(PART 1) PART 2: This is the story of one fan's dream come true.  Actually, truth be told, I never could've envisioned anything quite this amazing, but that's pretty much how the night unfolded.  It's like with Peter Cullen, whose voice is ingrained in my psyche as the hero of my youth, the first time I heard him speak live to an audience.  It was a relief to me when I found that as a person, Peter Cullen seems as genuine and compassionate as Optimus Prime, the character we love him for.  It was the same sense of relief I had with this opportunity to meet Transformers Movie Director, Michael Bay.  It's great to know that the person we've heard so much about online (good, bad and otherwise) is a cool, down-to-earth, nice guy; someone I'm happy to cheer for!

Okay, so first I have to back up.  On my way to the airport, I stopped at the only theater I've yet seen that has a Transformers Movie poster in it's "Coming Attractions" area.  I asked to speak to the manager and explained the truly bizarre trip I was about to make.  Basically, I (not too proud) begged him to loan me his Transformers the Movie poster.  He gave me a smirk and asked me to wait while he, 'checked into it.'  He came back with a long black cylinder and handed it to me.   "Here you go.  We have an extra."  Exasperated, I offered to pay him.  He refused.  "It's promotional material, it would be illegal for me to charge you for it..."  (Good thing, because he could've talked me into paying a lot! :)  So with my prize in hand, I made my way to New York.

autographs from Greg Lombardo, Marketing Director, Hasbro Toys, Inc. and
Tom Desanto, Transformers Movie Producer

Autograph from Aaron Archer, Transformers Design Director, Hasbro Toys, Inc.

While many of the events and our impressions from the Transformers Movie Preview Event are described in our first report, I'd like to take this opportunity to describe what happened immediately after the scenes were shown.  So, the lights turned up slowly and I knew that the audience, composed mostly of corporate executives was in no hurry, but would move surround and meet Michael Bay.  My window of opportunity was a narrow one, so I wasted no time.  I briskly walked to the front of the theatre where Michael Bay was just rounding the corner of the front row of seats, making his way up.

I maneuvered in front of him and he looked me in the eye.  I extended my hand and we shook.  "Mr. Bay, my name is Kevin and I have been a fan of Transformers for 23 years.  This has been an incredible experience and I wondered if I could trouble you for a quick autograph?"  I'm sure I didn't sound so smooth.  That was nerve wracking!  "Oh, absolutely.  I'd be happy to", he replied and looked for a place for me to set down the poster where he could sign.  He motioned toward the stage. Why don't we set it down there, where it's nice and flat."  He turned to walk forward and just then came Brian Goldner, the Chief Operating Officer of Hasbro.  "Michael, I'd like to introduce you to someone, Jerry Storch (I think, I'm not sure about this name) is the CEO of Toys R Us...

Ha ha ha.  I had a nice quiet chuckle and took a step back.  See, the truth is, this was not a 'fan event'.  It was mostly for executives, which is why I felt nervous in asking the question.  But you know, you only live once and I had given it a try!  I'm not sure who she was, but a female in a sharp business suit turned to me and said with with a rather disapproving sort of look, "I don't think that's going to happen," glancing down at my poster.  "No problem.  I understand," I said sincerely.

So, I stood back, watched and listened.  A large crowd was gathering around the director and moving.  Next thing I know he's 4-5 rows distance away.  I'm there, just soaking everything in, by this point I figured getting the autograph was a lost cause.  I didn't mind.  I had given it a shot and was smiling, still enjoying myself thoroughly.  

THEN, I hear Michael break into his conversation with Mr. Storch.  "Excuse me a minute.  I really want to sign this gentleman's poster."  He turned around and for a brief moment all eyes turned and looked at me.  I was in shock!  Michael Bay had just interrupted his conversation with the CEO of Toys R Us and the COO of Hasbro, to autograph my movie poster!  (Notice that he didn't say, "I have to..." or "I should..." he said, I want to...")

I probably stood for a minute with my mouth hanging open.  The female who, "didn't think it would happen' handed me her notebook to use as a backer so he could make his signature and move on.  I thanked him emphatically then tried to just get out of everyone's way!

I had to catch my breath as I returned to the midsection of the theater where the webmasters of other Transformers Fan Sites ( bwtf.com, seibertron.com, tfw2005.com, altered states...) where visiting.  Wow, I was a happy camper.  As if that wasn't enough, Greg Lombardo, Hasbro Director of Marketing strikes up a conversation with me(!), "so what did you think?"  I told him that although Transformers is a 23 year old franchise, that it feels like I had just witnessed its beginning!  To what extent Transformers, Optimus Prime, Megatron, etc... are cultural icons now, this film will change everything for Transformers (for the better) and I think it's going to be great!  

We talked for quite awhile before I asked for his autograph, followed by Aaron Archer, Hasbro Transformers Design Director.  Greg then pointed me in the direction toward the front of the theater, "now there's a guy whose autograph belongs on your poster, Movie Producer Tom DeSanto."   (Don Murphy was not in attendance as far I know.)  This was a cool meeting too.  The crowd had thinned out and I walked back to the front of the theater and introduced myself.  He too was happy to sign and asked, "So, who should I make it out to? 'From one fanboy to another'!"   We had a good laugh and I thanked him for taking the time and soliciting the input from fans, through Don Murphy and other message boards...   He seems like another down to earth, great guy and I'm glad he's a fan of Transformers!

I had just picked up my things from coat check, when I had the opportunity to shake hands and meet BRIAN GOLDNER Hasbro COO.  He too asked me what I thought.  Wow, I told him much of the same as I had said to Greg Lombardo.  That this is just the beginning of Transformers and how much I expect this to be a GREAT film.  Quite sincerely, he thanked me for all that we do as a fan-site of Transformers.  He told me that he had insisted on various sites being invited and how glad they were that we made the trip.  He went on to say that this Preview Event is not an attempt to 'bribe' any site into reporting favorably. I was taken aback when he emphasized that we should, "keep on doing what we do."  To report what we liked and what we didn't.  Sorry Mr. Goldner, but personally, the whole experience left me quite blown away and I honestly can't think of anything not to love.  My concerns for the film have been erased.  These beloved Transformers characters are in some very capable hands and I cannot wait for the 4th of July!

More images related to the movie preview night:

another pic
Bay Autograph

Brian Goldner, Hasbro COO, Executive Producer, TF Movie

" Reserved for Media" Press badge indicating our seats in the theater

Free T-shirt as gift for attending:
men's, front
men's, back
women's, front

Optimus stencil
OP stencil close-up,
close-up, back

band/bracelet 1, 2, 3, 4

Transformers portable cell phone charger(!):
1, 2, 3

Thanks for visiting!
Lukis Bros
Transformers Collector Site