LeakyCon Orlando, 2014’s Greatest, Geekiest Week

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost three full months since LeakyCon 2014’s Closing Ceremonies! (It’s taken me a long time to write this because real life hit me pretty quickly since I arrived back in Minnesota from Orlando. I’ve been writing a little every few days since then.)

While at 2014’s greatest, geekiest week, I attended several events, though mostly at the main stage, and because I was working at those events. Despite my busyness, I can share some thoughts about the events that I attended, which I will give along with my full schedule below.

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

03:00—03:40 Ravenclaw Meetup

I had the awesome privilege of hosting this particular meetup with the incredible Amanda McCallister, a managing editor at GeekyNews (then LeakyNews) and the incomparable Mark Oshiro (“Mark Reads” on YouTube). What I absolutely loved about the meetup is how Ravenclaw-ish it was. Somehow during the discussion, we landed upon the topic of canon conundrums (in other words, the very nerdy unanswered questions of the Harry Potter series). One girl in the standing-room-only space impressed me incredibly with how many answers she could quote from J.K. Rowling herself.

As for the other house meetups: Hufflepuffs gave each other hugs and talked about how much they loved each other, and the Slytherins patted themselves on their backs, while listing reasons why they believe they’re the greatest house of all the Hogwarts houses. Oh how perfect it is. (Unfortunately, I never did hear back from the Gryffindor meetup.)

10:00—02:00 Open at the Close

I’ve written an article about Diagon Alley (and Open at the Close) already. Check it out!

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

05:00—06:30 Opening Ceremonies

LeakyCon’s exceptional special guests—particularly Tessa Netting—pulled it off again! Very little can compare with last year’s “La Vie Boheme” parody with RENT’s Anthony Rapp, but this year’s Opening Ceremonies came so very close. See for yourself!:

Also, I would highly recommend listening to the “Not Alive” song again… and again… and again…

07:30—08:30 LeakyCon vs HPA Quidditch

HPA won… BUT LEAKYCON CAUGHT THE SNITCH! And honestly, what do people remember more: the fact that Ireland won, or that Viktor Krum caught the snitch? I mean really! It was an excellent match. My friend Sam was an incredibly entertaining snitcher, and I did my part chasing (and later beating) for the LeakyCon team!

09:00—01:00 Rock Concert I

When it comes to Wizard Rock, I’m a bit late to the party. I didn’t grow up listening to Draco and the Malfoys, or Harry and the Potters, as some of my friends did, but I’ve slowly become a fan of a few bands. Tonks and the Aurors was particularly epic. I mean, there’s really nothing better in this world that a good HUFFLE RIOT. Oh man. So great.

Also, my friend Brad Ausrotas played drums for Gred and Forge, so that was pretty neat.

Here’s a basic overview of the Rock Concerts at LeakyCon:

Friday, August 1st, 2014

10:00—10:30 Literally, Not Literally, Live!

Dana & Ginny’s YouTube series is a favorite of mine. I particularly love their Hogwarts House Pride videos. On that Friday morning, they showed a short preview of their forthcoming Ravenclaw Pride video, “Smarter”. I can’t wait until it’s released! As they did last year, they showed their videos on the big screens, but sang along themselves, rather than letting the pre-recorded audio do the work for them. I was so impressed that they could sing so well, so early in the morning!

12:30—01:20 Hogwarts Alumni Association

This event has always been one of my favorites at LeakyCon, because it centers around Harry Potter. For this event, Mr. Awesome Moderator Eric Scull (from MuggleNet) asked a few actors and actresses who were in the Harry Potter movies about what it was like, what they’re doing now, etc.

This year, LeakyCon featured Scarlett Byrne (Pansy Parkinson), Ellie Darcy-Alden (young Lily Evans), Robbie Jarvis (young James Potter), Charlotte Skeoch (Hannah Abbot), and Nick Shirm (Zacharias Smith). Hugh Mitchell (Colin Creevy) was supposed to come too, but illness prevented him from making it to Florida. Personally, my only negative comment regarding this session (other than that Hugh was unfortunately not able to come) was that it was too short and I would have loved listening to the actors talk about their lives at Hogwarts for at least an hour and a half!

Also worth mentioning is that Nick Shirm graciously lent his talents on a broomstick to help out the LeakyCon team the night before, and Charlotte is now teaching English (which is what I do full-time, so I particularly thought this was very cool)!

01:30—02:20 This Panel is Emma Approved

On the heels of the Emmy-winning Lizzle Bennett Diaries, we have another Jane Austen classic-turned-YouTube series, Emma Approved. Featured actors from the series included James Brent Isaacs (Bobby Martin), Dayeanne Hutton (Harriet Smith), Joanna Sotomura (Emma Woodhouse), Brent Bailey (Alex Knightley), and Bernie Su (producer and head writer). I probably would have enjoyed this session more had I watched more episodes prior to LeakyCon, but I watched the rest after I returned home!

02:30—03:20 Frankenstein M.D. Preview

Bernie Su returned to give the audience a preview of Frankenstein M.D., along with Anna Lore (Victoria Frankenstein—a gender swap from the original Victor Frankenstein) and Steve Zaragoza (Iggy DeLacey—an Igor-type character). This preview made me incredibly excited for the series, and I have been watching it twice a week since its release!

04:30—05:00 Guinness World Record Attempt

In 2012, it was footie pajamas. In 2013, it was fake mustaches. This year, it was paper crowns. This event was so awesome, it was, you might say, record-breaking.

05:00—05:45 Potions 101 with Hannah Hart

Hannah Hart (My Drunk Kitchen on YouTube) is a delightful human being. Keeping with her “drunk” theme, she guessed at which alcoholic beverages would be the favorites of certain Harry Potter characters. I know a lot about Harry Potter, but not a lot about alcohol, so I didn’t understand some of the pairings, but judging by the laughter of others, she was pretty “punny”!

09:00—01:00 Rock Concert II

Lauren Fairweather, who graciously hosted the World Record Attempt at the last minute, is an incredible person and deserves all the praise in the world. Matt Maggiacomo (Lauren’s husband) of The Whomping Willows reminded us that we’re wizards and we’ll party forever and that this night will never end. Unfortunately for us, it did end and “real life” returned.

Harry and the Potters were, as always, the best we’ve ever had. Or something like that.

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

10:00—10:40 Magic of Design with Eduardo Lima

Eduardo Lima, from MinaLima (the graphic designers who worked on the Harry Potter movies), shared his thoughts about working on the Harry Potter films, as well as lending their talents to the new film The Fault In Our Stars.

11:00—11:40 Potter Puppet Pals Live!

While the performance was great, I especially loved the Q&A period, where Neil Cicerega answered the audience’s questions to Harry and his friends with the puppets—and totally in character. It was hilarious.

01:00—01:40 AVByte Live

These talented people are talented. Watch their YouTube series and see for yourselves. That is all.

02:00—02:50 LeakyStars

What an awesome showcase of fan talent! I am so glad that Amy Voyer won. She moved me with her soulful singing and her thoughtful lyrics. That she played piano too is a definite bonus! Hear the song below:

03:00—03:45 Joe Moses One Man Showses

While Joe Moses is always entertaining, JMOMS is a lie. Why would I say such a thing? Because it’s not a one-man show! Joe Moses also had help from Dominic Barnes, Jon Cozart (After Ever After), Jackie Emerson, Titus Makin, Jr., Curt Mega, and Tessa Netting. Granted, having all those other special guests helping him definitely made for an incredible show!

04:00—06:00 “StarShip: Requiem” Reading

Unlike some past readings by StarKid, this was actually a reading (and not just a toned-down performance, like A Very Potter Senior Year was in Chicago in 2012). Not having seen the previous StarShip, I didn’t really get what was going on during the StarShip: Requiem reading.

08:30—01:00 Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball

This was an emotional night, particularly because the video below was shown just prior to midnight, marking Esther Earl’s birthday, or Esther Day. Afterwards, we lit up the night with flashlights and rocked out to Total Eclipse of the Heart, as always.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

11:00—12:00 Outtakes from the Very Potter Musicals

The bloopers and extras that didn’t make it to YouTube were shared with us this morning!

12:00—01:00 Not the Last PotterCast

Last year in Portland, Melissa Anelli announced that, barring any breaking news from J.K. Rowling, the 250th episode would be the last for PotterCast. A few weeks later, it was leaked that J.K. Rowling had written The Cuckoo’s Calling under a pseudonym and a few months later, it was announced that she would be screenwriting a series of movies based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. So basically, Jo didn’t want PotterCast to end.

01:00—03:00 Closing Ceremonies

At the Closing Ceremonies, we were treated with a LeakyCon “through the years” look back to Boston 2009, Orlando 2011, Chicago 2012, Portland 2013, and Orlando 2014. This trip down memory lane led up to the big announcement that LeakyCon (which had morphed into a multi-fandom conference from a Harry Potter-only conference over the years) would become GeekyCon and LeakyCon would remain a smaller Harry Potter-only convention.

This all goes to show just how much goes on at a LeakyCon (now GeekyCon). There’s a little something for everyone, and this review didn’t even scratch the service. I only touched on the few things that I saw at the Main Stage. There were many more concurrent sessions going on that attendees were able to see if they didn’t want to attend the Main Stage panels or performances.

GeekyCon is an incredible experience, and if you haven’t already, you should really register to go in 2015! See you there!