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[personal profile] reggie11
Well, I finally got to attend my first Supernatural convention and I have mixed feelings about it. Parts of it were fabulous! The panels, seeing the actors in the flesh, and meeting other fans and LJ friends was a big highlight,  and definitely the good. But, and there is a big Kardashian size but, there were so many bad things about the way the con was organised that it really put a damper on the day for me. I'll start with the good so you don't have to read through my complaints if you don't want to because, I'm going to have a bitch and moan of epic proportions - yes I will have some cheese with my whine thanks. I couldn't post before now because I have been paying for my big day out in spades. I barely left my bed yesterday. Ouch.

I met up with the truly lovely [ profile] ash48 outside the venue and we lined up together to chat as we both had gen tickets. Then once inside I finally met the wonderful [ profile] kazluvsbooks, and the very sweet [ profile] vyperdd. It was great to finally get to squee and fangirl with them in person, and I chatted with a bunch of non LJ fans as well. It was wonderful meeting these lovely friends face to face!

The panels were great fun.

First, Osric and Timothy were a fab combination. They were funny, sweet, and really interesting. Osric curled up in Timothy's lap while Tim sang him a lullaby all the while rocking him and rubbing his back before kissing his head was a real highlight. It was incredibly funny, and Timothy has a nice voice! I adore Osric and have heard and seen so much about his appearances from con footage on youtube, but I had no idea how much fun Timothy was going to be. I really wish now that I had have had more money to spend so I could have had a photo op with him. I could hear all of the shenanigans from his ops from where I was sitting from behind the screen waiting for my Osric op. The man just wouldn't let the organisers rush him. He was funny, loud, and sounded like he was having the time of his life! He was equally fun onstage.  [ profile] ash48 asked Osric about his involvement in the Parody video and he spoke about it at length. Thanks, Ash! It was a great question and we got some fun info out of it. He had worked with Hilly and Hannah on their Walking Dead parody. He got Rob Benedict involved in the SPN parody, and from there Rob got everyone else involved. The cast fimed their dance scenes while at the Vegas con and pretty much all the direction they got was to dance around.

Mark was at his snarky best. He was chanelling his inner Crowley and definitely letting his British sarcasm shine through. He was brusque and brilliant, calling out people who asked asinine questions, and stomping on them. He even corrected one guy's grammar which I had just been mentally doing in my head which made me almost choke with laughter. I loved it! He sat down for a long chat with a ten year old boy in the audience which ended up being fabulous. At the end of his panel he really spoke from the heart about his gratitude for the show and the fans, and it was extremely touching. It made me love him even more than I did before.

I have to admit I wasn't overly fond of how Richard and Matt conducted their panel. They ran from one end of the auditorium to the other letting anyone and everyone ask questions which resulted in some truly mindbendingly stupid questions being asked. Like Mark, Richard called a few people out for them though. I would have preferred a proper Q&A, although the guys were very funny and entertaining. Richard especially is a sharp wit and is so quick with comebacks. I've always enjoyed his acting but he had never been one of my show favourites, he just might well be now! Not much to tell you info-wise on their panel as most of the questions they were asked were just plain silly. However I did learn about Matt's nudie run for Kings of Con. Everyone else probably already knows about it but it was news to me, so of course I had to post the video. Hilarious!

Matt Cohen's Naked Run from Richard Speight, Jr. on Vimeo.

Now Jensen's panel. What can I say other than he was everything I expected and so much more. He is so gracious, warm, funny, and so very genuine, and his love for the show and fans alike just shone through. We had no stupid questions asked which was an enormous relief. He gave us so much info about behind the scenes, the way VFX works, mishaps with both stunts and stunt doubles, and great on-set stories including his personal loathing of the corn syrup fake blood they use. When he spoke about Jared it was with such love, friendship, and brotherhood, it left many people choked up. He seemed genuinely surprised and chuffed at the standing ovation he received.

I really missed Jared not being there because he was my main reason for attending, but Jensen did his very best to make up for it. Jensen asked all of us to send our love to Jared while he filmed us on his phone, then he posted it on twitter which was so nice.

I had a photo op with Jensen courtesy of a very dear friend who, knowing my dire financial situation and my love for Jared, contacted Hub and purchased a single Jared and a J2 sandwich op for me which was unbelievably generous as that was $350 worth of photos! As Jared had cancelled, the organisers allowed me to swap my single Jared op to Jensen and I requested they refund the money for the J2 sandwich as I didn't feel comfortable swapping her generous gift for a bunch of other ops. I love her to bits for giving me the opportunity to see Jensen up close and personal! Because they were much cheaper I scrounged together enough for pics with both Mark and Osric. Unfortunately as you'll see below my Jensen op was so rushed I barely had time to look at the man, but what I did see was just...yummy. :) Osric was lovely. A staff member from Hub saw how much I was struggling as I waited outside the auditorium for this particular op. It was just too much to keep getting up and down the many stairs, and I was already in pain from standing in the very long line for Jensen, so he escorted me through to the front of the line with Osric so that I could have the pic taken and go sit which I'm extremely grateful for. Osric and I had a quick joke with each other (he almost jumped on me, lol) and then he wrapped me up in a huge hug. He's such a cutie!

I didn't get any photos as the only camera I have is on my phone and I was sitting in the nosebleed section. I may post my photo ops later. I have to try and set up my scanner and I'm still too sore and sorry to much of anything yet.

Now onto the bad. Don't feel you have to read this if you don't want to. So many attendees are so caught up in the thrall of seeing the SPN guys in person that they are handwaving away a very poorly run event. I think this is a mistake as Hub Productions will not change their practices if we just let all the bad stuff slide.

It could have been fantastic, and it should have been fantastic, but instead much of it was sloppy and amateurish. Not the panels or the guests, they were great for the incredibly small amount of time we had with them. I left feeling both elated that we got to enjoy some really great panels with incredibly gracious actors who really do put their heart and soul into it and it shows, to deflated because while other countries have days of enjoyment and entertainment ranging from panels, music, merchandise, and fan groups, we got what amounted to maybe three hours. There was no music, no singing (unless you count the woefully organised karaoke), horribly organised photo ops that were so massively rushed, and not even a vending machine where we could buy something to drink. Not even water. If we wanted a drink or food we had to leave the venue and possibly miss something because absolutely nothing ran to schedule. I was starving and had to go get food because of my medications and I was petrified that I would miss the first panel because the only place open for food was a tiny little take out shop who were horribly unprepared, understocked, and overwhelmed, AND had a line a mile long. I needn't have worried because the panels started ridiculously late. Hiring a third party caterer just to sell coffee and tea from urns and providing jugs of water would have made a massive difference and cost the organisers next to nothing. If I had a dollar for every person I heard say they would kill for a coffee I could've afforded an Ultimate ticket.

I want to say it was a fabulous fan experience, and in some ways it was, but for the most part I feel that Australian fans got a bit of a raw deal. I do understand that being on the other side of the world where it takes so long to fly here makes it difficult for the guests involved to give us any more time. That's why it feels that a tightly run con is an absolute necessity, and we just didn't get it. I've worked in event management and it doesn't have to be the way it was. With a little more effort, some contingency planning and forethought, both days (Melbourne and Sydney) could have been a whole lot better. Especially when you take into consideration the price of the tickets which ranged from $220 for a general entry with karaoke (all that I could afford), to approx $1000 for VIP, $1400 for Platinum, and $1800 for Ultimate. That's a shit ton of cash for a one day event where the general panels were supposed to start at 12.45pm and didn't actually begin until closer to 3pm. And bear in mind that it finished close to 7pm leaving poor Jensen with hundreds upon hundreds, upon hundreds of autographs to sign, pretty much starting when he was supposed to be done for the day. Poor baby probably has carpal tunnel now.

Photo op and autograph tickets could have been sold online making the whole process quicker and easier and also would have given the organisers numbers and the ability to schedule exactly how much time needed for the solo and group ops. Instead, there was no limit at all, and I personally saw people buying multiple photo ops with the the same actor (primarily poor overworked Jensen) which had a huge knock on effect. By the time my row was called (I was in M) they were shoving people through so quickly that we didn't even get a chance to say "Hi, is it okay to get a hug for the pic?" or whatever someone might choose. I didn't even get the opportunity to find my footing and smile for the camera before I realised the shot had been taken and I was being hustled out so fast that I had to physically stop and ask them to hand my walking cane over before they pushed me out of the area. So, not only did I not get the hug I was hoping to get for my photo, I had barely raised my head and hadn't even getten a chance to smile properly and it was done. Jensen wasn't even smiling in it (although it just makes him look sultry and me look like a deer in the headlights, how does he do that?). At least while they were handing my cane back I managed to say thank you to him and got a very nice smile and a "You're welcome, and sorry sweetheart" from him for the way they guy almost pushed me forward before realising I had only turned around to retrieve my cane not to jump Jensen. It was absolutely not Jensen's fault that things were so rushed. He wanted to allow as many photo ops as he could because he was also trying to make up for Jared's absence. The poor guy looked so tired and dazed that I doubt he even realised that he'd seen a number of people come through more than once which was just not fair on everyone else, nor was it fair to him. He was very lovely and polite for the 2.5 seconds I saw him.

They may have been calling row by row for the ops but they weren't checking tickets to see if you actually belonged to that row. When some people who had been through earlier with either lower rows or big priced tickets realised this, they just walked back up and bought more tokens. It was sloppy. For example, I was sitting behind where Timothy was taking photos with people waiting for my Osric op and Jensen and Mark had just finished up their dual op and were heading into the green room when a bunch of girls rocked up with tickets for Jensen and Mark (which apparently they had purchased not ten seconds before) so they went and pulled the guys back out to take more pics. Why on earth were they still selling tokens for a photo combination when it was already over?

It all started when we received an email late Saturday night from Hub Productions saying that their flights from Melbourne had been delayed so everyone had gotten to Sydney much later than anticipated so everything was being pushed back the following morning. So where the doors were to have opened for general ticket holders at 8.10am, we now weren't allowed entry until 11am. I have since found out that the flight left and landed on time so I have no idea what the real reason was, but I wish they hadn't bullshitted us, it's just rude. If it was simply because the guests were jetlagged and exhausted then why not say so? No one would begrudge the guys a little more rest time after such a long flight and long day. After the late start, all of the photo ops ran way over as well due to selling too many tickets. At least we got our full panels, even if there was no time between them for a quick bathroom break (sorry bladder). I heard someone say that Jensen's panel had been cut short in Melbourne because of all the delays but I have no idea if that is true or not. I would hope it wasn't. And even though I would have dearly loved the extra panels the more expensive tickets provided, I'm immensely glad I didn't spend any more than I did. For a two day con maybe, but not for this.

Also, the five minute photo rule is bullshit. Ban flash photography, but don't stop people taking pics!

Anyways, bitch and moan time over. It was so nice meeting the ladies I mentioned above, and at least half of the day was fun so all in all - yay!!!

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