I feel like doing a public journal today in regards to an issue related to Fan Expo, the Canadian equivalent of San Diego Comic Con. I could start by either telling you from the Fan Expo is evil perspective, which seems to be the one everyone is taking, or I could start the other way. Guess which is coming.
Fan Expo is a four day event. Celebrities are usually paid quite a lot of money to attend (usually based on what they and their agent negotiate with organizers), plus they get to keep whatever money they make during autographs, and prices there typically range from $20 to sometimes over $100, and again the agent takes probably a 15-20% cut of that money. Still, the celebrities are guaranteed to make A LOT of money at these things, and in exchange for that, Fan Expo needs them to help promote the convention to get people in the door. Simple so far right?
I have no doubt that over the past 20 years of this con, the people who run it have spent a lot of time analyzing demographics, paying attention to how many people come to see specific people, estimating demand for people, and I suspect they know that for the event to be successful, they need to spread out the celebrities to encourage people to attend multiple days to see multiple celebrities, better yet if people will buy the 4 day passes!
I also have no doubt that while the convention organizers will almost certainly make handsome profits, the costs of having an event like this are HUGE. It ain't cheap to rent both the North and South buildings of one of the largest convention centers in the world, and I'm sure they have quite the payroll as a large staff is needed to manage an event of that size (plus you know, thousands of dollars go to the celebrities and their agents to get them to appear). So at a minimum, they would like to make some sort of a profit, but it's actually GOOD for them to have a large profit, because the more profit they have, the more they can potentially have the money to secure more and perhaps even better celebrities for future conventions! Yes, the people do end up paying quite a lot to see these celebrities, but having that chance is extremely valuable and sometimes life changing for the people that attend. Those feelings of getting to see your heroes and role models in person are not diminished because you have to pay to be there, and some of these people do not appear in public often so it can feel like a once of a lifetime sort of chance.
I also have no doubt that the organizers try to please their celebrity guests are much as possible. When you have dozens of celebrities, some with big egos, all appearing for the same convention, you cannot possibly please them all, and there may be times when they need to pick their battles if the feel like a decision could affect ticket sales. I suspect that in a perfect world, they invite the celebrities to chose any or all days to attend and participate in the con. And if history shows that the days with most prestige are Saturday and Sunday, then that is when a lot of the big ego people are going to want to be front and center. I can see how it might be a problem trying to sell tickets hoping people come for all 4 days, when only 2 days are packed with the "in demand" guests. They need need to spread out the awesome, if you will.
And so, here is the conflict. An actor, which had been invited to attend Fan Expo, cancelled his appearance, I believe just 2 weeks or so before the show? And with this cancellation comes news that on the exact same weekend, he is going to another convention in a different country instead. We don't need to guess at the reason because this actor flat out tells us, assuming he's being honest and I really don't know one way or the other. Basically, he claims that the organizers told him to only do autographs on the Thursday and or Friday. And he sees that as an insult, because as he says, the "party" with more of the big stars is Saturday and Sunday. I can totally see his side of things, and would be pissed too, but its also a fact that someone's gotta draw the crowds on those other days, and I would think that a lot of people could get just get over it and do those days so as to not let down the fans that had been looking forward to seeing him. I honestly think I would just do it, and then not book with the convention company ever again. But I do feel like calling Fan Expo out was a cheap shot. Clearly they saw value in having him attend, so much so that they presumably think he could get people to buy tickets for those less popular days. And I have no doubt they would have paid him well to attend those less desirable days, but I can't help but feel like the Toronto fans are losing out now because its a bit cruel to say your coming and then change your mind because you feel insulted just two weeks before. Fan Expo is not a celebrity party... well, in some ways yes, I'm sure they have a blast in the green rooms, but they are being paid to be there to sell tickets! They have an opportunity to make thousands of dollars from autographs, and to meet thousands of fans that might not otherwise have gotten the chance. Not everyone can travel long distances to go to cons, and now it seems like he probably will never even consider another Toronto con (he says he doesn't hold grudges, but after all this fuss I can't believe he would ever attend one from this company, and I doubt the other Toronto convention companies can afford him, lol).
So who really is the bad guy in all of this?? Is there even one? Were both sides wrong? No matter what you think, I feel like any rational person could see both sides even if they feel like there is more wrong on one side versus the other. I do agree that Fan Expo was shady to try and limit his autograph time, but I also think that the way the situation was handled could have been better... I just don't think it's right to allow your fans to believe that you'll be at an event, and then cancel it shortly before hand. People tend to be very understanding if someone needs to cancel due to an illness or if a contract requires them to be on a tv or movie set but with this, it was completely his choice if he wanted to be there for the fans, or let pride or ego or whatever else win, and the fans did not win. I sort of feel like this would be like, if there are children in a hospital, and you say you'll come visit them at the hospital, but then you say "Sorry, I feel insulted by the hospital staff so I'm going to visit kids at another hospital instead"... I know that's a bit extreme, but the gain for the new children is the loss for that first group of children (in this case, the Toronto fans). I know for a fact that some of his fans are children that are now that are very disappointed because they thought he was coming, and now he's not. To my knowledge, he has not planned any alternative events for Toronto where fans can come meet him, but I do think that would be a nice gesture to make up for the disappointment. And perhaps Fan Expo could issue a public apology and admit their wrong doing, that would also be a positive gesture if it actually leads to them behaving better or at least being more clear with what they want from guests before they announce them.
I just don't believe in blindly defending people. I fully admit that Fan Expo is extremely flawed because it is a business and for profit, but I also cannot deny that it brings a lot of joy to peoples lives. I can't imagine it would be easy worrying about the egos of the celebrities, and your staff, and the thousands of fans, that must be a nightmare balancing act for any convention organizer, you seriously cannot make everyone happy and put everyone first at all times. I don't think two wrongs make a right, and I don't think putting your own needs first is always the right answer, although sometimes it is necessary.
in the end of november it's my 4th year here on vf. i feel like a youngster next to you dinosaurs i did not had the balls to make an account because my english was very bad at the beginning, but i thought about joining this site 1 year before i really did