Well, Fan Expo Canada is over for another year. This was my fourth time coming to convention and it has gotten busier each and every year that I went. I was especially excited for this year’s edition, since there was so many great guests announced. Of course, some of those guests (most notably Patrick Stewart) cancelled, but there were still some very big names this year. I for one was very happy that I got to meet both John Carpenter and Christopher Lloyd over the weekend.
However, the weekend wasn’t without some cynicism. This year essentially marked the end of my “Fan Expo Honeymoon” and it was no longer a new and exciting event for me. Last year was a huge jump for me, since I got a full weekend pass for the first time (after two years of just going on the Saturday). It was a fun year that saw me splurge on two celebrity autographs and a photo-op and attend many panels. As for this year, it was a year that saw me splurge on two celebrity autographs and a photo-op and attend many panels. See what I mean?
Fan Expo was no longer a new experience for me and there was an overwhelming sense of “sameness” with the whole weekend. I will still say that I enjoyed myself, but it has become very obvious that my experience with Fan Expo has peaked. It’s also not that fun that nearly half my weekend was spent waiting in lines. The bottom line is that if you wanted a decent seat for a Q&A, you had to line-up about 2 hours in advance. I’m also not a fan of Fan Expo’s stanchion-less crowd control for Q&As and photo-ops. At the busiest times, the halls were full of people lining up for something or another and it got very confusing.
I was also somewhat underwhelmed by the displays on the showfloor. The only exhibition that truly excited me were the sets and puppets from Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. I also enjoyed getting the first ten Toronto After Dark announcements (more on those when they’re officially announced) and playing the Fix It Felix Jr game from Wreck-It Ralph. Other than that, there wasn’t really much more that interested me, though it was sometimes fun watching cosplayers playing Just Dance 4 dance along to “Moves Like Jagger” or “Time Warp.”
Undoubtedly, my favourite parts of Fan Expo were the Q&As and Panels. There were a lot of Q&As that I had earmarked to see, but because of the large queues to see them, I could only realistically fit two or three a day. I was very happy to get great seats for the John Carpenter and Christopher Lloyd panels, since they were the ones I most wanted to see. Of course, the downside of this was that I had to sacrifice most of the final day of the convention to line-up for these jam-packed sessions. I also have to say that one of my main highlights of Fan Expo 2012 came at the end of the second day in the form of the live Jay and Silent Bob Get Old podcast. There is no way that the normal Q&As could have topped this three hour talk by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. Shame they couldn’t schedule it for later.
Like always, I will play it by ear whether or not I will return to Fan Expo for a fifth year. It will definitely help if the guest list is just as good (or better) than this year’s. Of course, I also noticed that Fan Expo is getting ever more crowded (it was nearly impossible to move around on Saturday) and I think that they need to consider expanding the Expo to include the entire Metro Toronto Convention Centre to help spread people out.
Now for the multimedia portion of my wrap-up. In addition to my usual photo gallery, I have used Fan Expo to launch my new YouTube channel. Since I recently acquired an iPhone, I am now able to shoot quick videos and even edit them together using the iMovie app. As such, I will now try to shoot and edit videos of events I attend (I’m sure there will be some TIFF videos). Anyways, enjoy the Fan Expo highlights embedded below and keep an eye on the channel in the upcoming days for some extended footage from the Expo. Enjoy. (UPDATE 8/29: All Fan Expo videos are now uploaded can be seen in the following playlist)
Fan Expo 2012 Video Highlights
Fan Expo 2012 Photo Gallery