Greetings MSW readers and welcome to the first of many (hopefully if Jason and Amanda don’t push me out an airlock) weekly columns on MakingStarWars.net. Let’s face it: Mondays pretty much suck. They are about as fun as cleaning carbon scoring out of second-hand droids. So to help remedy that, each Monday morning the MMCP will seek to provide you with an entertaining and informative diversion from your spreadsheets, meetings, supervisory duties or Starkiller Base sanitation responsibilities. So strap in, because I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
Chewie-ing It Over: Convention Envy
Once again the Summer convention season is kicking off with to huge conventions, Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 (SWCE) in London from July 15th-17th and San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) July 20th-24th. Between the logistical and financial challenges of some North American fans making it to London and the extreme difficulty in getting SDCC tickets, many fans are going to be left at home on their moisture farm, jealous of Biggs and Tank and their convention adventures.
It is only natural that fans who are unable to attend may be upset, jealous, borderline Anakin tantrum-y at the unfairness of the galaxy. So it begs the questions: what are you missing? And what can you experience from home?
Things You Are Missing:
- Convention exclusive merchandise (free or purchased)
- Convention exclusive preview video or sneak peek images
- Autographs and photo opportunities
- Fan meet-ups
- Sensation of crowd reaction to breaking news
- Some panels that aren’t recorded or broadcast
- Fan/pro interactions and networking
- Con Crud
- Price gouging on hotels, parking, transportation, and food
- Often lack of sleep and proper meals
- Lots of standing in line and running across convention centers
- Discourteous Con goers
- Hordes and ordes of people
- Black Friday exclusive shopping lines on Death Sticks
Now I am hardly the expert Con goer but I have attended SDCC, Wondercon, D23, San Diego Comic Fest, and Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, so I do have a little experience. There are two main types of people who really need to go to conventions in my view: Collectors and Experimentalists. The Collectors attend to get the exclusive merchandise, their favorite cast or crew autographs or photos and return home with physical mementos of their convention experience. These men and women are the Captain Ahabs of fandom; they enjoy the hunt and capture of the collectibles. Often depending on the amount produced you can find convention exclusive merchandise being resold after the convention online, but this is often for extremely marked-up prices and without the endorphin hit of landing the collectible yourself. If you fall into this category and have the financial means than Con going can be a lot of fun.
The Experientialists on the other hand may not be interested in waiting all day or night in line for some fancy piece of plastic, but instead want to be the first to know, see, or hear the latest thing. They are the Neil Armstrongs of fandom. Some of them in addition to wanting to be first, want to be around for big moments, such as the last appearance of an aging actor, a cast reunion, or some ceremony. Still other Experientialists want the opportunity to meet fellow fans or professionals, that person you talk to o-line, that creator that had a special impact on you, that random fan or professional you strike up a conversation at the bar with that leads to laughs. The Experientialists aren’t collecting objects but memories and relationships. Conventions, because of the sheer number of attendees and their gravitational pull, are unique opportunities for experiences that are hard to recreate in other settings. The good news for Experientialists is that conventions are often only the beginning as friendships and relationships established there are continued and expanded afterwards.
Then there are the negative aspects of conventions that I also listed above. Everyone has their own tolerance levels, pet peeves, and limits. I do think it is worth wild to try the convention experience at least once to see if it is something you enjoy. The keys to me are to accept the fact that you will never be able to see, do, or get all of the things you want at any convention no matter how well you plan and schedule your time. Accepting the inevitability of disappointment and embracing the unexpected are essential to an enjoyable convention experience. The energy, stress and excitement of conventions can get people at times acting like their less than best selves. No matter how crazy the convention gets, try to remain courteous, considerate, and cooperative with your fellow convention goers.
Things You Can Experience From Home:
- Breaking news
- Official press releases
- HD video and images
- Some panel coverage
- Some exclusive broadcast content
- Multiple panels at once
- Convention exclusives online (sometimes)
- High-speed internet
- The comforts of home
Now clearly you can’t perfectly replicate the convention experience from your couch. There are some things that you can get at home that is the same as what you get at the convention. Information in the form of news and announcements is now virtually instantaneously available out of convention panels thanks to journalists and social media. In addition depending on the property and companies involved, often images or video content will be released online as soon as it is revealed in the panels. This could mean depending on where you are at the convention you may have a worse view of some new content than the folks at home.
Between the rush to share news online and the often sub-standard wi-fi at conventions, often folks at home have a more complete and up-to-date sense of the news coming out of the convention. This is particularly true when there are multiple panels that interest you at the same time.
Both SWCE and SDCC will have a great deal of content online this year with StarWars.com hosting “The Star Wars Show” Live and SDCC launching Comic-Con HQ.
Sometimes companies will release for order or pre-order a certain limited number of convention exclusive merchandise online during or just after the convention. If you are at home and able to pounce on these with your good wi-fi then you may have the advantage over a con goer.
Finally getting to experience a fraction of the convention experience for no cost in the comfort of your own home isn’t the worst thing in the world and is simply much more convenient for some fans.
So while you may be upset about missing out on SWCE or SDCC this year, take heart because you aren’t completely shut out of these conventions. If you are a Collector I suggest you hunt eBay carefully for those items you must have after the convention. If you are an Experientialist, I suggest you attempt to recreate the Convention feel in your own social environment, since the conventions are streaming content, why not organize watch parties? Watching the convention in HD, with cheap food and beverages and good friends may not be the convention experience, but it sure sounds good to me.
The Bright Center of the Universe: This Week on StarWars.com:
The big news this past week on Starwars.com is that we are getting a live-stream of Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 in the form of “The Star Wars Show” Live. Hosted by Andi Gutierrez and Peter Townley, the full details of the livestream are yet to be announced, but this is what we do know:
“The Star Wars Show LIVE, streaming from Star Wars Celebration Europe beginning Friday, July 15, through Sunday, July 17, will feature celebrity guests, interviews with Star Wars creators, must-see panels, and much more. Andi Gutierrez and Peter Townley of The Star Wars Show are set to host, bringing you all the action as it happens. Also live streaming is the special Rogue One: A Star Wars Story panel (July 15, 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT), presented by Verizon, in which director Gareth Edwards will join Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and special guests for a discussion on the highly anticipated film.”
Other highlights from the week include articles such as:
8 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR STAR WARS CELEBRATION EUROPE by Amy Ratcliffe
FORCE OF FASHION: DARK SIDE STYLE IS MORE THAN BLACK ROBES by Catrina Dennis
RANKING REBELS: 10 HIGHLIGHTS FROM “REBEL RESOLVE” by Geek Girl Dive
STUDYING SKYWALKERS: KANAN’S BLINDNESS by Dan Zehr
Wild Space: This Week on MakingStarWars.net:
This week on MSW we had some cool news stories as well as the latest releases of the MSW Podcast Network.
To the future, to the horizon:
Finally in closing this week we look ahead to the future. In addition to SWCE we have some big new releases this week including Chuck Wendig’s second book in the Aftermath Trilogy, Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt.
We also will see the latest episode of LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, episode 6 “Crossing Paths” featuring a guest appearance by Luke and Leia.
Thanks for reading and come back next Monday to see if I have become a crazy old Jedi recluse.