Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ideas for New Worlds 6?

This post comes as a response to [Conventions] Do You Want A New Worlds 6?

A wonderful wallpaper of all eleven versions of the Doctor, found at

I think the paragraph that caught my attention was this:

While we gather enough people to make such an event possible, we should get the awareness ball rolling. Don't you want to have a convention for your geeky interests? Don't you want to be able to meet other people who enjoyed the original Star Trek series like you or perhaps who love the works of H.P. Lovecraft or Anne Rice? Don't you want to discuss how Lost ended with other Losties? Don't you want to be able to share a bottle of rum with a fellow Pirates of the Carribean lover? Don't you want to practice your spells with other Harry Potter fans?

[Um, please ignore the typo there or perhaps Captain Jack Sparrow will not mind that it is actually spelled "Caribbean".]

I have to admit that I have a fairly jaded view of some of the conventions held here in the Philippines because of two diametrically opposite reasons/problems/what-have-you:

1. Too exclusive.
2. Not exclusive enough.

Why are local cons too exclusive? Well, probably because of the accidents of sponsorship and the desires of the organizers: they might want to hold a comics convention that is open to everyone, but the sponsors might insist on exclusivity for their brand. And since the cons live and die on the sponsorships, the cons have some complying to do.

Why are local cons not exclusive enough? How would you feel if you said you were organizing a con for Western comics - and then a majority of the people in costume showed up as characters from everywhere else *except* Western comics? Note that there is no fault in this sort of set-up - but it does take away from the intentions of the con.

I think the problem is a lack of acknowledgment of fandom for what it really is: more than a marketing gimmick, more than an excuse to dress up, more than a motley assortment of people sharing interests that range from mildly exotic to I-have-no-idea-what-that-is strange.

Fandom is really just the same thing whether you're a Vilmanian/Sharonian/Noranian [this shows my age rather badly, doesn't it?], or an ardent follower of LOST/Harry Potter/Batman/Star Trek/Star Wars/Doctor Who, or a big fan of Take That/U2/Amanda Palmer, or even a massive mecha-head building Gundams and Gundam costumes.

Fandom is one: the collective energy of different types and groups of people who come together for the love of whatever it is they're fans of.

It's so simple and yet it's so complicated. And I really can't blame anyone who tried to organize a con to cater to all of these interests.

Being a member of at least one "obscure" fandom myself [read: I have only met a bare handful of fellow Filipinos in the Takarazuka Kagekidan fandom, and only one or two in the flesh!], I can appreciate how some fandoms will always be too small to be represented.

And being a member of a rapidly-growing fandom [hello, Inception!], I can also appreciate how some fandoms can quickly build to critical mass and hold there against all odds.

I love being a fan but analyzing it really takes the energy out of me. Gawd, where to even begin?

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