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June 30 2006

Are Buffy conventions coming to an end? Sarah Thompson and Brian Thompson cancel their appearances at the Tampa Vulkon Slayercon due to low attendance.

While it's too bad that the turnout for the Tampa Vulkon event is low, I doubt this means Buffy/Angel cons are a thing of the past. It's just that things are cyclical now. I would think that there could be a new surge of interest soon since next year is the 10th anniversayr of Buffy on TV. Also, consider the major actors (Nick, Aly, Tony Head, James Marsters, SMG, David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter) could be busy with other projects. If and when the timing is right, Buffy and Angel cons can be as strong as ever.
I really don't think this means anything to the larger question of Buffy/Angel/Firefly cons in general. I would liken it to water consumption in a town being lower than normal for a day and then declaring that water consumption is coming to an end. I think that drawing any conclusions from it without trending data is fairly silly.
Stats wise, turn out is going down year on year as the interest on the shows is going down year on year (check out Google Trends). It's to be expected - the shows have been off the air for 3 years or so.

That said, expect some of the actors to still make conventions -- see also, Star Trek, Babylon 5, the original Battlestar etc.

Starfury in the UK have finished their dedicated UK run of Buffy/Angel conventions now, I believe, but some of the actors will still do Collectormania, Memobrilla etc.
Are they related?
I think with the vast number of the actors, writers and directors involved on all three shows plus Serenity who have been willing to participate in conventions and such thus far that there is a high chance that many of them would like to continue to do so in the future.

I agree that whilst there is still a loyal following for the show it is inevitable that the fanbase will diminish somewhat, whilst other people will just begin to have other priorities which is understandable. However I do think there should always be enough of a fanbase (because there will also be new converts) to sustain at least a few big conventions, or to see Jossverse related people at non-dedicated conventions.

I mean people may not be willing to pay a substantial sum just to see Random Girl Victim #5 and Angry Vampire #12, but they would probably still be willing to see some of the main cast members and recurring characters or writers at a dedicated Buffy/Angel event or at something completely varied like ComicCon.

And of course whilst most of the actors will (and indeed have) moved onto other projects so are less likely to do conventions right now at least, for example if SMG's career really takes off and she's the next Nicole Kidman, and I can't see her ever doing any conventions again, not to mention that her appearances have been quite rare thus far (which I am not passing any judgement on at all, just as observation). But Joss is always working on great projects and is keen to interact with his fans so I'm sure he would be a welcomed guest anywhere.
I would really like to see Brian Thompson but Sarah Thompson? Not so much.
I will always want to see Tony Head and since I have met too few of the other Buffy/Angel cast, any of the other central people. But I won't spend all my vacations doing that, as I know some have.Unless I knew Joss would be there. Then all bets are off.
There will always been conventions, and there will always be fans who want them and host them and organize them. But actors have to pay bills too and some of them might be giving up days on a shoot somewhere to attend a convention. I think that sometimes fans love a tv show more than the actors do, especially 3 years later. In the case of Firefly, I really do think the actors love the show just as much as the fans do, which is why there was so much more involvement with fans in Firefly than there was in Buffy -- that and Buffy had solid ratings while Firefly was never allowed to have ratings at all.
I might be the minority that's majorly bummed out here. The only reason I was going to Tampa-Con was to see Sarah. Camden is great and all but I'm sure everyone's met him at least four times or more.

I guess I don't have to drive 4 hours one way to get an autograph only to dive back that same day.

Maybe someone'll love us and add her to BE Scared...
Interest in the people who go to a lot of cons would obviously go down because... well... they go to a lot of cons. So people who wanted to meet them already have. I wouldn't go to a con specifically to meet either Brian or Sarah because to me, they weren't a significant enough part of the shows. Others may disagree and that's fine. If there was to be an anniversary convention with any three of the main cast of Buffy and/or Angel plus other supporting people, the turnout would be as high as ever.
You can only see the same actors so many times. Unless Sarah or David become guests at a Buffy con, then the Buffyverse con will go the way of the dodo.
Personally I would attend another Buffy Convention, but not one run by the Vulkon promoters; it is possible that the lack of attendance might have to do with people like me who have been to one of their conventions before. Besides, Amy Acker is their headliner and she was never on Buffy, neither was Vincent Kartheiser, so maybe they should have promoted this as an Angel convention. I am just saying that I wouldn't assume that the fandom is as at end on the basis of the ticket sales in Tampa.
It's pretty basic supply and demand. Instead of having a million smaller events we'll have a handful or larger ones. They'll never go away all together.
What really is disheartening about the Vulkon show is that they have great prices compared to other Buffy cons I have attended. So I can say I was very shocked at the low turnout.

I am reminded of The XFiles a bit. That fandom has seemed to completely die out, I don't think I've seen an XFiles convention in ages.

The problem as I see it is even though some of us think Buffy cons may gain strength again, no promoter is going to put on another one after having lost his shirt. I'd just like to get the word out to fans that if you want these to continue you have to support them. I've always enjoyed Vulkon and never had any issues with how it was run. I'm sorry to see them out of the Buffy con buisness after this.
Well, X-Files (imo) jumped the shark after season 7. Plus, it wasn't quite as common back then (at least imo) for there to be an avid fan base for conventions.
You can only see the same actors so many times. Unless Sarah or David become guests at a Buffy con, then the Buffyverse con will go the way of the dodo.

I agree. I mean, I loved meeting ASH, James, Alexis, etc, but how many times can you go up to the same person and say "I love your work" and get an autograph? Unless you're an avid Ebayer...how many autos do you need anyway?! And the Q&A's tend to be repetitive. I'd rather spend that time and money having a new experience.

My one rare exception might be Joss, but I still might not line up for an auto. I'll go to his Q&A's every time, because he's got such a wide array of things to talk about, and he's always so entertaining and engaging, and well...he's Joss. So I get that some people have that with James or NB or what have you.

And also, I guess over the past few years, it all feels so awkward to me, meeting an actor and doing all the convention things that go along with it. I mean, I look at my pictures with me and hubby with James, Alexis, ASH, CK and just go... "Huh...they're being paid to stand their and put their arm around me like I'm a friend." I guess the older I get, the less I want to pay to be in a famous person's space, because it all kinda feels pretty fake in retrospect. At the time though...I was all over it, so I'm definitely not dissing anyone who still loves conventions. But they've lost their charm for me, and actually tarnished a bit. And I felt a bit like cattle at the very few I went to. Or rather, a cow amongst other cows. Cuz I am singular and cannot be cattle.

Of course, throw a BSG con my way, and I may prove myself a hypocrite! You can only resist Gaius Baltar for so long...but I'll pass on the piccie this time :~P
I don't see Whedonverse conventions coming to an end as such but I do think that the future lies in events with a certain added * something*. be that the location , a special piece of programming ( ie JM's Words And Music event or the premiere of a film ) the lure of a smaller, more intimate event or conventions which cross fandoms but do so in a linked fashion Firefly/ Angel/ Veronica Mars anybody?.

Also I suppose that Whedonverse actors will increasingly appear at the huge multi fandom events, which is a shame because frankly the events which are mostly about buying autographs ( mentioning no names, Collectormania) aren't really my sort of thing.

And ticket prices need to be reasonable ... the days of the $1000+ VIP ticket have to be numbered if not already over and frankly did the market no favours in the first place.

I'm more likely to attend an event if it has a reasonably priced all inclusive ticket so that you are clear from the outset what the cost will be . It's also good to have options for cheaper tickets ( day passes or tickets that don't include autographs but get you into Q and A's and the dealer room for example )

And I'm not going to slap down my money without at least one genuine headliner announced well in advance ( and not cancelled at the last minute) the third vampire on the left or the girl who Spike bit in Sleeper may be lovely people but they aren't going to persuade me to travel.

I also like cons which have writers and backstage people as guests because , for me, they are often as interesting and entertaining as the stars .


Plus of course organisers have to treat the paying guests well . If you treat attendees like cattle , don't provide information, deviate wildly from the schedule without explaining what's going on and generally act as if the customers are an inconvenience to be herded through as quickly as possible don't be surprised when your ticket sales for the next event drop like a stone.


The future is probably less conventions but better ones.
...but how many times can you go up to the same person and say "I love your work" and get an autograph? Unless you're an avid Ebayer...how many autos do you need anyway?! And the Q&A's tend to be repetitive. I'd rather spend that time and money having a new experience.


Aah, you've obviously not met some of the EXTREMELY loyal James fans! :)

[ edited by Grace on 2006-07-01 15:24 ]
As someone who has never been to a BuffyCon, I'd go to a smaller one if it was in my area, but honestly I would rather go the whole nine yards and one go at one of the larger Cons in California. The smaller ones seem kinda awalkward.

...but how many times can you go up to the same person and say "I love your work" and get an autograph?...I'd rather spend that time and money having a new experience



Conventions are way more fun if you go there to get to know other fans, the autographs and stuff, are easy enough to get in the dealer room, the actors know you love them just because you showed up, and there is nothing better than meeting new people and knowing immediately, there just as much a geek as you are, if not more so.

"We can't die, Bendis. You know why? Because we are so...very...pretty"
In a word, no. Not really anyway, if your talking about a show focused con over a the verse as a whole focused ones than I change that answer to yes. Show only based cons can only last for the most part for 18-24 months outside the cancellation of the show. It’s the out of site, out of mind principle, once a show is off the air after a time it is kinda pushed to the back of the radar, what can I say TV shows are watched by a society filled with ADD sufferers. However, if you are in fact referring to Whedonverse based events in general, and then you’re in luck as they will continue. Granted on a much smaller scale as far as numbers of them, so much the better for the fans. Booster Events is doing a Whedon only con next June in Louisville, KY.

The biggest reason I go to events, is to take photos to share them with those who cannot make it but also to hopefully encourage people to go to these events as well.

I think more then anything it has been the recent cancellations of guest and conventions in general that have hurt the convention community more than anything else. Conventions are a luxury, not a necessity so people are not as quick to put the money out for an event, especially if they have to make long distant travel plans to get there only to have the event or guest cancellations within the few weeks leading up to an event. This has happen to many in the past year or two. All events have had to cancel or reschedule shows based on low-ticket sales. Vulkon has canceled a Slayer show in Houston in 2004 and then rescheduled the show in Jan 2005 from Feb 2005 to April 2005 with a new line-up in 2005 based on ticket sales. Not to mention a few other shows that they have had to change line-ups for. Booster even had to reschedule a show this year because of lower than expected ticket sales, from May to August however they have managed to keep the same line-up and even add more guest to the Aug. event. Wizard World canceled the Boston event this year based on it’s lower than expected turnout in 2004, same with Creations canceling of verse related events in particular in 2005 (now the verse is represented at one Creation event a year, the Sci-fi Grand Slam). Also, with a recent events, like Moonlight Rising, with the last minute cancellation of a main headliner as well as others. People are bit trepidations with funds and will wait until the last minute or wait until the event is over to see people’s reaction and reports.

I have been going to events for 20 years now and in that time I have been to approx 200 events some Whedonverse only, others not. Events are cylical in nature they come and go and those who survive learn how to adapt and try to offer what the markets call for. Right now the strongest part of the verse lies with Firefly/Serenity as evident by the Flanvention 2, which has only a little over a 100 tickets left and still 5 months out and in the UK with the 2 Serenity events Starfury has planned this year.

If you want more information into the state of events over the past few years, you can find some information @ Con-dom-wank, granted since anyone can post to this site anonomously take some of the stuff with a grain of salt. Having read and posted there I can say most of what is there has a grain of truth to it, but you can make up your own mind about it.

Well I could go into more detail on a lot of things and maybe one day I will, but for now I think that is enough of my two cents. I don’t want to bore you guys anymore with the reasons why I think people should give these events a chance and at least goto one. I will still promote those events I feel still have value to the fandom.
Conventions are way more fun if you go there to get to know other fans,

Which is probably why they're not that fun to me, because if I want, I can meet other fans online for free! And I can't afford to shell out the kinds of money most cons cost just on the chance of meeting new people that I may or may not like. But I know the actors will generally be nice, because they're being paid to do so! (Of course, I've found that's not always foolproof either...) And also, I'm just not big on socializing. Just how I am.

Aah, you've obviously not met some of the EXTREMELY loyal James fans! :)

Oh, but I have. And as much as I love Joss, I don't think I could go see him if his events were so repetitive. Then again, I don't think I'd pay lots of money to go see Joss at anything but Comic-Con. But we already to Comic-Con every year, so it's kind of like he's a free gift with purchase! (Um, hoping he's going this year...) But again, all folks are different, and it just happens to be one aspect of fandom(going to see the same people multiple times at similar events) that I don't particularly feel. For me, the specialness of meeting that person for the first time would kind of diminish if I met them a lot after. And I don't want to diminish the experiences I've had for anything. (Also why I never understood people who follow a band around or my friends who go see Madonna in concert twice in one week!)
But Rogue Slayer, you are in a very enviable position. You live in an area where you can meet these people without a lot of trouble.Most of us will never see Alexis Denisof.
Most of us still dream of a time when we might see Joss in person.
Are the actors paid to be nice? Absolutely. But no one can tell me that ASH doesn't enjoy his con appearances. Or that JM doesn't work exremely hard to make his events worth the money charged.

Yes, I've met a few Whedonverse actors whom I don't need to meet again but there are others I would love to see at another con.
For me, I think it is that they were a part of something very special and by meeting them, however genuine or not they are, a little of that rubs off on me. And occassionally I learn something new from them.
But Rogue Slayer, you are in a very enviable position. You live in an area where you can meet these people without a lot of trouble.Most of us will never see Alexis Denisof.


Oh, I realize how lucky I am to live in LA, cuz I used to live in Missouri...where nothing happens! But even I had to drive 15 hrs(roundtrip) and stay in a hotel to see ASH and Alexis for the first time! I'm actually amazed at how many of the really cool events AREN'T held in LA! And I'm thinking 'Spike n Angel' in the UK. I know, they think that it's nice to give the peeps overseas a treat, because they rarely get stuff like that, but James and David at a con together...Has that EVER happened before??? Not saying UK folk are less deserving...but do people think we just trip over actors in the street in LA, and we wouldn't be interested to see James and David together? I mean, just because I could see Camden Toy 10 times a year easily(and I'm sure he's a fine fellow, though even with the opportunities I've never met him), it's not really the same as seeing James and David together. So while it may seem pretty sweet here in LA sometimes, I often get jealous of other places that get the 'once in a lifetime' stuff.

Are the actors paid to be nice? Absolutely. But no one can tell me that ASH doesn't enjoy his con appearances. Or that JM doesn't work exremely hard to make his events worth the money charged.

Oh, I do think they enjoy them, to a certain extent. And I don't think for one minute that it's not hard work...you couldn't pay me enough to let hundreds of strangers hug me like we were pals and try to treat each one like they're the center of the world for 30 seconds, and seem sincere the whole time. And I do believe some actors are just genuinely nice. But even if they're not, they should at least feel obligated to play nice!
I do not attend too many cons, most are too far away and would be prohibitively expensive for me to attend between,the cost of the con, the travel and the hotel.

I have attended one con each year (Moonlight Rising) because it has been convienent for me as it is held in the NYC area. Each year I get angry, due to changes in the scheduling and the last minute cancellation of guest, but ultimately each year I have a fantastic time and plan to attend the next year. Yes, meeting other fans is fun, but the guests always make the experience, and as long as MR can get one "big name" guest that they haven't had before the con will be worth attending for me. This past MR they had Nathan Fillion and he was worth the weekend and ticket price! Adam Baldwin cancelled within a month of the event, I was bummed about that but seeing Nathan was great fun (and Johnathon Woodward too). I know they are paid to be there but they had fun too. Everyone had fun, and isn't fun is one of the reasons why we all work hard - so we can afford to enjoy ourselves. The convention for me is a hugh deviation in my normal life, which makes it very special and dear to me.

Are Buffy cons going away? I think as long as the actors want to do them, the fans will come, but the actors have to be major characters to draw the fans in. Sarah Thompson and Brian Thompson were not major characters in any of the shows. They would be nice to meet at a con (as I 've never met them) but having them alone on the bill is not enough to make me pay the expenses involved with attending a con.

One special quality about Buffy is the cons can become Whedon show con and include Angel and Firefly(including of course Serenity)increasing the interest and scope of the convention. These are quality shows and I believe they have the staying power to sustain conventions for many more years than the average show. They can do what Star Trek did because these shows will age gracefully and stand up to the test of time.

(edited due to my bad typing!)

[ edited by Passion on 2006-07-02 13:08 ]
I think it all comes down to who the guest of honors are. I'd much rather see SMG, DB, ASH, AH and NB appear. There are more I'd pay to see but when they start only showcasing secondary characters, I think it stands to reason that sales will go down.

If they were able to sign any of the big names in the Universe, I think sales would climb quite a lot. A Joss appearance wouldn't hurt either.
No one has mentioned that JM's Queen Mary con seems to be doing well by promising a dialogue with behind-the-scenes people. If I had the where-with-all to go to a con, I'd be very interested to talk with writers particularly. I'm not very well up on cons, but weren't there some that got a bad rep on how well they treated people? I'm tempted to go to one, but the thought of long lines and the claustrophic experience of a lot of people in a small space and getting lost in an unfamiliar place is very, very daunting. So how a con is run would be a very important point. Also, reading con reports, it sounds as though behind the scens parties are a big part of things. I'm not a big drinker and I would hope that the scheduled events could be central. This from a Jossverse con virgin. Actually, I went to science fiction cons a long while back, and I imagine some things remain the same in any con experience, i.e., I met some very interesting people.
Are Buffy cons going away? I think as long as the actors want to do them, the fans will come, but the actors have to be major characters to draw the fans in. Sarah Thompson and Brian Thompson were not major characters in any of the shows. They would be nice to meet at a con (as I 've never met them) but having them alone on the bill is not enough to make me pay the expenses involved with attending a con.


Just to be clear here, they weren't the only actors on the bill. The headliners are Amy Acker and Vincent Kartheiser.
As usual I didn't read the original link and only read the postings here, my bad. I can't post at all at work, so I have to "catch up quick" and get my Whedonesque fix on the weekends. But still...

If I lived within a few hours I would attend to see Amy and Vincent but to justify airfare and hotel the con would need more headliners.

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