I had the opportunity to volunteer at the latest Fandays put on by C2 Ventures at the Irving Convention center. The group produces three of the best shows in Texas. Officially, the Fandays in October is Star Wars themed. Scifi Expo in February is a general science fiction convention and May is for Dallas Comic Con which focusing on the comic book industry and is the largest of the three shows. Each show features loads of comic, toy, costume and other vendors. Many artists come to the show to talk about their current work, visit with fans and do commission sketches. One of the best parts are the visiting celebrities from the tv shows and movies where you can get autographs and photos. These two to three day events are a lot of fun for the entire family.
Of course, you have to pay to get into these shows, or you can volunteer. It would be impossible to put on shows this large and pay everyone working. Volunteers give up about 4-6 hours in exchange for free entry. You might wrangle lines of people, help selling merchandise, guard doors, etc. However, after doing it a while, you might also get the chance to sit with and help visiting celebrities and artists. They typically need help managing the money taken in for autographs and photos.
This past weekend, October 19-21, I had the opportunity to help out Dina Myers (Star ship Troopers, Birds of Prey, etc.) and Ray Park(Star Wars: Phantom Menace, G.I. Joe, X-Men). I got to meet Sean Astin(Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings), Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers, Tarzan, Sleepy Hollow) and Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street, “V”). I also had a couple more sketches put in my book by Ben Dunn, Frank Cho, Josh Howard, James O’Barr and Cal Slaton. Finally, while I did not get anything from him, I got to see the talented Mathew Warlick again.
Dina is really sweet and a lot of fun to work with. She is just a beautiful in person as she is in photos and on the screen. She is very connected to her fans through twitter and spent some extra time with a few longtime followers. Ray Park is just an awesome person to be around. He took plenty of with each of his fans, asking about them and sharing stories and encouragement. I was sitting close to Casper while helping Dina. He is really funny and outgoing. Sean is a great and humble guy also taking lots of time with each fan. Each of the artists I got sketches from were nice and personable if not a little eccentric.