A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (a galaxy called Los Angeles) I decided to attend my first fan convention. It was 2004 and my friend Dana had gone to a Stargate convention near the Burbank Airport. She really enjoyed herself there and decided she wanted to check out this convention she heard about in San Diego. Dana called me to see if I'd go with her. At the time I was definitely into pop culture but had not fully embraced my inner geek. The thought of going to a comic book convention was incredibly foreign and bizarre to me. After some urging, I hesitantly agreed to check it out. In my mind I convinced myself I would be like an anthropologist observing another culture. I'm guessing anthropologists have rules about becoming immersed in the cultures they're observing. It's a good thing I'm not an anthropologist with rule because I fell in love with those nerds on the first day.
We walked around the floor and giggled at all the people in costumes. We walked past the Sci Fi booth (not Syfy yet) and I spotted an actor I loved in Bridget Jones's Diary. He was there pitching a reboot of a 70's science fiction show that I scoffed at and fell in love with years later. He was just standing there, not doing much of anything so I stopped and told him how much I loved him in Bridget Jones. He smiled, thanked me and I was on my way.
Dana and I also checked out a few panels. Back in '04, con attendees were able to walk in and out of panels with no trouble. I'll get to the trouble part later though. We went to see the pilot and discussion of ABC's new science fiction show. We were thoroughly impressed and sitting way up close to the stage where the actors and producers were after the pilot aired. Nowadays you'd have to promise someone special favors to get those kinds of seats but I'll get to that soon too. Once the fans started grilling the short guy about the incredibly huge movie he was in, we left the room. Speaking of the short guy, I ran into him at LAX after the con and told him how cool that new ABC show looked and was proud of myself for not going on about the movie with the short guys, the wizard and the elves. Turns out the poor guy had a bluetooth in the ear I couldn't see so I was totally interrupting his phone conversation. He was incredibly sweet about it though. Good guy. I can totally understand why the cute brunette on the show dated him for so long.
So that was 2004 for us. It was one day. It was a cool experience and I wanted to do it again. Unfortunately for me I moved to South Carolina in June of 2005 and had no money to go back to California for it. I didn't have the money in 2006 either. Actually I don't think I had the money for it in 2007 but I was missing California and the geeks so I went again. Man was it different.
So 2007, for me, was great but eye-opening. The masses were finally hearing that it was a cool place to be. The studios were getting that message too and they brought out the big guns (both movies and tv shows). The big stand-out for us in 2007 was the pilot and panel for NBC's new spy-out-of-water show, Chuck. I can honestly say that I feel blessed having been in the audience for that panel. The entire room LOVED that show. We cheered uproariously for the stars as they took the stage after the pilot aired. Ok, so a minor geek god happened to be there and he got the biggest applause because most of the room were fans of his short-lived, but incredibly loved show. Dana and I felt like we had struck gold again. First we were blessed with the Lost pilot and now we were experiencing another show we were definitely going to love. Con was proving to be the place where pop culture enthusiasts went to feed their habit.
Walking the convention floor in 2007 was horrible. It was packed. Plus there were way too many Captain Jack Sparrow costumes around. In fact it's still a really popular costume. We could barely navigate the masses and it was a problem. Gone were the minor stars hanging around the network booths. We knew then that Comic-Con would never be the same. That was also the first time I didn't want to go back. It happens to me all the time now. During the Con I manage to convince myself that I don't want to come back. There's no reason to because you can see most everything online anyway. Then a month or two go by and I want to go back.
|Learn to love the line. The line is unavoidable.|
Stay tuned for some updates from Con next week. I'll try and post stuff every evening of what I've seen.