Sunday, August 21, 2005

another world

After trying but failing to make it to Philcon two years ago and ConSecration this year, I finally attended my first fan convention in 20+ years last weekend in the Poconos. I am still processing the experience of Moonlight Rising , a small Buffy/Angel fan-run convention I discovered when looking for things to do on my road trip.

I had so many adventures at Moonlight Rising that after the four days of the con I no longer wanted to continue on my long-awaited road trip. I just wanted to be home with my family, surrounded by folks who loved me and treated each other decently at all levels.

I signed a confidentiality agreement as a paying volunteer at the con, so I can't reveal the most interesting parts of the weekend. However, let's just say that if I had paid my money without volunteering, the con would not have been worth it to me for the planned events themselves. The emphasis was not on the shows and their content but on the celebrity of the actors who performed in the shows. They only had three fan panels, and one of them had exactly eight participants. Photo shoots and autograph lines took up a big chunk of time, neither of which activities interests me as a fan although I did enjoy them as a volunteer doing crowd control and guest greeting. I also enjoyed being part of the demographic, as the con was heavily attended and run by "femmes d'une certain age" like myself. There was probably one guy for every 15 females in attendance. Besides the middle-aged folks like myself there were plenty of 20-something and 30-something ladies also.

I liked the intimacy of the atmosphere, there was a cap of 800 attendees on the con and it was deliberately set away from a big-city venue where it would attract a lot of day-trippers. I spent four days immersed in what felt like a combination of a Robert Altman film (think Nashville), the TV show Entourage, and the Cameron Crowe movie Almost Famous. It was an intense, fascinating experience, a hothouse of diverse personalities laboring with little or no sleep or food to create an alcohol-infused four-day party that kept threatening to go off the skids altogether. I met some very cool people there whose acquaintance I hope to continue, and I have a great respect for the folks who organized and pulled off this labor of love. If I ever returned to this particular con, it would be as a dealer selling my used horror/SF/mystery books.

The best buy in the dealer's room: wooden handmade stakes for $5.00 made by two talented young women who also had some fantastic handmade costumes for sale. There were no books except a few Buffy and Angel books (and the mass market paperbacks are the lamest part of the franchise). I met a woman who helps plan Malice Domestic mystery conventions and she confirmed my own thought - that a non-Buffy, genre-focused book table would do just fine because book lovers, no matter where they are, seek out books to browse and buy when on vacation.

I won a book of Buffy shooting scripts at the silent auction, which I'm using as a model to learn the craft of screenwriting. Working now on my first screenplay. I call it Fan Fiction. It's about a crazy weekend at a fan convention for a tv show called Moonlight Madness, a supernatural dramedy set in a 19th-century insane asylum where one patient thinks she is a thousand year old vampire and the kindly psychiatrist overseeing the institution turns into a werewolf once a month... :-) I have no idea if I'll finish it, right now it's an exercise in learning a new mode of writing and a way to exorcise experience that I can't talk about directly.

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