PaleyFest 2011 Guide For Fans Part 1

PaleyFest will soon be here! Seems like yesterday when they announced that True Blood will once again take part in the William Paley S. Paley Festival. (ok it wasn’t yesterday but actually announced on 12/15/10). True Blood fans may remember that the show was previously featured at PaleyFest in 2009. (4/13/09).

What is PaleyFest?

Named for William S. Paley, founder of both the Paley Center and CBS, the annual William S. Paley Television Festival celebrates television programming and the creative process behind the medium. The Festival has been held for the last 27 years. Paley Fest is a two-week event that features various television shows with different panel every evening. The panels include members of the show’s cast and creative team (producer, writers). The  line up of shows has been announced but as of this writing the actual cast and attendees have not been released. So far only the Walking Dead panel attendees has been released. For True Blood the only confirmed attendees are:
Sam Trammell
Kristin Bauer
Alexander Skarsgard
(he was the first one confirmed)

UPDATE 2/17/11 Just released: The following will also be attending:

Alan Ball

Anna Paquin

Stephen Moyer!

When is PaleyFest 2011?
Paley Fest 2011 is set for March 4-18, 2011 (The True Blood PaleyFest Panel is being held on Saturday March 5th)

Where will it be held?

All of the panels will be held at The Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, CA. Saban Theater website link here: The theater was formerly called “Wilshire Beverly Hills Theater” and it is located at:
8440 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA

The seats are by section. There is no assigned seating (just a section is listed on the ticket). So this means that seating is on a first come first serve basis within seating area designated on the ticket.. Only premium ticket holdera are allowed in the “Pit” section closest to the stage. (there are only 44 seats in this section believe me well worth the price of the ticket!).

Here is the seating chart for The Saban Theater:

The seating capacity of the theater is a total of 1898 seats broken out below by sections. There will be Paley Volunteers to help fans get to their seats and figure out where they need to go if needed (plus also to keep fans from trying to sneak into a section not on the ticket they hold)

By section/Row#/number of seats:
Pit: rows AA-BB: 42 seats (rows 1 and 2) NOTE: These rows have been removed for Paley (to make room for the stage)
OrchestraFront: rows:CC-FF :120 seats(rows 3-6)
Orchestra:  rows GG-E:264 seats (rows 7-13)
Orchestra Rear: F-S :491 seats (rows 14-25)

Mezzanine AA-EE (overhangs orchestra row K) 197 Seats
Balcony Front: A-L 400 Seats
Balcony Rear: M-V: 384 seats

What will fans see at PaleyFest?
First let me state-Paley is not as insane as ComicCon. I spent over 12 hours in the same ballroom just to keep my seat in order to see the True Blood panel. (no assigned seating or areas at ComicCon and not super organized!).
Line ups for the 2009 True Blood panel I remember started very very early (some fans were on line by 9 am).
The Saban Theater is larger than the Arclight theater where PaleyFest 2009 was held  (The Saban  holds over 1800 seats double the ArcLight capacity) There will be large monitor behind the panel to help with viewing even if the seats are not close to the stage. Here is an image from PaleyFest 2010 that show the large screen behind the panel:

Panels start with an introduction from the panel moderator. Then there will be either a screening of the show or a highlight reel. For the 2009 True Blood panel, fans saw a snippet of Season 2 featuring Sookie and the first glimpse into the Maenad. After the screening, the moderator will ask the panel questions followed by a brief fan Q&A session.

Will fans be able to get autographs?

At the end of the panel, the cast/writers usually stay around for 10 minutes to sign items and or take photos with fans. There is no guarantee that they will stay at all to sign things but they have in the past. Make sure if you want an autograph-bring something for them to sign. (or you can have them sign your PaleyFest program they most likely won’t have time to personalize the autograph ) Decide who you want to have sign your item. You may ponly have time to get a couple of signatures.  Please DON”T RUN TO THE FRONT OF THE STAGE when the panel is over! Walk , be polite, don’t shove or push other fans just to worm your way up their. I know the opposite of this has already been posted on other sites but for everyone’s safety-Don’ RUN! I was stuck in a crush of fans in 2009 and it was definitely scary. I was seated in the second row center at the Arclight and was unable to get to the front of the stage. (I did not want to risk damage to my camera) I got the heck out of the way and went to the side and wound up with amazing photos of the cast signing autographs instead. You need to be polite and not super pushy or belligerent  when asking for autographs! If the security guards see any safety risks or issues for the attendees they will rush them off the stage. I found a cool online site that has an extensive selection of TV posters and cast photos. I would recommend a smaller sized poster ie the 11X17 size instead of a huge one. The smaller size is easier to travel with and may not get damaged dealing with the crowds. The Walking Dead posters and True Blood poster and cast photos are pretty cool. The image below has a link to their site:

The photo below is one of my favorite photos from that night. I was able to get some great shots of Alexander Skarsgard signing items for his fans. He was last one to leave the stage.

Photo Credit: ©2009 B.Henderson

Mishmash blog  has a great write-up and timeline of the 2010 PaleyFest panel for Cougar Town. The photos there also give you an idea of how crowded it can get around the stage. Mishmash write up and photo gallery link found here:

Here are some great write-ups and links from the True Blood panel at PaleyFest held in 2009.

PaleyFest 2009 Video of True Blood panel at Paley site

LaIst write up:

LAist.com write up of the True Blood Panel (great blog to follow on Twitter :@TheTVJunkie)

Futoncritic write up of True Blood panel from PaleyFest 2009

Fear.net write up of PaleyFest 2009 True Blood panel (they also had a camera crew for the panel and got some great footage of the fans lined up for the True Blood panel

I wound up taking a photo of this fan with her friend in the theater before the panel started. She wrote about her experience for TrueBlood.net at the True Blood panel. Here is a link to her write-ups. (the first link has the photo I took of them)

true-blood-bliss-six-degrees-alan-ball-synchronicity-gifts-that-keep-on-giving

true-blood-bliss-fang-demonium-paleyfest-addiction-charlaine-harris-novels-craving-true-blood-fix

I hope this helps answer any questions you may have for PaleyFest 2011. If not please leave your question in the comments section and I’ll get an answer for it posted. Stay tuned for Part 2 of PaleyFest 2011 Guide where I will cover how to plan and make sure you can get some great photos at the event . Just a reminder–NO FLASH is allowed when taking photos during the event. Also NO VIDEO IS ALLOWED. Yes I know there will be tons of fans taping but taping is against Paley rules. Paley is a non-profit organization and they do tape the panels and release DVD’s for sale. The 2009 True Blood panel at PaleyFest was offered as a package with Season 2 DVD set sold at Target.

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5 thoughts on “PaleyFest 2011 Guide For Fans Part 1

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    The more I read on your blog, the more I’m liking it. Some of your tips are really useful, though I’m not too sure that I want to try them all, lol. In any case, you sound like a really nice person :)

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