Fan Expo 2015: Veni Vidi Vici

 In Behind the Scenes, Blog, Community, Community Building, Entertainment, Festivals, Fiction, Film, TV

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending Fan Expo 2015. It wasn’t my first convention, but it was my first time experiencing the wonder that is “Fan Expo”. I managed to attend each of the four days of the convention and while I was tired by the end, I was able to attend panels, browse the artists and vendors, see the promotional show and gaming exhibits, and ultimately get almost everything I wanted out of the weekend.

Media Events

There were many media guests in attendance. Bell, Cineplex, Disney (especially their Star Wars property), eOne Entertainment, FX, Rogers, Showcase, Space and TIFF were all present and accounted for. Most of the media exhibits had an interactive element to their spaces set up to promote an upcoming show or film. eOne had elaborate set displays for Mockingjay Part 2 and The Hateful Eight, FX had a life-size model and virtual reality experience for The Strain, and Showcase had a set for Outlander and were performing faux weddings for willing participants.

Mawwiage...wait, wrong fandom.

Mawwiage…wait, wrong fandom.

Panels

Fan Expo hosted a wide array of panels throughout the weekend. In an earlier post, we outlined our Top 10 Panels to Attend, and I was able to get to three. Two were discussion panels hosted by wattpad, Evolution of Storytelling: How to Make Digital Storytelling into a Career, and How Fanfiction is Taking Over the World, and the third was a Q&A panel, Meet the Cast of Carmilla. I also attended some others that caught my fancy.

Discussion Panels

The Evolution of Storytelling event consisted of a panel of four writers currently making their careers creating fanfiction stories. They shared their experiences with the changing world of writing and the new opportunities to work outside of the mainstream, shared tips on how to leverage reader feedback and integrate it into new or ongoing stories, and ultimately how to monetize your work to be able to make a career on it.

How Fanfiction is Taking Over the World had a more diverse array of panelists, including YouTubers, podcasters, gamers and editors, as well as fanfiction writers. This panel addressed more of the relationships and interactions between the mainstream product or show, the fanfiction creators, and the fan audience. Topics included addressing the lines between fiction and fanfiction, between fanfiction and real person fiction, and between moneyed media and fandom. This was a much more well-attended panel than the Evolution of Storytelling event, which helped to stimulate more discussion.

Q&A Panels

Meet the Cast of Carmilla was a fun Q&A session with the cast of the transmedia YouTube series Carmilla. I also caught a Q&A panel with Hayley Atwell. Both events were well-attended and skewed towards a female audience. What interested me most about these sessions was the focus that audience questions had on the actors’ work outside of the media they were most well-known for. Hayley Atwell’s questions in particular tended to focus on the ongoing Dubsmash war that Hayley and the cast of Agent Carter are waging against the cast of Agents of SHIELD over social media. There was more interest in this battle than in Hayley’s work in film and TV, or her own personal stories.

Hayley Atwell wows a packed FanExpo panel

Hayley Atwell wows a packed FanExpo panel.

The Fan Expo Experience

The media exhibits, panels, and Q&A sessions are just a small part of the entire experience of the weekend. Between exploring Artist Alley, roaming the Communities floor, and admiring all of the cosplayers, I had barely enough time and energy to get through the entire event. But exhausted as I was, I’m already looking forward to what’s going to be there next year.

Did you get to Fan Expo 2015? What was your favourite event? Let us know in the comments below.

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