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Tim Russ at the Creation convention in Las Vegas, July 29, 2004


Tim was the first major guest to appear at this convention. Well, actually, he was supposed to be the second one, but since Cirroc Lofton was late, the first major Trek actor to appear on stage on Thursday, was Tim.

He started out talking about "Bugsters!" and its soon-to-be-released sequel (Yeah!), but of course he forgot to mention it had won an award last year. Since I was the first in line for questions I reminded him of that, thus giving him a chance to promote it even more, and then I asked about his recent directing assignments, and he mentioned the latest FBI-Files he had directed, air dates for which would be up on his website soon. By coincidence, one of them is about a gang that robbed the cashier at the Bellagio in Vegas. Tim also mentioned some other recent projects of his, like "Roddenberry on Patrol", and he said he hoped they could show it at the convention, but I don't think they got around to doing this. When he had finished his answer, he looked over to me, who was standing at the mic, and he said: "Thank you, Maria!" which I found very sweet.

Then he answered a few more questions, like e.g. would he do more audio books? He said he'd do them in a second. He thought the story line of the Genesis-books was very well written, and the production value of these audio books is fantastic, you really get a feel for a place, thanks to the background sounds and music. Of course it is hard work, since one has to do thirty or so different characters, and one has to remember what each of them sounds like, so that they are consistent throughout the book. It is also difficult because one has no other actor as a foil, somebody one could act off, and the recording booth's acoustics makes it hard to turn a page of the script without causing some noise that should not be recorded.

Another question was about his hobby astronomy (the person who asked the question had seen the recent article on Tim in the Astronomy magazine): what type of celestial bodies does he like to observe? He said he particularly likes globular clusters, but galaxies are interesting as well.
Another question was, how did he get cast for VOY and how did he feel when he learned he had landed the role? He said he thinks he called his family to tell them, and that of course one never knows for sure how it  will turn out when a series is put together. They could not like your performance in the pilot and replace you. The show could be cancelled early, the format of the show could be changed. So at first he was a bit cautious, but of course it turned out fine.
When asked about similarities or differences between himself and Tuvok, he said that in his opinion all the actors share certain personality traits with their characters, he, for instance, can get really annoyed if things are not done in an efficient way, and that he can relate to Tuvok in that regard. He gave an example, that during his recent disability, when he injured his ankle and was on crutches for a few weeks, he had this sign on his car that allowed him to use parking slots for the handicapped. When he didn't need that anymore, he just wanted to take it off and hand it in to the authorities in his neighborhood, but was told he had to go downtown to the City Hall and take it off there in front of a special employee and hand it in - which cost him two hours of his time to do.
He also was asked about "Journey to the Center of the Earth" - had that been a pilot? Tim said yes, but that they had been up against "Seaquest" and that they really hadn't stood a chance of being bought by the network. They were doomed from the start. Of course, he wasn't sure it would have lasted long had it been bought, but they didn't even have the chance to try and prove themselves.

Tim also performed his Voyager-parody song "Space, exciting and new..." and read his other parody about Captain Lameway, Chocolatay, Twosocks, Kleenex etc.

Then it was time for autographs. I had a group picture from the cruise, showing me, two friends of mine and Tim, that I had him sign for me, and he personalized it, even though I didn't ask for that (Creation personnel don't want you to ask the actors for personalizations, but of course they don't object if the actor decides to do it on his own). Jedda was sitting with Tim, and since I had been holding up the line enough already, I gave her the pictures I had taken of their daughter Maddy in Seattle, rather than Tim. She liked them very much, and showed them to Tim, and of course we were holding up the line even more, but since Tim is very fast at signing and had done many more autographs than Walter Koenig, whose table was next, and since the line of those that already had gotten Tim's autograph and were waiting for Walter's was rather long already, that was not really a problem.

In the evening there was the so-called "Dessert Fantasy"-party. Ice cream and cookies were served, together with coffee and tea, and several actors performed. George Takei read from his autobiography, Walter Koenig did a monologue from "Christmas Carol" and Tim sang a few of his songs and accompanied himself on the guitar. I was surprised to see that he had brought almost the whole Russ-clan with him: in addition to Jedda there was Maddy, Angela with her daughter Jisel (and Angela said she had the rest of the family with her as well, but little Marcos would not have been quiet during the performances, so he had to stay in the room with his father), and Tim and Angela's mother. We greeted each other, and Jisel was surprised that I knew who she was - she didn't remember me after almost three years.

Then the actors had to go from table to table and talk to the people a bit and have their pictures taken with the fans. Jedda and the two girls stayed next to where my friend Judy and I were sitting, while Tim was making his way from table to table. The kids are adorable. They were playing between the tables and talking to us and we took a few pictures, while waiting for Tim and the others to reach our table. After we all had our pictures taken with Tim, George and Walter, the kids were getting interested in our cameras, Jedda joined us at the table, and we had a lot of fun when Maddy experimented with Judy's camera, trying to take a group picture of everybody else. When Tim finally was done and came to pick up his family, Maddy had reached the point where she actually could hold the camera still long enough to get us all in the picture. We laughed and congratulated her on the achievement, then we said good night and left. We had had a fantastic evening!