Fan Conventions: Getting Through the Hype

Photo: Shannon Cottrell/LA Weekly from Comic-Con 2010 There's a lot of hype surrounding conventions. If you've been to one of the larger events, you know cons are often the place where big studios make big announcements. They can also be the place where companies choose to flex their marketing muscle with street team campaigns, can't-miss booths, swag, and exclusive merchandise. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, they're just taking their products directly to the customer. But often, what you hear or read about after the con focuses on this—and not the fans who make the con happen. After Comic-Con, I wrote about trying to find "authenticity" at such a massive, hype-crazy event. It's definitely there, but it's sometimes buried under the advertising and glut of announcements. The fan moments are always the best part of the convention, whether it's a massive gathering of cosplayers paying tribute to the same characters, or a simple conversation at a tweet-up where you don't feel socially awkward after dropping an obscure pop culture reference among strangers. There might not much flashiness surrounding those moments, but that's when we see the real community within the cons. Link: "Ever Get the Feeling You've Been Conned?" (LA Weekly)