Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fan Days Plano Texas

Last weekend (10/23/10) I attended Fan Days in Plano, TX.  It was the first time I attended this convention and to be truthful I wasn’t very well prepared.
I started off thinking this was in Richardson, TX but luckily I clicked on the website to double check the address and saw I needed to go to Plano instead. Oops, not an auspicious start.
On the website they did have a floor plan listed but I didn’t spend enough time with it and that cost me some heartburn too.
The people running this show do several other conventions in the DFW area each year.  They also attend ComicCon where they bring in some big name guests for signings and they also are associated with the Star Wars Celebration conventions.
The show I attended was featuring William Shatner and Christopher Lloyd.  Being a big Trekkie I really wanted to get Shatner’s autograph.  Lloyd and the others attending were all just icing.
I bought my priority admission pass about 2 months in advance and about 2 weeks in advance I prepaid for the Shatner autograph online but you still need to stand in line to pick these items up.
I got to the convention center about 30 minutes before the show opened.  A huge line was wrapped around the building.  I stood in that line for a while before it dawned on me that I needed to pick up my badge (actually this convention uses wrist bands instead of badges) and not stand in this line which was for General Admission. Entering the convention center I got some vague instructions on where to stand to get my wrist band.  They already had Tom Felton doing photo ops and signing.  I thought it odd to have people signing before the convention officially started but people seemed fine with that.
I stood in the wrong line (again) when I got inside and was told to move.  I got into another line and waited about 30 minutes to get my wrist band. As I picked up my wrist band, I also was given my Shatner ticket. I was impressed with that and that was well orgainized. I had expected to be told I needed to go another location.
Afterward, I walked around just to see the lay of the land.  Obviously I didn’t look too carefully as I got into the wrong line again.
I was looking to buy some Felton autograph tickets and thought I had found the right line. I started talking to a guy and we spent 30 minutes yakking when I got to the front of the line and found out this line was selling photo ops tickets only.  While being slightly embarrassed, I asked where I needed to go.
I found the right table and bought my tickets. Then I saw a long long long line entering a room. I asked what the line was for and told it was for Christopher Lloyd. I saw that other signers were in there also and I asked if I could enter the room and get those people instead. They said I needed to stand in the long long long line.  Slightly frustrating but I have embraced my inner cow long long long time ago so I know how to stand in long long long lines and be patient.
Again, I spent the time in line listening to others and watching the people. Quite a few people dressed up. Since this was very Star Trek oriented it had a lot of Klingons and StarFleet personnel in attendance. A nice distraction was the young women (they were no longer teenagers) that dressed up as Hogwart’s school girls.
After an hour passed, a guy comes down the line starting if you wanted an autograph from someone other than Lloyd, you can enter the room. Yeah!  Reason prevails! So I got out of the line that was not moving and entered the room. The only person in the room I wanted was Tia Carrere.  The show had about 6 or 8 other people signing in that room. Each signer only had a few people in line.  So I walked up to Tia and only had one person in front of me.
She looked much prettier in person than she did on the last Warehouse 13 episode she appeared on.  She had a dozen photos to choose from but modesty (and my wife’s potential bane) kept me from choosing some of the more revealing photos to get signed. I got a black and white 8x10 that had her in several shots from True Lies.
As I was leaving realized I forgot to ask why she cancelled her appearance at the last ComicCon. I really wanted to ask her this as I thought it would be create some interaction between us. I’m assuming she cancelled for work and hopefully it would have been a good story to tell. As I mentioned, I wasn’t very organized this time.
I then found the line for Shatner. It was moving very fast. People were bringing all kinds of things for him to sign. Some I could figure out what they were and what they symbolized but others I was clueless. He had several photos to choose from and I chose the one with him in the green Captain shirt from the episode Enemy Within. The autograph process was quick, efficient, and over before you blinked.
I do understand the time constraints and I’m not complaining. The speed of the line is benefit to all. I was happy that he did look up and smile and he actually said thank you for coming. I was happy.
Then I found Michael Dorn and that was another quick line but he was taking his time to talk to people and be personal.
I had made good progress for the day. I then got in line for Tom Felton which I had already described.
I was having a good time. I was meeting people and finding out that this convention has a loyal following of attendees. Many have been coming for years and have gotten a lot of their Star Trek and Star Wars related autographs from this series of shows.
The show had a good crowd but not so large that you can’t do it all. People were attending the Q&A sessions and then getting in line for the autographs.  They were taking time out for lunch and visiting the dealers’ room. The experience was very different for me compared to ComicCon. At ComicCon I need to hack away at my wish list and constantly adjust it to make it manageable. This was a nice change.
So the only thing left on the agenda was Lloyd. I had the rest of the day to wait in line.
I got in line and not 2 minutes later a guy is pulling me out of the line and putting me in a shorter line. My priority wrist band had now come into play. They were separating people and I had trumped the general admission people. I moved ahead of about 75 people.  This time the line was moving very fast. The rumor was they told Lloyd to speed things up.  I don’t know if that was true but I only spent 30 minutes in line talking to people before I was picking out a photo for him to sign.  I chose a Doc Brown photo from Back to the Future.
He was nice and he sounded just like Doc Brown. I know that sounds stupid because he WAS Doc Brown but he did sound like Doc Brown. I could have been Marty and he could have been telling me that 1.21 gigawatts were needed to make the flux capacitor work.  It was surreal.
My work was done and I had gotten the five autographs I was looking for.  It was time to go home and put my feet up and talk my wife’s ear off about my day.
I enjoyed this convention and I look forward to the next one in the series.

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