Kelson at the Ender's Game Premiere

A Guest Contribution by Kelson Record

The music was pounding and the lights were flashing like crazy. My date and I had been wandering around the room aimlessly after eating, soaking up the atmosphere. We finally found our friends getting drinks at the bar when someone brushed my shoulder. I turned and made eye contact with Mr. Ford as he nodded to say excuse me. It was then that I finally thought to myself: "Holy Crap!"

Having grown up in a small town in Alabama, I never once thought that I would ever attend a premiere and the subsequent after-party to celebrate the opening of a big movie, especially one that I've been waiting for since I was a teenager. It was like a dream come true!

To start off the day, I had the opportunity to pick up Kelly and Aidan (Ender News) from the airport, get to know them a little, and talk with them about the book and movie. If you ever get the opportunity to meet these wonderful ladies, do it. They are two of the sweetest and most generous people you'll ever meet.

Entering the premiere was a little nerve racking but those nerves settled as we stood in line for will call with many others. We were able to enter the courtyard at the TCL Chinese theater and watch all the stars arrive one by one, (something I had only ever done watching the Oscars on TV) until they started ushering us inside. We took our seats in the lower section around others we thought were just like us, just lucky to get tickets.

It wasn't until the curtains opened and credits started that we realized that most of those around us were in some way associated with the film. A group to our right was cheering for Oddlot Entertainment; a group to our left was cheering for Summit Entertainment. And of course we all cheered and applauded when Gavin Hood's name appeared.

And then it hit...the movie I have been waiting for for years was about to play on the giant silver screen in front of me. The book I have loved for almost 20 years was about to be shown to me through the eyes and mind of Mr. Hood and the hundreds of others who helped to shape the movie.

Except for being a lifelong fan, I don't think I'm too qualified to critique what he did, but all things considered, I think he did an amazing job. The story itself is not an easy one to fit into 2 hours. It was fast...maybe a little too fast at times. But everything I wanted to see as a fan of the book was there and I was amazed at how they tied certain things together. I don't think it detracts from the book; in fact, I feel it has given me a better appreciation for it and new insights into depths of its many messages.

If I had thought being at the famous Chinese theater was an experience, being at the after party was at least an experience and a half. As we left the theater, we passed Mr Butterfield who seemed pretty excited as he bounded up the steps 4 at a time to make it to the annex on the 5th foor of the heritage center. My date and I looked at each other in amusement and she commented that "he's definitely still a teenager."

The annex was filled with set pieces from the film, all the staff dressed as IF personnel, and posters and banners were all around the room. There was music and dancing and (best of all) food. My favorite dish: the packets of freeze dried astronaut ice cream on the desert table (my dad used to buy that for us when I was a kid and it was a great nostalgic treat). We, of course, didn't know anyone there personally so after eating and a little wandering to see the sights, we finally met up with Kelly and Aidan from Ender News and Crystal and Liz from Enderwiggin.net (the latter also being two amazing people) They were all so gracious in showing us around and, best of all, introducing us to the cast and crew.

Everyone we met was so courteous and most were willing to talk to us and the kids (as well as Bob Orci) loved just goofing around. Of course we congratulated them on a job well done and they accepted our thanks and praise so humbly. Ms. Steinfeld was especially sweet as I was able to tell her that that I thought her portrayal one of my favorite characters in the book was amazing.

We had the unique opportunity to talk extensively with Frank Rimili and Bjorn Wehrli, the head dudes for Audi exterior design (we actually sat fairly close to them in the theater). Mr. Rimili seemed like an excited kid at Christmas as he talked to us about their work on the film. You could definitely tell that they love and are so passionate about the work they do. Being a car lover, it was definitely one of the high points of the night.

What I loved most about the evening, though, was hearing Mr. Hood personally tell us why he had decided to make this movie and where his vision came from. A friend gave him a copy of his favorite book and said "Gavin, don't screw this up!" He explained why he did certain scenes the way he did and how he had decided to make the connection between battle school's battle room and command school's simulator. In the end, he gave all the ladies a kiss on the cheek and me a heartfelt handshake to accept our praise and thanks. He truly is, as many have said before, an amazing person.

Of course it couldn't last forever. The evening came to a close and we said our goodbyes to our new friends Kelly, Aidan, Crystal, and Liz. Thank you so much ladies! It wouldn't have been the same without ya and it's an experience I'll never forget!
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