There’s been a lot of tweeting and emails over this past weekend where people have been asking us about conventions. To make it easier, rather than trying to answer everyone’s email and tweets (and it’s hard to explain things in 140 characters on Twitter) we thought we’d re-run a convention advice piece that we have run before.
So if you’ve seen this info before, scroll down to the Verizon commercial post which we think is hilarious. And if you are in need of advice keep reading!
We’ve gotten a bunch of emails from people who are interested in a Twilight event and they are asking us which one they should attend. Here’s our problem, we really can’t make a recommendation because we have an obvious bias as we appear at various events (which we suppose is a bit of a recommendation in of itself in that we wouldn’t be there if we didn’t think highly of those companies, but that’s not to say that other companies don’t have their qualities.). So here’s what we are going to do. Below is a repost of some information that we have given out before, that hopefully people with cash to burn will find helpful.
Question: What type of convention should I choose?
Answer: Make a list of what you really want. In fact shoot for overkill. Now, see which convention best meets your needs and expectations, and how much it will cost to meet those needs. If all you really want is to see an actor Q&A you can probably do that for around $25 on a day pass, but if you want photos, autographs, dances…the price goes up and every group is different regarding what you get for your money. Maybe you aren’t looking for a actor heavy convention, maybe you just want an event where you can meet other fans. The point is think about your priorities and see what works for you.
Question: How can you tell if a con is going to be any good?
Answer: Well, with anything entertainment related that’s a really subjective question. Everyone has different tastes as to what they like and don’t like. Here are some quick things to look for that tend to mean a con is going to be good as far as most people are concerned:
- Experience: The people running it have done this before and/or have hired an events planning company that has done this before. If they have run it before what is their reputation? Google, twitter, webforums are your friend! Run a search on the company/event/promoter’s names. What are the results?
- Fan Input: The people running the con or acting as consultants are actually fans of the material, and really knowledgeable about it and what fans would like. They aren’t just guessing; they know because they are right in the heart of the fan experience. For example, if you saw a Twilight con featuring fangs, lots of blood, and coffins…RUN QUICKLY!
- Programming: Cons should be able to tell you what they have in mind for their event (most are three day affairs) beyond vague open socials. Granted a lot of panels and presentations will depend on who they can get to do the presentations, but they should have some idea as to the possibilities.
- Talent Appearances: Ok this is tricky. Many cons make offers of having someone famous be available for a Q&A, autograph signing, and maybe even a photo op. Other cons aren’t looking for star power. It depends on their focus. Keep in mind that a star’s appearance is always possible to be cancelled at the last minute. I mean let’s face it, if Speilberg suddenly calls and says “I need you in my movie.” you don’t say, “Sorry, I have this con I have to be at.” So the moral of the story is, don’t attend a con if the only reason you are going is to see a certain star because they may or may not be there.
- Customer Service: If you have a question, is there an obvious “contact us” or “for more information” email and/or phone number? Are you responded to promptly, clearly, and in a professional manner? Are you given the impression that as a consumer you are important to them?
Question: Why does it cost so much? How much should it cost?
Answer: That’s another loaded question! Con costs will vary on size, location, events planned. The better question to ask is “what am I getting for my money”. For example, is it one fee that covers everything (socials, panels, dances, screenings, etc.) or is there fine print that nickels and dimes you for other things? When comparing costs check out conventions in other fandoms and see what they are are getting for their fees for conventions that are similar in nature to the type you want to attend. Some good fandoms to investigate are Harry Potter, Dr. Who/Torchwood, Firefly/Serenity, Star Wars, Star Trek.
The best thing we can tell you is read the fine print so that you know exactly what you are getting for your money. What you want out of a convention may be different than what a friend or colleague wants.Make sure you are paying for what you truly want!
Question: Is there any place where we can check out reviews?
Answer: Anyone in marketing will tell you that the single largest thing that sells or sinks any product is word-of-mouth. You can have all the flashy advertising, double speak, and bells and whistles money can buy, but if your consumers aren’t happy and everyone knows it…YIKES! Frequently the best advice that you can get is from people who have attended a particular group’s events before. Sure any given person can have a bad experience at any event, but try to get a variety of opinion. Is it one bad experience or 50 bad experiences? Twilight Adviser review site has reviews on many events.It’s kind of like a Rate Your Professors site. In any event it certainly, gives you an overview.
Question: Is Twicon a company, or an event, or a couple of companies? I’m so confused!
Answer: A lot of people shorten the words “Twilight Convention” to “twicon”. Nothing wrong with that, it’s the age of Twitter and texting and every letter counts. The only thing that you should be aware of is that sometimes when saying “twicon” people are referencing a generic convention run by anyone and at other times they are referencing a very specific company called TwiCon that ran its first convention last year in Dallas and has two more slated this year (Las Vegas and now Ottowa–change in location due to international G20 conference forcing a venue change). So cross reference by dates/locations so you know what people are speaking about!
Here are a few upcoming items:
Official Twilight Convention by Creation Entertainment
This group kicks off in January with stops in Miami, Seattle, and Nashville and has at least 20 stops announced in various locations including Hawaii for 2010. According to their site,
“Once in many moons a new genre craze begins and so it is for TWILIGHT, the epic series of books and smash hit feature film (with sequels to follow)…
With fantastic guest stars from the film, wonderful programming, panels and events, themed parties, autographs and photo ops, live musical performances and more: make your plans now to join the celebration! Creation Entertainment has presented over 2,000 conventions for our fellow fans since 1971: come and experience a fantastic weekend you’ll never forget! … Check out our “customer feedback” section for comments from past Twi/Tour attendees: everyone is having a GREAT time! Creation Rocks for Twilight Fans and with New Moon… there is going to be even more to celebrate: including meeting the new stars of the film, especially the “Wolf Pack” guys!”
Twilight Fan Trips run by Beyond Boundaries Travel
This group has a number of upcoming projects, most notably Vampire Baseball games in Salt Lake City and New Orleans. Part of the proceeds go to local charities. They also have a vampire film cruise. According to their site:
“Join cast from Twilight and New Moon, along with other great Louisiana celebrities as they take to the field to play Vampire Baseball™ in a benefit for the 9th Ward Field of Dreams! and the Special Olympics of Utah”
New Orleans: “Fan Trips™ Travel will be partnering with the 9th Ward Field of Dreams for Vampire Baseball™ in New Orleans. Up to 50% of net proceeds from each Vampire Baseball™ ticket sale will go towards the 9th Ward Field of Dream’s goal to rebuild the 1,000-seat football stadium at G.W. Carver Senior High School, which was crushed under 10 feet of floodwater during Hurricane Katrina four years ago.”
HUB PRODUCTIONS Australia
“Saturday the 24th April in Sydney and Sunday the 25th April in Melbourne
Ashley Greene, Daniel Cudmore, Gil Birmingham and others will be appearing on Saturday 24th April in Sydney from 9:00am to 6:00pm and Sunday the 25th April in Melbourne from 9.00am to 6.00pm.
The event features the guests live on stage for a few stories, anecdotes as well as Question and Answers. There will also be a variety of events throughout the day, such as auctions, raffles and trivia. There will also be merchandise as well as rare collectibles available to purchase from the dealers. You will also have the chance to meet the guests and acquire autographs and professional photographs.”
TwiCon by TwiCon Partners, LLC/Scoggins Management Group
TwiCon had their first convention which was a mixture of book related, fandom hot topics, and actor panels in Dallas, TX in July 2009. This year in 2010 they have two events in Las Vegas and Ottowa(note change in venue from Toronto). According to their site:
“TwiCon Vegas/Ottawa 2010 is “vamping” up our convention! Are you a Twilight fan? How about a True Blood fanatic? Can’t stop watching CW’s new Vampire Diaries? Love to read JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, or other vamp pop culture books?
TwiCon is bringing the vamp pop culture phenomenon to Las Vegas/Ottawa! Offering new programming and stars from today’s hottest vampire movies, television series and books, TwiCon 2010 is truly the most exclusive convention for the Edward, Sookie, Elena, and Brotherhood fan. Stay tuned as we announce attending celebrities and special guests, new programming and tons more with our new and improved website!”
So there you have it. Our rundown hopefully gives out information and takes some of the mystery and confusion away. If you want to know where the Lexicon staff members will be appearing, we are in the process of updating our Facebook page to contain that information. Our next couple of events will be Creation Entertainment’s Official Twilight Tour in Atlanta and Los Angeles, Borders in the Time Warner Building in New York City, and possibly a Walmart event in Nashville.