Conventional Wisdom: Tips On Picking A Convention | TrekMovie.com
jump to navigation

Conventional Wisdom: Tips On Picking A Convention June 22, 2008

by John Tenuto , Filed under: Conventions/Events/Attractions , trackback

The failure of FedCon USA was big news this week and it isn’t the first con to go down, however such things are rare in the world of conventions. Today Trekmovie.com presents a brief history of conventions, including a couple of past failures to provide some context. We also take a look forward with a guide to trusted cons and tips for fans to avoid con disappointments.

 

Sci-fi conventions go back decades
Science fiction conventions first started in both the UK and US in the 1930s. One early attendee was Arthur C. Clarke who attended a British genre convention in January 1937. Star Trek would occasionally receive some attention at generic science fiction during the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, it was at Tricon in 1966 that Bjo Trimble first met Gene Roddenberry who brought episodes of Star Trek to show the audience a few days before the "Man Trap" premiered. The first Star Trek convention was a gathering in New York January 21-23, 1972. It was planned by a group of fans known as "The Committee" which included Joan Winston (eventual author of "The Making of The Trek Conventions") and Al Schuster. Guests included Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett.

The popularity of that first Star Trek convention led to many more conventions in various cities around the world. These early Trek conventions were often interactive events, with fan art shows and costume contests. It really wasn’t until the 1990s that "official" Star Trek conventions started. Before this, conventions had to have names like "Star Con" or "Trek Con" because of copyright considerations. In the 1990s, Viacom and Paramount started letting companies such as Vulkon, Slanted Fedora, and Creation Entertainment be considered sanctioned if they met certain guidelines, including the prevention of sales of counterfeit Trek merchandise. Eventually, the license for official conventions would be awarded to Creation Entertainment, a company started in the early 1970s. Today, there are about 20 Star Trek specific conventions held each year in the United States, some local fan events, others by professional promoters such as Creation Entertainment. Big and small, almost all go off without a hitch.

TWO CAUTIONARY TALES

The FedCon USA fiasco brings back memories of past convention failures.

Slanted Fedora
In the 1990s Slanted Fedora tried to bring a new kind of model to Star Trek conventions. Slanted Fedora innovated some of the mainstays of modern Star Trek conventions including "dinner with the stars," guaranteed autographs, theater performances by celebrities like Leonard Nimoy and John DeLancie as Spock and Q. However, there were criticisms over expense, and conventions being too passive an experience. Things started to go south after a much publicized convention where, according to Patrick Stewart, he was promoted as a guest even after he cancelled. Stewart’s issues with Slanted Fedora became public knowledge and soured fans on the company. In the early 2000s cancelled guests and rescheduled events became more and more common. Eventually monetary issues led to Slanted Fedora going out of business, and there was even legal action by the Kansas Attorney General against the company.

1982 Houston Summit
Perhaps the most infamous Star Trek convention of all time is the 1982 Houston Summit Arena event. The actors and some crew from Star Trek II, except for Leonard Nimoy, yet including Kirstie Alley and Harve Bennett, were to appear at this celebration of The Wrath of Khan. While thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of fans were supposedly going to the event, only a few hundred showed up. The promoters had utilized the money for room reservations and pre-event sales for other purposes, and many fans found they had no reservations and the actors were not paid. Harve Bennett would have none of this and with the help of some of the actors and fans, a convention of sorts was still had. The fans still got their promised three days of entertainment. Like John Billingsley demonstrated at FEDCON USA, Bennett showed that you can make the best of a bad situation as long as fans have an advocate.

CONVENTIONS WITH A PROVEN HISTORY

Although there are examples of cons going bad, there have been thousands of sci-fi and Trek conventions over the last few decades, with only a tiny handful of bad apples in the bunch.

The following list of conventions are established events with a proven history. While there are no guarantees of a good time at conventions, these are companies where you can be assured the event will most likely go on and the celebrities advertised will appear (with the occasional last minute cancellations due to acting schedules).

Creation Entertainment (creationent.com)
The best-known and only ‘official’ Star Trek convention. Creation provides wall-to-wall entertainment and a good selection of A, B, and C level celebrities (with focus on Q&A panels with actors). The annual Summer Vegas convention is the premiere and biggest Trek convention. Prices vary inexpensive to attend the panels to expensive if you want all the autographs, photo-ops and celebrity events.

Vulkon Entertainment (www.vulkon.com)
Smaller and medium sized fan-friendly most Trek focused cons mostly in the Mid-west and South. Provide more direct access to celebrities, with night-time banquets being a highlight. The Summer Orlando con provides selection of Trek stars. Their pricing is comparable to Creation.

Shore-Leave (shore-leave.com/)
A relaxed medium-sized summer convention in Baltimore in July, with a good mix of B level celebs and a big focus on Trek literature. A great place to meet you favorite authors and other celebrities. Pricing is very reasonable with autographing provided at various tables.

FedCon Europe (fedcon.de)
Despite what happened in Texas, FedCon Europe is still the premiere European convention and well regarded by fans and celebrities alike. One of the biggest in the world and certainly largest in Europe is known for its energy and enthusiastic audiences. Reasonable pricing, but gets more expensive once you include autographs.

Comic Con (also runs Wonder Con) (comic-con.org)
The ultimate genre trade show. Panels focus mostly new and upcoming sci-fi and pop culture entertainment (TV, movies, comic books, etc.). Gigantic hall with every vender, often feature exclusive merchandise. Tickets are reasonably priced, with a special area for a handful of signers. Most panels speakers do not sign. Very little fan interaction with celebrities.  Trek panels and content varies from year to year.

Dragon Con (dragoncon.org)
The South’s version of Comic-Con, this fan-run convention is both relaxed (celebs sitting in couches chatting with fans), yet is large and well run. A general genre, but provides a special ‘Trek Trak’ with a good selection of Trek stars big and small. Pricing is reasonable for the weekend. Autographs are less organized, but more personal.

Motor City Comic Con  (motorcityconventions.com)
Held usually once per year in Detroit, Motor City Comic Con is a general sci-fi con which always features a handful of A or B and C level Trek guests. A good con for autograph collectors as prices are low to get in and you get good access to celebs. Panels provide good interaction as well.

TIPS FOR ATTENDING CONVENTIONS

Conventions are often very expensive and fans should use the same ‘caveat emptors’ you would with any vacation or big purchase. Even when attending big established cons like those listed above, make sure that it is right for you (although all good cons, there are big differences between Creation’s Vegas Con, Comic-Con and Shore-Leave).

For newer and smaller conventions it is a good idea to learn as much as possible before purchasing tickets (especially tickets in advance). There are no guarantees, and most conventions are successful and fun events, yet education is a good way to avoid being disappointed.

If uncertain, don’t buy. You can usually buy tickets at the Star Trek convention door if needed. Be sure to support small, local conventions. These are often personal and rewarding conventions.

 

Comments

1. jeremy - June 22, 2008

I loved slanted fedora conventions back in the day. I was a big supporter. Does anyone know what happened to them?? I know the long legal story but what are they doing now?

2. Justin Toney - June 22, 2008

1st? Remember Trek-O-Rama? When it came to Lake Charles, La, it was a pretty awesome idea of having a Trek convention here in town; and an even bigger bonus was to see John de Lancie. Unfortunately, the promoter of the event left town before paying for anything leaving the sponsors and venue with the bill :( I hope that never happens again.

3. T2 - June 22, 2008

I’ve been going to about 2 cons a year…they’re not like they used to be, but I still love them.

4. CmdrR - June 22, 2008

Been to Dragon Con a couple of times, although it’s been years. May not go this year, but will absolutely go next year. I know, I know, I’m missing the chance to be the first to know that Quinto’s ear lobes are fake. Still, I think the real fun will come after the movie’s release.

I also haven’t done the overnight thing. I want to. In previous years, there were no Denises, Vulcanistas, Katies, or Spockanellas… just a lot of… um… let’s just say the spandex was tested to its redline limits.

Hoping the cons con-tinue for many many years.

5. Kayla Iacovino - June 22, 2008

My friends and I always go to the creation cons in Vegas which are a blast. I would attend more local cons if there were some where I live! Most of the best ones seem to be in California.

6. bgiles73 - June 22, 2008

Cool to see another resident of Louisiana here! I am from Lafayette. I had no iea we have conventions out here!

7. Justin Toney - June 22, 2008

Bgiles what is your email, I will send you a few cons in our area (since I am so close) or you can email me, my email is contact zone91.com

8. krikzil - June 22, 2008

I’ve been going to cons since I was 13 (bless my mom!) and love them. One of the highlights for me was the Official Huntsville con. I do the Vegas con every year and that’s a good one too especially since family lives in Vegas too. Anyone been to the World Science Fiction cons? Ive been to two of them and really had a good time.

9. Justin Toney - June 22, 2008

Thats supposed to be contact at zone91.com

10. bgiles73 - June 22, 2008

I can be reached at bgiles73@yahoo.com

11. John Gill - June 22, 2008

#2 and #6:

WOW!!!! I think I would have to shake my head and clear my mind if I heard there was going to be a convention in Lake Charles again!!!! I am in little ‘ol Eunice, Louisiana, and a Star Trek Convention ANYWHERE in Louisiana is BIG NEWS here!!!!

12. Cosmo Kid - June 22, 2008

Tips on picking up at a Star Trek convention. If any, Please let me know! Someone had to say it.

13. bgiles73 - June 22, 2008

Wow! I see Louisiana is pretty well represented here!

14. LodownX - June 22, 2008

My only Con experience has been through the Motor City Comic Con … I don’t have anything to compare it to… but I’d have to say I’ve always been impressed witht the talent they’ve managed to bring for the 2 annual conventions they run each year.

My most memorable experience …First time… shooting across the border at the Ambassador Bridge NOT knowing I was only 20 minutes away from a full blown Klingon raiding party in the lobby of the Novi Con. centre. Those guys were totally decked out and film acurate. Then 3 dudes with lit up proton packs stood next to them in Ghostbusting gear for a photo op. My geek mind was blown.

15. Spockanella - June 22, 2008

4. Awww!

16. Cafe 5 - June 22, 2008

Conventions whether they be Star Trek or other sci-fi related types used to be fan created and were a great deal more fun than the corporate run sterile gatherings that are produced today. The conventions of today are nothing like the cons that were there at the beginning, but they are the only game in town.

17. Ampris - June 22, 2008

It doesn’t seem like there are ever any cons in my state. The closest one to me is Dragon*Con, and that one has me really intrigued but it’s still two states over and something I’ve never done before. I hope to be able to attend *any* con eventually, but it’s really a shame that there aren’t any local ones. =(

18. Thomas - June 22, 2008

Thanks for the article, John, very informative. I’ve been tempted to seek out any nearby cons (I live in L.A., not LA), and I want to find that which best suits my tastes.

19. Justin Toney - June 22, 2008

Well you know Louisiana is going to have a convention next year. That’s all I can say but its going to be held in Lake Charles.

20. Hat Rick - June 22, 2008

I’ve been to the Trek and other SF conventions held in Pasadena and Las Vegas run by Creation, and despite what others might say, I’ve been quite satisfied with them. They may be pricey and they may charge for every little thing, but they’re most definitely worth it.

21. Littlenatey - June 22, 2008

I’ve been to both The FX Show and MegaCon here in Orlando, FL. Both have always been a great time and always delivered on their promises.

22. Rich - June 22, 2008

Starland in Denver has been putting on great cons for almost 30 years in the Denver area. http://starland.com/sf-sc/sf08/

23. ozFinn - June 22, 2008

One of the good things about the Australian convention scene is that there are still smaller fan run conventions, like The Hub Productions, or Friends of Science Fiction, operating alongside the big boys of the Antipodean con-scene, Armageddon and Supanova.
So we’ve got the smaller, more intimate events, that cost more, but you can get a decent amount of one-on-one time with the guests and then we’ve got the bigger ones.

That said I attended my first SDCC last year and got hooked on that, am going again next year and in 2010, when I also hope to attend the Creation Star Trek convention.
This year I was also in LA for Wizard World… boy was that boring…

24. capttravis - June 22, 2008

I actually forged press credentials back in High School and faxed all of them to the Creation Entertainment people so I could score an interview with Nana Visitor, which I still have on tape. Man was I devious! However, I think winning the trivia contest may have blown my cover a bit…

25. M-5 - June 22, 2008

Thank you TrekMovie.com for that great piece on the conventions.

I’ve been attending the Creation conventions since the early 90’s and for the most part, have enjoyed them very much. I especially enjoy listening to the actors. I think Creation does a great job of getting the actors for the events and are a well-organized machine.

I just wish they would inject more fun and interactive activities for the loyal Trek fans instead of running up the price on everything. I attended the Las Vegas convention last year, and there were some fun moments, but it just seems as if the bottom line for Creation is to live up to the Ferengi, which is to say that the main goal is money and making as much of it as possible.

It’s one thing to charge admission for the event itself. But then, if you want to go to a dinner with a star, a separate expensive fee for that. Fans get an opportunity to take a picture with a star, but the whole exercise is so superficial. I witnessed fans being ushered into a room for a phony two second smile with a star and out the room again. And the fees that are charged for those photos and autographs are insanely ridiculous.

Hey, if getting a signed autograph and auctioning off on e-Bay is your thing, more power to you. I just think it takes away from the spirit of the word “fun”. I would rather save that money and invest in Star Trek: The Experience, which by the way, I don’t recall the emcee’s at Creation hyping or promoting at the event last year.

26. DuneCee - June 22, 2008

I helped run and organize a small sci-fi convention in West Michigan for ten years called Babel Conference (Babel Con for short). We had a nice small intimate con. We were also responsible for a few firsts that other cons picked up on.

We had scripted comedy routines during the costume shows that were terribly popular thanks to the creative genius of two very funny guys. Jay Barron and Dave Marshall… together they rooted through the local ST fan club and assembled a talented cast of ensamble players that made the segments inbetwen the costume categories wildly entertaining.

The con also had the first video room that used large projection televisions to broadcast their film room programming instead of the video monitros that most conventions placed around the parameter of the seating areas. They also were the first convention to broadcast the sound in 5.1 Dolby Stereo thanks to the tech heads in the group.

They also featurd the typical dealer’s room, art shows and even had a zine reading room. It was inexpensive and a lot of great friendships were forged through the efforts of folks like Tim Eldred, Steve Harrison, Jim Emelander, Jerry Fellows, Tom Mattingly and a host of others. These guys were on the ball and always put out a quality convention and made sure everyone was happy.

I sure wish those guys would get back together and bring the Babel Conference back.

27. Thomas - June 22, 2008

25. Probably because the fate of STTE has been up in the air, on top of the fact that Creation doesn’t make any money sending people to spend their money elsewhere.

28. Spotts1701 - June 22, 2008

A couple friends of mine used to run small conventions here in Northern Nevada. They were my first experience with the “convention circuit” and they were a lot of fun. Especially the last one – Robert O’Reilly was the featured guest (and this was back in the late 1990’s before his character took off again in DS9), and they organized a “troop inspection” by Chancellor Gowron as a part of the costume contest. Good times, good times.

My only experience with Slanted Fedora was their last big bash in 2001 down in Las Vegas. I had a lot of fun, met some great folks, but also ran headlong into SF’s tendency to double-bill customers or charge them for items they did not order. When I heard they got nailed by the government, I wasn’t too surprised.

Creation is…okay. It just seems that if you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all. The programming doesn’t seem to vary beyond who the headliners are. Never been to the Vegas one or to Grand Slam, so maybe I just need to experience one of the big ones.

Best tips I could offer?

– Batteries and film – make sure you have enough, and if you need more wait until the end of the day so you can go to the local Wal-Mart.
– Have a couple bottles of water and some sort of quick-energy snack with you. A lot of the venues aren’t well ventilated.
– Take the time to chat with some of your fellow con goers. One of the most interesting discussions I had was with a French couple – simply because our perspectives on Trek’s “message” were colored by our own national backgrounds.

29. Denise de Arman - June 22, 2008

M-5#25- It only takes a few seconds to get the picture at these conventions. The money paid is for the picture itself, not for the opportunity to chat up your favorite celebrity. I love the pictures I have, and consider it money well-spent.

30. Gibnerd - June 22, 2008

thanks for the motor city comic con shoutout. it is a blast. the dealers side of things as kinda gone downhill lately, but if you’re with the right people you can really have a good time. MCCC is very laid back and has a great home made feel. the saturday night parties are always hot as well.
went to vegas last summer and had a great time. i love the cheesy music video salutes (“Maniac” set to footage of Q!!) and the costumes are insane! Nothing like drinking beer with a bunch of Klingon women in Vegas!! I’m sad about the thought of The Experience closing as my greatest memory of last summer’s Vegas Con was drinking 2 warp core breaches and having an in depth Trek conversation with the in character Borg guy. Also met 2 great British Trek fans over dinner at Quarks… in my Warp Core soaked mind, for a minute there making friends with Trekkers from another country, I thought that this was what Trek was all about… friendship and the human adventure…

31. RuFFeD_UP - June 22, 2008

#19 Aren’t you the guy who made the freakin awesome TNG/Roddenberry tribute and posted it on youtube? Then it won an award at some convention?

32. Justin Toney - June 22, 2008

#31 that be me!

33. Justin Toney - June 22, 2008

And if you are interested…here is the video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uABUSAk2BcE

34. Stella - June 22, 2008

If you want a fun convention, try Polaris in Toronto, Ontario, Canada! Formerly known as Toronto Trek. They changed their name because they stopped being Trek-only, many years ago. Besides the usual Q&A with the stars, autographs and photos, they also have many other tracks of programing, an art show, art auction, model contest, a dance after the masquerade, author book readings, author signings and even a Con Suite where the attendees can drink free pop and eat some munchies while hanging out with old friends and making new ones. I’ve been attending this con since TT3 and it has always been lots of fun and well attended. It is also reasonably priced!

http://www.tcon.ca/polaris/modules/tconguests/

35. Michael W. Jones - June 22, 2008

I went to many a Slanted Fedora production in Kansas City over the years, and had good and bad experiences.

Dave Scott, the man behind Slanted Fedora had some incredible ideas, some of which are now copied by other conventions. Things like dinner with the stars, guaranteed autographs included with admission, and the like.

What he did wrong: Promoting acts months (and in some cases a year) before to get advanced sales, without a firm commitment from the act. Changing event dates with little advance notice. Stiffing hotels or not booking a large enough space (dealers room with 5 foot isles and you had to go through it to get to the main show room), poor venues (rubber chicken dinners, mirrors and lights behind the stage, dealers room videos so loud that they were overpowering the show room sound system) Not returning phone calls, overcharging attendees.

As the demise began, he infamously bounced a check to Patrick Stewart, followed by CBS/Paramount revoked his marketing license, effectively preventing them from booking actors under contract to current series (at the time Star Trek: Enterprise). We started seeing the same guests over and over, but there are only so many times you can see certain celebrities.

His company was reported on by Kansas City area television consumer advocates multiple times, and ultimately ending up with an action by the Kansas Attorney General in September 2003. That case and the political damage that followed, ultimately resulted in Slanted Fedora going out of business in the fall of 2004.

36. SciFiMetalGirl - June 22, 2008

I’d always wondered what had ever happened to the Slanted Fedora conventions. I had wanted to attend one because it sounded like they had a lot of good and unique ideas, but then they suddenly disappeared off the convention map. Now I know why…

Thanks for the good article!

37. Irishtrekkie - June 22, 2008

i really want to go to FedCon Europe , next year .

38. chuck Soileau - June 22, 2008

Hello fellow cajuns from Louisiana.

If your interested. There will be a sci-fi con in Baton Rouge on July 19th and 20th,2008. Its called Babelcon. Its a great little convention.

This year the guest are : Suzie Plakson , Richard Hatch, and J.G. Hertzler. Their website is : http://www.babelcon.org.

Also, if you are interested in collecting anything Trek or other. One of my best friends is the owner of Paper Heroes in Lake Charles. Its a really great store. I’ll have to ask him about that convention in Lake Charles next year. I’m sure he will be involved.

Take care and I hope to see some of you at Babelcon.

39. James R. Kirk - June 22, 2008

Nothing comes to Pittsburgh anymore.

40. Marc Offenburger - June 22, 2008

#38… I ‘met’ JG at Shoreleave several years ago. Probably one of the nicest guys, that when even with the line for autographs, he had his ‘Q&A’ session, and instead of just shirking the people in line, he walked down the line and autographed the books.

I enjoyed Shore-Leave for about 3 years, in the late 90’s, and always enjoyed the Friday Night Author Meet and Great. Talked with Michael Jan Friedman and even came in 2nd for a part in one of his books (The Valient).

Currently, I participate as part of the staff for a convention closer to home, that does not keep to a specific show or genre, it is a Multiple Reality Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, known as MARCON in Columbus Ohio, the Friday-Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, who a couple years ago, had Rod Roddenberry as one of it’s Guest of Honors.

The theme for next year (2009) is “British Invasion”, but a rumor is that we may have a large contingent of Invaders from Q’onoS.

So, #39, I hope to see you at MARCON then, and bring your friends.

41. Larry Nemecek - June 22, 2008

Yep, I was a survivor of not only FedConUSA but also the ’82 Houston Summit–I see you took notes, Anthony! :-) — which was an add-on to normal HoustonCon, and which also had the nickname Ultimate Fantasy (ads in Starlog, no less) .. and which infamously came to be called the “Con of Wrath.” It was my first-ever out-of-state con and the biggest to boot, even with the falloff. Just “memorable” all around–waiting to get into a room, the free-for-all “press conference” Harve and actors saved….

Outside of Trek, in Firefly Land, there was Flanvention, an infamous Dec. 2006 implosion where promoters of the Burbank/LA con that had gone over well came back a year later and then cancelled the day of–with fans in town at the LAX-area hotel… and the dealers and actors on hand carried the show anyway.

And many more smaller ones, too. I was once one of three (3) guests (no actors) at a con in an Arkansas Ozarks resort community, had lots of corporate sponsors–and I swear to god there were more guests than paid attendees (2). I mean, really–2?

Oh–two quibbles, guys: Licensed Trek conventions came in with “Enterprise” in 2001, not “the 90s”–and as for your GOOD cons list, you need to include veterans Tulsa Trek Expo, and Starfest in Denver (starland.com) which goes back to the ’70s!

42. Larry Nemecek - June 22, 2008

Sorry, John T.–I just realized you did this one all alone and I had thought it was a group effort. Great job–my “quibbles” were only meant to add to it!

43. Father Rob - June 23, 2008

I haven’t been to a Star Trek conention in several years, mainly due to my schedule being so packed. I am hoping to go to one this year, but we’ll see.

My first convention was a Creation event in 1989… in fact, it was one week before the fourth season of TNG began. George Takei was the guest at the con. After his session, he did autographs, and actually invited me to sit down and talk to him while he was doing the autographs. I was 11 at the time. It was a very enjoyable time.

Shortly thereafter, Starbase Indy got started, which I attended for several Thanksgivings in a row. I finally gave up on it when I went to Seminary.

When I heard that a Thanksgiving Weekend con had been revived in Indy (by Slanted Fedora), I made a decision to go. I came in straight from work on Friday, so I was in my clerical collar. Jack Donner (Tal from TOS: The Enterprise Incident) had played a priest in some vampire movie, so Dave Scott (Mr. Slanted Fedora himself) thought I was in costume. When I explained to him that I was a real priest, I think he thought I was pulling his leg. When he came over to me after the opening session, he asked for proof that I was a priest, so I showed him my ID badge from work. He then asked if I would offer Mass on Sunday.

How many priests can say they have offered Communion to a Klingon and a Romulan?

Rob+

44. JJwerecountingonyoubuddy - June 23, 2008

All I can say is that Creation Net does an AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL job accomodating those of us in wheelchairs and/or the handicapped.

I REALLY enjoyed a loud mouth worker practically yelling at me that I could not get my picture taken with Robert Piccardo (although I paid for my tickets for the convention and specifically wrote in HANDICAPPED in every space available) because they decided to take his pictures in a different room which had 3 steps going up into the room and he could not walk 10 feet to accomodate me. I was so embarrassed, I had 100+ people in line gawking at me.

To make things worse, I had a handicapped space all set for me. I wrote in HANDICAPPED/WHEELCHAIR when ordering the tickets and ecen calle twice prior to the convention just to make sure I was set. I was shocked upon arrival to see they put me IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CENTER AISLE !!!!

I made it to my aisle only smashing into about 4 people on the way in, however, after the first break when people moved thier chairs, I COULD NOT GET BACK INTO THE ROOM !

I had to listen to Anthony Montgomery and SULU himself from outside the room (they of course closed the doors) so I tried to push my head against the wall so I could listen in. All I wound up hearing was Bob Piccardo singing something I couldnt make out.

HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE KUDOS to Suzie Plakson who remembered my wife and I from the previous year when she was autographing outside of Quarks during the Xmas break in Las Vegas.

Suzie sat and talked to me for over 45 minutes, let me listen to her CD player and gave me an 8×10 glossy photo after she saw the (insert expletive here) Creation pulled on me.

This was my very first trip into public in a wheelchair, I was so excited. I had not left my home in nearly 4 years except to go back into the hospital. I cried when we arrived at the convention I was so excited.

Creation Net was the first and ONLY place to ever make me feel handicapped and ruined the entire event for me. It took us 3 1/2 hours to drive to the convention and I could only stay for a little over 2 hours due to the restricted access.

I asked several people to help me move the chairs and I was told “We’ll see what we can do during the next break” and nothing happened. I could not get my wheelchair in between the rows to get to the center aisle. With the attendance only being 20% (MAX) of what the room could have held, I even asked if they could make a path down one side and I was willing to sit alone all the way in the back. They said “Sir, you have to sit in your designated seat”. This, as I said, was putting me in the middle of the room, alone, in between the columns of chairs. RIDICULOUS !

I write this here because every Trek fan that is handicapped I have met does not want to complain, they would rather be left out and lose $40.00 LIKE I DID on the pictures that they REFUSED to reimburse me for. NICE HUH?

I thought I should have gotten my $40 back for the photos (they claim no refunds !) and at least some portion of the tickets I could not use to see the speakers.

But hey, at least they send me weekly email alerts for more conventions that they will take my money for and leave me out in the hallway all alone again…..

Im sorry to be rough here guys but I have held this in for over a year now and FINALLY I find a spot (maybe not the right spot) to write what its like for those of us that are handicapped.

My advice, stay away from Creation Net !

45. ~~TARA~~ - June 23, 2008

I’m going to my first convention this year and I’m going to Shore Leave. It’s the closest covention to me as I live in VA. Has anyone else here gone to Shore Leave. I’m excited that I’m actually able to go this year. If anyone has some stories to tell I want to hear what I should expect. Just shoot me an email: tara0909@netzero.net

46. Closettrekker - June 23, 2008

#2, #6, #11, #38—Not a current resident (I live in Houston, Tx), but I was born in Houma and my wife is from Thibodaux. We both still have family there and visit quite often.

I’ve never been to a convention, but I’d like to do so at least once. It sounds like Vegas might be the way to go. Any other suggestions?

47. Bill - June 23, 2008

I danced a little dance when Slanted Fedora folded and brought legal action. I had some wonderful times at Slanted Fedora shows, but never because of the people who ran it. They were arrogant money lovers who were very bad to the people attending their cons.

I never had any personal bad issues with them beyond simple rudeness – which I can deal with. But I was witness to several bad exchanges. Yes, Trek fans can be assholes to. But that wasn’t the case here.

I will say that Creation Cons are run well, and despite their little hiccups are handled gracefully. But they’ve kind of lost their soul and become a series of lines and tickets to buy things. I miss the Creation of old which was just a little more laid back and a chance to enjoy Trek. That’s nothing against Creation or it’s people now, just a personal preference.

48. Psytce - June 23, 2008

The last ones I attended were the NYC ones from 1973-78. Fed”CON” USA was going to be the first one since then, but now it looks like I will be waiting a little longer to go to one of these events.

I’m thinking of going to the one in Plano, TX in Oct. This one has been going on for a few years and it looks pretty good …..

49. Ryan T. Riddle - June 23, 2008

I used to go to conventions in my teen years; at first, they were fun with lots of interesting presentations and nifty things in the dealer’s room but eventually they became a bit too commercial, especially Creation. It seemed that the fans were forgotten in order to make a buck.

SDCC, however, is still fun to attend even though it’s getting more and more packed with bodies.

50. ksmsscu - June 23, 2008

Long-time lurker, first time poster.
My college friends and I were at the first Con in New York City in January 1972. They expected 500, and 5000 of us showed up! The fire marshals kept threatening to close the place down but I think they were rather frightened of what we might do. I have a treasured photo with Gene Roddenberry and Isaac Asimov among my many wonderful memories of that weekend. The next year, I had the pleasure of meeting two fine gentlemen, Jimmy Doohan and George Takei. I’ve attended a number of the excellent Denver conventions with my son and daughter since then. If you’ve never been to one, give yourself a reward as we await Trek’s latest incarnation of the human adventure.

51. TeleViixen - June 23, 2008

If you’re interested we at DVD Geeks did a “Star Trek After Dark” video from the 2007 Las Vegas Creation Con. It’s more focused on what happens at Quark’s after the convention closes instead of the con itself. Enjoy!

52. TeleVixen - June 23, 2008

Here’s the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smkkkh-6xIA

53. Chuck Soileau - June 23, 2008

# 46

If you want all Trek , then Vegas is the place to be.
If you want a mixed lot , then Grand Slam in Los Angeles.
If you want crazy fun , then Dragon Con in Atlanta, Ga.
Or if you want the biggest con in the USA , then San Diego Comic Con will do the trick …
I hope you find one that you like. They are all really great conventions. Also I’ve been to Houma several times for soccer tournaments. I love it down there. I’m from Opelousas, La.

54. Chuck Soileau - June 23, 2008

# 41 Larry Nemecek

Hey Larry ,

I know you have been asked this a thousand times, but I’ve never heard the answer, nor have I ever had a chance to ask you. Will we ever get the Star Trek Fan Club Magazine Back ? It was an incredible magazine. And it is missed by a lot of people. Thank you.

55. M-5 - June 23, 2008

Wow. I love some of these responses.

In regard to #29 – Denise de Arman:

Hey, if your pleasure is to buy the picture and hold on to it, or you have a collection going, great. I’m just saying that a lot of these so-called fans go to the cons with a business-like approach to buy the expensive autographed picture and sell it on e-Bay for a profit. I learned about this from some fans that attended the Vegas con last year.

I believe that Bill – #47 said it best:

“I will say that Creation Cons are run well, and despite their little hiccups are handled gracefully. But they’ve kind of lost their soul and become a series of lines and tickets to buy things. I miss the Creation of old which was just a little more laid back and a chance to enjoy Trek. That’s nothing against Creation or it’s people now, just a personal preference.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself, especially the part about the loss of the soul.

I think that Creation sees this – the business side from among the fans that has developed, especially with advent of the internet and sites like e-Bay, that they as a company have become blinded and do not care if the real fans have a good time. As a case a point, the posting by # 44 – JJwerecountingonyou buddy.

Your points buddy were well stated. It’s an absolute disgrace that the people at Creation did not make better accomodations and once again demonstrates where their priorities are. As long as they have that money in hand, they don’t care about anything else.

Perhaps I’m overdramatizing things a bit, but I’m just a passionate fan who wants to see these conventions return to being fun and something worth attending, especially for the younger fans, many of whom might be experiencing Trek for the first time when the new movie comes out next year.

How can you add more fun to these things? Easy.

For one, when you stand up there and solicit feedback from fans on how to make things better next year, and I’m talking here about the emcee’s at the Creation con’s, be truthful and actually listen to what the fans have to say.

If they have microphones set up on each side of the room for fans to go up and ask the stars questions, why not schedule a forum during the convention where fans can go up and offer their suggestions for improvement. How about a survey included with your registration package.

A fan mentioned earlier, I believe it was #26. DuneCee, about the comedy routines as part of the costume contest. Something like that at the Creation conventions would be awesome. Other ideas:

> Interactive contests – encourage fans to build models of their favorite ships for instance, and have it compete for a prize at the con. Fans at the con would vote on best model. You could do the same thing with other categories including best fan created film.

Creation could also do a year long contest where fans could vote in such categories as top five moments in Star Trek; top five comedy moments; etc. and reveal the winners in video form at the con.

Creation could also host some type of game for the audience that doesn’t involve an extra fee. Perhaps they could do a game-show type event on stage.

There are a lot of things that they could do to make the overall experience more fun for audience instead of just focusing on the money.

56. Captain Robert April - June 23, 2008

Creation could also not charge so gorram much.

Went to one Creation con in LA in ’88, and all they really had was guests on stage (Susan Sackett, Denise Crosby, and Patrick Stewart are the ones I remember) and a huge dealers room, with a teeny tiny art exhibit waaaaaaaaaaay over on one side of said dealers room. That was it. No panels, no activities. It was fun as far as it went (even got my picture taken by another attendee; I looked gooood in that Captain Kirk uniform back then) and it was nifty to get an autographed pic from Majel Barrett (she wasn’t on the list, she just showed up at the Lincoln Enterprises table and started signing; word spread quickly) but things got a tad boring after a while, even with a dealers room that freakin’ huge.

And saddest of all? It cost me, even twenty years ago, as much for one day at that Creation con, as an entire weekend at Starfest Denver will run me today.

Something’s wrong with that equation.

57. Justin Toney - June 23, 2008

Friends, we have a myspace (more for the contact and friends) but its located at http://www.myspace.com/startreklouisiana

We are still in the initial planning stages but we hope to have a great fan produced event. This is for folks in Louisiana and anyone else interested in a good quality event.

58. Denise de Arman - June 23, 2008

jjwere#44- I am astounded and angered by the awful experience you had at the con you attended. In this day and age there is no excuse for that type of behavior. If I were you I would flood the Creationent website with this information. I am sure the owner and organizers of the company have no idea that this is going on. My heart goes out to you.

59. SD - June 24, 2008

I’ve been both to FedCon Germany and Shoreleave in Baltimore, and enjoyed them a lot. Highly recommended.

60. JJwerecountingonyoubuddy - June 24, 2008

#58 – Denise, After 2 letters, around 6 phone calls, then 2 certified letters the last one about a year ago all going unanswered, I just don’t think they could care less. After all this time once I saw this thread I thought this was a good shot to explain my experience and maybe let other people that cant walk or are handicapped know that regardless of what Creation Ent says or tells you on the phone/email about your “arrangements”, its bogus and you should be prepared to get ripped off.

The bottom line, I think, is that the person you deal with on the phone to make the arrangements and buy the tickets from is thousands of miles away on their day off once you enter the convention.

I’m not complaining about the distance I had to park from the hotel, I’m not complaining about how hard it was to get into the hotel, I’m not complaining that the ticket counter was higher than my head and I had to yell for somebody to look over the table edge to give me my tickets, all I’m saying is once I got my tickets and entered the “convention” portion of the hotel, it was a living nightmare. The other issues I mentioned, are to be expected and I plan on those things.

I recall when I asked for help, I was treated like I was mentally handicapped, not physically. I know, I know, you might think, “Well how was be behaving?” and I can assure you, I know how to handle myself and simply asked for a way to get into the room, I even offered to crawl on the floor and move the chairs myself and I was refused.

Most handicapped people will tell you that they have bad experiences on a daily basis dealing with the public. For some naive reason, I thought the convention would have been better than average, not the worst day humanly possible. If it wasn’t for Suzie Plakson I cannot imagine how much worse my experience would have been.

They may have gotten my money, but not my voice…..

Thanks for listening and hopefully Creation Ent at some point gets their act together, for ALL of us….

Thanks !

61. Denise de Arman - June 24, 2008

jjwere#60- I am so sorry to hear this. There is just no excuse for that, none. Do you think you might decide to try another convention with a different promotor? It is so sad to think of you never going again because of that one awful experience with those Orcs.

62. JERRY - June 24, 2008

To DuneCee: the very first convention I attended was a Michigan BABELCON (Diane Carey was a guest) and it was pure heaven. Of course, back then, I had nothing else to compare it, too, but I have fond memories of it. I was there by myself and I remember everyone being friendly.

63. 1000thghost - June 25, 2008

The Denver Con’s use to be a lot of fun now they are AWFUL!!!! They charge for every little thing and rip off more then thier fare share, but we have no choice.

64. John Gill - June 26, 2008

#53 Chuck Soileau;

You’re in OPELOUSAS?!!!!!!!! I am in Eunice!!!! We are just a couple of miles from each other, LOL! I do the news reports daily on KEUN 105.5 FM and 1490 AM here as “Rick Nesbitt”.

65. Jim Nightshade - June 28, 2008

jjwere#60, I am sorry you had such a bad experience. The only Star Trek Con Ive been to was the Vegas Creation a couple years ago for the 40th anniversary…I loved most of it but did cost me over $2000 and I did not even get any autographs. Sooo couldnt afford to do that again but it was great…My gal is mildly hanicapped and we were accomodated for the photo ops and also allowed to be in the front of the line for the champage toast etc…when we did have difficulties I just saw adam or gary, mostly gary. they really went out of their way for us. However My gal is not wheelchair bound just cannot stand for long periods….Of course I love star trek the experience and attending the party with the fans was great….I keep hoping it will not close and hope that Paramount buys it back and deals with the vegas hilton….But in your case as they stuck you off to the side it would be hard for you to go get gary or adam and ask for their help. They should have accomadated you and that was totally wrong and unfair to treat you like that. I hope they have improved with those requiring wheelchairs since then….and I really dont blame you at all for being very upset and mad at them. I would be too…

66. Sena - June 30, 2008

Have been to Dragon Con. Swore I would never go there again. My daughter and I waited over 2 hours for passes, just for the vendors and to see what it was like. As we made our way to the vendors with newly printed passes at 5:00 we, and a crowd of others with the same intention, learned that the vendors were closing. Could we have been told this at 4:50 when the credit card was sweetly taken or when the passes were printed by a very tired, surly convention volunteer. Yes, I wanted to pay for an 11 year old’s 1 day pass for the after hours parties. :P

67. JimE - June 30, 2008

Here I was just Googling the net and I stumble across my name here of all places.

Wow. It’s not often I see someone wax poetic about the old Babel Cons. Thanks for the praise DuneCee (26). I think you failed to mention Roger Sorensen in that honors list. I think that covers all the old convetion con-chairs. Mention should also go to a number of lovely ladies (Cathy Van Lopk, Julie Hondrid, Val Levering, Bert and Betty Stout, Laurel Mulendyke) ((please forgive any misspellings) who kept the wheels going at art shows and registration and a lot of other grunt work.

Those conventions were great times. It’s too bad they imploded. It helped the the Babel Cons had the resources of STCOGR (The Star Trek Club of Grand Rapids) to draw upon for the labor, that we were all younger, and commitment free.

As I recall, coming up with the ideas for the Saturday night skits was almost as much fun as the skits themselves. I seem to recall a lot of time sitting in local restaurants with legal pads, beer, soda, free popcorn, chicken tenders, and beer.

One to the things DuneCee didn’t mention was that, unlike most conventions, Babel Con was able to pull-off ten years of good cons without the one thing that seems to be a convention ‘must have’. Babel Con’s never to my memory had a big name guest.

The Babel Con’s had fan known guests like filker “Julia Eckar” or guest of interest like 1930’s Buck Roger’s comic strip artist Rick Yager. (I remember he had a good tale about drawing Buck Roger’s got him into trouble with the FBI.) The con just concentrated on having fun things to do, like midnight film showing of Jaws in the hotel pool (Garvin Czetli honor mention), group convention outings to the movies, dances, and all night filking.

I’ve been out to a real convention in a while. Marcon’s in Ohio is a lot of fun. I have friends that really love DragonCon.

68. JimE - July 1, 2008

Typing too fast
…It helped THAT the Babel Cons had the resources of STCOGR
…I’ve NOT been out to a real convention in a while. Marcon’s in Ohio is a lot of fun. I have friends that really love DragonCon.

69. Jorg Sacul - February 24, 2009

Vulkon can be added to the list of Epic Fail conventions. They have gone the way of Slander, er Slanted Fedora and JumpCon. Attorney General action is on the horizon.

70. What Does T. Harv Eker Think He Knows? | Cool News on Butterfly Marketing - August 8, 2009

[…] Conventional Wisdom: Tips On Picking A Convention | TrekMovie.com […]

71. stompy - November 27, 2010

Ben Stevens runs a great series of shows here in Texas. They started as Toy Shows with no guests at all-admission was about $3 or so…

Then they started getting “The Men Behind the Masks” Star Wars tours and things took off for them.

Ben does Fan Days and Comic Shows mixed in with traditional science fiction conventions.

He had Shatner at the last show and it was awesome. The only downside is he usually only charges $10 for general admission day passes and those folks have to stand in long lines for everything. Speed passes and upscale tickets are the way to go if you attend his shows.

http://www.scifiexpo.com

72. Mike from Indy - July 14, 2011

I’ve always enjoyed the Slanted Fedora events. I especially liked it when Dave (the organizer) had a Q/A session at the end of every convention in hopes of making their convention better for next time. Do you ever see this with a Creation convention?

73. USS Hera CMO - September 22, 2011

as an insider looking out, Slanted Fedora had only one thing going for it 2001-2004: Jim Rennie. When the actor’s checks started bouncing, people like Armin Shimerman would call Jim at home and ask if HE could guarantee their getting paid. Jim often busted his butt making things happen, as in stage lighting and sound, security and star accomodations. He was my friend, and I started helping out at some shows. At a 2002 Philly con, I was able to utilize my “all-access” resource and obtained the most prized photo taken..standing in between Sid(Bashir) and Andy Robinson(Garak). also, to date, my autograph collection is larger than I would have thought possible..all thanks to Jim. Unfortunately, Jim Rennie passed away two years ago..so now all I have is my collection..both signatures and good memories.

74. RIC - April 16, 2012

TO JUSTIN TONEY…BALONEY. YOU ARE A LIAR ABOUT TREK-0-RAMA IN LAKE CHARLES. THEY ALWAYS PAID THEIR BILLS ESP IN LAKE CHARLES…EVERYONE INCLUDING THE HOTEL AND JOHN DE LANCIE. WERE PAID . THIS WAS BACK IN THE MID 90’S AND YOU TRY TO SLANDER OVER 10 YRS LATER? I SEE THAT YOU DIDNT MENTION DAVE SCOTT’S SLANT FEDORA WHO WAS CHARGED AND CONVICTED BY THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN KANSAS CITY . I CAN ONLY IMAGINE YOU ARE A SURROGATE OF HIS OR JUST A PISSED OFF LITTLE BOY, TREK-O-RAMA ALWAYS PAID THEIR BILS AND THEIR STARS. YOU CAN ASK ANYONE OF THEM..IE.. GEORGE TAKEI..JON DE LANCIE..MARINA SIRTIS..DENISE CROSBY..BILL SHATNER..WALTER KOENIG..ETHAN PHILIPPS..TERRY FARRELL. HOW DON I KNOW THIS..?.BECAUSE I WAS THE PROMOTER. AND IM PISSED THAT A LITTLE POS LIKE YOU TRIES TO SLANDER ME & TREK-0-RAMA 16 YRS LATER.

SINCERELY
RIC STARNES

TrekMovie.com is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.