Monday, December 05, 2011

Creation's survey offers a glimmer of hope

XENA fans are getting a glimmer of hope this holiday season with a survey prompting fans to offer their opinions about whether or not to continue the conventions after 2012.

It is not surprising that Creation is doing this. After all, no sane fan would say "no" to ending the conventions, well maybe at least one sane fan but this sane fan opted for number three because I'm not selfish. While fans want option 3, it's a bit like asking people at Yankees Stadium if they're Yankees fans. obviously people are going to go with that final option of keeping the conventions going.

However, I think some fans might read too much into this survey.

It has been suspected that Creation, while ending the annual Xena Convention seems like a wise business move, might switch to a much more economic form of convention that combines several properties into one convention. Something similar to the Strong Women of Sci-Fi Conventions (which is one of the options on the survey) from about a decade ago. These conventions contained a mixture of actresses from popular conventions into a two-day convention. Option 2 offers the best economic opportunity for Creation and gives fans a bit more of a selection at a convention.

If Creation were to continue the conventions, they need to rethink the convention experience. It is hard to keep fans interested in the same actors appearing every year with the same stories to tell, or even new ones from their new roles, etc.

One of the things that some fans would like to see at a convention is a panel discussion with the creative staff behind XENA. At the 2005 convention, Rob Tapert and Chris Manheim did a panel discussion and similar panels appeared at subsequent conventions with R.J. Stewart. Liz Friedman, who's been MIA these past few years, was always a fan favorite.

Coordinated actor panels (for example, the CLEOPATRA 2525 panel at the 2010 convention) also are a fan favorite; as well as a panel of the Men of XENA would be a great sell. Get Ted and William up on stage along with David Franklin and see things turn into a riot on stage.

Actors, while they should have an option to promote their new projects, shouldn't use the stage for political, religious, or enlightenment posturing. In other words, be mindful of the audience's sensibilities. Sending "supporters" into the crowd to get them rise up and jam is one way to annoy portions of the audience who don't dig such a thing. People go to conventions to get entertained, not get converted.

The pricing of conventions is too tough to tackle because of the different payments made to the celebrity guests. Actors should be made FULLY aware of what is being charged to the people coming to the conventions. This might prompt a reduction in fees charged to the fans.

Autographs and photo-ops are fine as they stand for the most part because of fire regulations prevent anything other method than what Creation is already using to herd people through the line.

Creation is taking the time to rethink ending the Xena Conventions, and that is not something to take lightly. At least they're listening to fans. That say something about them as a company, even if they still end the conventions.

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