Thursday, March 19, 2009

Evolution of the Convention

Evolution of the Convention
Part one

Remember watching old film footage of when people used to dress up to go to the movie theater or when the only time that you saw a man wearing an earring was when he was dressed as a pirate at a costume party, well things have certainly changed. The same can be said for Science Fiction conventions. The granddaddy or at least the most popular of the bigger conventions was Star Trek. For most of us it is the only time that we get to see our favorite sci fi actors up close and personal. Over the years these events have grown larger, grander and more expensive to produce.

The planes, limos, and hotels that many of the big celebrities that headline these events require can eat up a huge chunk of the con’s budget. The more successful conventions have moved to larger venues and have produced more elaborate shows. This sounds like a great deal for the fans but in recent years there has been trouble brewing in con land. Success breeds completion. There were at least 50 sci fi conventions scheduled in the US for 2008, I used the word scheduled because several were canceled due to lack of interest. In fact one was abruptly canceled during the second day because of poor attendance and yes the finger pointing has begun.

Some of the reasons given were over saturation, poor planning, the recession; and some organizers have even blamed the actors. I personally know of one case where a few actors never received tickets for their flights. If you have read any of my post then you know that I am not a big fan of finger pointing so instead I will offer what I believe is a practical (yet self serving) solution to what I see is the possible demise of science fiction conventions as we know them if things don’t change. In order to solve the problem of to many con’s and not enough con goers you must first look at the cost. As the competition to bring in bigger names and more actors heated up so has the cost……to the fans.

Its simple math - the higher the cost the less people will attend so once you fall below your break even point Boom! You’re done. So it all comes down to the fans.

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