Vancouver Science Fiction, Fantasy and Gaming Convention 2005
October 7 - 9, 2005
By Nicola Wood
So my husband (Nomad) and I rolled into Vancouver on Thursday evening, and wonder of wonders - did not get lost looking for our destination. Considering we had been driving for 11 hours straight - that is a feat in itself.
We hooked up with Ms. Spocks and acquired all the relevant bits and bobs, T-shirts, posters, bookmarks and buttons for the fan table on Friday. And then we stumbled to bed having said nothing coherent to anyone - just grunted.
We arrived at the hotel at 10:00 a.m. on Friday to set up the Fan table only to discover that *gasp* no one was there! After a heart stopping moment (We are in the right hotel aren't we?) the front desk assured us that they were just getting the room set up for the dealers and V-Con registration hadn't yet set up.
Reception was nice enough to tell us where our fan table was located and we realised that we were in the dealers room. Very nice. This meant that we didn't have to take the table down every night - which is a huge relief - not that I worry about people taking the buttons, bookmarks etc, but my husband would have been choked if someone took his flatscreen monitor.
Nomad and I set up the table and it looked really professional. The fan videos even attracted a lot of the dealers to the table to see what it was we had going. We had very nice neighbors - on one side a bookstore and the other an graphic artist who was selling his work. Not to mention flogging his novels and screenplay. And just beyond him a couple selling ... Mr. Pointy! I almost bought him. Although $130.00 is a little steep even for this fan girl.
Lots of people came by and talked to us - people got excited about Farscape on KSTW and WGN and several people checked the list of BC libraries and were thrilled to see their local libraries on it. heh. Library project strikes again.
My first panel of the day was at 10:00 a.m. So being paranoid I insisted that we get there by 9:30 to make sure that all the equipment was in place and working. It was there. And it was working. But we didn't find out until the panel started that there was a glitch between my presentation and their sound system. *sigh* Of course.
An girlfriend of mine (known her since elementary school) came over from the island to spend the day at V-Con and attend my panels. She isn't really a sci-fi geek, but she loves Farscape and since we hadn't seen each other in years she thought it was a good opportunity to catch up. Mind you she was a little amazed at the depth with which I had researched the show.
Whaaaaa? Don't say you are surprised!
My first panel went fairly well - except for the aforementioned sound problem. I ended up running back and forth with the only working mike to hold to the speakers so that they could be heard over the louder amplifier system. *sigh*
However, except for that glitch the panel went really well and I saw several people later in the day while at the Farscape Table and they asked me follow up questions about the show and ideas in the panel.
We held a raffle from the fan table (draw on Sunday at noon) giving away DVDs of Premiere/I,E.T and Through the Looking Glass/A Bugs Life as well as Season One Illustrated Companions and even some Trading Cards. *note: Raffles draw people even if they know nothing about Farscape.*
A couple that I met last year at the Burbank Farscape Convention showed up during my first panel and I got to give Hypnotoad credit when I quoted her in reference to the location of the star in the final image of "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing". It was one of the few times during that panel that I sounded both eloquent and insightful - both at the same time.
Both Hypnotoad and her husband, Anansi, were troupers last weekend. Anytime I had to be somewhere else they babysat the fan table. I got to go for lunch with my school friend and then spend time smoozing in the hospitality suite. Which I didn't think I would get a chance to do at all.
Just as a note, while having tea in the hotel restaurant I was called over to another table with about eight people to be introduced to a local Farscape group. Last year I had run a panel at V-Con. I didn't know anyone there, but it turned out that one of the people who attended my panel was so interested in the ideas that I talked about that she went out and bought the first season on DVD.
She fell in love.
She bought the second, third and fourth and finally the mini-series. She holds Farscape Parties where they watch episodes and then analyse them. She wanted me to meet her group and I got to see what I managed to spark with my panel from last year.
I was so proud.
Farscape Canada held a raffle on Sunday and the person who won one of the DVDs of "Premiere and I,E.T." was my big convert from last year. She forwarded me her plans for her prize:
"The small group of Farscape fans I've created by introducing the show to them, my Farscape party-goers, suggested that I include the DVD as a prezzy (we typically have a Farscape Best Fan contest, complete with Moya replica as prize-trophy that gets schlepped from household to household) but my bright son suggested I keep it and lend it to people not yet Scaped. That is exactly what I've done. It is now with a couple who saw Peacekeeper Wars and were intrigued by the show! That's what happened to the prize. Cool, eh?"
'Scaping BC one couple at a time. Handy that too... since KSTW will be playing the third episode in the series this coming Saturday and they have the first two. They will be completely caught up. *snicker*
At 8:00 p.m. my second panel started. Panels to bookend the day. I was co-hosting this panel with a B5 fan who was involved in trying to get "Memory of Shadows" on the air. He was really interesting and we brainstormed a list of shows that fans had a hand in saving. I was surprised at the number on the list. Here is the list of 'saved' shows that the audience members brainstormed:
Roswell - 3rd season
Farscape - miniseries
Firefly - "Serenity" feature flick
The Pretender - TV movies
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Babylon 5 - Season 5
Alien Nation - TV Movies
Considering the amount of times we (fans) have been told that our efforts are almost exclusively failures I had to admit that it startled me to see how many 'successes' were on that list. And these were only genre shows that were listed. We didn't list things like Cagney and Lacey.
So the next time someone tells you that fans and fan campaigns are a useless waste of time - point to the above list. Not as big a waste of time as some would like us to believe.
My contribution to the panel was the bones of a presentation I had built for Westercon about the "Bring It Back" Farscape campaign. I didn't realise until later when Anansi and Hypnotoad told me, but someone was sitting in one of the front seats scribbling notes frantically while I was talking about some of the more effective campaign projects.
I only hope those notes are used for good and not evil.
After that panel was over we had scheduled to show the 2004 Official Farscape Convention DVD - known to Fandom as ... The Ben and Claudia Show!
I did warn the audience that it wasn't ever meant to be aired, it was only for archival purposes and hence there were technical problems. People decided to stay anyway, and we watched the entire 2+ hours until after 11:00 p.m. People really seemed to enjoy it - and I must admit - I was there when it was filmed and I have seen the DVD several times now - and it is still funny. Funnier in some ways, because you watch Ben when Claudia is talking and Claudia when Ben is talking and you get a real sense of the camaraderie between the two of them. The way they yank each others chain mercilessly and it is taken in such good humour all the time.
Anansi and Hypnotoad offered to watch the table for us until noon, when the raffle was going to be held, so Nomad and I slept in. We trundled our way down to the dealers room to arrive just after the crack of noon to see that Anansi and Hypnotoad not only had everything under control, but had quite the crowd around the table when we arrived. Both of them were chatting away like gangbusters - working the crowd like professionals. I felt like an intruder when I finally interrupted to get the raffle going.
We managed to track down all but two of the raffle winners (since located and in the process of mailing them their prizes) and as it turned out - one of my winners was the writer I 'scaped last year - mentioned in my previous post. We sold a few more T-Shirts but we ran out of Medium sized Aeryn T's and had to take orders.
Then Nomad went to check out the room where we were planning to show PK Wars.
The panel scheduled before us was cancelled so the room was free. Operations dropped in to make sure everything was going well, and Nomad and he ended up using the sound system from last nights dance. Huge screen, professional sound system, and high quality projector. Very sweet.
Of course, Nomad had to test it and since he had time he started "Battle Behind the Wars". While he was fiddling with technical details people started coming in and sitting down. When he was satisfied with the results he decided just to let "Battle Behind the Wars" run because it was drawing people in and there was time.
We let the show run while we packed up the table, but I have to say I was sorry to leave the room. Peacekeeper Wars looked absolutely fabulous and the sound blew me away. Not to mention the little details that you see on the big screen that you miss on TV.
A Browncoat came over to see us while we were packing up. She is the list mum for the local browncoats and she was very excited to find out that Farscape was airing on a local channel and had just started. She gave me her card and said she would like to talk to me more, because she was hugely impressed with the dedication of 'Scapers, and she wants to see the show that would inspire such efforts. It was really nice too, because the fandoms do overlap quite a bit, and it is a good thing to support each other.
Gotta support those quality shows.
All in all, another successful convention! (and I am still catching up on my sleep.)