Wednesday, April 25, 2018

On Universal FanCon


Guys, I am really sad and mad right now about Universal FanCon. I hadn't heard of it before it was postposed/cancelled one week before it was to occur, but seeing tweets from so many people who were planning to go was heartbreaking. So many artists and vendors losing their first shot at sales/networking and cosplayers and other attendees who never felt accepted at other cons losing a safe space for geeking out. 

I'm proud to be an exhibitor and co-creator of the Manga Reading Lounge at Anime Detour and my July staycation at Convergence is a highlight of my year. I can't imagine having an experience like that taken away so suddenly. 

The other sad thing is, it might not have failed if the founders hadn't 1) tried to make their first con some huge, money-making endeavor when most cons barely break even, 2) failed to vet one co-founder who had been involved in failed cons before, and 3) they had asked for help from experienced con people. The Twitter conversation made it clear that there was a deep bench of experienced con administrators who would have been happy to help. I'm not one myself, but my limited experience creating a miniature library con tells me that it's a very complex endeavor with a lot of moving parts that requires constant back-and-forth communication, not just asking Starbucks to donate stuff at the last minute. 



WHAT WE CAN DO TO MAKE THINGS BETTER:
  • Support your local, volunteer-staffed con. Unless you are super into getting celebrities to sign stuff, skip those traveling things Alexandra Erin calls "autograph mills". Local cons are way more fun, you have more input in their content & policies, plus it gives volunteers/staff more experience to start more cons to fit your interests. 
  • If your local con sucks, start your own, but start small. Comic-Con wasn't built in one day
  • Make your con safe for diverse attendees. Ask them what policies would help them enjoy the con. Have diverse panels and panelists. Ban harassers. 
  • Attract and mentor diverse con volunteers and employees. Then, they can learn and start their own cons. Geek culture is big, we can have cons for everybody. 
  • Don't be a dick. Don't tell a marginalized person they "aren't allowed" to cosplay as someone.
  • Give these artists some money. They lost a major source of income, so support them if you can. 
  • Attend this pop-up convention. if you can afford it and are near Baltimore, attend this mini-convention for people who were coming to FanCon.
  • Make your Con transit-accessible. Not everyone can drive or has a car, and some people may fly or bus in. I'm looking at you, Con of the North!

1 comment:

JethSeux said...

You tell em Sweetie, why have a Con if people can't get there!!