David Duchovny shared an amusing story recently on The Tonight Show about the very avid X-Files fans. At fan cons, after a while just about every question that could possibly be asked had been asked. So, aside from asking the same questions over and over again, fans would break into off the wall inquisitions like "What’s your favorite animal?" One time he got that question, wasn't sure, so he blurted out "Elephants." Next thing he knew, news stories announce "Duchovny's nuts for elephants!" His point certainly implied the cult celebrity life is that absurd.
I thought of this story after reading messages from several of my online friends who are in Vancouver this weekend for the Salute to Supernatural convention. I passed over Vancouver for financial reasons, but what nags at me is if I did have the money, I probably would have gone. I have no idea why.
Going doesn't look good on paper by a mile. Everyone pays extraneous amounts of money just to have small brushes with greatness, and after comic con my brush is dripping. I passed on my chance to pay over $500 for a gold admission ticket and $40 - $180 for each photo-op just for the privilege to stand in a long line and be hearded like cattle through a hallway to get 12 seconds to say "cheese." Sure, Jared, Jensen, or Misha might put their arms around me for the shot and that twelve seconds might feel like twelve days, but it’s really gone in a flash. A lifelong pictorial memory comes out of that, but I hate being photographed so it would sit in a drawer. 
Then I'd have to do it all again for the autograph line. At Cherry Hill on the final day, I waited over two hours, even with a gold ticket, and that was a small con. In Chicago, Jared and Jensen were signing so fast most people didn't get eye contact let alone a hello. I got lucky.
Then, on top of the ticket prices plus photo ops, Creation for Vancouver offered a limited number of set tours for a cost of almost $200 a ticket. Location tours were offered on top of that at $200 a ticket. Seriously? A location tour for that, when I could get in my car and drive around cheaper? As for the set tour, the Universal Studios tour in LA is part of the theme park admission, which for the whole day is $69. Yet I read of several fans excitedly throwing down their money to Creation for these tours without protest. 
Stiil, I thought about buying a ticket from someone who couldn’t go. I thought that amidst the circus of long lines and panels from the same actors with the same questions asked again, I’d have a great time. It defied all reasoning. 
I mean, these cons really puzzle me. Not anywhere is a writer, director, or even Kripke himself in attendance. When I once asked a behind the scenes person why, I was told the creative types don't sell tickets. Huh? The brains behind the operation? The very people responsible for the story lines and material that make Jared, Jensen and Misha look so great? Have these people not been to Comic Con? Kripke was the rock star that day. However, the person’s point was proven when I posted transcripts of all my interviews from the Comic Con. By an overwhelming margin, the highest number of hits went to the article with Misha Collins. We only talked to him for four minutes. The number of hits to Kripke’s interview, which was three times as long and shared plenty more information about the show had gotten less than one third the traffic compared to Misha’s. Celebrity rules.
I should have gotten that message online too. For the last several months, all I read was overexcited chatter about Vancouver, even though many of these fans went through the same experience a few months ago in LA and Cherry Hill before that and Chicago before that (and so on). They squealed like they were meeting Jared and Jensen for the first time and got completely stoked over meeting again guest actors that did the show a couple of times a few years ago in between their other acting jobs. 
Doesn’t this get old after a while? Someone clarified it for me; they get to see the boys. Sorry, but after doing these cons a while, unless seeing the boys involves going out and having a beer with them, it’s the same experience. Yep, I still wasn't getting it.
Actors Are Real People  
But then again, I'm not like others. I’ve never understood the hype of celebrity. Sure, in my experiences with Supernatural I’ve had a couple of big fan girl moments, but that doesn’t change how I feel about the concept. Every morning while pouring through entertainment news, I read about this celebrity meltdown or this scandal or how so and so showed up at this party drunk and I wonder what's wrong with people. Why is this news? Why are Jon and Kate Jon Gosselin on my screen every freaking morning? What does the have to do with one TV show on TLC? Why am I getting numerous tweets daily about voting for Jensen or Jared in this hot sexy guy poll or blurbs about them and their dogs? Is that all there is to them?
Could it be this excitement from attending cons over and over again happens because of our overinflated sense of celebrity? Do we think we are getting a certain kind of access to their personal lives? Wil Wheaton, an actor and writer, found early fame from his role in Stand By Me and then later as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek:The Next Generation. He writes a lot about his experiences in his blog, WWdN: In Exile. In one fascinating entry, he talks about all the fan hype he got when Stand By Me became popular. This line grabbed my attention. "After a year of being part of that whole Teen Beat crowd, I was totally over it, I thought it was stupid and fake, and really wanted to get back to being an actor and having a normal life..."
That's it, actors want to do their job just like everyone else. Most do anyway. Their jobs are exhausting, repetitive, and grueling. For a lot of the journeymen actors doing small parts from gig to gig, I make way more than they do on an annual basis doing database programming, but I don't get a rush of people wanting an autograph from me (thank heavens!).   For the lead actors, they often have to live in a bubble or they'll go insane. They can't go to the mall without getting ambushed by a fan girl or boy. There's very little glamour at all in the everyday existence of an actor. They’re normal people trying to make a living under strange circumstances.
I remember when growing up how much I loved reading in-depth articles about actors and musicians in Rolling Stone or Entertainment Weekly. These were lengthy, up close and personal stories that got to the heart of what these entertainers were all about. For the most part they were ordinary people with stories of trial and tribulation, but they overcame their issues to become better people. I haven't seen an article like that in ages. Now, it's 140 characters about what they had for breakfast.
Back To The Con  
I'm straying though. We were talking about fan conventions. I'm still bothered by them. The one part of Galaxy Quest that makes me laugh the hardest is poor Alan Rickman’s character being asked at every freaking appearance to recite his tag line, “By Grabthar’s Hammer, by the sons of Worvan, you shall be avenged!” It kills him absolutely every time, but he does it anyway, for he’s a paid monkey. When Jensen and Jared are constantly asked to do things at these cons like sing “Eye of The Tiger” or say “I lost my shoe” over and over again, I wonder what fans are thinking. These are real men, not trained animal acts, not characters in a sci-fi spoof. Yet they do it, and everyone screams. A part of me dies a little when I see that.
I'm still mad about the expense too. I had heard because of security concerns the set tours had been cancelled. While I felt bad for the fans that signed up to go, something incredible for a fan like that shouldn't be available to just the highest bidder during an exclusive con. What about offering public tours? Why can't they do in Vancouver what they do in Hollywood? 
Once I looked beyond all that logic I listed above though, all the reasons why cons are a very bad idea, the real reason hit me as to why I wanted to go to Vancouver. At the two Creation Cons and two Comic Cons I've been to so far, I've met the most incredible fans. Sometimes you have to look beyond what's on paper. When we start talking about our show and where we traveled from to be there, it becomes all love. We end up drinking purple nurples in the bar and sitting in the lounge and lobbies of the hotels until the wee hours of the morning chattering away like we were long lost friends. It’s the extension of the online social network with the screennames and avatars removed. It's surreal, but pretty amazing.
Everyone should do at least one con, just to have that experience. Sure the actual events are diluted after each repeat appearance, but the bonding with other fans keeps getting better. Plus, the actors that get in front of us at a con for the most part have fun. They often have a fascinating story to share and truly enjoy spending an hour with us despite the excessive craziness out there at times and repitition in questions. That's the best experience a fan can hope for when attending a con. Everything else is hype.  
If people start talking about elephants though, it's time to call it a day. 


# trina 2009-08-28 22:25
Prior to discovering Supernatural I had no idea that conventions outside of Star Trek even existed. Then I saw the prices. Personally I could never justify it. I would like to experience the panels with the actors because they are quite a bit larger than life to me, but to spend hundreds of dollars for autographs and pictures is not something I would ever even consider.

So yeah I find the whole thing to be a bit ridiculous just because it seems so excessive and wasteful, but I guess to each their own.
# Narcissus 2009-08-28 23:54

(Haven, that's a brilliant idea!)
# RedBird 2009-08-29 00:05
Alice, I was at the first LA con where Eric Kripke was able to attend. He was amazing! As you might guess, there was an entirely different atmosphere during his time on stage. My best description for it is "academic." Lots of detailed questions about episode plots and character development. And he signed autographs for free! He stated at the start of the session that he would stay and sign until everyone that wanted an autograph got one. He also took pictures with people, again for free. Perhaps this is why Creation doesn't invite the writers? They might not "sell" like Jared and Jensen, but the interest is definitely there.

I would have to agree that the cons are both absurb and awesome. I've been to all 3 Comic Cons as well as the LA cons. I blame it on living so close to these venues... or maybe I'm just crazy. :D
# Faellie 2009-08-29 00:30
Alice, every word you say is spot on. Like Trina, until finding Supernatural I had no idea fan conventions existed. When I found out, I first assumed there would be creative types there as well as actors, to have the sort of intelligent discussions I've found on line. But even knowing that there weren't and that it would be entirely not my thing, when I found out that Asylum 3 was on in England in a couple of weeks, that Jensen and Jared would be there, and that it was sold out, I was disappointed. I know.

A week before Asylum 3 started, I bought a return, and wrote about the experience a bit ( http://shopstewardess.livejournal.com/#post-shopstewardess-1370 ). I'm glad I went, but wouldn't repeat the experience. Jensen and Jared seem like good guys, and dealt with what looked like a gruelling experience with grace and good humour, but they are just people, not Dean and Sam.

Perhaps the youth of the audience was a part of the problem: it seemed to be almost entirely teenagers and early twenties (I was definitely out of place) and there was a definite "pop star" feeling in the main auditorium, which was no doubt encouraged by people being in a room with 1400 other people behaving exactly the same. Guests other than Jensen, Jared and Misha got a quieter and more sensible reception and better questions. Individually, and away from the main auditorium, every fan I spoke to was sensible, reasonable and pleasant, but this isn't the part which comes across in the youtube videos.

Actually I thought the price wasn't bad: £100 for two full days of the guests in the auditorium, a Jason Manns concert, autographs (I got my copy of In The Hunt signed by every guest, didn't bother with photos) and a 20 person session in an interview room with Jensen. Still, with hotel and travel it was one of my more expensive weekends. I'm not expecting to go again. I can assuage my need to talk about Supernatural on line. Thanks Alice for providing this virtual space to do it in.
# alysha 2009-08-29 16:01
I agree with all of the above!

I never got the whole celebrity thing either. To me, actors are just people doing a job. Some of them get enormous egos that usually go along with their status becoming more and more public. Seems, Jared and Jensen are still not so well known (outside of us fans) and they ought to consider themselves lucky.

I hate reality TV and agree that an article that truly talks about their work or their philosophies is a lot more interesting than their favorite animal. I do feel bad for the J's to a point (cons are nice little bits of side income for them) b/c at the cons they are still acting and not really being themselves.

I love your line Alice, that unless meeting the J's means going out for a beer with them, it's not all that worth it.

I suppose these cons are a lot like Vegas, you wanna do them once to say you did, but not a second time.
# Bethany 2009-08-30 17:26
Mae i can't agree more, when i read this i felt a great relief. I went to the LA con in march on a whim and before that i hadn't really had much contact with fandom (i didn't know lj existed) and it was all a bit of a shock to me. Although i enjoyed my time at the con and particular in california, afterwards i was left with mixed feelings about the whole event. Yes it was fun to see the shows stars live and in person, and i have to admit to having my shared jared and jensen signed pic up in my room it was still a mixed bag.

The best parts were the random small moments, my conversation in the bar with Aldis Hodge (he's just adorable!) and Julie McNiven looking a little nervous and rocking the largest glass of wine i saw all weekend, talking to Charles Malik Whitfield, absolutely charming man, and Richard Speight Jr who was just amazing and talked to each fan for ages.. Meeting my new friends Donna and Sabrina and the gossip sessions we had in the bar where they and their friends tried to outdo each other shocking me with horror stories about scary/obsessive fan behaviour (the one about the girl who's had plastic surgery to look like jensen's girlfriend was a particularly creepy one-btw that girl was at the con).

But I couldn't help but have a feeling of unease at the behaviour of some fans. I was one of the youngest there but it wasn't an age thing rather that some fans seemed to view the actors Jensen and Jared in particular as commodities who should bend to their whim. There was a sense of entitlement that I didn't like that they forgot that these are people, people who get tired (Jensen in particular looked dead on his feet) people who might get embarrased by the things you asked (i'm thinking of one question in particular posed to Jensen about Dean which the fan wouldn't let go which Jared had to cut off by starting his part of the Q&A) or the things you ask them to do.

I also agree with Alice - how could a Q&A with Kripke or Ben Edlund or Sera Gemble not be fascinating I'd love to talk to them about the show, it's themes, how the research things, how they develop individual storylines opposed to the season arc, how they view the boys changing relationships etc etc - so many questions.

I guess it's the strange thing about fandom, when does love of the show cross the line to creepy. We love the show and it's crew and cast and we're grateful for the effort that they put into the show and the time they give to the fans but they don't owe us anything.

I'm so glad there are normal fans here... it's nice to escape the crazy and talk to like-minded folks.
# Anonymous 2009-08-30 19:33
Great article & great comments! Yours and Maureen Ryan's articles seem to be the only intelligent ones on the internet. I think Warner Brothers should fly you up to Vancouver for a set visit so you can discuss your fantastic article with Jensen and Jared (and do your own little location tour)! C'mon WB! Make it happen!
# Alice 2009-08-30 22:40
I just read that at the Vancouver con they ran behind schedule and cut Jared's solo panel. Seriously?? One of the two headliners? On top of that, I heard someone upset Jared on the last question with a PETA question.

I'm going to be open minded and wait for the details, but I'm pretty sick to hear that. I really hope it went well for the rest of it.
# Tigershire 2009-08-31 03:19
Yes, you would think after all these cons that Creation would be able to do a better job at timing for photo ops. Breakfast was on time this morning (or, well Sunday morning as it's now just after midnight and I just got home) and after a very entertaining session with Jared, Jensen and Jim the boys were hustled off for photo ops and Jim bragged about going to have a nap.

The photo ops took more than an hour more than scheduled so yes, we ended up loosing Jared's solo panel. And yes, last questions was a person who got up and asked Jared if he supported PETA. You could tell right away he was hesitant of answering. The whole room seemed to get it was a set up (of a sort). He said yes. The person the proceeded to ask Jared if he ever researched the company and started to tell him that PETA has a 97% euthanization rate.

The crowd made lots of grumbles and such to indicate that this question was not acceptable.

Jared, gracious man that he is had a BEAUTIFUL response. He talked about it not being about PETA in specific, but about raising awareness for the plight of animals - those who cannot speak for themselves and that an organization like PETA can and does mean different things to different people. He vary nicely shut her down, Jensen backed him up by saying good answer and the rest of us gave him a massive round of applause - maybe even a standing ovation but I applauded so much this weekend I can't actually remember for certain.

To Creation's credit, they had changed the tactics for the Q&A's by asking folks to submit their questions on paper with their names and seat numbers in order to review the questions and avoid the ones that cross the line. Which Jensen did in his solo session. However, when Jared got on stage (and was told how Misha bucked authority and insisted on opening the floor to question instead of having them read to him) he asked for mikes to be brought out.

What can you do? If Jared had opted to try the new method, a question like that would not have happened.

Maybe it was a good thing. Jared totally stood up for himself without getting angry or demeaning. It was wonderful and, to me, sent a clear message. Course in the haze of estrogen fill fan-girl mania, it could have been lost.

I'm going to work on posts for my experiences, which were great. I had a fantastic time at the con and made some new friends. And I already got my ticket for Van for next year.
# Bethany 2009-08-31 16:42
cringing for poor Jared. :oops:

and i feel sorry for the fans who missed out on the panel, i know that the LA con i went to ran late but not that bad.... creation should do this stuff better they have the experience. Glad you had a good time anyway tigershire!
# helps 2009-08-31 18:10
*thud* And I thought that there are no reasonable fans left. The fans that actually see actors like real people.This article is just awesome! I agree with everything. You said it all really. I'm impressed. Of course, there are some things that drives me crazy about this fandom, BUT yea meeting some good ppl at con is just awesome. ps Purple Nurple must be :D xxx
# dove95 2009-08-31 19:33
Hey all,

Came in through Twitter. Just got done reading this, and I'd have to say that part of what I've enjoyed by the two cons I've gone to is that before I had Jared, Jim Beaver, Gabe, and Misha all on this celeb pedestal. Now, maybe I'm one of the more rational fangirls and that maybe the cons I've gone to were smaller in comparison, but after my two experiences--I feel like it's taken them back down to actors and normal people. I'm appreciative of their appearances and their craft. I wish more of the crazy fangirls would see this experience this way.

That all being said, I used to go to the fan-based con Winchestercon (http://community.livejournal.com/winchestercon/profile). While I had a great time at the first one and met some really nice people, my subsequent fan-con experience was sub-par, sadly. It seems to me that it's more focused on BNFs, fandom activities (such as slash discussions, fanfic, etc) than really giving the fans ice-breaker ways to get to know one another.

All in all, I've found my con-going experiences to have been worth every penny spent (and still owe LOL).

(Great post, btw, Alice!)
# Janice 2009-08-31 19:53
Of course the alternative is to go to the fan-only cons - there is KazCon and WinchesterCon and MidwestWinchest ercon (run by anteka of Plastic!Winches ter fame) which are by fans, for fans with noa ctors. Prices are really cheap and you get to spend time with fans talking about the show and not standing in queues. I've been twice and it was brilliant.
# Jemma 2009-08-31 23:15
Hi all, I found this link via Twitter. I know there's been a lot of bad press surrounding the Supernatural cons lately, so I wanted to share my personal con experience.

Living first in the UK (before I knew conventions existed) and then Australia (by the time I knew about cons, and also knew there had never been a Supernatural one in Aus) I had kinda resigned myself to never getting to attend a convention.

So when I found out that there was going to be a con in Australia with Jared and Jensen as guests, I was one of the first to buy my tickets (although Platinum passes were already sold out, so I wasn't that quick!)

When I found out at a much later date that Misha had been added to the guest list, I was over the moon, and relieved I'd brought my tickets so early, guaranteeing excellent seats on both days.

Now, I've heard the horror stories from other cons, and I've gotta say, Sydney wasn't like that at all. I don't know if it was the attendees, the organising or just sheer dumb luck, but the con went beautifully. There was always something to do. Lines weren't all that long and they ran row by row, meaning until your row was called you could sit and watch an episode, or a panel, browse the stalls or chat to other fans. The lines themselves were short, and perhaps Aussies are just more sociable, but every time I queued I wound up chatting to the people in front of or behind me, so time flew by.

Despite epic jetlag the boys were friendly, playful and hilarious. Jared was like a puppy all weekend, so bouncy and hyped up on caffeine (and no doubt all the candy he was eating) that Jensen kept joking he should be sedated. I spoke to him when getting my autograph and photo, and he seemed genuinely interested in every one of the attendees.

Misha was on top form, rather than awkwardly ducking questions such as the one about his Nip/Tuck role or Karla, he answered frankly and with good humour. He personalised my autograph at my request, and was an absolute sweetheart in making sure he'd gotten it right. In the photo ops he reached out and said hi to every single person in the line, wrapped his arm around every one of us, and was generally the most welcoming and friendly guy it's possible to be.

Jensen was a delight to talk to at the cocktail party, telling us stories of his last time in Australia and a hilarious tale of scuba-diving with sharks on his last holiday. I spoke to him when getting my photo and my autograph, and again he was a sweetheart.

We had a panel for each boy on both days, and on Sunday a joint panel for Jared and Jensen. Questions were live from the audience, and while there were one or two awkward ones (well-fielded by the boys of course) they were for the most part quite interesting, and we got some fun answers and some insightful answers from the boys.

The charity auctions on both days were hilarious and entertaining (and a resounding success, raising a total of $11,300 for charity!) and the cocktail party was a fantastic experience.

While one or two things ran a little late, nothing was more than 15 minutes delayed, and nothing was cancelled. Despite this we had time to talk to each of the boys.

It was, without a doubt, one of the best experiences of my life, and one I would love to repeat.

The only piece of advice I can give is, talk to people! Most fans go with friends, and I arranged to meet people that I knew from LiveJournal and the sn.tv forums. I spoke to whoever was with me in the queues, and I spoke to the people sitting around me in the auditorium. I had a great conversation with totally random fans at the cocktail party. In a place where you're surrounded by fellow fans it shouldn't matter if you're queueing, going to lunch or just waiting for a panel to start. Instead of getting impatient and complaining, get talking and you'll find time flies. You can have just as much fun with fellow fans as you can with the boys themselves.

Apologies for rambling, I always seem to get this way when talking about Supernatural-re lated things ^_^
# JoAnne 2009-09-01 02:40
Hello Alice!

I always enjoy your writings on my favorite show of all - Supernatural.

I have been to three Supernatural cons so far. The Chicago '07, (the first con with both Jensen and Jared together), the LA con of '08 with Eric Kripke and this year's LA con. I plan to continue going when I can.

I am not a "youngster." I have two daughters in their early twenties and I am saying this because I have seen many a TV series and many an actor and this series as a whole unit has kept me mesmerized like no other show I can remember.

I totally agree, that as fans at these cons, we should not expect Jared and Jensen to get up there and be at our beck and call. You touched on this beautifully when the crowd gets all grumpy because Jensen won't reenact "Eye of the Tiger," the girly scream at seeing that cat in "Yellow Fever," or doing the "Blue Steel" face. Nor should Jared just be known for his adorable, "I lost my shoe." Gosh, there is so much more to Jensen and Jared and their acting simply blows me away.
I know we are all entitled to ask what we want, for the most part. But what amazes me, for example, is what happened at last year's Comic Con (which I did not attend). There on the panel sat Eric Kripke, the creator and genius of the show. The "Grand Pooh-Bah" if you will. Alongside him sat the wonderful, exquisite writers, Sera Gamble and Ben Edlund. PLUS, the magic that is Jared and Jensen. Such a fountain of information all at the con goers' fingertips or vocal chords :-) right in front of them. And, what question was asked? What was the size of the engine in the Impala?

At the LA con in '08, a lady asked Jared something like why he flubbed his lines in a certain episode (which he didn't by the way). Jared with his intelligence and grace handled it beautifully.

We all have our own reasons for liking the show and its' actors. I had never been to a con before in my life and yet this show grabbed me and captivated me so much so, that I found a way to afford the gold ticket and fly from my home state to Chicago all by myself. Whether I met anyone there or not, I just knew I would be fine because of why I was there and who I was going to see. Once I got to the convention, I not only made two new and very dear friends, but also I realized why people love cons. It was the spirit of knowing I could go up to any fan in the convention and they would know exactly what I was talking about, whether it be a scene from an episode or the excitement of speculating what was going to happen to "our boys" down the line.

Seeing Jared and Jensen in person did not at all make me wish that they were Sam and Dean. They are kind, generous men without the big egos. The happiness they exude in person is felt by not only every crew member on the show, turning the cast and crew into one big family, but also is felt by all of us, making us one big family as well.
# Helen 2009-09-01 06:46
"In Chicago the purple nurple was awful! It wasn't even purple! It was essentially vodka and cranberry juice. In NJ, they go it right. Coconut rum is a must."

You know, that's the thing. We brought to A3 everything ourselves. We had own Purple Nurples, two awesome cakes with boys on it and such :D We didn't want to risk that someone can't make good PN *wink*

Y-day I was kind of tired, so I didn't really write much, but as long as I can say the money I spent on A3 were totally worth it(I should mention that it wasn't that much money as people spend on US cons,because things are a lot of cheaper here). I know that there are a lot of people bitching about organization of cons, but on the other side, I think that it also depends on the bunch of ppl that meet there. I for once, didn't really have too much of problem with standing in the line, I had a great time with about 10 of my friends from different countries. When we needed something,we asked organizators and they'd help us out. I think if people want to enjoy something they do so,but if they want to bitch,they always find the reasons to do so.
I also loved your point about asking actors stupid questions or making them repeat something in a way their character does that. It really is silly and kind of treating them like things. :sad: I'm going to UK con next year, so I will have to think about questions, but most of the time, I'm too shy to stand up and ask anyway,so we will see.....
Once again thanks for this cool article and hope you don't mind I shared on Twitter :-)
# Suze 2009-09-01 07:08
I've never been to a Con as a punter, when I was at college in London I did backstage gophering at a few Comic Cons ( cash in hand and a free bar ... nuff said! ) Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and not too fussed about all the queueing but it's not something I fancy at all personally. This is going to sound daft but there's a teeny tiny bit of me that thinks the whole SPN world is really real and watching the actors sign and chat would completly blow that so I'll give it a miss. Plus I absolutely hate queues. Meeting lots of fellow freaks sounds fun but I think I'll stay on line ... Way cheaper too!
# Calena 2009-09-01 09:48
First off, I only discovered this site recently (on twitter, I think) and I love it!

I never thought I'd actually make it to a Con, but I managed to go to Asylum 3. Travelling from central Europe wasn't cheap, and from Vienna there was no direct flight to Birmingham, so we had to inconvienently change planes in Amsterdam.
I only had the lowest priced tickets, so I spent a lot of money on getting extra autos and photo ops. I had to take 2 days unpaid leave of work to be able to go.
But the weekend was totally worth it. Yes it was chaos and mayhem, and they really could have prevented the agonising wait on Friday, by at least starting registration on time. I have a few minor additional gripes too. But from what I read about Vancon, I regret being as harsh as I was in my report immediately after Asylum 3.
For a lot less money than at Vancon we got 3 days of the Js, and yes, Jensen's last panel got cancelled. And yes, I was very sad about that, because Sunday afternoon, thanks to a new friend I met at the con, I had actually a seat center front row and I was really looking forward to seeing Jensen from so close. But as opposed to Vancon we had Misha filling in for Jensen, which was much appreciated, he did 2+ hours on stage.
Wayne and Paul, the guys organizing the event, were available throughout the weekend to answer questions and deal with complaints.
Despite all the mayhem I had a great weekend and I have bought my ticket for Asylum 4 early.
So in defense of Asylum, I don't think they are about ripping off the fans as much as US cons seem to be, from what I've read.

Of course seeing the boys at a Con can hardly be called "meeting" them. (Yes, I'd love to go for a beer with them. For that matter, I'd love to go for a beer with any of the writers and Eric Kripke. I totally agree that I'd love to have writers at a Con. Maybe we get lucky at Asylum 4)

Alice you wanted to know how a fan can get a good experience out of the mayhem that was A3. The group of friends (online friends I met there for the first time) I was with and I took it with a lot of humour. We didn't queue Friday afternoon, just hung around the hotel lobby, chatting and getting to know each other. We were pretty relaxed and we had fun.
I totally loved the stage talks. Autos went by pretty fast, I have nothing memorable to report from my autos. At photo ops with the Js I managed to exchange a few sentences with them, and the 12 seconds at photo op with them are my most cherished con memory. It might be pathetic but the boys reacting to what I said to them made my year.
So stage talks (it was so sweet when Jensen showed us a pic of Icarus; Gabe and Malik were hilarious, Fred singing "Sympathy for the Devil" with SPN lyrics, etc.), photo ops and meeting my online friends was what made a great experience out of this weekend of standing in line. :-)

You asked if the Con experience gets old after a while. I have no idea, I only have been to one. But I don't think it will, because there are always different guests, and anything can happen.

I agree with pitying the boys and the sense of entitlement that many fans sadly have. Not to speak about people dissing their girlfriends, that's something I don't get at all. What's that about? I mean you can still fantasize about them being your boyfriend, if you want to, regardless of them having gfs. Them being single doesn't make it any likelier your fantasy will come true. Geez!

On the other hand, doesn't it feel nice to be liked and cheered on by so many people? They should enjoy being worshipped as long as SPN lasts, because when it's over the average teenage fangirl probably will move on to the next hot hunks. (there are some exceptionally mature teenage fangirls that I've met, though)

I disagree about seeing the actors makes it difficult to get lost in the story/show. That's not at all true for me.

About the Purple Nurples: The hotel didn't serve any, but one girl of our group brought homemade ones! Yay!

I agree about the repetetive and stupid questions. There were times at A3 when I wanted to scream at the person asking the question "I can answer that for Jared, he has answered that a thousand times!" Insofar Vancon's idea of pre screening the questions might not have been so bad.

Sorry for rambling on so long!
# Ashley 2009-09-03 03:41
This was very nicely worded, and I have to admit, before Supernatural, I would say and think the same thing. That's what I've always thought about celebrities. But I have to say, that I would probably go to a con just to see the boys too. The fans are great sometimes, but they all go for the same reason, to see those boys. To see the humor and love, and just how sweet and adorable they are in person. It amazes me how most celebrities let it go their head, but not the J2 boys, maybe we're all going to see if they really are kind hearted, without a thing wrong with them. ;P
# Freebird 2010-03-21 21:54
It's been 7 month since you posted this, Alice, but I'm slowly catching up with the articles on this site ;-)

I'm probably writing this only to my own attention, but couldn't help throwing in my own 2 cents :-) This article's topic is something I had been asking myself several times. It's been not so long that I learned about the existence of cons, and my first reaction was 'Wow! That must be great!'.

But soon I changed my mind. Firstly, I don't think I would spend such a huge amount of money for a weekend. It's just beyond my budget. So, I watch the youtube videos and read the reports instead. And I think that they are quite informative. Another thing that keeps me from going, are the screaming fangirls that make many video-audios hard to understand - the thought of being with them in that noisy room for hours is really not attractive to me. And after years of con-ing, hasn't every question been already answered? Yes, I do feel for the boys sometimes, though they seem to have fun it must be exhausting.

But, I have to admit, I'd love to meet the cast and crew, have a chat with them over a beer or two, sing karaoke and joke about pranks (dream on, girl ;-)). And I can imagine how much fun it would be to meet other fans!

Some of you have said how "having too much knowledge about the actor’s actual background messes with the ability to suspend one's disbelief when watching the actor try to portray a character". Well, I think I wouldn't have a problem with that. But I have a slightly bit different problem. I met some of Croatia's celebrities, thou compared to Hollywood they are just big fish in a small pond. But here they are big: an actress, a director, a screenwriter, and a poet. Had the chance to meet them on a professional basis and talk to them. Well, didn't do much talk for they had big egos. Bigtime! Barely squezzed out a 'Hello', but were pretty darn celebrity-clich e-demanding. Except the poet, he was so nice and down to earth and charming. So, every time when I think how great it would be to meet the SPN celebs, I can't help thinking 'Better not. I'd hate them being pretentious dicks. I'd rather keep up the appearance they have on me'. And that is, that they are nice and down to earth and charming and awsome people. I do believe you who have met them, and they do leave that impression. But I'm scared :o and it's a problem.

Bottom line is, I'll keep reading the con reports and interviews and enjoying them, and being a little bit jealous of all of you being there. And if my path ever crosses Jensen's, Jared's, Jim's, Eric's, Misha's, Samantha's or any of the rest of the gang, I'll say 'Hello' and hope they'll reply, and we go have a chat over a coffee or whatever (still dreamin'). But I'd never go to a con.

Of course, life has taught me to never say never... maybe they'll read this comment and invite me to visit them at the set (dreamin', dreamin', dreamin') :-)