My first ever science fiction convention was in 1986 in Spokane Washington (Yes I was very very young!). It was called Timefest and it was a Doctor Who convention, and there were tons of stars there: Katy Manning, John Levene, Anthony Ainley, Richard Franklin, John Nathan-Turner, Nicholas Courtney, and Ian Marter. Well I had a grand time of course, and I got everyone’s autograph.
Fast forward today, when I went to Comicon in Ottawa. I got one autograph. I waited patiently in line for Adam Baldwin, and after paying $40, I got his autograph. He was lovely and gracious, and quite honestly gorgeous. And then that was it. I had run out of cash, and all the other stars there were beyond my means. Most charged $40 a pop for an autograph, and since there were 9 other stars there, well let’s be honest, that is a lot of money. I would have loved to have also had the autograph of Jamie Bamber, etc.
And this is when I realised, times have seriously changed. All those autographs I got at Timefest- they were free. After I had paid for the event that was it. I just waited in line and they signed.
So what does a convention like Comicon cost?
$25 for the entrance to the event (prepaid before- $35 at the door)
$75 Photo with William Shatner
$40 autograph with Brent Spiner
$40 Marina Sirtis autograph
$30 John de Lancie autograph
$40 Lou Ferrigno autograph
$25 Jeremy Bulloch autograph
$25 Cassandra Peterson autograph
$40 Jamie Bamber autograph
$40 Adam Baldwin autograph
$10 Vic Mignogna autograph
$30 Erin Gray autograph
$15 Conference t-shirt
$3 bottled water
I could go on, but I won’t because there is too much math involved. But I should add also that photos could be had with these stars too, and they were also fee based. It was quite honestly expensive.
Now sure I understand that these actors have to work for a living, and they are certainly within their rights to ask for payment for services. An actor’s career regardless of talent is precarious at best. But $40 an autograph? Really?
I am sure that some of my shock comes from my past experiences when I didn’t have to shell out for each autograph. But is it unreasonable to expect that these kind of fan based events somehow provide the fans of all economic backgrounds the opportunity to encounter their favourite actors? Does it have to be such a bank account draining experience?
And there is my venting for today. That being said, I did have an interesting time, seeing all those actors about, and all the fans dressed in their costumes. It was fun. It could have been even more fun if I could have had more autographs, but there you go.