Con 101

It seems like in the last two weeks a ton of twilight conventions have sprung up. Our mailbox has been getting bombarded with people who have questions on conventions or cons. Now the Lexicon is not endorsing any particular event, as fans we may be in attendance, but we are not an official sponsor of any of these.

We did think we could help people out with some info. So we thought we’d do a little con 101, and give you some more ideas regarding cons that are based on questions in our inbox.

Question:  The con says its unofficial, and not affiliated with Summit, Hachette Books, or Stephenie. Is that bad?

Answer: In general no con is sponsored by a movie company, a book company, or an author. Basically, those companies/people do what they do best which is making movies and publishing books.  So a con not being officially sponsored is not a bad thing persay. Good or bad is going to depend on a number of other factors.

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
  • 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.

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?

Hopefully this info helps. For our next feature, we’ll be doing brief bios of the organizers and descriptions of two conventions happening this summer in the USA.