended. (Col's AA2013 Snaps on Flickr)

My last Auto Assembly was waaay back in 2003. Funnily enough, AA2003 saw me achieve a personal and professional ambition. I was at the very start of my film-making adventures, but I managed to bring along a Hi-8 camcorder to the convention and capture some footage.

It turns out that the original US Transformers cartoon was being prepared for DVD release in the UK, and that AA was going to feature as part of the 'extras' on the Season 2 Part 1 disc - And guess who submitted his footage?...

It turns out my tapes were the only material submitted. Metrodome UK (the distributors) did a horrible job editing it together (I did offer to edit it...) but the end result was that my footage made it onto the DVD.

So yes, by the time I was twenty, I had;

a)  My film work featured on a commercially available DVD release
b) Become a part of TRANSFORMERS HISTORY

One day, I'll get around to uploading it, and the rest of the AA2003 footage (including a Q&A with Simon Furman and Andrew Wildman, regarding the then current run of Dreamwave TF Comics) online for your enjoyment and nostalgic purposes.

Ten years on, I enjoyed my time at AA2013, but with a tinge of sadness and acknowledgement that collecting Transformer figures is more or less over for me. I've got over 300 of them at home, and since the live-action movies (coincidence?) I've not felt the need to add any more to the collection. True, I still managed to buy an Optimus Prime to add to the 'Prime Shelf' and two versions of Grimlock, to celebrate my other half (Hazel Earle) completing her Transformers-Training and adopting Grimlock as her favourite character.

For me, the highlight was having a very frank, honest and enjoyable chat with current 'More Than Meets The Eye' writer, James Roberts. James has been writing Transformers comics for current license holders IDW for a few years now, and he is a huge inspiration to me for two main reasons.

The first being his writing itself; he has made MTMTE into a comic that is both hilarious and darkly tragic at the same time. Choosing to put a few good (and not so good) 'bots on a ship in deep space and sending them off on a quest, has resulted in a brilliant comic, grand in scope, and one that (crucially) could be read, enjoyed and understood by non-Transformers fans.

Secondly, James Roberts actually wrote a novel length 'fan-fiction' Transformers story over ten years ago, which was available online on various fan-fiction websites. I happened to read 'Eugenesis' around 2003 when I was going initially getting back into Transformers. No doubt that story, its breadth, and the passion which drove James to write that story way back when, is a key factor in him working for IDW today, capturing the hearts and minds of so many Transformers fans, both new and old.

We had a brief but honest chat about the current run, but unless you've read MTMTE, (buy it here!) most of what we talked about will be completely lost on you. (For those who do read it, I did ask 'What's in Brainstorm's briefcase?' amongst other things, but he wasn't telling!) However, that quick conversation with him was the highlight of my trip, and really gave me a kick up the arse to start writing some of my own Transformers fiction. Who knows where it could go...

Suffice to say, I left energised and inspired. It was great to indulge in a passion and something that has defined me for years, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with cameras, editing or film-making... As much as I love those things, it is good to get some distance every now and again. I'm always in danger of burning out film-wise and taking too much on with 'real-life' always bearing down on me. One weekend spent with giant robots reminded me that though the trials and tribulations of real life 'never end', we're all at our best when our backs are to the wall, and that we can all win if we Dare.

And that's why with Transformers, I'll always come back for more.