Fancon

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Synonyms: fan run con, fan run convention
See also: Procon, Relaxacon
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A fancon is a convention run by fans. Fancons usually feature panels and discussions among fans and no guests or guests who are BNFs. They tend to be cheaper than procons (or actor cons), which are run for profit.

Some fancons. like Yaoi-Con. do feature guests who are industry professionals alongside completely unrestricted fan content. Other fancons have professional guests and semi-restricted fan content such as not allowing open sale of slash zine).

Many fan-run cons were started out of frustration with the size, expense, out-of-touch, and impersonal feel of the professionally run cons. Some fans also did not feel a great desire to get celebrity autographs or mingle with the stars but instead wanted conventions to be a place to meet and visit with other fans.

Literary and science fiction fan conventions began in the 1930s. Some of the earliest media fan conventions were the Star Trek conventions of the 1970s. Many of these Star trek events were replaced by procons.

For example, in 1975 a for profit Star Trek convention was held in Chicago. This led one fan to write the following loc:

"Cons are a sore subject of late, what with ol' Lisa Boynton out to take over condom. (Sorry), ((ChicagoCon, organized by Lisa Boynton, reportedly made in excess of $100,000 profit. Her company, Telos IV Corp., is planning a series of ST cons around the country.)) The Houston group is frantic about the way the actors fees have soared since Chicago, Bjo Trimble is frantic about Lisa's Los Angeles con the week before hers (Equicon)), Al Schuster's and Devra Langsam's groups (organizers of The International ST Con and The ST Con, respectively)) are frantic about [Lisa] moving into New York City in January, and the Boston con hasn't progressed at all since the first meeting with Gail Abend. I have no objections to four- and five-figure fees for the major stars, or to the rise of agencies like Trekstars Unlimited to protect the ST people from inexperienced concoms but I do think ST Chicago may have signaled the end of the ST con as we have known it. I can, see the pros taking over the meat cons, the 'fan-run' cons becoming one or no star local Trekkie cons and fan cons like SekWester Con proliferating. Trufen will use the pro and fan-run cons to inform the neos, through zine sales and STW, that there's more to fandom than gaping at the S*T*A*R*S and watching the episodes, but the fan cons will become the most important and influential aspect of ST fandom."[1]

This pattern would repeat multiple times over the next decades -- fannish enthusiasm would create the need for gatherings only to be followed by for profit events. See Doctor Who and The Blake's 7 Wars.

Likewise the rise of the Internet and the ability to communicate with a great number of fans without the expense of traveling to meet them in person has reduced the number of fandom run conventions.

Still, as of 2014, fan cons flourish and the number of mini-cons or relaxacons have held steady. These latter events are hard to track as they often number no more than 20-30 fans. Recent examples in 2014 are Bistocon and Constrict.

References

  1. LOC submitted to The Halkan Council #12 (1975).
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