Saturday, September 29, 2012


Today was the big day, R2LA IX.  Westside!

Joining our R2 units were three new robots from a different universe, but of similar lineage - the WALL•Es.  Two are Mike Senna's and one is Michael McMaster's. Unfortunately, they turned out fantastically great, so R2 has a lot of competition now.

The event consisted of the usual catching up, picture-taking and chit-chat that makes for so much fun.  We also did a webcast, although I'm not sure the chat feature always worked, and occasionally we'd have to reset one of the three cameras. Them's the breaks.

Nikki Miyamoto's Million Dollar R2 dome is coming along quite nicely.

Collin Swanson brought the semi-traditional R2 cake, and it was yummy.

And of course, we gathered the robots for the traditional group picture.  Here are a few shots, including an attempt at a panorama.

It was another great day, and since we didn't do R2LA last year, it was really nice to see everyone and their droids again this year.

The full photoset is here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pre-R2LA IX Dinner

Tonight was the kickoff to R2LA IX Weekend, with the Pre-R2LA IX dinner at Lampost Pizza in Yorba Linda, CA.

Tomorrow promises to be a fun day. We'll be webcasting at

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Comikaze 2012 - Day 2

Today was the second and final day of Comikaze Expo 2012 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The same cast of characters from yesterday returned; namely me, Gene Arena, Chris Romines, William & Nikki Miyamoto and Michael McMaster, along with our robots.

I arrived early for setup before the show opened to the public at 10:00am.

Today was similar to yesterday, with lots of attendees continuously visiting our booth.

Michael McMaster spent most of the time roaming the aisles with WALL•E, but when he returned, suddenly all the attention on our droids instantly turned to WALL•E. It didn't hurt that Grant Imahara was giving WALL•E a test drive either.

Grant was also nice a enough to take a picture with us R2 dinosaurs.

I had to wrap it up a bit early today, but things were still going strong when I left. I think the folks at Comikaze have a winner on their hands, and hopefully we'll be back next year.

Today's photoset is here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Comikaze 2012 - Day 1

Today was Day 1 of the 2 day Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and the R2 Builders were there in force, with a WALL•E thrown in for good measure. Gene Arena, Chris Romines, and William & Nikki Miyamoto joined me with our droids. Michael McMaster furnished the WALL•E. Ed Perello also dropped by and hung out with us.

The convention is associated with Stan Lee, and was very well attended. I'd guess somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 fans came out.

I got there nice and early to stand in line for our Exhibitor badges. That was a pretty long line, but it moved at a reasonable pace.

From there, it was on to the booth. The show opened to the public at 10:00am, and the stampede was on. It didn't take long for the crowd to find our booth.

It's not a convention unless Chris is repairing something on his droid.

WALL•E was quite the star as well.

Kayla is taking over the mantle of the Miyamoto stroller droid. You know how some babies know how to swim at birth? The Miyamoto kids instinctively know how to pilot a droid.

After a long day, the convention wrapped up at 7:00pm. We took a few group pictures and called it day.

On our way out of the convention center, the Nokia Theater was just letting out for the early Emmy Awards for Creative Arts. A couple of winners walked by us with trophies in hand, and Michael McMaster congratulated them. "Thank you!"

We'll be back at it again at 10:00am tomorrow. The full photoset is here.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Cupcake Wars Shoot for Lucasfilm

Back on February 24, 2012, I posted about a mystery shoot that I did for Lucasfilm. Well, seven months later I can finally reveal that this was for the show Cupcake Wars on Food Network, as the episode aired tonight.

The shoot took place on Stage 2 at Los Angeles Center Studios, in downtown LA.

This was a Star Wars-themed episode, as a tie-in to Celebration VI in Orlando. Ashley Eckstein, voice actress of Ahsoka Tano on The Clone Wars, was the guest judge. The winning team's cupcakes were to be featured at a VIP party at CVI. Christopher Cerillo of the Southern California 501st Garrison joined R2 as Vader.

It was just the two Star Wars characters, and I helped Chris with his costume.

Shortly after I arrived, I headed onto the set with R2 for rehearsals. Of course, the crew wanted pictures with R2 as we made our way.

R2 and Vader helped open the show with host Justin Willman. After Justin's introduction, the characters relocated to the ingredients table, where two dolls were made up to be Sith and Jedi, complete with lightsabers.

The art department whipped up a couple of Star Wars set pieces to hold the cupcakes at the end of the show. They have so much to do every day that these were painted and drying outside shortly before they were needed on set. The TIE Fighter actually made the trip to Orlando for the CVI VIP party.

Speaking of the art department, remember those Jedi and Sith dolls above? The one on the left was made up to look like Chucky and had a knife it its left hand, while the one on the right had an Anarchy symbol, "Occupy" slogan and other adornments painted on its face. Artistic license.

Chris and I were on and off the set throughout the day. As most of the day is spent by the contestants actually making and baking cupcakes, there was a lot of down-time spent standing by. Like 5 hours between calls to the set. Often the crew would get pictures with us during this time, including the on-set medic, checking to see if Vader really is more machine than man.

One of the interactions with R2 involved him driving up to Justin and providing him with a (prop) cupcake. We used some butyl tape to affix the cupcake onto R2's top utility arm. When we went to shoot it, the tape stuck so tightly that Justin was unable to remove the cupcake, so we just did another take where R2 extends the arm out to offer the cupcake. Later it took me several twists of the cupcake to finally dislodge it.

During a break in shooting, Ashley and Justin got in quick pictures with R2.

Toward the end, the contestants had additional helpers to help bake up to 1000 cupcakes. The set was busy with seven cameras capturing all angles.

Those Star Wars set pieces were in place for their cupcake-holding duties as the winning team was about to be announced.

Justin announced the winning team, and they were told they were headed to Orlando and the CVI VIP party, where they would serve up their winning cupcakes. R2 and Vader joined in the celebration.

After we wrapped, we took just a few more pictures, including one with Gwen, who was our point of contact with the production company.

And finally, one with me, R2, Christopher as Vader, and the Cupcake Wars team.

It was a long but enjoyable day, and once again I very much appreciate the opportunity to have participated. I even got to take home some cupcakes! :-)

The full photoset is here. If any video materializes, I'll post a link.