Conventions are fun.
Let me start by saying, as an actor, I love going to Sci-Fi conventions. Travel and hotels are all nice, cash is just alright, but the real joy is in …the real joy of it. That fans and non fans come from all over to hang out for a weekend, and the only common denominator being popular art form, Science Fiction. Having FUN with a capital “F” on and about the art and craft of artists who toil away in cramped offices and apartments, freezing their asses off in drafty studios after hours under the make-up chairs putting on latex; late nights in edit bays cutting together a few moments of space ships flying by or aliens attacking planet Zigev. All of this would amount to nothing if it wasn’t for the fans who come to love, and I mean LOVE their shows. It would feel so colossally hollow, such a waste of our times and talents if we didn’t strike a chord with strangers, and those strangers, in turn, come back and let us know.
You must remember the one thing about Hollywood is that no one goes out of their way to make a crappy TV show or movie. They are trying their hardest to make something good or even great. And when it fails to connect, it is a little shattering, and a little demoralizing, that millions of others didn’t share with their vision. That they will never know how or why it didn’t fly, though each and everyone will have their theories. The suits got in the way, the director got drunk, the first choice for lead actor went off to do theatrical. You name it, it is a reason why the show didn’t fly. And then ultimately, in your most quiet time, alone and away from the meetings, and your keyboard, the final thought goes through your head – it failed because you, and no one else, are shit.
One day you arrive in some foreign city, to some hotel you would not stay at otherwise, and you sit with some photos of you and your show at a table. And one by one, they come by. Some just curious, others less so, but all of them say something nice. At first, you think that they are being polite, not knowing what to say to this stranger that they only know distantly through something they have seen on TV or in Movie. So in lieu of staring at you blankly, they add, almost too Hollywood-y “ I LOVE your show.” Smile, nod, thank them, spell the name right, sign yours.
But then something more profound happens. One will tell you some thing specific that you did, or how the show affected them, or even roll up a sleeve and show off a tattoo of the show’s logo. (I’ve seen that at least three different times) and you can’t but stop for a moment and take that in. That just as I became the artist that I am because of some comedy series I saw or performance that moved me, so to are these people coming to tell me the same. And it is not just inspiration that you or your small part in show provided, it was the initial push that got them into writing, or being an FBI agent, or even meeting the love of their lives in a chat room. Your hours of acting classes and painful auditions amount to a few minutes of screen time where you did something that someone else kind of liked, and that makes all the difference. And that is the real joy of it.