Conventions are big business now.
Before you’ve even set foot in the hall you’ve had to pay for an entry ticket (General Admission? VIP? Gold? Platinum?), accommodation, and travel. You haven’t seen a celebrity or bought a toy yet and you’ve made a sizeable outlay.
None of this accounts for any photo ops and autographs you might be after. One of the major draws of these events is meeting your heroes. They’re not cheap, and having posted a photo I got recently I encountered a range of opinions on them. Are they worth it?
To answer that let’s wind things back a bit. Recently my wife and I visited Heroes and Villains Fan Fest in London. It was her first convention of any sort, had several stars she really wanted to see, and with her being 7 months pregnant was probably our last chance to be just ‘us’ for a little while. I really wanted it go well.
In the lead up to it all she spent £140 on two photo ops with Stephen Amell, AKA the Green Arrow. I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought “£70? That’s mental”. To some that may seem like a lot of money, but let me give it some context.
Stephen Amell has been a bit of a hero of ours for a few years now. He’s a great Green Arrow, but through social media it’s very apparent that he’s a great guy too. I’ve got two ‘F*ck Cancer’ vests from fundraising schemes he’s led.
In a very busy day where everyone was clamouring for his attention he was polite, welcoming, more than happy to shake my hand twice (I was nervous), ask how I was, and join me in pointing at his face on my chest. He was similarly lovely to my wife too, noticing the bump and wishing her well. It was only a few seconds but we both came out really happy. We’d met someone we regard highly and they’d lived up to expectations.
There is a conflict inside of me regarding these things still. The amount of money and short time with these stars could be seen negatively and I don’t know exactly where the money goes. Then there’s the feeling that it’s just a conveyor belt, especially for those people that everyone wants to see. What I do know is how happy myself and my wife were afterwards and how cool it is to have a professionally taken memento of it.
At his panel Barrowman talked passionately about how wonderful it was to see everyone together and not letting recent terrorist activities prevent them from enjoying a common interest together. He couldn’t have been more right. Yes there’s a lot of money flying around but ultimately it’s all about how much the experience or photo is worth to you personally. Perhaps I’m lucky that they’ve been having good days or that the people I held up just aren’t douchebags (I’ve heard of less favourable experiences). I choose to see things positively and I’ve always believed in fully enjoying the things you feel passionately about, so for me it was £70 well spent.
Note – H&VFF was great. The organisation in particular was brilliant. My wife was looked after the entire time. I’d recommend it if you want to try out an event.