Posted By Kathleen David on November 17, 2011
Peter is currently working on a document he is calling the Fan/Pro bill of Rights. This came out of some things that have been happening at conventions but are getting more worrisome as time goes on. Especially now with the Internet and Tweeting, stories of bad behavior along with pictures and/or Video, things get around a lot faster than they did in the old days or the 70s some of us like to call them. You can find out more at his web site
This weekend is the Great Allentown Comic Con which Peter, Caroline, and I will be attending. This will be Caroline’s and my first time attending this convention. It has an interesting line up of guests and some interesting panels and the like.
I have been on both sides of the table as it were. I started as a fan going to conventions and eventually found myself standing on the other side of the table with the pro badge attached to my lapel.
So here are my thoughts on conventions and fan/pro interaction in no particular order just how they came to my brain.
I do like to know if you read this web log. I know statistically that I have plenty of visitors to my blogs but it is nice to meet the people who read it too.
Peter doesn’t charge for autographs. I have heard a lot of rumblings over the years about autograph charges. I kindly ask for the fans to stop and think a moment. Many of the actors who come to the shows are between gigs or are well known for a show that may have been off the air over 10 years ago. How do they make their money that weekend? Selling autographs and photos to their fans. The myth of the huge per diem that all actors who attended a convention is just that, a myth. Some conventions pay for airfare and hotel. Some, rare indeed, do give a stipend for food and the like. So the money you pay the actor is the money that they are earning that weekend by working at the convention. And believe me, a convention is work for a pro. It is another part of your job as a professional.
If you have a question about puppetry, ask me. I am more than willing to ramble on about puppets and how they work. One of my purposes in life is to educate as many people as I can about puppetry.
Caroline will be selling drawings at the convention. She might be taking requests.
When two pros go away from their respective tables to a corner to talk, please give them some room. That is not the time to approach them about autographs. When we do this, it is probably because we have something that we need to discuss away from the majority of the convention. I can’t tell you the number of times this has happened to me but it has been enough that it does irk me a bit.
Photography is a wonderful thing and it is great to record your visual memories on your phone or camera. However in the middle of the traffic pattern is not a great place to set up a shot. I will apologize now for any pictures I screw up because I have to get from point A to point B and don’t have the 5 to 10 minutes for everyone to get their photos. If my path is blocked, I will find a way through as some people who are still probably swearing at me from DragonCon well know. There are ways and places to take photos that don’t bring the convention to a total halt. New York Comic Con actually had some official spots where people could take pictures of others in costume which worked pretty doggone well.
During show hours, don’t monopolize the pro’s time. This goes for other pros as well as fans. This also goes for Q & A panels as well. There is only so much time and figure that your “cute” question has already been asked and if I hear one more fan asked for a pro’s phone number, I am hitting them with a clue bat. Can I have a hug is not an appropriate question for a Q & A. Now understand I am not saying don’t talk to the pro but at least be aware of what is going on around you and how many people are behind you waiting for an autograph and a moment of the pro’s time too. After hours all bets are off.
Conventions are fun but for the pro they are also part of the job so it changes rather drastically from when one was just a fan.
I look forward to meeting some of you this weekend.
I am grateful for both my fan life and my pro life.