The Inside Scoop on Dragon Con’s Stargate Main Track

PlayItGrand July 25, 2013 No Comments »
The Inside Scoop on Dragon Con’s Stargate Main Track

If you want to know about Stargate related events at Dragon Con, look no further than the Stargate Main Track or SGMT! There’s no one better to ask about SGMT than its Director, Jennifer Breland. Jennifer was kind enough to answer some of my questions so that fellow Stargate fans can learn all about SGMT and what’s in store for Dragon Con 2013.

For those who don’t know, what is SGMT?

SGMT is the Stargate Multiverse Track at Dragon Con, held each year over Labor Day weekend. We are a gathering of fans from across the globe, with four days of programming ranging from discussions of our favorite characters right up to full panels of chatting with the actors who brought those characters to life.

How did you get involved with SGMT?

In 2006, Dragon Con introduced a Stargate Track for the first time. I had been a fan of the SG-1 series for about three years at that point, and so emailed the first Director about what knowledge and skills I could lend to the staff. It turned out that she was looking for someone with pretty much my exact skillset, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Who are the Stargate guests this year?

This year we are excited to have Teryl Rothery (Janet Frasier) and Mitch Pileggi (Col. Caldwell) for the first time. Also returning are Richard Dean Anderson (Jack O’Neill), Louis Ferreira (Col. Young), Ona Grauer (Mrs. Young, also a first-timer), Dan Payne (various characters, stunts), Jennifer Spence (Lisa Park), and Alex Zahara (various characters).

What new events does SGMT have for fans this year?

This year, we are turning our traditional costume contest on its ear. We are introducing the roaming costume contest at our Friday night Charity Event, in the Plaza Ballroom. Anyone who shows up in a costume is eligible to enter the contest, and there will be prizes throughout the evening.

What does Dragon Con offer the uninitiated?

Too many things to count! There are over four days of programming on over forty tracks! We have tracks for every fandom, from Fantasy Literature to Science to Zombies to Aliens and everything in-between. Some advice would be not to try to see everything in your first year. Oh, and the costumes! If you’re looking for something to do in the evening hours, there are random gatherings of costumes throughout the Marriott and Hyatt common areas, as well as parties and concerts throughout the weekend.

I hear SGMT is involved with the Dragon Con Charity? What can you tell me about it?

In 2007, we had a random, last-minute charity auction with Paul McGillion. Our fans raised almost $3000 in just over 30 minutes!! With that, we decided to expand into a full, 1-hour auction in 2008. That expanded into a 2-hour auction in 2010, and as of last year, including that original, off-the-cuff auction back in 2007, the SGMT has raised over $100,000 for the Dragon Con Charities over the years.

How did the Don S. Davis Memorial Charity auction get started?

In 2008, Don was scheduled to return to Dragon Con, after he had attended our inaugural year in 2006. That summer, he died suddenly of a heart attack. It just so happened that our Dragon Con Charity that year was the American Heart Association. It was SGMT’s first year doing a full, 1-hour auction, so we decided to add a theme: “$10,000, Let’s Do It for Don.” There was an outpouring of fans and items and bids and so much in the name of one of our most beloved actors. When all funds were counted, we didn’t raise $10,000. We had raised $14,500 in our first year. Each year, we have set a goal and exceeded it. In 2012, on the occasion of our fifth official auction, we retroactively renamed the SGMT Charity Auction into the “Don S. Davis Memorial Charity Auction at Dragon Con” to honor the man who had started it all.

Can you describe what the Don S. Davis Memorial Charity auction is and how it works?

Each year, the SGMT sources donations from companies and fans alike, for the express purpose of auctioning them off at this event. All funds raised go toward the selected Dragon Con Charities for the year. We have fans that work on homemade items all year in anticipation of helping to raise money for charity. We have had everything from crocheted Stargates to actual set pieces from Propworx, to a scale replica of the Stargate itself, which was dedicated to Don S. Davis specifically for our auction.

With the cancelation of the last show, and the dismantling of the sets, “official” items are getting harder and harder to come by. We scour ebay and our local comics stores, and flea markets and craigslist, for people wanting to part with their Stargate memorabilia. Many times, our staff, volunteers, and fans will pick these items up at their own expense in order to donate them to the auction. What makes our auction even more interesting, though, is the number of actors who sign these items for the auction. The Stargate actors that come to Dragon Con each year have been outstanding in their enthusiasm to support our charity auction. We have auctioned $2 magazines off for upward of $100 because several actors autographed it beforehand.

What was the largest amount the auction ever generated?

In 2010, we raised over $28,000 for the Georgia Chapter of the Lupus Foundation.

Is there anything new or especially exciting planned for the auction this year?

In the grand tradition set by Paul McGillion back in 2007, the DSDMCA is always emceed by one or two actors from our shows, so the fans get a little bit of extra time with our guests in addition to supporting a great cause. In addition to Paul, we have had David Nykl, Garry Chalk, Peter Kelamis and Colin Cunningham as our guest emcees. This year’s auction hosts will be Dan Payne and Alex Zahara, who I am told are an hilarious combo.

As for auction items, we have a painting reproduction from the Atlantis set, several signed custom art pieces, some set-used costumes, and over 80 other items already waiting for the auction this year.

How has SGMT changed throughout the years?

We have gone from a small track in the belly of the Hyatt to one of the largest fan tracks at Dragon Con, now housed in the main level of the Westin. We are known as the premier track for charity fundraising at Dragon Con, and we think our fans are the greatest fans at the convention.

We are one of the only tracks to produce our own “fan swag” and promote it throughout the year, and we are the only track to have our own Challenge Coin, with a new edition released annually. It is because of our fans, and their incredible support, that we are able to do all the extra things that we do at the convention every year.

What do you think is the future of the Stargate franchise?

At this point, no one can say. Personally, I would like to see SG:Universe pick up in the style of Sanctuary with the green screen filming, minimal sets, etc., at the conclusion of the three year voyage they set off on when the show ended. That’s just my dream, though.

I think, if anything, Stargate may go on in the way that Star Trek did, in a brand new, fresh series in years to come. There are too many stories still to be told for Stargate to simply be over.

Stargate has been off the air for a few years now. Do you think the SGMT will continue to draw in the future?

Absolutely. What makes this track amazing is the fans. We will continue to change, as we have in the past. But as long as there are fans to gather and discuss the science, characters, and their love of Stargate, we will be here for them.

Thank you so much Jennifer! Thanks to you, Stargate fans have a lot to look forward to at Dragon Con!

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