I will have another book review coming your way shortly – I love a vacation where you can get a lot of reading in – but as I did with Dragon Con, I’ve decided to throw up some posts about my trip to Creation’s The Vampire Diaries convention in Chicago! Experiences are always going to vary slightly, but Creation not only puts on shows for The Vampire Diaries, but also Supernatural, Star Trek and now Teen Wolf amongst others, so I feel like this may be valid to some of my reader’s interests, in case they were wondering if it was worth attending, since these are fairly pricey affairs.
Here’s how the basics work: you generally have to buy online, in advance. Tickets generally come in three tiers: Gold, Silver and General Admission (the largest Star Trek Cons have additional levels). The better the tier, the better the seat and the first two tiers the seats are reserved and the highest tiers will often to get you into some kind of special event or another, depending on the show. Gold and Silver will also get you varying numbers of autographs included (for this con, Gold gets you 6, Silver gets you 4. General Admission all autographs are a la carte). You can also buy autograph tickets individually, as well as photo ops (none are included in any package). Prices vary and generally are set by the actor. Autographs for his convention range from $20-$90, photo ops $35-$140, depending on the actor and whether it’s one actor or two (you get a slight price back if you get a duo over two separate)
All that settled? Great.
This day is advertised as a “convenience” and basically, that’s really what it is. It’s nice if you’re coming in from out of town and arriving the day before, but not strictly necessary. The lines do get long at registration, so if you can do so the night before, it’ll help you out. My major complaint about registration is that even though they didn’t apparently have much to set up, it started late. From what I’ve heard at other cons, they always start late. Given how many of the shows they’ve run, shouldn’t they have figured this out by now?
Line management is also a bit of an issue. They did registration in the foyer, and needed three lines – one for your wristband, one to exchange Ian/Paul photo-op tickets for hard tickets, and one to buy autograph/photo-op tickets on site. The lines for the first and the last weren’t bad, but the line to exchange Ian/Paul was in an awkward spot in the middle of the hall and there wasn’t a lot of clear guidance on what line was for what.
The process seemed to run smooth enough, but hopefully they have enough manning the desk tomorrow because I have a feeling that a lot of people will be showing up on Saturday and skipped Friday all together- even those with three day passes.
The other “event” of Day 0 was early access to the Vendor’s Room. Like all Creation conventions, they only sell official licensed merchandise, so it’s pretty small in terms of what you can pick up. Photos ($6) and posters ($10) were reasonably priced – (15 years ago photos were $5 for reference) and merchandise was what you can get it for through the normal channels. It’s a visit once and done. My only complaint is they sell the TINIEST poster tubes. If, like me, you were planning on getting a poster signed, you will not be getting that back in the tube. I plan on hitting up the UPS store for a proper tube when I’m ready to ship back, so it’s something to keep in mind.
I believe they said this is the first Vampire Diaries convention that they have added on a third day to. It’s been a pretty common practice for shows like Star Trek and Supernatural, so I can see why they wanted to do so here. Did it need a third day though?
To be honest, this day unintentionally wound up having a bit of a “filler’ feel to it. The number of guests was in line with the other days, but the caliber of guests honestly wasn’t. Though Todd Stashwick is a recurring character on The Originals, he isn’t really a draw for most people. The others – Paul Telfer and Micah Parker – had three episodes and two episodes respectively, but were fairly minor parts in their own right. You could tell that there was a lot of ‘wait, who were these guys again?’ going on in the audience simply because there was this awkwardness in the air for Paul and Micah. People simply didn’t know who they were and didn’t really have questions to ask. There were stretches of no one at the mike to ask questions and the number of questions that were pre-asked weren’t that many. Todd Stashwick had the easiest go of the three bar far, and honestly, I’d attribute that to his long career (he’s been on Heroes, Supernatural, Buffy, Angel amongst other things) as to his time spent on the Originals (the questions were about evenly split). I will also say that he also fared best because his background as a comic meant he really knew how to work a room, and the other guys didn’t. They all seemed nice, but it can’t be easy playing to a quiet room.
A seat mate of mine said it best: in the future, they need to have one bigger draw from TVD on Friday to make it day people will take seriously. Having Steven Krueger (Josh, The Originals) appear on Friday as first intended might have helped, but really Friday would be a great day to have someone like Candace Accola or maybe Michael Malarkey (Enzo) – someone to help stir up some energy in the crowd.
The Yes/No trivia game was fairly entertaining, but they seriously need to revamp their difficulty system. Questions in the easy category varied from “Are you sure you’re watching this show” to “Who the eff are they talking about?” with crazy spikes in difficulty. Some of the questions could be made clearer. Like one question asked if Elena lived with her aunt and her little brother. In season one, yeah. In season 5? No. Adding “In season one…” to the front of that question would have made it much clearer. Still, a pretty fun diversion all things considered.
I have heard that the gift certificates that you win can ONLY be used on merchandise and not registration, autographs or photo ops which is kind of lame, and makes it difficult to spend your winnings. How many t-shirts and shot glasses do you really need? Ah well.
It was still a nice day, but they really did need to work that whole guest thing out. Either have more on Friday, or get bigger names. Barely any of those who paid extra for front row seats showed up today, and the general admission area was largely empty. Get that energy up and it’ll be win/win all around.
There is a karaoke contest tonight. I’m going to check it out for a while and maybe report on it in my next update 🙂