This past weekend, I added another notch to my volunteering belt by volunteering at the Heroes and Villains FanFest in San Jose. I love volunteering at comic conventions and feel it’s my small way of giving back to the community that I am proud to be a part of. And this convention, more so a FanFest, was a lot of fun! This FanFest was organized and run by the same group that puts on Walker Stalker Con which happened in San Francisco at the beginning of this year as well as in San Diego during San Diego Comic-Con. In my opinion, the organizers were very laid back and put on a great show. They started as fans volunteering at these things as well and now are the head honchos, pulling the strings and hanging out with celebrities. And oh my there were a lot of celebrities! If you’re a fan of shows like Arrow, The Flash, Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, and Agent Carter, then this is the FanFest for you because several actors were present for autographs, pictures, and general meet and greets.
I started the day as a merchandise volunteer but since a celebrity didn’t have volunteers tasked to manage his line, I jumped as the chance to do that instead. I ended up working Paul Blackthorne’s line and generally answering questions any attendee had. As a fan, this was the most fun since I was able to interact with attendees and other fans that were genuinely excited to be there. Plus, my team at Paul’s line was pretty kick-ass. We managed his line so well and it flowed pretty nicely throughout the day.
As a volunteer, the only real perk is the memories I take with me. Most people assume we get a chance to rub elbows with celebrities but that’s usually not the case. I never expect anything and am generally surprised (and lucky) if I’m giving something cool for my time. But just being in the presence of these celebrities is a reward in itself!
However, as soon as I took my volunteer shirt off, I became a fan and waited in line with other fans to get Karen Gillan’s autograph, take a selfie with Katie Cassidy, and get a photo with Willa Holland. Maybe since I was super excited to be there, this feeling permeated around me as well and I had fun chatting with other super fans and showing it with a huge grin and pics with cosplayers.
The best part of this FanFest was the mission that the organizers told us volunteers. This convention isn’t for the talent who were invited, it’s for the fans like us who are willing to invest our time, money, and attention to these fictional characters. The lasting words from the organizers as the volunteers left for their areas was this,
Treat the fans like celebrities and the celebrities like everyone else.
Those words made this a great FanFest for me as both a volunteer as well as an attendee. I only spent a day there but will be submitting my application to volunteer at future FanFests and Walker Stalker Cons that this group puts together. So if you are looking to enjoy a smaller convention that focuses on the fans with the chance to meet some celebrities from your favorite tv shows plus maybe take a ride on an indoor zipline, then Heroes and Villains FanFest is for you! The next #hvff is being held in New York on January 23-24, 2016, hope you check it out!
Also, if you want to read a review I wrote of the FanFest, you can check it out at our friends at Shortboxed!