Bittersweet news for the Toronto fandom scene…

June 4, 2012

I got an email yesterday with an announcement from the TCON Promotional Society, which is the fan non-profit that runs the Polaris convention in Toronto every July, and also holds the Constellation awards to celebrate excellence in science fiction movies and television, here in Canada and around the world.

The news was disappointing. This summer is apparently the last time that Polaris will be held in its current format. TCON will be holding an event next summer, but the details haven’t been sorted out yet, and it will probably be smaller and less elaborate than Polaris.

The email didn’t go into a lot of detail about the reasons for this change, but there were some hints. The fandom scene in Toronto is growing and diversifying, and Polaris, as a big generic fan-run hotel con, is facing competition all over – competition for the disposable income of fans, for the time of their potential volunteers, possibly even for attendance with anybody who might schedule an event opposite them. And the expectations of the fans are rising higher.

I’ll miss Polaris when it’s gone. I had a great time on the two occasions that I attended, (I wasn’t really plugged into the Toronto convention scene before 2010,) and I guess I didn’t really value it as much as I could have. Since it’s been running under some name or another for 25 years, I really figured it would continue forever.

But I’m glad that I made a priority out of going to Polaris 26, even though it was a little tricky to schedule it as well as the CSSF workshop in Kansas. I’m going to have a blast, I’m going to spend money like a big shot, I’m going to rack up as many volunteer hours as I can, and I’ll go to the town hall on the future of TCON if they don’t schedule it against the Geek-off finals again. (Or if I don’t qualify for the finals this year.)

Most of all, if there’s another email that arrives in October, saying that TCON is holding a meeting in some library in Toronto to get input from the fan community, I’m damn well going to get off my butt and trek into the city for it, even if I’m not sure what I’m going to say. There were a few of those emails over the past year, and I thought about attending one of the meetings but never actually did anything about them. I don’t imagine that I could have changed this decision if I’d been part of the process… but I should have gone and spoken my piece if I thought of anything to say.

May the Fourth be with you.

May 4, 2012

Happy Star Wars day, everybody!

I’d like to ramble just a bit tonight about my completed Script Frenzy screenplay draft, ‘Geek at Heart’. It’s a romantic comedy set in the world of fandom, and my main character and a lot of his friends identify as Star Wars fans and dress up as the core cast of ‘A New Hope.’

That was a last-minute decision, because I was planning everything about Script Frenzy at the last minute this year. Sometime well into the last week of March I was still thinking I was going to be writing about a dating agency with all of the set-ups happening on trains – still a romantic comedy, but that movie would have been very different in the details. And I’m not a big Star Wars fan myself, but I guess I’ve absorbed a lot about it, because all kinds of cool Star Wars stuff kept coming out as soon as I got familiar with those characters. 🙂

My favorite line, which is hopefully going to be in a Script Frenzy official video, is from a montage where all of Harry’s friends are working the various fan groups that have come to the big convention, trying to find dates for him – and mostly striking out. Amanda, who plays the role of Princess Leia in their group, talks to an older Klingon couple about the possibility of setting Harry up with a Klingon girl:

“We have heard of your Jedi Knights, princess, with their light sabers and mind tricks. That is not the path of a true warrior, and there is no honor in it. Do not ask again!”

My not-too-fantastic Script idea

March 29, 2012

So, it’s been crazy with the NaNoEdMo editing and the car buying and a few other things, but I’ve sorta come up with a notion for Script Frenzy that isn’t science fiction or paranormal fantasy or anything else that’s tough to produce. In fact, it even falls a little bit under the heading of ‘write what you know.’

I don’t have a crazy bulletin board of index cards for it this time, just an idea with a character and a situation, a plot idea about what he wants. I’m not even sure if there’s going to be a clear antagonist, or maybe it’ll be one of those plots where the MC is his own worst enemy. But this will be the story of a passionate Star Wars fan, who vows to find the love of his life by going on blind dates arranged through sci-fi geek groups. 🙂 I’m thinking of calling it ‘Geek at Heart.’

What do you think? Who should the bad guy be? What will the ‘All is Lost’ moment entail?

Can’t stop the Serenity 2011

June 17, 2011

The Toronto CSTS screening event is tomorrow afternoon. I’m so excited that it’s almost here!

Background: Can’t stop the Serenity is a charity fundraiser put on by fans of the ‘Firefly’ franchise, benefiting Equality Now, an organization that fights for the human rights of women around the world. (It’s a favorite charity of Joss Whedon, the creator of Firefly.) They run events in many US cities and other countries around the world, though I’ve only ever been to the Torotno screenings. Check to see if there’s one near you!

The 2005 feature film ‘Serenity’ is screened, some of the attendees dress up in character, there’s an auction of some cool geeky souvenirs, (some of which have been signed by celebrities,) and then some of the fans move to a local restaurant for the ‘shindig’ party.

This will be my third screening. I actually found out about the first one, in 2008, more or less by accident, from another member of the Hamilton Nanowrimo writer’s group, who was saying that she wouldn’t be available to meet at a coffee hous that Saturday. I decided it was too cool not to go into Toronto for it. That was really the start of my participation in the Toronto fandom scene, though it took me a little while to actually go back in for another Shindig.

I didn’t actually make it to the screening in 2009, though I prepaid my ticket and my t-shirt, so I still contributed to the fundraising that year. (And I love the shirt.) I had some health issues that summer, and if I recall correctly I was out of the hospital by that weekend, but not feeling up to much more than sitting around the apartment and going out for my clinic appointments. I did have a little Firefly DVD marathon to console myself for what I was missing.

And last year, I went in costume for the first time, having put together a thrift-store outfit that looked recognizably like one of Simon Tam’s suits. Picked up a great needlepoint at the auction that I still have sitting on my desk – and that’s the day that I had a bit of unexpected excitement getting home on account of the G20 riots.

This year, I’ve got my eye on a Serenity mousepad as well as some other goodies at the auction. And I’d like to actually put myself out there socially and talk to more new people than I have before.

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