Here are some of my thoughts on Escapade 2013.
I had a great time, but then, I usually do. My biggest complaint is the fact that by the end of the convention, I've met people I wished I'd met at the start of the convention, so that we could hang out a whole LOT instead of doing it as Sunday winds down. (I'm looking at you Teen Wolf folks!) Next year, I hope to plan some kind of hookup on Friday night, with a viewing party and all kinds of social things I don't normally like, simply to meet up at the get go.
Teen Wolf: All the Feels! (I led this one with Amalthia.)
I had to put this in Alt Programming because, evidently, Teen Wolf isn't popular enough to get the votes. Except the room was packed and nobody could stop talking. We had a GREAT time yakking it up on the "I love this because" level, which was nice. It wasn't serious or meta-y, it was just full of great stuff.
I asked people to go around the room and say 1) how they got into TW, 2) what resonated with them, and 3) what was their OTP? (Or OT3, if they had one because all ships were welcome.) Most everyone shipped Sterek, a few folks mentioned Scott/Isaac (BWUAA?), and there was the talk of Peter Hale doing anyone like the fannish bicycle that he is, but only if he was mean and psycho about it. We called Scott a potato, and everyone thought that was a riot, but Scott is also well-loved because he is a Truly Good Guy. And everyone, and I mean Everyone LOVES Stiles. There was only one non-Derek fan, so we mocked her mercilessly and with much love. It kind of turned into a Teen Wolf AA meeting: "Hi, I'm so and so and I don't like Derek." "Welcome, so and so, we love you anyway."
A good time was had by all, I think, and it was a nice way to start off the con, so thanks to everyone who came!
Calibre Fanfiction Plugins (Amalthia led this one; I cheered, from the sidelines)
Amalthia is the genius of everything technical, and especially Calibre. In times gone by, she would painstakingly format fan fiction for ebook reading, and simply use Calibre to sort and catalog all of that. Now, in AO3, you can use a plugin in Calibre to simply DOWNLOAD and GO. (Which is why I'm really only reading anything posted on AO3, otherwise it's too hard!) Amalthia showed folks how to use that. Me? I'm lucky enough to know her personally, so my Calibre is out of sight; she's also got a lovely tutorial from her Dreamwidth account, and is happy to help people with this technology.
How Fan Fiction Changed Your Life (I led this one with Denise.)
Okay, so I kind of had a different idea as to how this would go. What I wanted was to hear recs of fan fiction that was so amazing, that it changed people's lives. What I got...was something else. Something that turned out to be very meaningful, sometimes sad, sometimes funny, but always real and all because people came and really shared what was going on in their lives.
I was not ready, but luckily I had the amazing Denise, whose lead I followed, and I just went with it. Because, you know, I can talk about great fan fiction all day long, but have the kind of trusting atmosphere where people told me of their lives? It became the panel, in the best way. I'm not going to tell tales out of school, but....fan fiction rules, and fandom SAVES PEOPLE.
And not just from ruts or bad patches, but from bad, and abusive relationships. From sitting on their backsides feeling like they can't do anything right. People told of reading fan fiction (and they did give the story) and then talked about how a light bulb went on or a switch turned or they realized that yes, they were in a bad place and it was time to do something about it. One woman told a funny story about writing away for fan fiction, and when her husband found out....he started giving her a budget for it! Another woman realized that, even compared to the ultra-romantic and idealized relationships in fan fiction, that her own relationship was abusive, and especially when she was going to try writing some and he said "This is stupid, you shouldn't waste your time." Which is when she turned on her heel and left him. (Hope I got the gist of that right.) It made me want to cry to hear it. Next year, I'd like to consider doing this panel again, but I'll be more prepared for all the feels that I got out of it.
The What With the Where Now? (Calysta Rose led this one)
There's a lot of new technology out there, and it's hard to keep up. Calysta Rose did a great job breaking everything down, and pointed out what was useful and how people were using it. (Which is not always as the designers meant it to be used.) She kept it at a level even I could understand, so kudos to her!
The Bromance Network: USA and Homoeroticism
I don't watch a lot of TV, so I thought this panel was about homoerotic ism in general, and how, since the networks all know about it, that they're exploiting it. Okay, so, the panel title CLEARLY states USA and Homoeroticism, but I guess I missed that part! Still it was interesting to hear about the different pairings and how one network, at least, is playing to the market instead of fighting it. The panel leaders knew their topic and their pairings and had opinions to share and to gather. Me? I'd prefer it if the networks just went about doing what they do, so that I can do what I do, which is write slash.
No, Don't! (Elfwreck led this one)
This is the now-requisite panel about rape/dubcon, and it seems old hat now, but back in the day, when we first had this panel, we were standing on the tables and shouting we were so excited to be finally talking about it. Now, we kind of know what we're doing, and no one there was shocked that we liked it so we’re past the defensive stage. So we mostly discussed the shades of grey between "rape" and "non-con" and "dub-con" none of which we agreed on. One idea that Magyra brought up was that a writer is doing her thing and so gets to decide how she (or he) will use the terminology, and that the reader is wrong if they disagree. And that the reader needs to find a writer whose definitions agree with hers. This was a fairly strong stand, but I appreciated it, because no matter how you tag a story? Someone will be displeased with you about it. Especially with rape stories!
Wayback Machine - Color, Cross-Gender and ??
Oh, my, I wish I could remember the details of this panel. I believe Nate led it, and he is a really nice guy who usually introduces himself by saying, "Hi, I'm your white, patriarchal representative!" Which never fails to make me laugh. Which is something, considering that the convention used to be only women, all women, so it's nice to have Nate break the ice a little bit (I don't know him very well) and for him to acknowledge that is a member of the ruling class, and doing it with humor, and in a nice way. He made me feel like I could talk in front of him, instead of having him just Be In Charge of Everything and Doing All The Talking. Like most men.
No More Soundbites (Raine led this one)
This panel was about how we consume fandom these days. And I think this was the panel where I almost put my foot in my mouth, and I say almost because I mean I DID, but then, it was halfway through Saturday, and I'm all into it, and opening my mouth and simply talking.
So, here’s the gist of what I went on about….if we as fans can consume anything and everything at a moment's notice; if we don't have to wait two weeks let alone two seconds for anything; if everything is FREE and easy and simply there at our fingertips, can we then truly appreciate it?
Well, young fans don't know any different, so it's only me, at this end, shaking my cane and wanting them to get the hell off my lawn....and then I remember. What it was like to be into something new and shiny and to feel excited about it. Just because something is free doesn't mean it's not worth anything. But it seems to be worth less, because there's no value because it’s so easy to get, and so on.
So then I starting going off at the mouth about how fandom saved my life and how young fans don't GET it, and how they don't value it, and how they can't ever go deep....and bodies started shifting and I still wasn't making my point very clearly. So then I actually, ACTUALLY said "They don't realize how good they have it. They are Standing on the Shoulders of Giants and Don't Even Know It!" (And still they let me talk.) What I meant was, and what I went on to explain was, I feel like young fans are missing out. There's so much there, that is exactly what they want, but because it is old, they're not looking for it. And then some young fan said, "Oh, you mean like...listening to Otis Redding to appreciate where the music came from?" I could have KISSED her, because this is exactly what I meant. So I shut up at that point, which I’m sure was appreciated by all.
P.S. Some of this might have happened in the My Lawn is Your Lawn panel.
So You Want to Be a Vidder (led by Franzeska)
Oh my. Finally a panel that talks about the nuts and bolts of how to make a vid. I can make a vid on a VHS player: you lay down your music, you line up your tapes with the clips, and then you lay the clips down. Franzeska translated this into computer-speak, and went over all the softwares and formats that you needed to do pretty much the same thing on a computer. She didn’t get all fancy and talk about specifics, but she gave me the basics to let me know what the major steps were – so that I could then go and figure it out, without thinking that I’ve missed a step. Because before you vid, you have to “Rip” and then “Render” and THEN you lay your music down. It was a VERY helpful panel, so kudos to Franzeska.
SGA: The Cool Kid and the Geek
Vidding Asthetics (led by Franzeska)
The panel was about taste, in general, and not about the specifics of the aesthetics of viding. I think I was expecting something more cerebral and serious (because I’m like that) more along the lines of what you’d get in literary analysis. Like, for example, when you write a story, you have a plot, so what makes a good plot? And on like that? So, it seems that while there are good vids and bad vids, what makes a good vid isn’t something that can be generally defined. Because what hits the buttons for one viewer won’t for another…and so on. Still I had a good time listening in, and it’s always fun to talk about vids.
The Vid Show
When I was a girl, the vid show used to be longer. We would be watching for hours and hours, with a break inbetween, and little critique cards to fill out afterwards. It was so intense and lovely. So, now, the vid show is shorter and less intense; there’s no “central” fandom for which there will be many vids, and so I ended up watching vids for shows in which I have no interest. Not anyone’s fault, that’s just the way it is.
I had a few standout vids that I either enjoyed or got something out of.
We Must Be Killers, simply because, hello, Tony Curtis and Sidney Portier, and finally someone made a vid out of a VERY slashy film.
Show Me Heaven for The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, which made slashy out of a spaghetti western, and why doesn’t that happen more often?
I liked runnin for SGA, because it told a story, and that was how Rodney and John had HAD SEX and couldn’t stop thinking about it. And it told it graphically!
Another one was Less Plot, More Stripping, which was very entertaining in all the best ways and made me want to watch the film.
My favorite was Hope for the Hopeless, for a movie called Shelter, which I have since watched. It’s a gentle lovely film with pretty boys and sunset beaches, and the vid made it even more perfect.
Overall, I think the convention is very well run. I’m having a problem with men at my convention, but I’ll follow up with the Con Comm about that. And also, I’m a little weary of the anthropologist/reporter/journalist folks who come and EXAMINE all the time. I thought it was just a one off, and they were never coming again, but they keep COMING, and maybe it’s only me, but I’m there to talk, and to take my mask off, and I don’t want to be worried that my thoughts and feelings will end up in someone’s thesis. Also something to talk to the Con Comm about, I reckon.