Category Archives: Conventions

TV vs Radio: The Era of Fan Conventions

Lately, I’ve seen more posts from friends meeting various celebrities at conventions than I have seen of friends meeting Duran Duran. Not that it’s a problem, I’ve just taken notice.

I thought it was funny a few years back (actually it was probably four years ago now) when Amanda posted that the President of the United States was easier to meet than Duran Duran.  I suppose that for her, that’s probably true, but it’s still kind of weird when you think about it. And yet, she’s met Barack Obama twice. She’s campaigning again, and I’m honestly a bit curious about who she might meet this time!

But, getting back to conventions, I’ve seen pictures from friends meeting everyone from the lead actors in Supernatural to Superman. These conventions aren’t necessarily “new” (I remember conventions for fans of LOST for instance, and I think Trekkie conventions have been around for decades), but they certainly have experienced an upsurge in popularity in the past few years.

I don’t doubt that some people are very interested in discussing canon or the meta involved with a particular TV show.  They go to conventions to listen to the panels in the same way that I adore sitting down with other Duranies and really getting into the nitty-gritty discussion of an album. I also believe access—as in access to the celebrities—must be a driving force behind attendance. Those photo ops sell out quickly, from what I’ve read.

It is also clear why Hollywood, and the TV industry in particular (but not SOLELY TV by any means) encourages participation in these conventions. It is the same reason why shows like Scandal and again, Supernatural, and even Sherlock, encourage their stars to use Twitter or other social media to reach out.  I’ve been followed by some of the celebrities from my favorite shows, and that’s always a thrill.

What truly fascinates me though, is how some of the one-time most ardent Duran Duran fans I knew, have now migrated out of our immediate fandom and into TV show fandom. They use conventions in the same way that I use concerts. They are an escape, a reason to meet up with friends—and by the looks of it, they’re a blast.

The conventions look like a lot of fun, and I think they must be a way to add another dimension to the fandom experience. Getting a photo with a favorite. Hearing the celebrity(ies) of choice speak on a panel. None of that would  work well if fans were getting the vibe that these stars didn’t want to do those things. Whether that’s the acting thing coming into play or it is because these celebrities understand that without public support they’ve got nothing—I do not know, but I find it fascinating all the same.

In music though, it is supremely different. For example, to my knowledge the music industry doesn’t seem to have conventions like this that are open to the public. I mean, one could site NAMM (North America Music Merchants) as being a convention where music celebrities tend to gather or appear—but unless you’re in the biz or know somebody—you’re not getting in.

There are a few other conventions that are truly just festivals in disguise. For example there is an alternative music festival in Los Angeles where tribute bands perform, but it really isn’t a convention in the same sense as say, Comic-con. There are cruises and things, but most bands aren’t willing to be captive for their audience for multiple days at a time….and I can’t blame them.

In much of the music industry, there’s a genuine effort to maintain mystique whether we’re talking Duran Duran or Paul McCartney. They are on the stage, we are off.  That platform they perform on is their pedestal, and nary between the two shall meet. I believe the thinking may be that separation creates demand. Perhaps it does. But I have to wonder why having celebrities reach out in other areas—like movies and television—works so well?  Why is music so different?

I’ve read a lot about fans over the past few years. We can definitely be an overwhelming crowd. Words like “crazy”, “obsessive”, “manic”, and even “sex-starved”, and of course “groupie”, all get applied rather liberally—but those words seem to be spread equally across all fandoms with no consideration for what type of fans we’re talking about.  So is it really all that different to be a fan of the TV show Sherlock, a fan of Robert Downey Jr.,  or a fan of The Killers? Does one have more potential for obsession than the others?

As you might guess, I don’t have the answers.  I don’t know what drives someone away from concerts for their favorite band to instead drop cash to go to a convention like Wizard Con, but I see a lot of fans doing it. I don’t really know if bands or artists like Duran Duran could use similar ideas to cultivate a more loyal following.  I just know what I see—a lot of one time multi-ticket buyers have stopped going to concerts in favor of supporting their favorite TV actors and shows through conventions and other opportunities.  There might just be something to it.

 

-R

 

 

 

Planning for a little Durandemonium

As we’ve bantered about, we’re planning another Durandemonium for August of 2017. If you want a date, think Duran Duran Appreciation Day because our plan is for Durandemonium to encompass that date. We’re also tentatively thinking that we’ll stick with Chicago as the city – so there’s some planning in advance for ya!

Chicago is centrally located in the US, there is a ton to do as far as nightlife and entertainment options, there is plenty in the way of public transportation, and it is also a place where both Amanda and I are very familiar and ideally – Amanda is able to take all of the equipment we would need for the convention without having to rely on costly shipping.  We are very excited to begin the planning process, which is why I’m writing today.

Durandemonium is for fans. (Fun fact: I’ve never been to ANY convention as an attendee!) We have done some fun things at previous conventions, but what we would really like to know is what YOU might like to do. Please feel free to brainstorm in our comments, understanding that whatever we plan for the convention  will be included in the registration ticket price. For example, sure – we could have a live band perform, and if the sky is the limit – we might even be able to pay to have special appearances, but that cost ultimately gets passed on through the price of registration. No matter, this is brainstorming time and no ideas are bad ideas.

In order to get the creative juices flowing, allow me to list some ideas that have been done at conventions in the past:

  • scavenger hunt
  • club nights
  • banquets
  • icebreaker games
  • private screenings
  • cosplay (dress as your favorite line of lyric!)
  • trivia games
  • pin/merchandise trading/vendor areas

…and so on.  Send in your ideas, and remember – we’re brainstorming. Sky is the limit right now. Dreams are STILL free! (yeah, yeah…we know you want the band there. We are still planning for about 100 people to attend the convention, tops. Who wants to pay $1,000 or likely, even more per ticket? Anyone???)

Looking forward to reading your ideas for fun, good times, and Durandemonium!

-R

Another Durandemonium?

I’m really not on Facebook very much anymore.  Yes, I go over there for Daily Duranie purposes or if someone tags me in a photo or post, but I don’t go there to scroll through people’s posts very often.  In my busy schedule, something had to go and that seems to be one that is cut a lot.  Part of the reason it is cut more than other things is because I just don’t see as many interesting posts as I used to.  One aspect of Facebook that I do enjoy is the “See Your Memories” part.  I often go to look at mine.  I am reminded of what was on my mind when or what I was doing a year ago or three.  This weekend, a photo popped up.

Durandemonium 13 materials

What the heck is all of this, you might be wondering?!  This was the back of my parents’ van on this weekend two years ago.  The van and its contents were headed to Chicago for Durandemonium, the Duran Duran fans convention we organized.  Inside those boxes were banquet decorations, Duran games, merchandise for raffles and much, much more.  In seeing this picture, I shared it to my timeline as it brought a smile to my face.  What made me smile even more was all of the comments people posted in response, many of whom were convention attendees!  It certainly made me think about planning the convention, the convention itself and the after effects of this convention.

Planning the convention was not as easy as I had assumed before I began the process.  I knew that there would be a lot of details to arrange and take care of but I didn’t realize just how many.  Then, there were the financial responsibilities of it as all of the businesses we worked with needed deposits and needed someone to charge for the costs.  That fell to me and, at times, it seemed that I had put far too much risk on my own finances.  Thankfully, it all worked out but still added quite a bit of stress in my life.  Of course, beyond all of that, there were constant requests about when, where, how to have the convention.  The truth we knew going in and got reinforced was that we can’t and couldn’t please everyone.  Many people wanted a different weekend or a different location or different activities or a different cost.  It was hard making those decisions, knowing that we weren’t going to make all people happy.

Once the event started, though, all of those worries wiped away.  I had too much to do and was living in the moment so I couldn’t worry about criticisms.  I wouldn’t worry.  That weekend moved by so quickly.  It felt to me that we went from one activity to the next with very little down time.  (I wonder if attendees had that same feeling?).  Some activities, of course, stick out WAY more than others.  I admit that I loved running the “get to know you Duran games” during registration, but I really LOVED seeing A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen at a local movie theater.  That Saturday night was a ton of fun with the banquet and after banquet party at Late Bar, a local 80s club in Chicago.  Here are some pictures of that weekend:

Playing games - not so quiet any longer!
Playing games – not so quiet any longer!
As you can see, we didn't sit!
As you can see, we didn’t sit!

At Late Bar!

1. Group
The group on the last morning.

Looking at these pictures and the video brings back a lot of good memories.  You know what makes me smile even more?  Seeing people who attended the convention now be friends!  After all, that really is the point.  Yes, of course, conventions celebrate the common interest (Duran Duran, in our case) but through that process, connections and friendships begin!  I know I made friends that weekend.  Lifelong friends.

Now, two years later, I really am beginning to believe that I’m ready to do this again!  I learned a lot that weekend.  While I truly believe that weekend was a massive success on many levels, I also think we could make it better as long as we have people interested in attending and people interested in helping.  After all, the reasons to have conventions still exist as all still love Duran Duran and need/want connections with others who understand us on a fundamental level.

-A

Today in Duran History – Durandemonium

One year ago on this date, Durandemonium began in Chicago as Duranies converged onto the the city to enjoy a weekend filled with Duran related activities, including clubbing at the city’s Late Bar, an author’s panel, Duran games, a banquet, and a Diamond in the Mind on the big screen.  As I’m sure you know, this convention was organized by the authors of this blog and some of our good friends.  This convention took months to prepare, plan, organize and it was worth every minute as the convention was a success for both organizers and attendees alike.  Due to the convention, the Duran love was rekindled, strengthened and fortified by the attendees.  Likewise, friendships developed and strengthened during the weekend.  Truly, our big goals for the convention were met.  I love seeing attendees continue to be in touch with each other even now and make plans to get together for both Duran and non-Duran events.  Their fandom is that much stronger and much more likely to be long-lasting from attending a fan convention.  On top of that, many have developed what could be lifelong friendships.

If you are anything like me, you might want to take a moment or two to relive the weekend.  I suggest you take the time to read the blog posts below:

Something to Remember

Day 2 Report

Day 1 Report

The next question, I’m sure, is will there be another Durandemonium?  If so, when?  This is a question that Rhonda and I have talked about more than any other question.  The simple answer is that, yes, we hope that there are more conventions in our future.  Yet, we have struggled to get the next one off the ground.  One big factor is the fundraising one.  Conventions are not cheap.  In the case of Durandemonium, our costs included the banquet, the hotel, the movie screening, etc.  I put up a lot of money (we are talking thousands of dollars) and hoped that we would get enough attendees to cover the costs, which is pretty scary for someone who just has a teacher salary.  Thus, we encourage anyone who wants to support upcoming conventions to take a look around at our Cafe Press store.  While you would be helping us and future convention attendees out, you also can get some cool things!

On that note, I think I will take some time to look through my pictures and remember how truly fun the weekend was.

-A

Conventions and Swag!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m struggling to get through this week. It’s been a busy one here, and given that my children are due to start school again in just a couple of weeks (they got out the last week in June), I don’t think a reprieve is on it’s way.

Today, I am seeking some opinions, and also sharing some news. Recently, Amanda and I were approached about possibly doing another convention in the spring. By “Spring” I mean either March or April – we have a couple of different weekends in mind, avoiding Easter. We have no details pegged at this point, but I can announce with certainty that the convention would be in the Los Angeles, California area – this is definite.

Amanda and I know there are many of you out there who loved Durandemonium and have been waiting for us to announce another.  It didn’t matter that the band wasn’t present or that we were way in between albums. Those who came to the event wanted to be there, to meet new people, form new friendships and have a great time. Judging purely from the people I see keeping in touch with one another on Facebook and Twitter, we think those goals were not only met, but surpassed, and we couldn’t be prouder.

I’ve mentioned many times here on the blog that in 2004, there was another Duran fan convention in New Orleans. This was a pretty magical time because not only were people looking to meet other fans, form new friendships and have a kick-ass time in New Orleans, but there was a new album coming out. The convention was at the end of September and Astronaut hit shelves a few weeks later in October. The band was out and about doing promo, and I could feel the energy reverberating through the fans for the entire weekend. It added something incredibly special and electric to the weekend, that is for sure.

This convention would be similar, assuming of course that the band stays the course and gets the album out in Spring of next year.  That same electricity would be in abundance, and I can’t really think of better ways to energize a fan community than having a fan convention just before the release of an album. Granted, we also recognize that most people are on a budget. Decisions have to be made with finances in mind, and perhaps people might feel that it’s just too close to call – assuming that the band would tour immediately following the album release. My guess (and it IS just a guess) is that even if the band released an album in the spring, and even if they started to tour during the summer – they might not come to the US first. Perhaps they’d get to us in the fall, which seems to be a pretty typical pattern for them. Ultimately though, we want to hear from you. Let us know what you think of another convention or fan weekend during the Spring (March or April) of 2015.  Would you attend? Why or why not?

In that same vein, we have been brainstorming ways to do some initial fundraising so that we can secure convention space.  As you may have guessed, when we booked the previous convention, the money used for deposits came directly out of our pockets (specifically Amanda’s!). Then we had to rush to sell tickets, many months in advance, in order to pay her back. While it wasn’t a horrible system, it led to many, MANY, sleepless nights on both of our parts, not to mention asking all of you to buy tickets some nine months before the actual event. Not a perfect system by any means. So before agreeing to do another, we had to brainstorm of ways to help pay for the conventions and planning. One of the things we decided to do was create a Daily Duranie Swag Shop using Cafepress! If you take a look up in the menu bar – you’ll see “Daily Duranie Swag Shop” up there. Click on it and it will take you directly to our shop on Cafepress. We’ve got everything from T-shirts to bags and shot glasses. Keep in mind that when you purchase, you’re helping us make Daily Duranie better, and putting on the next convention, and we really appreciate your help! Besides, who doesn’t want a Daily Duranie flask?!? We will be continuing to add to our merch and designs over the coming months, so check it out!  (One small caveat: we are still tinkering with the site, and one of the things I’m working on is the search functionality – right now nothing will come up if you search for particular items, but everything we have is on that front page so you shouldn’t miss anything!)

We would love feedback regarding a convention in the spring, and if you find yourself as an owner of some Daily Duranie Swag – take a photo and send it to us!  I’ll put it up on the site!

-R

Try Much Harder Until the Truth is Drawn

Recently, I have been trying to describe what is this website is, what we do here and why.  Perhaps, you could explain it far easier than I could when I tried.  I can describe what it is NOT well.  Yes, it is a blog, but it is also more than that.  How do you define “blog”?  The definition I found was something about a personal website in which someone records an opinion on a regular basis.  Well, we certainly do record our opinions on a regular basis, a VERY regular basis.  I’m sure, at times, people wish that we didn’t record our opinions so much.  Yet, we have had and still have a lot to say about being a Duranie, about being a fan, about fandom, about Duran Duran and more.  Thus, this place definitely fits the definition of “blog”.  Yet, if you have taken any time at all to look around, you see that there are other pages.  These pages discuss our book and the various fan events that we have organized.  Our book, I promise you, showcases years of research, both in the written word type research and in the observation type research.  The fan events show that we have planned events.  Why?  What is the point of all this and how do we think we are doing with it?

I have thought a lot about WHY we do all of this.   Our book came first.  When we first thought of writing a book, it was probably more focused on just life as a Duranie.  It led to broader questions.  What is fandom?  What is being part of a fandom like?  Are all fandoms alike?  Are there negatives?  If so, what are they?  Why do people join fandoms?  Why do they leave them and why do they stay?  To summarize, we decided that fandom was fascinating.  We wanted to understand it and those people in fandom.  We wanted to understand OURSELVES.  Our book is all about curiosity and understandings.  Yet, of course, you can see a lot of that within our posts here, too.  We research and write to seek answers and understandings.  The blog came next, in order to continue this process.

Beyond expanding the process we had with the book, this place has also provided a place to discuss what is happening.  We have lots of thoughts when it comes to Duran Duran and being Duranies.  Over time, we had lost our place to discuss such things.  We needed a home.  Soon, we realized that others might, too, need a place to discuss the same things.  We have always welcomed others who want to discuss.  (Of course, the key word there is “discuss”.  There is a big difference between discussion and attempting to tear others’ down.)  Thus, this “place” came to be not only somewhere where Rhonda and I could process our thoughts regarding research on fandom and discuss all things Duran, but I would like to think it is also a “place” for others to do the same.  I, for one, love thinking critically about these topics and know that having discussions make me do that.  Hopefully, we help others to do the same.

One of the themes that we have come back to over and over, both in our research and here on the blog, is the importance of connections, when it comes to fandom.  Connections and friendships are really what matters.  This led us to create meet ups and the convention, Durandemonium.  There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing Duranies connect with each other.  I remember right after the convention seeing all the attendees friending or following each other on social networking sites.  Many of those connections are still alive and well, too.  I also believe that these connections work to keep the fandom alive during lulls and intensify the fandom during periods of excitement.

What do you think?  Does that describe what we are all about here?  All of that said, there are many things that we are not.  This is not the place to get unreleased Duran Duran news.  Why?  That is simple.  First, we don’t know anything before any of the rest of you.  While like many of you, we hear “rumors”.  We would never post those as facts.  We aren’t comfortable doing that, no matter how strong a rumor is.  To us, it is more respectful to the band to wait until something is official.  Does this stop us from being more “popular” in the fan community?  I’m sure.  A lot of people want to read about inside scoops.  I can understand that, but it won’t be us sharing them.  We are also not a place to share a lot of pictures of the band, gush about the band or post information about the band’s private lives.  Like the inside scoops, we don’t have access to the band.  Even if we did, that isn’t what this place is all about.  Likewise, while we are most definitely fans, we want to dive a bit deeper beyond how fabulous they are.  We want to think a bit more critical.  Again, that probably doesn’t make us super popular.

We aren’t here to be popular or to prove ourselves to be bigger/better fans.  On the contrary, we would like to get rid of the idea of bigger/better fans.  In fact, that kind of idea works against fandom, we believe.  It works to destroy fan communities and people’s enjoyment within fandom.  Our reason for being here is simple.  We are here to understand fandom, to discuss Duran Duran and being Duranies and to encourage fans to connect with each other.  I’m not sure we have achieved that goal but I am proud that we try.  I am proud of what we have done so far.  That means far more to me that my/our social status within the fan community.

-A

Gettin’ Busy

I have been on Spring Break this week.  I had been looking forward to this break for what felt like absolute forever.  There were no days off since January and the winter was beyond brutal with frequent snow and cold beyond belief.  To say that I was going a little crazy was an understatement!  If all that wasn’t enough, real life added some extra worries.  The break was supposed to be the medicine to cure my ills or, at least, make me feel better.  I suppose that is what happened to some extent, but it is flying by and my to-do list has barely been touched.  In fact, it has probably grown.  Now, I’m looking for motivation to get started.  I need to get started.  I want to get started.  It seemed to me that this little blog might be a good way to do it.  Putting my list in writing and writing that is public would do two things.  First, it makes them more serious, more needing of a commitment.  Second, I’m hoping that others might push me along when needed!  🙂

Of course, all of that said, you probably won’t want to read about my desire to get my car washed or my need to finish the laundry.  Thus, I’ll keep the list here focused on Daily Duranie related work.  Besides, I figured that a few of you might be interested in an update about our projects!!

1.  Convention 2014–

If anyone was following our individual twitter accounts last night, you might have seen a little discussion about how we are planning for Durandemonium 2014.  We gave a couple of hints about when and where we are hoping to hold it.  I admit that we are in the very early stages in the planning process, which means, of course, that what we hope for in terms of when and where might not work out.  It also means that I have got to get going in contacting venues.  Once I do, that the ball will really be rolling.  For those of you who attended last year, we are definitely planning to keep some elements of that convention, but adding a few others and deleting or changing some aspects that didn’t work out as well as we had hoped.

2.  Our Book–

A lot of people ask us about the status of our book.  Our standard answer is that we are still working.  We are.  That is not a lie.  Book proposals are lengthy as are perfecting citations and bibliographies.  This is where producing a non-fiction work is quite a task.  I have been going back and double checking and verifying each and every quote, source, etc.  Now, beyond that, I’ll also admit that the book gets pushed to the side more often than it should due to real life duties like family obligations and work.  It also gets pushed aside with the blog and the conventions.  The reason is simple.  No deadline for the book.  Nonetheless, we have talked and have a plan! We are hoping to get together this summer to work on nothing else.  The blog will still be done but will be done in advance, which means that there will probably be lots of Duran news during that time frame.  The band will have a sense that it is safe to release information without our loud mouths offering our constant opinions!!!

3.  Blog Related Projects–

We have many coming up.  First, we have a couple of interviews in the works.  We are excited by these and hope that you will be, too.  Second, I will continue on the series of most popular tours.  Please watch this space for polls about your participation!  Lastly, I’m getting ready to do another giant poll like what was done about people’s Top 25 Duran Duran songs.  I really enjoyed finding out what songs people loved, compiling the list and analyzing it.  Again, watch this space.  If that wasn’t enough, we have more to do with the book, Mad World, and a review of the new gold package for Duran Duran Music.

After looking at this complete list of things to do with just this aspect of my life, it is no wonder that I feel the need to get motivated and to get things done!  Wish me (and Rhonda) productivity!

-A

Please, Please Tell Me Now…What Duranies Want in a Convention!

If you have been paying attention to my posts the last few weekends, you know that I have been focusing on conventions, including why fans attend, why should celebrities attend, what kind of activities are found there and more.  Based on those discussions and based on my research, I am starting to wonder what Duranies really want in a convention.  I have described what normally takes place in a convention, including activities like vendor fairs, screenings, panels, games, and more.  The post which describes all of this can be found here.  I also know what took place during Durandemonium 2013.  For those who were not in attendance, the activities we had during the convention included get-to-know-you as Duranies games, an author’s panel, a screening of A Diamond in the Mind, games, banquet with dinner and dancing, and late night clubbing at Late Bar’s New Wave night.  Were those the right kind of activities to have?  Should other activities be part of a Duran convention?

When we designed Durandemonium 2013, we had ideas of what had liked in the past at other meet ups and at the first convention we attended in 2004 in New Orleans.  We liked having the chance to party with fellow Duranies whether at a bar or a club.  For us, that party culture is a big culture of Duran Duran culture.  After all, Simon does say that Duran Duran is the band designed to make you party.  Yet, I’m well aware that there are Duranies who don’t party as much as say…we might when we are together.  (This is probably a good reason why Rhonda and I should live far away from each other!)  Thus, for those fans, maybe partying at a club or bar wouldn’t be that important to them.  A lot of Duranies are collectors and spend a lot of time and money shopping on ebay or trading with other fans.  We didn’t do much with that due to space restrictions.  Perhaps, that is something a lot of people really would like.  We did have a raffle with lots of great items to give away.  Is that enough or would people prefer a place to just buy without having to worry about winning?  Maybe an auction would have been a better route to go with those cool items.  It seemed to me that most of the attendees at Durandemonium liked the screening of ADITM.  I know that we loved it.  Is that something that should always be included?  If so, do people have preferences about what should be shown?

While we did have an author’s panel, we didn’t do much with attempting to get celebrities there for obvious reasons.  This doesn’t mean, though, that it isn’t important to some fans.  We are aware that it does matter to people.  The question is how much does it matter?  Would you only attend a convention if one or more band members was there?  Would you want a convention with, at least, celebrities connected to Duran in some way?  Would you want a focus that is broader than Duran Duran?  Maybe, you would be able to justify spending the money to go if it was focused on a few of your favorite bands.  Then, of course, more to the point, how much would you be willing to spend to attend a convention with a celebrity or two?  We know how much concert tickets are.   Would you be willing to pay the same as a VIP ticket?  More?  How much more?  Then again, maybe, there are some fans who welcome the idea of getting together with other fans without the band being around.

I’m aware that I am asking for people’s ideal convention.  Obviously, as someone who has organized a convention and planning another one in the future, I am MORE than well-aware that everything that people want cannot happen.  Convention planners, like us, have an extremely limited budget (as in nothing, zero, zip, nada) and that other elements can limit what is possible.  For example, at the last convention, we didn’t have a lot of space to do things like a vendor fair.  That said, I’m truly curious what Duranies really would want in a convention.  What would make you spend the money and take the time to go to a convention?  How much would you be willing to spend and would you be willing to travel for it?

-A

The Lasting First Impression

In the last few weeks, I have been analyzing why fans want to go to conventions.  I have talked about everything from the escape from reality that they provide to providing the chance to meet and connect with other fans.  Last week, I focused on how having celebrities attending can also increase people’s interest and attendance at conventions.  After all, we all know why fans would want to meet their idols or celebrities that they like and admire.  It is no secret that most fans covet pictures with their idols and autographs of them.  Also, I think we all know what having positive experiences mean for fans and for their fandom.  In my experience, meeting someone you look up to and having a positive interaction is super special.  Since fandom is about something and/or someone you are passionate about, that passion can be reinforced and increased if meeting an idol or idols is positive.  It is a high like no other resulting often in *squeeing* internally and/or externally, smiling for days and non-stop talking about it!  Thus, we all know why fans want to meet to celebrities and how it makes them (us) feel!  Yet, how does it benefit celebrities to meet fans?  After all, many of us don’t get to meet Duran Duran and we still remain fans.  I know that I won’t get a chance to meet all of the celebrities I admire and that won’t cause me to stop admiring them.  So, really, why should celebrities show up at conventions or do meet and greets?  They won’t lose fans if they don’t, so why should they bother?

I have been thinking about this question a lot lately.  What benefits do meeting fans give bands and other celebrities?  I already know a number of you are thinking things like, “They should want to meet their fans.  Fans are who put them where they are today.  They should do it to show their appreciation.”  While that may be true, that is still answering the question from a FAN’S point of view.  I am asking the question from a BAND’S point of view.  How does it really benefit THEM to meet fans?  How?  I guess one reason is because it could feel good to show that appreciation.  Sure.  I could see that.  Yes, I’m sure it is also a huge ego stroke after meeting people who think you are wonderful.  Obviously, events like conventions, pay celebrities to be there.  Yet, I can’t imagine that the money is THAT good that it would be worth having to sign autographs all day or smile in pictures with people who are strangers without there being more to it.

I ask again.  How does meeting fans benefit celebrities?  Here is what I came up with but still feel like I’m missing some big, important ideas that I’m hoping others can help fill in.

*Feels good to give back to fans

*Ego stroke

*Payment if it an appearance at an event

*Possibility for good press with the media

*Solidified fanbase who are more dedicated as evidenced by them buying more products, spreading good word to other fans and to non-fans which can even increase fan base.

*Increased loyalty with fans.  Fans who have had a good experience with someone are more likely, I believe, to be forgiving if the celebrity does something “wrong” or something that fans don’t like.  They are not as quick to leave the fandom.

What else am I missing?  It seems to me that the real focus is solidifying the fan base that is already there for a celebrity.  While I believe it has the potential to increase fans, it doesn’t do that in a super big way.  Does it really just benefit those stars who have seen better days and are just hoping to stay where they are?  Does it benefit the up and coming stars who need those positive stories out in the media?  Does it benefit celebrities much at all?  If so, how??  What do you think????

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It’s Loaded with Fame: Conventions and Celebrities

People go to conventions to connect with other fans, to participate in activities not readily available in daily lives and to escape reality.  Another very significant reason that people go to conventions is for the celebrities.  Many conventions, most conventions, have celebrity or “special” guests.  Some conventions might have just one or two special guests and others have many.  Typically, these celebrities interact with the fans in a variety of ways, including participating in panels or question and answer sessions in which fans can ask questions, holding autographs sessions in which fans can get an autograph and/or holding a photo opps session in which fans can get pictures with the celebrity(s) of choice.

In my experience, people do seem to like going to conventions to meet and see celebrities.  At the Wizard World convention I went to in Chicago, in August, a lot of people I talk with came to meet one or two of the celebrity guests.  Some people came back year after year to see the same celebrity.  Sometimes, the bigger name celebrities had very long lines to get autographs and pictures.  The lesser known celebrities still had people who were interested in getting pictures or even just an opportunity to exchange a few words.  Yet, it did seem that anyone interested in a particular celebrity could get to that celebrity eventually, especially if the fan had the time and the money for one of these extras.  Of course, many of these celebrity focused activities have specific times.  For example, if you wanted a picture of person X, you had to get it done between 1 and 2 pm.  Thus, people scheduled their convention activities even around the celebrities.

I wonder how important these celebrity appearances are to the fans attending a convention.  Do they get people in the door?  Do they get people to pay the money for a ticket?  Would people go if there is just one celebrity or one celebrity who people really cared about?  Is it the fact that there might be many celebrities at a convention that you like?  Does it matter which type of fan activity is possible–meaning that getting an autograph might be more important to some than a question and answer session or vice versa?  In many cases, autographs and photos are extras.  They do not come with the ticket.  You pay for each autograph and each picture.  In some cases, you might pay to attend a panel.  Would those additional costs matter?  Would it matter how MUCH those extras were?

Seriously, I would love to know.  Would you be more likely to go to a convention if there was a celebrity you liked?  What about many celebrities?  Would you want panels/Q&A sessions, autograph sessions and/or photo sessions with the celebrities?  Would you be willing to pay extra for those sessions?  How much for a celebrity you love, love, love (like a member of Duran Duran!)?  How much for a celebrity you like a lot?  Would you go to a convention if there weren’t celebrities there?

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