EarperConUK 2017

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:11 pm
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[personal profile] themadone

Soooo...I went to another convention at the weekend. Unlike all the others I've ever been to, this was my first "Media con" so I didn't really know what to expect other than what I'd seen in TV/movies/books or heard from people who've been to similar events. Which basically boiled down to there'd be lots of queuing to get photos with the cast and autographs. And I didn't know how many people to expect - I've been to cons as small as about 100 (Picocon) and as large as over 10000 (WorldCon) and knowing it had sold out and that there were only 100 Peacemaker tickets, didn't really give me much to go on.

It was a con for a show called Wynonna Earp which I'd only discovered because the amazing Paul Cornell tweeted about it when it first aired over here and despite me frothing over it as I watched season 1, I didn't really manage to convince (m)any of my friends to check it out. And then really I only found out about the con itself by pure luck, because I'd been at a party and Lisa had been telling people she was organising a con and whilst she'd said the name, I hadn't immediately twigged what it meant. It was only because she mentioned the show later on that I went all fanboy at the fact that someone else was talking about the show and I had to go. And then slid down that slippery slope getting the top tier ticket, extra photo ops with all the cast etc...

Anyway, so I rock up on Friday a bit later than I'd hoped (bloody traffic) to find already that there were a lot of people trying to register. More people than I was expecting because there was only one thing happening that night for us Peacemaker tickets, but I guess people would need to arrive early as things kicked off on Saturday at 9am (ouch!). I don't think the hotel was designed in mind with people queuing (especially in this corridor) as it became like a furnace and I immediately regretted not bringing a bottle of water.

Eventually I got registered and shortly after that, I discovered I wasn't the only person (besides obviously Lisa) that I knew at the con when Jacquie arrived. The hotel didn't have water coolers everywhere so I had to grab some water from the bar - they must be used to foreigner visitors as they'd repackaged tap water into fancy looking bottles of mineral water. Thankfully they weren't charging us money for them though.

The first event was a 3 course meal followed by each guest visiting each table for 15 minutes (musical chairs!). Dumped my stuff in my car, since I didn't need anything for that and when I came back the entire conspace (including the conbar and comfy seating) was a no go area so everyone was waiting around in the furnace corridor. But Jacquie had gone to her room and invited me up to chill out there if need be, so I headed on up to her floor and there they were. The entire cast. Just standing around in the corridor. So I try nonchalantly walking past, said "Hi" to Tim, one of the wranglers was all like "what are you doing here!" at me, so I told her I was going to one of the rooms. Jacquie had no idea they were outside (but obviously had a look once I said) and just thought they were a load of noisy hotel guests.

We made it down to the meal with plenty of time, but took us a while to find space to sit as most people seemed to know each other and had colonised their tables quite quickly. But we found a couple of seats on a table with some amazingly cool and awesome people who we ended up hanging out with a lot during the con and I'm hoping to keep in touch with afterwards. According to at least 3 out of the 5 guests, we were the coolest table and/or the drunkest - Dom had been watching us all through the food piling up the bottles of booze. The food was OK - I was bit worried when there wasn't designated seating that if there were any special catering for my annoying food intolerances, it'd be hard for the staff to track me down. As it was, the food wasn't an issue and the staff were having a hard time tracking down the veggies amongst us.

Our first guest to visit was Michael Eklund (who was a late addition to the roster as originally the writer of the show, Emily Andras, was meant to be attending, but Real Life(tm) prevented that) and we had a great time chatting with him and I got to ask him about how his Dirk Gently and Wynonna Earp characters looked so similar - turns out he was shooting both shows at the same time.

After that we had Tim Rozen visit and he was amazing and friendly (this was a common theme) and he showed us this awesome cosplay he'd seen at DragonCon(?) on his phone which had a Wynonna Earp themed case on that he'd gotten as a gift. And then Shamier Anderson came over and we has amazing and friendly and we had a good chat with him too. I was a bit surprised that they'd not spread the guests out a bit so that each table didn't have to spend more than 1 cycle without a guest.

And then we had Dominique Provost-Chalkley. It was very clear to me that I'd missed out on a lot of prior con interaction as the conversation ended up talking about a story she'd told at another con and she had to explain that to the few of us who had no idea what that was about. Obviously this was the first ever solely Wynonna Earp con, so all the other cons they'd been to, they were just one show in amongst a load of others, but they'd still managed to make connections with Earper fans.

We had a really long wait for the last cast member, Katherine Barrell, as I guess they must have put her ahead of our table? I got to sit next to her for that bit, although by this stage I was way too in awe to get involved in the conversation. And then it was all over and since it'd gotten quite late, I figured I should try and drive home to my waiting bed so I could get some sleep before the really early start. Except I failed to navigate getting onto the West bound side of the A4 and ended up getting lost inside Heathrow for a bit.

I made sure I researched the route back the next morning cos I had time cos I got up far too early. But I suppose having time to chill out, eat breakfast etc... is a good way to start a very busy day.

I admit, most of the con was a bit of a blur for me. There were several awesome panels with each all of the guests or just the guys or just the girls. Whilst I appreciate that Dom was by the far the most popular of the guests, I did feel it was a bit of a shame that the other guests weren't getting as many questions - especially Shamier who didn't really get to do that much talking. Since me & J had found ourselves standing in the right spot, we got into the first all-guest panel quite easily so managed to grab some front row seats. The view of the guests still isn't that great cos they are still quite far away (or very small?), but you do get a unobstructed view which was better for photo taking.

I got my photo taken with Dom and Kat which thankfully didn't involve that much queuing as my ticket allowed me to be in the first wave and by pure honest to god luck, I happened to waiting for the queue to start in the right spot to be near the front. There was still a bit of queuing as the Dom and Kat duo-photos were after a whole load of photo combinations with Dom or Kat with some of the guys and they only had one photographer, but it was in a mostly cooler part of the conspace. And then the two of them did a panel together and there were so amazing together, like they'd clearly had a special bond now. Someone tried to get them to recreate the cheerleading scene, which possible is what prompted the staff to remind attendees to keep the questions (mostly) classy at later panels.

Having managed to get a lot of DrunkCool tablers sitting together in that panel, we decided to all go for lunch together and since we were pressed for time nabbed a (what is kind of traditionally for me at Heathrow cons) MaccyD's. It's been a while since I've been in one though, but their choice of fizzy soft drinks has really gone down hill - everything except the Coke comes in diet/poison form. And the other drinks are all tiny.

The guys had a panel together. Possibly the same person as the Kat+Dom panel, asked Tim and Michael to recreate the cheerleading scene which they did. So that was a thing. Michael really got into doing the cheer, whilst Tim watched on. And then they got into a massive snog session - I'm surprised they didn't get hosed down with cold water

The autograph session was by far the most stressful for me I think. They had my tier of tickets queue up for Dom, but she was spending a lot of time with each of us that the other guests were just sitting there looking bored. So they took a random number of us and had them queue up for Kat instead, which I'd have been happy with. But then they let in the next tier who made a beeline for Kat & Dom and it all got a little crazy. Dom's dedication was surprising...profane - I think it must be a quote from the episode where Waverly goes to the spa and leaves an angry voicemail for Haught? I was possible a little distracted during that episode to remember what anyone said ;)

I gave up trying to get my autos done in order and just skipped ahead to Shamier cos he had the shortest queue. And then I got Michael's who also had a moderately short queue, but he kept getting distracted and leaving his table to talk to Tim or random attendees. And after 2 hours of that and seeing that Kat and Tim's queues were enormous I decided I needed to sit down cos I really can't deal with standing up for long periods of time (Note to self - get one of those portable stools/chairs for future similar events).

Had dinner in the hotel restaurant with Jacquie so got to chat and gossip about how we were finding the con and past common life stuff. Turned up in time for the cosplay contest and was briefly confused that we'd missed it and the disco had started cos the DJ was playing music. But the lights were still up and no-one was dancing yet and then eventually the guests came out to judge the many many Haught cosplayers (and others). Tim and Michael stuck around for the first couple of songs in the disco and even danced together - I really have to wonder whether Bobo and Doc are going to hook up at some future point in the show? More so, given how much attention the writers pay to what us fans do/say and feature it in the show. Shamier made an appearance too part way through and took over the DJ booth for a bit.

Generally the music wasn't really my sort of thing - the DJ was the hotel's so didn't really do a con playlist, he was more picking his songs by the age/gender of the attendees, so lots of Spice Girls and Taylor Swift kind of stuff? He did play some contracks though (woo! Time Warp!) But nothing with a real heavy pounding beat to really get down with, so I barely felt like I'd even been dancing the following day. He looked incredulous/surprised at my request to play "Everything is Awesome" but again, he doesn't know what sort of stuff gets played at cons so wouldn't realise that would be popular.

Started the day off with more queuing to get a photo-op for Michael as I figured I'd had one sorted for the rest of the guys and wanted to get a full set. Then had to rush off to queue to get the photos done with the guys, which was a lot more queuing as we had to queue for each guy separately. I'm still gutted my copy of the season 1 blu-ray hadn't shipped in time, cos that'd have been awesome to get the cast to sign, but having some glossy photos of them signed instead is still pretty awesome.

Had plenty of time to recover after that before the next panel which was going to be Dom, Kat and Tim, but ended up being all the guys cos Dom and Kat were still working through their backlog of photo ops. And then after lunch there was meant to be a Shamier and Michael panel, but that became a Dom & Kat panel and since Tim and Michael had recreated the cheerleading scene, I think they felt pressured into doing it when asked again. It was pretty amazing though - there was a comparison of the original and the recreation and Dom clearly had a good memory for the routine which she'd shot like at least 9 months ago.

Just before the panel finished, Jacquie pointed out that I'd won a prize in the raffle which I decided rather than queuing up for the autograph session, I'd go collect my prize. Which turns out, was the right plan as I was one of the first (if not first) people to go cash in their ticket so I ended up with a signed Wynonna Earp poster. Much shock. Such wow. Very happy.

And then we had the second autographing session to fill in the ones we hadn't managed to get the day before which went a bit smoother, but still meant a lot more queuing. Kat did not seem at all phased by the exceptionally profane dedication Dom had written. I possibly should have gotten separate photos of them, but the photo I got was so adorable. Managed to read Tim's dedication as he wrote it so could respond "with much envy" - I can grow facial hair easily, it just doesn't come out very stylish. And then a lot of waiting because it was the last thing before the closing ceremony and there were lot of people needing stuff signed still. So much so that it went so far over schedule and they had to cancel most of what was planned for the closing ceremony and just have it as more of a thanks and good bye. Which was a very emotional thing for everyone.

Post-con dinner was in the pub around the corner from the hotel, which I believe is a firm favourite amongst people who go to cons around that way. Which, despite having been to many cons in the area, I'd yet to visit. After eating and some chatting, the lack of sleep was starting to get to me, so I bade farewell and had a slightly wide-eyed drive home with the aircon on full so I wouldn't doze off. And then I had all of the sleep!

So to do a tl;dr - had a lot of fun, there was a lot of queuing which I need to plan for better next time and the cast are so amazing and friendly and I had absolutely thoughts about shoving them in the boot of my car and taking them home with me, honest... Not entirely convinced by the hotel though. There was possible the right amount of space, but the layout didn't suit the needs of the con. Like the entrance and exit to where the photo-ops were, was the same because the alternative way out from that room would have taken us to where the guests were holed up between stuff. And there wasn't enough chill-out sitting space.

I took a LOT of photos and have shoved them into an album rather than trying to slot them into this post in the appropriate slots. Mostly they're pretty rubbish as in order to see the guests, I had to point the camera at the screen above their heads.

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