#TVDChicago Day 2/Day 3

Delayed post is delayed, but there surely isn’t a sign of a better con finish than that, eh?

First off:

Karaoke is everything. The party was fantastic beyond words. All three guys – Micah, Paul and Todd – were just so gung-ho about the whole thing. They acted as back-up singers, back-up dancers and even did their own numbers. You really can’t top a guy who plays a priest singing Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” and then going into the crowd and pretending to bless con-goers during the instrumental break. You really can’t. As far as the attendees go, almost all who got up were great in their own right and some had some serious singing chops. It really was a blast. If I have any problems is that I almost wish that the party had been before the first panels. The audience warmed up so much to these guys during the party that I think it would have really brought an extra spark to the panels because now we had a better sense of them.

Regardless, I really do hope they bring the event back to future cons, because it was a total high point of the con.

Day 2 /3

Today was the day of the con shuffle. Steven Kreuger (Josh/The Originals), who was originally scheduled for Friday had to appear to Saturday because of filming and then he was still delayed a good forty minutes because of his flight. Arielle Kebbel (Lexi) and Michael Trevino (Tyler), both scheduled for Saturday had to be moved to Sunday because of filming. That meant that everything associated with them – their photo-ops and meet-and-greets and autographs also all had to be moved. It was a logistical nightmare. To the conventions credit, I do think they did the best they could, with what they had. I know that not everyone was thrilled with how it all worked out – some people had to miss parts of Arielle’s panels for photo-ops and certainly the con ended way later on Sunday than intended (those who got Michael photo-ops were there until 9 if you wanted to grab them instead of waiting a few weeks before you could get them mailed to you) but in the choice between a bit of bumpiness and no Michael or Arielle at all? They made the right choice.

Arielle was supposed to host Saturday and Sunday, but obviously that didn’t happen. I think it’s a bit of shame. She was very bubbly and energetic and I think she really would have added something to the solo panels where it can be difficult for the actor to feel as comfortable on stage – Zach for instance, joked about giving Michael grief over not being there on the same day because they usually go on together, etc.

On the whole though, the panels on Saturday/Sunday were definitely livelier than those on Friday and there was a steady increase in attendance over the weekend as well with Sunday’s general panel for Ian and Paul being more or less being completely filled up. I also did really enjoy having that extra 1/2 hour or so “Gold Only” panel for Ian and Paul. It did feel a little more intimate, and it was nice having the extra time with the guys.

If you search the #TVDChicago hashtag  on Twitter you can see my live-tweets for all the Sunday panels and many of the Saturday panels if you want to get a feel for the content.

The other major event was the “Founders Day Ball.” This event was included in Gold ticket packages or sold separately for $95. I attended because I had a Gold package, but otherwise I wouldn’t say it was worth the money. For that much, attendees should at least get a drink coupon included (there is only a cash bar, for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks). As promised, they have four actors attend. They did judge centerpieces and award best dressed and best dancer. But they were there for maybe a half-hour and while I lucked out and sat at a table with a centerpiece so had all of them come by, the majority of the tables didn’t get a visit (no centerpiece, no visit) and the outside the table visits, they stayed up on the stage. While I completely why, I can easily see being pissed if you spent the extra $95 for a dance that was otherwise kind of unremarkable. I’d say this is a skip if you have to pay extra for it.

Overall, it was a solid con. There were a fair amount of issues with the layout of the hotel (for example, autographs were clear on the otherside of the lobby level) but I’m not going to harp on it too much because they are moving back to their normal hotel next year and from what I hear, that hotel is much better suited for the convention in terms of layout. I personally had no issues with the hotel in terms of where I was staying (the floor I was on stayed quiet) and the wifi was excellent, I had access to it all weekend (even Sunday) with no issue.

Finally, I just want to remark that I met a ton of really nice people this weekend and that for the most part, this event really did bring out the good side of the fandom family. Yes, there was the back and forth of Delena vs. Stelena vs. Steroline vs. Klarloline and so on, but it all felt like it was good-natured. Attendees were generally well behaved too. Of course there was random shouting in the audience, but compared to what happens at Comic Con or at Paley Fest, the amount at the show was minimal and I’m really impressed by that. I had people offering me their drinks on the very first night, someone offered me a ride from O’Hare for next year, I spent hours and hours with a couple I met on Sunday and have seat mates for next year. It was great.

So is the convention worth the price?

For me, it was. But let’s not harbor any illusions here: these cons are expensive. While not Creation’s most expensive (Supernatural and the Las Vegas Star Trek show are way more), the gold package still cost over $150 more than weekend at San Diego (around $350), and you can spend hundreds more easily buying photo-ops and autographs that aren’t included with the tier you bought. And even then after you do spend that money, you often only get 30 seconds at most with the bigger actors at the photo-ops or autographs simply because they have to keep the line moving. You might be disappointed if you were hoping for more contact and if you do want it, you’re going to pony up for it. Even the cheaper meet-and-greets still go for hundreds.

For casual fans, I might suggest buying a single day pass to get a feel for it and then maybe hit up a full convention later if you like it. These cons do have a very different feel than a traditional comic convention and the schedules are stretched out for better or worse. You aren’t in panel back to back to back and if you were hoping that someone like Ian would get a 45 minute panel to himself, he doesn’t, so just be cognizant of that fact.

Even though I did talk about the Vampire Diaries convention specifically here, the general format does apply to their other shows, so if you were looking at that, there you go. I’m happy to answer questions you may have about Creation (or even San Diego Comic Con/Wonder Con or Dragon Con) conventions in general. I will say that my first Creation convention was in 1998 and they haven’t changed since then, so I can probably give you insight into most aspects except the specialized parties. So much of enjoying a convention is finding the right one for you and what you’re looking for, so don’t be afraid to ask. 🙂

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