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November 21 2006

Nathan Fillion queries appearance at Flanvention 2. His blog entry was an appeal to Booster Events for them to get in touch with him. One of the Booster Events co-ordinators seems to have sorted things out and Nathan's blog entry on MySpace has now been removed.

Looks like it's in the process of being resolved. Read this on the Booster boards:

"Hey guys... as you all know, I haven't been around for awhile. Nathan's folks said, way back in January, that he would attend. They had some questions for me and probably some last minute stuff... I didn't check my emails and so they were concerned. I called Nathan's manager, left a message and will talk to him first thing in the am. Don't worry kids, it's shiny."
This is, uh, odd. Should make for some interesting storytelling in Burbank in a couple of weeks.
It is shameful that Nathan has to post a plea like that. Really embarrassing.
I'm getting flashbacks of Joss and Dragon*Con.
Nathan just withdrew the request from his website. (Either that or my browser just went mental.) I give him credit for taking the complaint down once the situation was handled. Damn, that guy's polite *coughcanadiancough*! ;-)

ETA: Er, mods, now that the link is dead because the blog has been deleted, should the same thing happen here? I'm just sayin'.

[ edited by billz on 2006-11-22 10:18 ]
I have to admit, it's the first time I've seen an actor basically saying 'Pllllllllz let me come to the convention'.
I'll sort something out. I'd rather the thread stayed up so people would no it's sorted.
Quick question - is it really very fair to post his private blog posts up on here. The Jason Bateman one was set to friends only, so there might have been a reason why he didn't want it splashed about.

Just saying.
I'd rather the thread stayed up so people would know it's sorted.

That is a good point, Simon. :-)

Quick question - is it really very fair to post his private blog posts up on here.

He has, like, 4500 random online people as his 'friends' on MySpace, and it was a broadcast plea for help, so in my book yeah.
A couple of people have raised this issue before, if Nathan's blog entries are public then I have no problem with them being posted here. If his blog entries are set to private then I would rather it wasn't posted here.

And I've reworded the headline etc for this thread so hopefully that's it all settled. Though obviously I'll keep an eye on this thread to see if there are any further developments.
The deja'vu is strong with this one.
All MySpace blogs are visible to "Friends Only". It is how MySpace gets you to join. All you have to do to see Nathan's blogs on MySpace is to get a free account and ask to "friend" him and he will (he is friending everyone who asks). It is only that we are exploiting by posting something for people to read without joining so read away *grin*

[ edited by Kessa on 2006-11-22 18:54 ]
Ah -- the eternally unnerving scent of a professional event organizer saying that "personal issues" made him or her too flaky to do the job that hundreds of people paid him or her thousands of dollars to do.

In such situations, I'm told that real professionals delegate to get the job done anyway -- and don't adopt an improperly informal tone online ("Hey guys!") and resort to cheap sympathy pleas when discussing their failure with the very hundreds of people who paid him or her thousands of dollars to do said job.

Monumentally embarrassing. Didn't one or two other BDHs drop out of this event? One begins to wonder why. (And has anyone else noticed how that wonderful, genial Browncoat goodwill tends to get taken advantage of now and then?)

[ edited by HudsonVC on 2006-11-22 20:21 ]
As far as I know only Alan Tudyk dropped out (and that was for a great movie role). Nathan took down the plea/post at his MySpace, presumably because the situation has been rectified. But I will agree that it is unprofessional for the organizer to say "[Nathan's] management was edgy because they couldn't reach me." when it was clearly her job to be available this close to the event, and personal problems are not an excuse (there is an implication that they were at fault for being 'edgy').

I am naturally hoping that this will be a wonderful event, similar to last year's Flanvention.
All MySpace blogs are visible to "Friends Only".

All MySpace blogs (and pics) are visible to MySpace members only. The blogger can further restrict it to just friends, as Nathan has done with his later blogs. His first one was not "friends only".

ETA: Ok, it must just be the pics then - I know that's why I had set up an account originally. Point still stands though, making the blog restricted was Nathan's decision, and it seems reasonable to respect that.

[ edited by NoSadSeven on 2006-11-23 05:39 ]
All MySpace blogs (and pics) are visible to MySpace members only.

I wasn't signed into MySpace and I could see Nathan's first blog entry no problem.
It's not so much the dropping out of the event (as said, Alan has a job), it's that this is the sort of sudden and bizarre turn of events that makes one wonder about some of the people who haven't been booked at all, and whether that also was because of dropped communications.
HudsonVC - I think you may be thinking of their last 2 events, where they dropped headliners just days before the event due to low ticket sales. On the first one they did bring the headliner back but on the second one they dropped half the headliners and bonus guests, the day before the event. Not to mention cancelling the con Gina was scheduled at, all together. So I can see why some people might be concerned about what is happening now.

Also Krad will not be there either.

ETA: Fix code :) - My brain is dead today.

[ edited by RavenU on 2006-11-22 21:58 ]
I wasn't signed into MySpace and I could see Nathan's first blog entry no problem.

That was my experience, too -- some areas of MySpace are completely public, MySpace member or not. I finally was lured to the dark side of the Force, er, I joined MySpace so I could, er, befriend Nathan and read the blogs marked "private."
I joined MySpace so I could, er, befriend Nathan and read the blogs marked "private."

Hey, I logged into my dormant MySpace account, which I only opened awhile ago just in case I ever needed it, only so I could have a page which says I have just 1 friend, and it's Nathan.
This is just another situation in my long line of disappointments with how BE handles things. To think they would blow-off Nathan! I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but it was handled badly. One wonders if this email address was his people's only contact. And while the person who handled this is also a regular on the boards (hence her casualness), I found her response pretty unprofessional. Perhaps she didn't realize her post would go beyond the small group of people she intended, but when it comes to Nathan issuing pleas for contact, she has to understand this one will go 'round the world.

One thing that has been bugging is that I assumed they would be going after the whole cast like last year. Come to find out that since Alan had to drop out, they are now exploring another guest(s) (since his appearance fee has been freed up). Couple this with Sean allegedly telling another fan, when asked if he would be at Flan, "I'd love to, but they never asked!"

I find this a little upsetting, because last year they got the whole cast, and I was expecting the same this year. It's the main reason I choose this convention over any other. I understand if a guest *can't* make it, but to not even *ask* some of the main cast (while still bringing in guest stars) makes me feel slightly duped. Now, maybe they explained that they were not going to try to get the whole cast on their website, but, for the life of me, I cannot stand navigating that slow, slow forum. Nor the huge number of off-topic posts you have to wade through just to find relevant information. Anyway, I'm guessing the reason this is the last Flan is that it is not financially feasible to bring is so many headline actors and only sell 500 tickets.

One little thing to keep in mind, however: BE is fan-run, and they are still kind of new at putting on events. Working on cons is sideline work. It doesn't totally excuse how they've handled things, but perhaps explains it a little.

[ edited by dizzyellie on 2006-11-22 22:14 ]
Dizzy - cast members cost money, basically - although it varies con to con and guest to guest. One thing about this year is that it only sold out last month, whereas the first one sold out much quicker I think - which tends to suggest they need to spend less money on this one. So possibly explains not going after all the cast. Which, of course, you know.

I'd say Nathan is Boosters main headliner for the convention, so they need to make sure they secure him. Which it looks like they are doing.
All MySpace blogs are visible to "Friends Only". It is how MySpace gets you to join.

Actually, that's not true. If you look at the blogs for James Gunn, Jenna Fischer or Weird Al you'll see that they are visible regardless of whether or not you're a MySpace user. And even with Nathan's blog, you can see one of his posts and not the other when you're not logged in. So this is definitely a per-post setting.

As for BE running a con in an unprofessional manner... this is not new information. Last year's Flanvention had many of us cringing at how they ran things.
gossi - the first flanvention did not sell out. It had about 15 tickets left. This was the first event they ever had that sold out.
gossi - I know the cast costs, so I assume that's why they've nixed this con for next year. I just assumed (and maybe it's unfair of me to do so) that this Flan would be like last year. I've never found any indication that they didn't plan to get the whole cast. Rather, there seemed (to me, at least) a vibe that not only would this be the same con as last year, but better. One of the biggest draws of this con was that they got almost the entire cast last year. I thought that was part of what this con was about, especially since it's an exclusively *Firefly* convention. I get the reasons why they can't bring in the whole cast this year, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm disappointed with how they've portrayed this convention.

As I've said, I'm not even sure if I'm being fair; it could be that I'm still stinging from the fact Alan won't be there. But I am a little peeved that it's come out that neither Sean nor Summer were even asked, which leads me to assume Morena wasn't asked, either (we all know what happened with Gina *sigh*).

It's hard to run conventions. I've worked many a convention, and I don't envy those who try to put them on. But it seems to me that BE is spread far too thin, between all the conventions they try to do, and only having what? About 5 or 6 people running it? Anyway, it leaves the fans holding the bag when things go wrong. Imagine if Nathan wasn't such an upstanding guy, and didn't enjoy attending conventions--I betcha he would've ended up a scratch, all for the lack of answering of an email. The fact that they almost let the ball drop on one of their biggest draws does not reflect well on them.

Ah well. Doesn't change the fact that I am unreasonably happy to be going, and have random bouts of giggles when I think about it. :)
I'm guessing the reason this is the last Flan is that it is not financially feasible to bring is so many headline actors and only sell 500 tickets.

It depends on how you do it, and what your priorities are. For the 2006 Browncoat Ball, we only had 125 paying attendees at $75-150/person, for an overall budget of about $20K and were able to pull off a wickede-fun weekend-long event. With 500 tickets at ~$250/person they're working with a budget of around $125,000. And that's not counting the dealer's fees and all the nickel-and-dime income from the exclusive dinner/brunch tickets and photo ops. I'd be surprised if their overall budget were any less than $250K.

Now, if this were truly a by-the-fans-for-the-fans event, that would be MORE than enough to pay for the entire A-list cast and all the supporting cast we've come to adore. But BE is a company, not a volunteer organization. They have a profit motive, so that significantly changes the calculation of what makes a convention "successful" and how much of the money can be devoted to guests.

The good thing about this being the last year of Flanvention is that it opens up the possibility of a replacement convention next year. This could be an excellent opportunity to experiment in models for a true by-the-fans-for-the-fans convention. The majority of the capital in an event like this would be the appearance fees of the guests, but if you offer them a hefty cut of the photo op and dinner/brunch income in exchange for lowering their flat fees, it could not only reduce the amount of capital needed to pull off such an event, but also give the guests a much higher percentage of the final take and a great incentive to make those long hours of signing/posing worth while.

It's not impossible, folks. It just takes a little ingenuity, some number-crunching with the guests/agents, and some practical know-how. No fan group has ever been as qualified to take on a challenge like this than ours is.

Food for thought...
BE is fan-run, and they are still kind of new at putting on events. Working on cons is sideline work

It's not sideline money they charge, though. And they are selling tickets for future events up to a year ahead.
RayHill - The guest have a flat fee - then they do receive extra payments for photo ops and other activities. The typical guest now a days has a weekend fee for a headliner is around $15,000 to $20,000 (and that is low-balling it) and that doesn't include incidentals like travel cost, food, or hotel. Nor does it include the extras of photo ops, cocktail, or banquets. Cocktail and banquets tend to be an extra set fee based on the number of hours the guest is expected to attend (min is 90 min). The guest also receives about 50% or more of the photo op and sometimes they set number limits on those, the remainder is for the event and photographer's percentage. With a small event like this the cost is reflected in what seems to be a higher price, but it's actually about the same price of other events spread over a smaller demographic population. Also with the current event enviroment being as it is you have to pay a deposit to every guest upfront. Before you even sell any tickets, so whether is fan run or business run a convention is still a business and nothing will change that and it needs to be run like one. This is not a shindig where it is a mix and mingle with other fans. This is a celebrity based event, and I can tell you that they see it as a business dealing first and formost before they see it as a way to interact with the fans.

Something else to chew on....

I will not go into details but I hope someone will pick up on doing a yearly event and I am talking to some other event organizers regarding just that.

[ edited by RavenU on 2006-11-23 00:27 ]
No fan group has ever been as qualified to take on a challenge like this than ours is.


No fan group? Really?
LOL, whoever said that Allyson, they need to be shipped over to the archives of this site to do some research.

Cause it's obvious they know not of what they speak.
Yeah, fan run conventions have been tried before and ultimately it just turns into a disaster. You have to remember that the people successful at things like this - eg Sean Harry - see it as a business first and foremost, which is why agents often only have one point of contact for a convention. The actors are also there to make a shit load of money, and hopefully have fun in the process.

You have to be very careful not to romantise conventions if you plan to work 'em. Other organisers will stab you in the back to get guests, and guests will jump ship between organisers. If you don't sort things out with a guest in advance, they won't turn up. It ain't pretty often.

Disclaimer: Flanvention paid for a significant portion of in the last year. And they've been pretty sweet about it, so yeah, I'm gonna loves them up for that.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-11-23 00:38 ]
gossi > I am biting my tonuge and sending blood splatter everywhere.

Disclaimer: I am not affilated with BE and the oppinions expressed in this thread are solely my own.

[ edited by RavenU on 2006-11-23 00:45 ]
Can. Worms. Blood everywhere. ;o)

(I love Chandler).
No fan group? Really?

What I mean is that the relationship between the fans and the cast/crew in the Firefly fandom is more close-knit than in any fandom I have ever heard of. The browncoat community has shown an incredible knack for finding professional-level resources for tasks that most fandoms would assign to novices. And we already have a long history of the cast/crew/studio pitching in to help make our fan-run events a success.

With this combination of elements, I think the chances of a convention like this succeeding is much higher in the Firefly fandom than it would be in other fandoms.
The cast can just come hang out and talk to me while I work. Any weekday will be fine, just come on by.
bix, I'll send Asian Dan around right now!
You have to be very careful not to romantise conventions if you plan to work 'em. Other organisers will stab you in the back to get guests, and guests will jump ship between organisers. If you don't sort things out with a guest in advance, they won't turn up. It ain't pretty often.

Using the current model for a convention, you're absolutely right. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about examining the whole model of what makes a convention tick, where the friction points are, where the motivations of the interested parties are, and coming up with a completely new model for how to run a convention. Innovation, not repetition.

I don't pretend to know exactly what that model would look like. I'm just saying that with a cast/crew as interactive and passionate as Firefly's and a fanbase as chuck-full of resourceful, innovative professionals as the browncoats, this kind of innovation has far more potential for success than it would under normal circumstances.

Saying "it can't be done because no one has been able to do it before" is the opposite of innovation.
I'm not saying it can't be done in this case, I'm just saying people -- experienced people -- have tried it before and it's always gone horridly wrong, in at least one case where the police where called due to fraud allegations between fans. Something like Booster -- which often refers to itself as fan run, as it happens -- will be turning over well over $250,000 in cash for Flanvention II, with a fraction of that as revenue. I'm not sure fans could raise that much money, and I'm not sure how fans would manage it.

If anybody wants to come up with a completely new model of sci-fi convention, all power to that person, and I hope it succeeds. There's a lot of money to be made from the business.
Dizzy - So am I to expect the mad giggler in the dark of night? ;)

RavenU - Would love to talk with you at the Flan. :D And if you're going to splatter blood, make sure you wear your plastic raincoat [ a little American Psycho reference there].
Sorry zengrrrl but due to circumstances and principle I will not be attending this event or any other Booster Event, bridges they burned and all.

[ edited by RavenU on 2006-11-23 05:09 ]
Wow, RavenU, I am so surprised, I thought for sure I was going to have a chance to see you again. Are you not coming because of this situation or because of things that have happened at earlier Booster events? I am really sorry to hear you aren't coming because I signed on thinking this would be a great event, partly because I thought you support it.
embers > No it was not this event, it was something that occured at an earlier event a few months ago that has caused me to re-evaluate my oppinion of them. I still hope everyone who is going will have a good time, but I find myself of the mind set that based on my principles I can no longer support their events.

RayHill > Saying "it can't be done because no one has been able to do it before" is the opposite of innovation. No it's not it is called realism. Believe me, I have been to around 200+ events. I have seen the good, the bad, and the down right deranged and the only real innovation, is that they all end up staying pretty much the same no matter if there is 100 attendees or 100,000. It will always be the matter of the attendees perception and no 2 perceptions are ever the same no matter how innovative the event tries to be.
I really like the idea of the next big all-star (all 9 plus Joss?) Serenifly 'Verse convention being run by a team that includes RavenU. I trust the woman, and she is very experienced in all things conventiony. :-)
RavenU - oops, sorry. I don't keep in the loop on these things. Mind if I contact you offlist (I think I still have your email lying around from AdventureCon)?

billz - I agree RavenU would be an asset to any team attempting to "Do the impossible." LOL I know Dizzy and myself also have tons of experience in these matters, and I'm sure there are others who have necessary talents in that area. :) You never know - we got a movie made out of a cancelled series. What's a convention to us? LOL
Thanks billz, but I am not that crazy, anymore.

Yeah zengrrl you can email me off list or through flickr.
The only thing that bugs me about the flanvention event is that all the cast members are not going to be there. And yes, I realize that cast members cost money. Still, if it is going to be the last flan, they should all be there. And maybe, if they had more cast booked, they would have sold out quicker.

I got a chance to speak with Morena when she was in Toronto a few months ago. At that convention, she brought Christina with her, so I asked her about Flan. Morena herself said that, as of that moment, Booster hadn't asked her to be there. Which shocked me and Christina both. And I also know people who got a chance to ask Sean and Summer, with the same reactions.

[ edited by EireAngel on 2006-11-24 19:13 ]

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