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Old 13th June 2017, 07:29 AM
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griffin griffin is offline
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Default June 12-13 - TEN year anniversary of the 2007 Movie premiere in Sydney

Ten years ago, yesterday and today, was the two day premiere event of the 2007 Transformers Movie (June 12th) and Press Conference (June 13th)... which started it all for the Movie Universe for us fans.

The following text and images are from this webpage of mine.

More comments from other fans can be seen here at TFW2005 (the Ozformers topics from 2007 no longer exist because they were on the old messageboard site, and we started up the current one in 2008).

For some videos that are still on youtube, there are two from the Movie screening (here and here), and two from the Press Conference (here and here).


PART ONE (Movie Screening & Red Carpet - Tuesday June 12th 2007)

(note - any photos not belonging to me were submitted to me for this report and are noted - none are to be used without written permission from me or the owners)


Intro.
For years I've wanted the local Australian fans who can't afford the expense of BotCon to know what it feels like to go to a dedicated Transformers convention, and Paramount managed to do it with this two day event. The general atmosphere and excitement by a hoard of fans over a matter of hours is what BotCon is like over a matter of days, and to see the look on the faces of certain fans, who just couldn't get enough of it all, was priceless. At this two day event we had guests, a movie screening, heaps of fans mingling in the one place, and a guest panel (press conference) - all we needed was an exclusive toy and it could have been called a convention.
Admittedly, the Tuesday event started out very slow, with the MC trying to hype up a 'crowd' of about 10 people, but within an hour there were fans everywhere, soaking it all in and having a great time. And then there was that overwhelming anticipation by the committed Transformers fans that they were soon to be the first in the world to see the biggest thing in Transformers since it began 23 years ago.


Pre-event.
It all started quite simply really. After seeing on an American fan-forum that there was an advance screening of the Transformers Movie in this country, I merely rang Paramount back on June 1st to ask if it was true, plus to point out that their Australian Movie website kept spelling 'Decepticon' wrong.

Later that day I got an email from the Promotions company handling the event, with an offer to attend the movie screening for me and as many other fans that I could find.

I was also asked to offer seats to up to 40 fans to the press conference the next day (I got 18 names, but only about 10 were able to make it).

The Promotions company were offering movie tickets to each of the main Transformers fan forums that had Australian members (including Ozformers, TAAU, Seibertron, and probably TFW2005), as well as some computer geek forums (for the CGI element of the movie and for the computer game)... but Ozformers was the one fansite offered access to the "Media only" Press Conference on the second day, which was an amazing privilege.
With about a week before the event I knew that fellow fans dirge and Goktimus were going to be there, so I made flight and work arrangements to be in Sydney for the two days.
Right up until the 6th of June (6 days before the event) when I booked the flight, I still wasn't believing that this was all happening.


A copy of the webpage invite that was emailed to me and others (most would have 'admit two' on them).



Day one - Tuesday 12th June.
This was probably one of the few times I wasn't panicking and rushing to the airport at the last minute, because I made sure I was ready to leave the house an hour before I needed to. I was certainly not going to miss this event over something stupid like being late for the plane.
I flew into Sydney at about 2.30pm, met up with dirge in the CBD a little after 4pm and we both went to Central station to meet Goktimus about quarter to five.

We took a bus to the Fox studios, and walked to the venue to find that the MC had already started his routine to hype the 'crowd' (there were only about a dozen people there by 5.15-ish).

We checked in and got our passes, and I took some photos of the 'red' carpet (it was camo green) area. I checked out the 'win $25 grand' competition but they wouldn't let you hand in the entry until between 6.30 and 7pm (which was odd, because that was about the time we were expected to be going into the theatre).





The competition booth (could fill out the entry forms at any time, but only submit them during 6.30 and 7pm).


The MC on the microphone was sporadically giving away passes to the screening, passes to the movie at any theatre, and some other passes to nearby venues. The camo carpet was fenced off on both sides, with the media on one side and the fans/public on the other. At the entrance to the cinema, there was a black Hummer with 'Transformers' painted over it.
The marshalling area and check-in table for the 'important' people. Us fans had to report to some PR people off to one side.

Some photos of the location before it got dark, taken by Board member Burn. DJ's platform and theatre entrance.




Looking across to the 'Fan side' from the 'Media side', taken by Board member Burn.



Looking straight down the Camo Carpet before anyone or the media had even arrived, taken by Board member Burn. (doesn't Megatron look scary? I can't imagine that poster being sold at all - who'd want that creepy demonic face on their wall?).



As darkness fell and the crowd grew, the event started to gain momentum. Looking down the Camo Carpet.



Same shot, but photo taken by board member Saintly. Note the welcome mat at the start of the Camo Carpet, saying 'Transformers Demolition Area'.


On an angle.


Further along the 'Fan side', showing the DJ up on the platform behind the 'Transformers' sign.


A better photo of that angle taken by board member Burn.


Also on the 'Fan side'.


The Hummer, with Goktimus being photographed by dirge.


And Goktimus taking a photo of dirge.


While waiting for the stars to arrive, I met with Krayt, Lord Zed and his friend Pete(?), Burn, Sharky, Crank, Saintly and some other fans who are on the TFW2005 forum. Checked out the competition booth, and wandered around taking photos of everything.

The celebs are about to arrive.


Looking across to the 'Media side'.


The MC, hyping up the crowd and giving away heaps of tickets.


And a few props halfway along the Camo Carpet.


The first invited local celebrities arrived a little before six, and most I didn't even recognise (I don't watch Channel 7 soapies or know the Sydney radio and TV identities), but I did recognise Andy G, and um, that was unfortunately it. The MC kept saying other celebs would be there, like David Kosh, whom I didn't see, but was apparently there (according to dirge, and Koshie mentioned it on the Sunrise program the following morning when interviewing Rachael Taylor).

The first 'Celeb' (no idea who it was) showed up, posed for photos for about 5 minutes, and went inside. The next Celeb didn't arrive for another 5-10 minutes and the movie started about an hour later, so this first lady must have regretted showing up so early. Ever heard of 'fashionably late'?



Other people who were were allowed down the Camo Carpet, so must have been TV or Radio identities.


On the left is Andy G (Australian Idol host), who was one celeb who actually tried to race past the photographers.


More unknown celebs, but pretty enough for me to photograph..


A little bit before 7pm, the three Movie people arrived - first Megan Fox in a short dress, Rachael Tayler in a long green dress, and then Michael Bay.

The first of the Movie guests arrive by car.


Out steps Megan Fox in a short (and probably very cold) dress.


Playing up to the media.


And still flirting with the media.


Then came one fan's moment that will never be forgotten. (a fan who goes by the name of Sideswipe2005 on the TFW2005 board)


Want to see that as a close up? Okay.


Some other photos of Megan, by board member Saintly. How she passes for a 16 year old in the movie beats me...

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Next up was the more conservatively dressed but much more beautiful Rachael Taylor, who is actually an Australian (I only found that out a few days before).


Since I didn't manage to get a frontal photo, enjoy these ones from Board member Saintly.

.


After the two girls spent most of their time in front of the media, and a little with the fans, when Bay showed up and started walking over to the media, I yelled out 'Ignore the press, come to the fans'.
One of his minders quickly looked around with an angry face and said, 'you want him over there?', and the fans answered, 'yeah!'. So Bay was turned around and re-directed over to us first. After signing a few things and answering some questions, he was grabbed and told to go back over to the media.

Michael Bay (has the dashing, suave looks of someone who should be in a movie, rather than directing them).


Photo by Saintly.


When those three went in, everyone with passes to the screening were then allowed to file in. And since there were so many invited people not showing up, they gave out remaining passes to those in the crowd, which probably meant just about everyone who showed up to the event got in.

We were checked by security and had to hand in phones and cameras, and then directed into one of two theatres. I ended up in theatre 3, while most of the other fans from this board went into theatre 2 which had the three Movie people in it. The bonus for me though, was that our theatre apparently had a five minute head start with our screening, so we were the *first* group to see it in the world, but only by a few minutes.


Me being the TF news reporter that I am, I actually took notes during the movie (yes, in the dark), and wrote up a synopsis when I got home.

When it ended, I met up with dirge, Goktimus, Lord Zed and his friend, and we walked back to the nearest train station to head our separate ways.
I stayed the night at dirge's place, and froze my butt off on his couch (I didn't plan for the colder weather in Sydney).

(continued in Part two - Press Conference)

Last edited by griffin; 13th June 2017 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 13th June 2017, 07:55 AM
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PART TWO (Press Conference - Wednesday June 13th 2007)

(note - any photos not belonging to me are noted, and none are to be used without prior permission from me or the other owners)


Day two - Wednesday 13th June.

I had to kill some time in the morning, so headed into the city with dirge (who had to work), and then made my way to Redfern station around 11am.

Within 20 minutes I found "Carriageworks" (the name of the building at Redfern that hosted the Press Conference), while on the way there I stopped to buy a notebook.

I reported in at the 'front desk' and was given a few Press kit items (but not everything, as I was just representing a fansite and not major media). Those who were official Press were given 2 CDs and/or 2 Beta Videos (depending on if they are TV or Internet Media). One CD/Video was 26 Minutes, the other was 47 Minutes.

I'm not sure what was on the longer one, but since I was given a CD copy of the smaller one, which had on it, 3 clips from the movie (Caryard with Bumblebee, Scorponok attacking soldiers, Mikaela checking Bumblebee's engine) each in 3 different audio formats, plus a 2minute 10second featurette on Michael Bay, showing some behind the scenes shots.

The other thing being given out to everyone, including us fans, was a 131 page Movie Press Book, with info on just about everything and everyone involved in the Movie.

The location of this Press Conference looked old and rusted on the outside, but renovated and modern inside. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, with rundown streets, so walking to the venue would have been out of the question at night.

Board member Rollerforce and his three friends were already there when I arrived, plus a few of the other fans from the TFW2005 forum who emailed me for seats. Board member Kup showed up a little later.

The 'foyer' had the Vehicle from the night before, plus a small stage set up ready for photographing the guests on when they arrived. After taking a couple of photos of the car, my camera died because I didn't notice that it was low on power from the night before (should have bought batteries when I got the notepad). Fortunately Rollerforce was there to save the day - he was kind enough to take photos with the promise of getting me some copies. My hero

The Movie people didn't arrive until 12.45-1.00, so we were all waiting around for some time in the foyer and in the auditorium. When they did arrive, the girls came in first (and I thought Megan's dress was short the night before, this time I could see her butt when she walked in front of me), who distracted the photographers while Michael Bay came in after them and stood to one side.

Rollerforce and I pounced, getting his attention, taking photos and asking some questions. One I asked was if it was Devastator or Brawl in the Movie, and he said that to him it is Devastator and that's who it is supposed to be. He said he chose the name because it sounds more evil.

He also mentioned that he hadn't heard of BotCon (which I thought he might be at to present the movie to *the real fans* ) but maybe now that he knows he might look into it. He had the face of someone who had a lot on his mind (perhaps the fear of risking $145million on a movie) as well other projects, or he was just getting bored of us fans (because he was making an action movie with Transformers, rather than a Transformers movie). At this point I think he was happy to be rescued by his minders, who pulled him over to join the girls on the mini-stage for some group photos.

Board member Rollerforce in front of the Autobot side of the Hummer (his photo, taken by a friend)


The Hummer inside from the back, taken by Board member Sideswipe2005.


The Hummer again from the Decepticon side, with one of the Paramount people so that the photographers know where the Movie people would be standing.


Hummer from the front, stage at the back, and the 'foyer' area showing the interior of the building (old train yard building). Photo by Sideswipe2005.


The mini-stage, taken by Sideswipe2005.


And now, the girls. Megan on the left in black, Rachael on the right in yellow. Photos by Rollerforce.




Sneaking in from behind, Michael Bay. Photo by Rollerforce.


The three together, taken by Sideswipe2005.


Same pose, but taken by Rollerforce (or me holding his camera above the media pack).


Michael Bay taking time to meet the fans, here with Rollerforce (his photo).


And with me (photo taken by Rollerforce).


The three posing at the mini-stage for a few photos. Photo by Sideswipe2005.


Everyone was directed into the auditorium. The extended trailer was played on a big screen (sound was too loud), and then three guests made a big entrance with lights and smoke. They seated themselves on the centre of the stage and started answering questions from the audience, both fans and media. It went for just on 40 minutes.

Just like at the Movie event the night before, another Transformers welcome mat. Photo by Rollerforce.


Inside the auditorium. Projection screen in the middle, and the 'grand entrance' arc over to the right. Photo by Rollerforce.


The seated, taking questions. Photo by Sideswipe2005.


And another shot, by Sideswipe2005.


The Q&A.
Before the Q&A started, one of the event organisers made it absolutely clear that Megan Fox has to have her name pronounced 'May-gan'. (something that didn't surprise me after seeing how she presented herself, and showed off herself to the media like any other Hollywood ego) I think it was funny that I didn't hear any of the audience pronounce her name the way she wanted it.

- First question asked about why he included some Classic Transformers Phrases. Bay didn't know about Transformers before he started and when Steven Spielberg rang him to see if he would direct it, Bay turned him down thinking it was just a silly toy movie. It was only when Bay was convinced to go to the Hasbro offices to learn about the history of the toyline and of the storyline from the last 20 years that he really took it in and saw the potential to want to take on the project.

- Question about Fan interaction during the production of the movie, Bay said that he read blogs and listened to suggestions, but wasn't going to change the need to reinvent Transformers for this movie. He could see that the fandom was very negative at first, but has been happy to see it turn around so much that the movie has even won the MTV award for 'The Best Movie yet to be seen'.

- The Human perspective, Bay wanted to focus on the Boy. The Transformers are not the central theme, and he wanted to make the movie more for the *non-fans*.

- Did the fan reaction affect him? No. Bay also mentioned that there must have been so much interest from people out there that by the beginning of this year their server had had 39,000 attempted hacks .

- Question for Rachael about using her Australian accent in the movie. She said that Bay wanted the accent for her character.

- Bay was asked why Hugo Weaving was chosen for Megatron and not Frank Welker. He said that Welker sounded too cartoony. The reason why Peter Cullen was chosen for Optimus was that he actually went through the audition process like everyone else and just managed to pull off the best performance.

- The girls were asked about what it was like acting in the movie, and they responded by saying that a lot of it was reactive acting, because so much was added in visually after it was shot. They commented on having to react to temporary props (like a face on a post) or to nothing at all.

- Asking about the visual side of the movie, Bay mentioned that with Optimus alone, there are over 10,000 indiviually animated moving parts. He mentioned that the lighting ended up being the biggest issue in post-production, trying to get it looking right on every character in every frame. And it was worked out that each frame would take about about 38 hours to render (if done by one person), so multiply that by 24 (frames per second), then by 60 (seconds in a minute), then by another 60 (minutes in an hour), and then by 2.25 (for the length of the movie in hours). (It means that it would have taken one person about 843 years to do all the Computer Animation in this movie, so there must have been a heap of people working on the renderings in this movie.)

- There were some comments on Bay's style, and being mentioned that the movie was totally finished only four days ago.

- Bay's favourite Transformers character in the movie... Bumblebee, for the emotion element and the 'cute' factor.

- Spielberg's favourite - Bumblebee. Spielberg was a big fan and has a huge collection (apparently).

- Megan was asked if she is a fan of Transformers. She says she is a bit now, but since she was born in 1986, she was more a fan of TMNT (Turtles) when growing up.

- Bay mentioned once again that this was not a movie about toys, it is a movie for everyone. One for the whole family, not just kids or fans.

- The involvement of the military was brought up, and his history with the US military in his films. Bay said that the involvement was very good, and got to use a heap of equipment, and actual military personel (all of them volunteered, so it wasn't at a cost to the taxpayer). He mentioned that the military personel would make suggestions with lines and pace and he would work them in to get a more accurate account of how the US military would react in this situation.

- What was the hardest decision he had to make? Trying to get everything done in the movie within budget, which was at $145 million. He said that he had to try to make special eeffects more affordable, so that he could have a movie that was as visually spectacular as Pirates, with about a third of the budget. He talked about the exploding bus sequence, which had an actual stunt driver and wires pulling the bus around while charges were set off, and said that most films these days would do that as a digital effect, but he wanted to do it for real to make it look more real. But it was a big risk because it was an expensive shot that they could only afford to try once.

- Most difficult sequence? Desert scene when Scorponok attacks. It was about 40+ degree heat and several days of filming.

- Hoover Dam, was it meant to reflect an episode in the original series cartoon? No, it was just coincedence. (IMO, I couldn't see how having Hoover Dam in the Movie could have been seen as having any relevance to Sherman Dam in one episode of 98 episoide original series. If the Statue of Liberty had been included or an oil rig, or any of the hundreds of other locations from the original series cartoon had been included in the Movie, it's just coincedence. Other than it being a location in the Movie, there is no other similarity to Gen1 because the fighting doesn't happen at the dam. It was a fanboy question that had to be asked though to see if Bay was a fan in disguise...)

- Filming took 83 days, which is said to be very long for a movie like this, with the average time being about 50 days.

- Some characters Bay wanted in the movie? He wanted to have an Aircraft Carrier Transformer (maybe Broadside could be in the sequal?), but it would have been too expensive. He also wanted a Boombox character, which could be why Frenzy ended up turning into one in the movie. Of the 13 Transformers characters that ended up in the Movie, Bay wanted Optimus, Megatron and Bumblebee. All the rest were chosen by the writers, with some later changes to names and forms.

- Bay said he is both nervous and excited.

- I got to ask a couple of questions, but wasn't able to take notes as I was asking them, and was too excited to remember what they said to write down later. I asked the girls how they felt about being in their biggest movie role so far, and I asked Michael how he felt about the fandom being more positive towards the movie as the release date got closer. By this stage it should have been obvious to me that he didn't prioritise the fans when making this movie, and wasn't too concerned about how they reacted, because with a budget like this, he needed to make the movie for the general public first, then the fans second. However, it was the only question I could think of at the time, so I stuck with it.

- The last question to Bay had a response that was probably the most disappointing to me as a fan. When asked what he thought of the audience reaction to the screening the night before, he mentioned that he was surprised and confused at the fan reaction to certain things, like the first appearance of Optimus in truck mode. These are the fan Icons from the last 23 years, and he despite pouring in the last year and half into this movie and supposedly reading comments from fans, he just still doesn't get it.
It may just be a truck, or a phrase to him and non-fans, but to us, they have been around so long they are Iconic. It may not be the classic red cab-over truck from Gen1, but it is Optimus-as-a-truck driving onto the big screen in a live action movie for the first time, which sends shivers down the spine of any fan, and if cheering that Iconic image because of how exciting it is to see it, is confusing, he probably needs to spend a little more time back at Hasbro HQ brushing up on Transformers before the next Movie. He did a great job, and I have to give him credit for that and for not being one of those people who claims to be a fan just to win fan support, but I just feel a little surprised myself - because he spent so much time around Transformers and didn't pick up much from the fandom about our Iconic history, or become a fan himself.

When the Press Conference was over, the press and fans left the auditorium and some of us hung around in the foyer area for a while, chatting and scoffing the free food. When it looked like the Movie people were not coming out any time soon (lunch was taken out the back for them), I left with Kup to the trainstation and headed back to the airport for my flight home.


In case any of the event organisers or PR people actually read this - a huge thankyou for giving me (and the other fans) access to the event. It was worth the expense of interstate airfares and half a day off work unpaid (stupid manager tricked me into thinking I was covered - I actually went to work on the Wednesday night as soon as I flew back into Brisbane, halfway into my shift).

Post-event.
Stuff I got from the 2 day event.

From left at the top - one of the two CDs given to the Press at the Press Conference, The Media pass, The Movie pass, an autographed postcard by Michael Bay, and at the bottom is the Movie Press Book.


Another photo showing the back of the Movie pass, the front of the postcard (which I took to the event myself), and the cover of the Movie Press Book.


For those of you who were there ten years ago, post up your thoughts (because the old board is no longer around, so we lost all those original comments from way back then).

As a final note, today, ten years after the first movie had it's premiere and press conference in Sydney Australia, the fifth movie is having it's premiere in Guangzhou City China... it's probably coincidence, but it makes for nice timing.

Last edited by griffin; 13th June 2017 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 13th June 2017, 08:34 AM
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Wasn't there, but I remember you talking about this before going and this review of the event (shame in hindsight there is no archive of the old board)

A 2 day premiere event - you know that's when the IP holders are really pushing for success
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Old 20th June 2017, 11:35 PM
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Ooooow. 10 year mystery. Please help griffin put the mystery to bed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin View Post
The first 'Celeb' (no idea who it was) showed up, ...


More unknown celebs, but pretty enough for me to photograph..
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