Have you been to a convention lately?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Sector 7, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    For those who have been, I have a few questions:
    Have you been to a Star Trek convention lately?
    If so, has it been changed by the release of the new Star Trek movie?
    Is the atmosphere different?
    Are the attendees as divided as some members claim? or does everyone get along despite series/movie preferences?

    In the past, my experience was that Star Trek fans are friendly at conventions despite any series/movie allegiances. However, it has been quite a few years since I attended a convention. Is the atmosphere still the same or has it changed?

    Please share your experiences and KEEP IT FRIENDLY! This is not the place for an "I hate _______ series/movie, it raped my childhood". We have had enough of those. Lets talk about the atmosphere of conventions where you have been lately comparing before/after the newest addition to the franchise.
     
  2. Brian

    Brian Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The local Star Trek convention here hasn't had one for quite some time, being in dire financial straits or something. Not since before the film was released, actually.

    But at the last one they had, I definitely saw some division in the fans. There was a slice of fandom that was determined to hate the movie because it was not "Gene's vision", as "evidenced" by the fact that they built the Enterprise on the ground instead of in orbit. The most vocal of these being convention staffers, which was a real turn-off and in a way made me glad they didn't have another con while the film was out. IMO, it's bad business to hold an event for fans of a thing and have staff who walk around with a sour attitude and are prone to start arguments about said thing.

    As if where the ship was built really matters in the grand scheme. It's something that can so easily be explained, like where it was built vs. where it was christened or launched.

    Forest, trees.
     
  3. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks, brian. It is a shame that such staffers would ruin the experience of fans in such a way. I am too young to remember **cough cough** bull____** cough cough**, but we had discussions, even debates, but we never seemed to have arguments between fans back then.
    I am wondering if the heated arguments are just an internet phenomenon or if they really happen at conventions, as well.
     
  4. Brian

    Brian Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They did at this one, lol. It was a lull between presentations, and someone asked if they had any information on the new film. "Oh yeah, we know allll about it. They are completely ignoring Gene's vision.... It's going to suck, etc."

    Way to get people to come to your next convention, eh?

    ("I know all about it" and "I hate it before I have seen it" are definitely Internet phenomena. So I'd say yes, the Internet tendencies to pose and berate are influencing conventions, sadly.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
  5. Cheapjack

    Cheapjack Fleet Captain

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    I have. I loved it, all those like-minded people, and I manage to restrain myself from killing and eating any of them!

    ;);)
     
  6. barnaclelapse

    barnaclelapse Commodore Commodore

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    That's pretty wretched. I can tell you I would never do that at any of the Anime conventions I staff at.

    The conventions I've worked at, I did see a fair bit of discussion/debate. Some people liked it, some didn't, and it was nothing more extreme than that. The real fun were the kids I met who were suddenly exposed to this whole universe of Star Trek stuff through the new film. That was decidedly badass.
     
  7. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    I was at a con last summer just a couple of weeks after the new film opened. We were having a discussion/panel in the main events room and I asked the audience, "How many people are attending their first convention?" About a third raised their hands. "How many people are fans are here because of the new flick?" About half of those kept their hands up. I asked how many people liked the new film, regardlesss of con attendance history, and damn-near the whole room raised their hands.

    Swear to God: One guy raised his hand when I asked who didn't like it.

    Obviously, he's the only one from that group who posts here. ;)
     
  8. S'kai

    S'kai Captain Captain

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    I have been to quite a few cons in that last year or so, all on the East Coast. I am talking fan-run, cons, not commercial ones like Cre**tion. The crowd is far more mixed, and what will dominate at any convention is probably determined by local fads. Anime, Steampunk, Star Wars, Serenity, all show up. Star Trek is a small minority or faction. Sometimes I see only 2 or 3 in ST uniform or costumes. A club showing up makes a big impact in bringing visibility up.

    Mostly folks are friendly to each other, especially if you tell them how nice their costume looks. They don't care who the compliments come from.

    There are often Star Wars vs Star Trek arguments, mostly good nature jibes. I have never seen anything nasty happen.
     
  9. nickd818

    nickd818 Cadet Newbie

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    I actually have a GOLD WEEKEND PACKAGE ticket for this years Las Vegas convention. I bought it last year and cannot go because of a conflict. If anyone is interested, they are already sold out...email me at

    nickfrary@yahoo.com
     
  10. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    Starfest in Denver, and Farpoint and Shore Leave in Baltimore are three of the larger fan-run cons going. All attract a broad spectrum of fandoms, and in fact Starfest has created a family of "cons within the con," with programming tracks devoted exclusively to horror, gaming, comics, and so on (Horrorfest, Gamefest, Comicfest), all going on within two hotels which are across the street from one another.

    This year will be our eighth consecutive year going to Starfest as guests, and I never fail to have a fun time. The people are friendly, there's a good mix of programming and other panel events going on all the time, the con staff is awesome, and there's even a good mix of dealers. They always seem to find a good balance of guests, and their costume contest is truly a highlight of the weekend. The fans who enter the contest go balls out, and even those who don't participate in the contest still put some serious game into their costumes.
     
  11. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I went to Shore Leave not long after the new movie came out. I didn't notice any tension or disharmony. There were some lively discussions at the panels regarding the new flick, but I was actually surprised at how little rancour there was. Even a panel billed as a nuTrek "smackdown" was fun and friendly . . . .

    I've run into much more bitterness on-line than at Shore Leave.

    As it happens, I'm heading off to Norwescon next week, where I'm moderating a couple of panels on STAR TREK. I'll be curious to see how those go.
     
  12. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks to all who are giving input. Greg, you will have to keep us updated on Norwescon, especially since they will be Star Trek panels.

    I have thought about attending a convention, if one comes close to home. With all the bitterness on threads here, I have been very hesitant. These days I try to avoid such conflicts whenever possible. As a primary caregiver, I do not get away often and would rather spend my time in pleasant surroundings. It seems the fan-run conventions are more fun, at least according to your posts. I may look for one close to home.

    I hope others will share their experiences here, too.
     
  13. OmahaStar

    OmahaStar Disrespectful of his betters Admiral

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    Since you're asking for suggestions and opinions, and I'm never shy on offering opinions, here's mine - Go see for yourself.

    You're absolutely right about fan-run conventions being more fun. Cons like Creation are cattle-call cons and just aren't fun. And by that, I mean you do what they tell you to do on their schedule and that's it. Fan-run cons are different. And here are a few in your area, if that North Carolina thingy over there is correct.

    http://www.fanaticon.org/ - May 15 in Asheville ... One day con

    http://www.concarolinas.org/ - June 4-6 - weekend con in Charlotte

    And you just missed one called StellarCon - http://www.stellarcon.org/home

    That was just through a quick google search. There may be others. The key is to have fun while you're there, wherever that may be. I've been at cons that had 65,000 people, and I've been at cons that have only had fifty.

    Oh, and have respect for the people around you. You may see people dressed in costumes, people with various handicaps - physical and mental - and those with limited social skills. For them, this may be their only outlet, their only way to interact with other fans.

    Don't be shy. Strike up a conversation with someone there. You never know who you'll bump into.
     
  14. OmahaStar

    OmahaStar Disrespectful of his betters Admiral

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    I should also add ... My first convention was here in Omaha. Walter Koenig was the guest, and it was the summer of 1988, I believe. There were a few hundred people there, and the dealers' room seemed massive. I still remember the model someone had built and put on display, an 18-ft long model of the Excelsior. And oh, the bootleg goodies you could buy. Back then, paying for an autograph was unheard of, and Walter would happily sign anything you brought him.

    The same went later for Nichelle Nichols and Leonard Nimoy ... It seems it was around the early 90s, maybe 91 or 92, the first guests started charging. It was maybe 5 bucks, to cover the cost of the photo. Then it went up to 10 bucks, and now the "b level" guests - guest stars, background extras and such - charge 20 to 25 bucks each, while the "stars" are 50 bucks or more. And you may find yourself having to pay to stand with the actor for a picture. It can get a little ridiculous (200 bucks for a picture of yourself with Shatner and Nimoy? And that doesn't even include an autograph? that's crazy)

    But if you're not going for an autograph, it doesn't have to be expensive. The actors have great stories, and everyone should hear Nichelle talk about Dr King persuading her to stay on the series, in person, at least once.

    Marina is still one of my favorite guests, and I have two fun memories of her on stage. In the first, it's a small con and the dealer's room is in the back of the programming room ... everything's all together in one room. She gets up on stage, looks back, and there is a cardboard standup of 7-of-9. She asks "Can somebody please cover the tits on robo-barbie?":guffaw:

    The second, she is discussing the crash sequence on Generations, how they set it up and it can only be filmed once. She is in her normal seat, and has to get up and cross over to the helm to fly the ship. Well, what they hadn't counted on was that a small piece of the set would hand in the seat, and that it would be on fire[/]! She stood back up, the director yelled cut, and everybody was furious at her, but she kept yelling "My bum's on fire! My bum's on fire!"

    It took a little over 12 hours to re-set, and everyone kept staring at her. She was told that even if the chair itself was on fire, she would have to stay there. They did it, and everything went fine the second time. She was crushed, though, when she was at the premiere and saw the edit. What you see there is her first take. They edited around it, stopping when she reaches the chair, cutting to something else ... they didn't need to do a second take after all.

    Shatner's story about not knowing how to turn a computer on was funny, and listening to Wil Wheaton talk about not being allowed to come back for Generations was sad (Berman pretty much hated him after he decided to leave, he said).

    Oh, another fun memory was George Takei, in the summer before Undiscovered Country came out. He wasn't allowed to talk about the film specifically, only in general. He brought a slide that showed the Enterprise crew standing in the transporter room. When someone asked why Sulu wasn't in the picture, he dropped the bomb, asking why Captain Sulu would be in a picture with the Enterprise crew? Two thousand fans went nuts. Fun times.

    I'm sure every person who has been to a convention has memories they could share. Instead of reading other people's memories, why not go out and start some of your own? Even a bad con ... is still a memory.
     
  15. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I love cons. I love being around fans, my tribe.
     
  16. Brian

    Brian Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That charging for autographs thing is a result of a change in the way conventions are run. I blame the big cattle-call cons for that.

    In the "olden days", a fan-run con would have one, maybe two, headliners and that was it. They were paid speaking engagement fees and their contracts included signing autographs for everyone present, or holders of a certain level of ticket (e.g., reserved seating vs. general admission).

    The cattle-call cons started the phenomenon of bringing 10, 20 or more guests, and not paying them for signing, and they had to start charging to sign. Technically, they charge for the photo and the signature is "free", due to legalities I believe. But yeah. I don't blame the celebrities. This is their living, after all.

    In order to compete with the cattle-calls, the fan-run cons had to start bringing in more guests, which they could not hope to afford to put all on the old-style contract. They may still have a headliner or two who sign as part of their contract, but all of the "bonus guests" wind up having to charge for signing. So the charges for autographs have become a widespread thing that has only gotten worse over time, as OmahaStar mentioned with the rising prices.

    But think about it. If you were a main cast actor, charging $10 for your autograph, and then saw Red Shirt #3 from episode 47 getting the same amount, wouldn't you raise your rate or feel that you were being taken advantage of? Plus, they have seen what cattle-call autograph patrons get for their autographs on eBay. So again, I really can't blame them. It's the unfortunate, ugly end of the con "business".
     
  17. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    OmahaStar, while your advice is good for a beginner, I have convention experience, as an attendee, vendor, staffer and guest at various times. My query is more about whether the atmosphere there has become as divisive as it is online.

    I am primary caregiver for my invalid mother. Any trip taking more than a day involves much scheduling, planning and preparation to make sure Mom is taken care of by home health aides, nurses, doctors, etc. Gone are the days when I can just go when and where I please without notice.

    My original query is: Is it worth all that to go to a convention which has as much infighting as TrekBBS (or online in general)? I would rather not go if that is the case.

    I do appreciate your taking the time to look up some local conventions for me. That was very kind and thoughtful.
     
  18. Anji

    Anji Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't think we fight that much on the BBS, do we???

    Becides, I prefer it to a con anyday. I could never talk with as many people at a con as I do on the BBS.
     
  19. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Based on my experience at Shore Leave, conventions are still as fun and friendly as ever. I don't remember any tension or unpleasantness--and that was just a few months after the new movie came out, when you would expect emotions to be at their rawest.
     
  20. Rarewolf

    Rarewolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's the other way round at events in the UK (not just Trek) They can't charge for the photo since the images are usually copyright, and as the organisers don't pay it the photos are "free" and you just pay for the signature.

    Doctor Who events have changed a lot in the last 5 years with its revival, a lot more females attend now. At a torchwood con males are the minority 20/1.