How exactly does one attempt to break the Guinness Book world record for the most people dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller?" As Sunday night's event at Atlanta, Georgia's Dragon*Con proved, it's no small feat.
Participants were asked to sign up and get a number all throughout the weekend, and were encouraged to attend two rehearsals earlier in the day. Dancer Ben Acosta of Huntsville, Alabama, explained, "They took you through all the steps and broke everything down to bring all of the components of it together."
The atmosphere in the Sheraton hotel ballroom was electric in the minutes leading up to the big moment, with spontaneous applause and chanting breaking out on more than one occasion.
Jackson look-a-likes (including one who took the stage to lead the dance) and dress-a-likes were prevalent, along with a multitude of "zombies," not an unusual sight for the annual convention. Among the participants were someone dressed as an "Alien" from the long-running film franchise of the same name, and another convention regular in a costume based on "Sesame Street's" Cookie Monster.
So did they break the record? Convention staffers told CNN that they were able to sign up 1,118 dancers. However, a large group in Mexico made another attempt to break the record, previously set by 242 College of William & Mary students back in April. Guinness Book officials are expected to sort through all of this in the coming days. Regardless of whether they broke the record, everyone there seemed to have a lot of fun. As Acosta put it, "It was a chance to be part of something extraordinary."
You may recognize her from guest appearances on "House," "Monk" or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but Felicia Day may be best known for co-starring in the hit online musical short film "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" along with Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion ("Castle"). After winning the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Online Sensation," it was nominated for an Emmy this year in a special category. Not bad for an idea that came together during the 2007-08 writer's strike, completely funded by writer/director Joss Whedon.
Prior to getting that role, Day had already begun an ongoing series for the web called "The Guild," which just began its third season. Each three-to-eight minute episode focuses on a group of hard-core online gamers dealing with the problems that come with living in the real world, a concept which Day calls "'The Office' for the geek set."
"The Guild" has received a very warm reception from fans over the weekend at Atlanta, Georgia's annual Dragon*Con. At the convention, Day told CNN that the inspiration for the show came from the old adage, "Write what you know." A "gamer" since the age of six, Day said, "What I know best is online gaming and interacting with people online, and I feel like that's my home."
Speaking about the demands of the web audience, Day explained, "People want to have a more immersive experience, and hopefully my show provides that."
Early on, Day started by simply posting episodes on YouTube and the site's comments were meant to be part of the full "Guild" experience. Fans helped fund the show's first season via Paypal as well. Day has since scored a sponsorship deal for "The Guild" with Xbox. "With Xbox, people can download the episodes onto their TV like a TV show," she said when asked about the possibility that "The Guild" might go beyond the web. "If it were to jump to a bigger venue, that would be cool, but I like what I'm doing now."
Tyler Perry has a new project, Kevin Costner is giving back to South Dakota and Timbaland is sharing his beats. CNN's Jennifer Wolfe has more on these tidbits in today's buzz:
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