It’s been a tough few months, so I can’t tell you how excited I am to be heading to Starfury’s annual Vampire Ball – a science fiction convention with added bite!
For three nights the real world shall recede and I will exist in a subculture I couldn’t have conceived off ten years ago! I’ll talk more than in a usual week (!), sleep and eat only to survive and will dance like a loon, squee and bond over a shared interest with awesome people…many of whom will have the best geekiest tee shirts and costumes oozing with pop culture references that will leave me enthralled.
To those uninitiated into the convention scene (and please do bear in mind that I am very much a newbie myself); Cons are events that celebrate niche, usually geek interests. My fandom is Buffy and the extended Whedon creations. So the cons I’ve attended have orientated around TV shows, allowing fans to interact with the actors and writers who brought our beloved characters to life.
Personally, I feel like I’ve found a sort of mother ship in the Con crowd. For a very long time I’ve tried to mainstream my interests, aware that my passion for fictional characters can be off putting. While going rabid at a sports event is quite acceptable, it seems that exhibiting that same ardour for television is less so.
In the con crowd, I’ve found kindred spirits. MY people. People who don’t just say that they love tv; they REALLY REALLY mean it. It’s daft to the outsider, but we live and die week by week while a show is on, happy to speculate for hours on what we’ve just seen might be leading up to; writing fan fiction featuring our favourites; devouring the comic sequels to cancelled shows; swooning over our ‘ships.
(Usually one or two at a time obviously. There are few of us with the obsessive natures capable of keeping up with all things at all times.
Anyhoo, I’ve only attended two cons in the past – Echo 2 and Inva2ion. Honestly, I was really nervous and probably would’ve harboured vague desires to attend one for years without ever doing anything if not for a mate. She was an old pro at conventioning and promised that she’d make is her mission to stop me from doing anything really daft.
Thank the gods.
The majority of conventions that I read about online are huge events, with minimal access to the stars darling; the speakers – be they actor, writer or crew. There are talks and book signings and a lot of interactions with your SF peers – which sounds all sorts of marvellous to me!
The cons that I’ve attended are run by Starfury Events. Here the emphasis is on more intimate affairs – determined by your ticket. Gold tickets allow the greatest time to chat and mingle with the guests. Silver ones allow less, with bronze a step below that.
There are meet and greets; usually a surprise guest or two; disco nights and convention dances that everyone – from fan to guest – joins in. While there are some actors that prefer to keep a little distance; others will join in for lunch and coffee. Its somewhat surreal for a fan girl like me to find myself in a coffee queue with three people I’ve watched avidly for a decade!
Staring the cliche right in the eye, I have to say; the vast majority of actors that attended were lovely normal people, who truly seemed to enjoy interacting with their fans. People that I’ve never warmed to in a show have taken my breath away during a one on one chat. One or two were just truly daft/barmy/weird/fabulous. Jonathan Woodward – take a bow! My life is more complete with your brand of communion in it!
I’ve even had my own Cinderella moment when an actor from Dollhouse – a gargantuamly underrated show – that I had worried I’d be too star struck to talk to – agreed to do podcast with CultFix.
Conventions should come with a warning note though. They are highly addictive. After attending one, I practically forced one of my best friends to come to the second. Today, we’ve three more booked including Vampire Ball and are already discussing whom we should get hooked next.
We’re pushers now!
There are also long term effects to attending one. After meeting with so many like-minded souls, I dropped all pretense in the rest of my life. I never edit my interests now, so as not to have to justify my affection for it.
Now I know I have nothing to justify.
Heck, I have Buffy on my CV and discussed the show and comics with an interview panel once. (If you’re wondering, I was offered the role!) There are Whedonites everywhere!
A person can’t help but feel more confident and empowered after a great weekend away and it’s been wonderful to see this spill over into my ‘real’ life.
Only two days to go – I’d better get organised!