August 27, 2010

Fan Expo-losion: DAY 1: Lines from Hell (August 27th)

If you bring in media to cover your event, why force them to stand in line that prevents them from getting into the event?  This year, Fan Expo was located in the North Building of the Metro Convention Center and I don't think the people in charge knew what they were doing.

Don't get me wrong; while I loved today's panels and met some fantastic guests, before I could get in I was stuck in one of the worst managed lines I've ever seen at Fan Expo. Then, when I tried to get out of the line by relying on my press credentials, I faced resistance from some needlessly abrasive security guards. Actually getting into the Fan Expo was a major hassle when I was, in fact, there to promote Fan Expo and do free work for them.

The beginning of a line that would grow increasingly massive each hour
Instead of being granted a clearly labeled press pass for the duration of the Expo, I was issued an empty media badge and given a one-use basic admission ticket that needs to be replaced each day. I was told I had to wait in line to get my hand stamped at the end of the line before I could be omitted onto the convention floor. Normally this wouldn't be a problem if we were in the South Building where, in the past, attendees would be inside and could sit on the carpeted floor while waiting. This year, Fan Expo forced all the costumed cat girls, superheroes, and zombies to snake around the block near the CN Tower, down narrow stairs, and along Front Street in front of the Intercontinental Hotel. It was heat and hard pavement. No staff were in sight to answer questions or address the concerns of pass holders who were growing increasingly frustrated. Although the premium pass holder line was moving, the deluxe / basic line was frozen. For no reason. No staff came down to explain why we were spending more than two hours in the same spot.

I didn't pay for my ticket -- I was there as press. What right do I have to complain? Well,  I was there to do an unpaid job of covering the Fan Expo, promoting an official after party, and helping spread the word about guests in attendance. But I wasn't being allowed to do my job. When I left my line to try and enter with my press pass and ticket, I was told by a security guard that I couldn't enter without a stamp. An hour later, I managed to gain entrance by showing them both my media badge and my ticket and they just stamped my hand anyways. So what was with all the obstacles?

EDIT: I later found out on Saturday that I could have just entered through the VIP entrance with no hassle. This is not what I was told by Fan Expo Staff.

I almost spent more time fighting to get in than covering the Fan Expo. I did, however, attend two panels: a Q and A with the cast and producers of Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf (review) and a panel about the evolution of vampires hosted by a large panel of vampire authors including Nancy Kilpatrick.

Pictures from Friday, and more on these panels soon! For now, I'm going to hit up the Horror in the Hammer after party at the Rivoli (334 Queen St. West). Time to rest my dogs after standing in line all day for no good reason,