Filmcon

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Science Fiction Convention
Name: Filmcon
Dates: 1972-1988
Frequency:
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Type: fancon
Focus: Media Fandom with focus on Star Trek, Science Fiction and Fantasy
Organization:
Founder:
Founding Date:
URL:
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Filmcon was a convention that featured sci-fi, horror, and Star Trek themes. "Filmcons" were run by some of the same organizers that began Equicon, mainly Bjo Trimble and John Trimble.

Timeline

It ran from 1972 to 1974 as simply "Filmcon."

"Filmcon" and "Equicon" were combined in 1975, and that year, as well as 1976, both "Equicon" and "Filmcon" were utilized in the convention's name.

Between 1977-1988, "Filmcon" was incorporated into "Equicon," but was not listed in the title due to trademark issues. [1]

John Trimble and Bjo Trimble dropped "Equicon" all together in 1989, and attempted a revival of Filmcon in its original format. [2] This con, however, did not take place, nor did any thereafter.

Some History

FILMCON was started in 1972: a film-laden convention with many how-to programs on filmmaking. It was an artistic success but - due to huge rental fees on the many films - was a financial failure. The second year was even worse. Unless FILMCON could be supported in some manner, this fine convention concept would die. By this time the original chairman of EQUICON retired to write professionally, so we ended up "sole Proprietors" of this Star Trek convention. It seemed feasible to combine the two, letting the EQUICON help pay for the large FILMCON expenses while at the same time providing the ST fans with an unusually fine film program. Though the name "EQUICON:FILMCON" was unwieldy, the combining of conventions proved successful. [3]

Filmcon 1 (1972)

"Filmcon 1972" was held over Thanksgiving weekend (end of November) at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

It was chaired by John Trimble.

The 1972 event was titled" Fantasy Film Fans International" and was listed as the "First Annual Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Convention."

The Trimbles considered it an artistic success and a financial disaster [4]

Filmcon 1972: Con Reports

[some excerpts from a con report by Dorothy Jones Heydt]: It was well-stocked. Unlike SFCon, which ran each film at least twice so that, you could see everything (assuming you had limitless endurance), each film was shown an average of once. (this, of course, had considerable to do with the terms of rental.) Films came in three categories, which I shall define as Hard-Core Science Fiction, Soft and Slitherly Science Fiction, and Vampires, though the Committee had set up definitions slightly more genteel. They did their best to have only one film of a given genre running at a time, but there were occasional overlaps…. [snipped]… We then took a quick look at Galactica -- actually, the title was Galac....some Hungarian inflectional ending which I don't remember. This was its U.S. premiere and no one, including the Committee, knew anything about it. Well, it was a couple of people doing a modern dance against an astronomical background to the accompaniment of some bongo drums and a narration. In Hungarian. The drumming and dancing were amateurish and the astronomy insufficiently inspiring; the narration may have been great but since we didn't have Sarkanyi Gero along to translate we'll never know. We went and tock a nap…. [snipped] … In the evening the Draculans met and somebody premiered "The Thing With Two Heads," whereof the advertising slogan is, "They grafted a white bigot's head onto a soul brothers' body -- …" Yes, quite. Some of the ersatz heads were on exhibit in the exhibit rooms, one with buttons hooked up to make it blink…. [snipped]… The Masquerade. There were, let's see, about ten costumes/acts/what not, some of them containing two people. With one exception, who wasn't really in costume, everyone got a prize for something. Even Ricky Schwartz as "The Real Seymour." Like I say, there were about ten costumes. Hal and I were wearing our formal medievals and if I could have thought of a title in a hurry we'd have entered and probably walked away with a prize or two. There were a few monsters and a few pretty girl costumes and one rather pitiable aged Andorean lady. Also a gentleman from The Omega Man who turned out surprisingly well because of his white-painted contact lenses, and when I consider what contacts cost he deserved an award just for devotion to the original above and beyond the call of duty. Also a nice girl whose name I can never remember, but she won the Westercon's Most Naked Lady contest as Golden-Haired Sif. She was again in her skin, plus a label and a few gift wrappings, as "A Hannukah Present for David Gerrold." (David was among the judges, because Bill Theiss couldn't make it.) And that was about it. Everybody got an award of some kind and we were out of it in time to go upstairs and see "Journey to Babel."… [snipped] … We did, however, get up in time for the Star Trek festival at 10. All manner of Trekkian personnel were there, some of them vastly changed. DeForest Kelley and James Doohan still look about the same, but the younger members have let their hair grow since they got out of the UPP Star Fleet. Walter Koenig has a moustache and is completely unrecognisable. Gene Roddenberry is still his sweet self, but Majel Barrett (introduced as "my wife, the nurse") has done her hair back to brown and lost ten pounds she didn't need to; she's still pretty but she looks ill. One hopes not. Everybody was there, in fact, but Nimoy and Shatner. I dare say they've gotten a bit shy. They had surrogates, however, of whom more later. So they explained how, yes, It's conceivable that Star Trek may be revived, and the people to convince at the moment are Paramount. David Gerrold and Dorothy Fontana supplied names and addresses of people to bug, and I've lost them. Roddenberry and Fontana are currently working on another projected series (pilot, in the form of a movie-for-TV, is evidently to be shot one of these times real soon now) entitled Genesis II, which takes place 108 years from now and 100 years after the Great Conflict. Civilization is just beginning to struggle back, and of course it takes a different form in every village, which should make life varied.

Then "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was shown, in its form 
as a pilot, not as an episode. There's an introductory scene
 which was cut, showing the Galaxy from the outside with a bit of 
voice over about how they're leaving the Galaxy, et cetera, and 
leaving their regular law-enforcing job for a bit of exploration,
 tracking down these strange signals, et cetera. And cut to the chess game. Then a black-and-white print of The Cage in its original form was shown, Roddenberry's own -- If you've seen The Menagerie you've seen 97% of The Cage. The scene "outside Pike's home town" was somewhat longer, wherein Vina kept trying to distract Pike's questions with "Please, dear, you know I get — ah — headaches when you talk like this," and Pike later told her, "You know, those 'headaches' are hereditary. Do you really want to bring up children here?" et cetera. There were a couple of very brief shots of some of the other zoo specimens -- a large apey one and a fairly large birdy one, both looking bored. Then all three years' blooper films were shown, after which they began a panel discussion and we left, hoping to see what was left of The Time Machine -- another of those overlaps. But it was in its final scenes, so we said the hell with it and had another nap…. By this time, like every con since the hallowed first probably, they were running late. So along came David Gerrold, saying, "I'm supposed to speak for half an hour, and we're 24 minutes behind schedule. So I'll answer questions for six minutes, and then we'll show 'Tribbles' and be back on schedule. Now, your first question, 'How can you break into television writing?' You can't. Next question?" And he answered a few and then they put on "Tribbles." By the way, somebody other than David indicated that part of Shatner's Weltschmerz out of that show derived from an allergy to tribble fur. I'd like to hear more about that. Anybody keep track of the Captain's rashes?… [snipped]… Ah, yes, Spock's and Kirk's surrogates. Those who attended LACon will recall a very young man with a lovely blue shirt and shiny black bangs, with Terran ears but all in all looking more like Spock than he has any right to. Well, he's found a buddy who looks more like Kirk than he has any right to, and they go around in their exceedingly well-made uniforms causing whiplash in the suddenly-turned necks of incautious spectators. The trouble is, Spock and Kirk weren't a Commander and a Captain at the age of fifteen or so. They ought to have lovely grey-blue cadets' uniforms with gold sunbursts on them, like Finnegan's. I don't know if you can become a cadet at fifteen or so, but then we all know Spock and Kirk were both demon students. (By which I do not mean to imply they studied demons. I'm sure they left that to the Draculans.)… [snipped]… It was really a very pleasant con, all things considered. I wish there had been less overlapping and more duplications --maybe not to the extent SFCon took of having everything run at least twice, because nobody is going to want to see every last little frame. At least I hope and trust not. But I wouldn't have missed, say, The Time Machine or The Raven if they hadn't been there at all; and I was exceedingly frustrated that they were there and I couldn't see them. The Committee freely attests that the Filmcon is in an experimental state and will probably change a lot. Maybe they can arrange for some reshowing of some of the older, less expensive films? Anyhow, it beats turkey at the in-laws'. [5]

Filmcon 2 (1973)

Filmcon 2 was held November 23-25, 1973. It was chaired by John Trimble.

Filmcon 3 (1975)

This con was combined with Equicon/1975.

Filmcon 4 (1976)

This con was combined with Equicon/1976.

Filmcon 5 (1981)

This con was combined with Equicon/1981.

Filmcon 6 (1989) -- Proposed, Canceled

There was to be a standalone "Filmcon" (with the name "Equicon" dropped) in mid-June 1989, but this did not materialize.

cover of the first (only?) progress report, early 1989: background was by Dave Teubner; "The Illustrated Man" is a multi-chrome bronze sculpture by Star Lliana York

This proposed con had at least one progress report, published in early 1989, containing 24 pages. It has a cover with simply the word "Equicon" on it, despite the fact that the first page of the report states that "Equicon" has "been shelved" and "Filmcon" has been reinstated, albeit with an expanded concept.

From the single progress report:
We're shelving EQUICON & reviving FILMCON once again! Only this time, it'll cover all types of film & television entertainment: Science Fiction, Westerns, Costume Epics, Comedies, Mysteries, etc. This exciting concept will be the ultimate media con, worth travelling from all over the world to see! Stars you've only dreamed of meeting; cast & crew from major films & TV shows: past, present & future, will be invited to speak, sign autographs, & be available to their fans as they've never been before. Plan your Summer Vacation for mid-June of 1989!

Proposed Guests

Each of the guests of honor below had bios in the progress report. Some of those bios had photos.

Walter Koenig | David F. Glut | Robert H. Justman | Eric Menyuk | IB Melchoir | J. Michael Straczynski | Sandy Fries | D.C. Fontana | Grace Lee Whitney | Herb Wright | Greg Strangis | Tom Lazarus | Jonathan Hackett | Bill Warren | Jim Danforth | Rick Sternbach | William Campbell | Fred Raimondi | Ron Moore | Dan Curry |Mike Dizacomo | Mike Le Vitre | Fred Phillips | Nina P. Coleman | Michael Westmore | Kathy Selbert | Chris Weber | Karen Wilson | Chris Gilman | Warren James

The progress report also stated that it needed a new logo.
ARTISTS! Remember George Barr's fabulous FILMCON logo? he feature all the things SF fans loved in films; we've always loved this design. But the new FILMCON will cover all types of fills, from Westerns to Comedies to Epic Adventures, so we need a quality logo to fit those needs. Design us a FILMCON logo that covers <all</u> the genres of film, not just Science Fiction & Fantasy: one which we can use for letterheads, flyers, posters & even T-shirts! Send SASE for guidelines & submission rules. PRIZES are offered.

Needed: A Title for the Progress Reports/Newsletters

From the progress report:
We've tentatively titled our forthcoming FILMCON Progress Reports/Newsletters, but we'd like to hear what YOU suggest. We call it "MacGUFFIN" after Alfred Hitchcock's nickname for whatever people were after in his movies (Money, Murder suspects, "The papers," or Hidden Treasure are all "MacGuffins"). What do you think? Got a better name? PRIZE for the best name selected.

Needed: Some Money

From the progress report:
MERCHANDISING IDEAS needed for FILMCON. To support the extra costs of audio/visual equipment rentals or purchases, AND be able to support our charities, we'll need some extra income than membership fees. PRIZES to the best suggestions for items we can produce for sale. Ideally [they] should be easy to produce (or find a manufacture), simple to mail or transport, inexpensive enough for most pocketbook & appealing to a large number of fans. Got ideas? Share them with FILMCON!

Planned Workshops

  • "Vacu-Forming Demonstation"
  • "Makeup & Costume: A Perfect Match"
  • "From Thrift Store to Fantasy Costume"
  • "Childrens' Workshops"
  • "How to Edit Your Writing Without Hurting Your Own Feelings"
  • "Writing for Animation"

Regarding Photography

While the first page of the progress report had shelved the name "Equicon," it shows up once more on the last page.

Documentation.

Video and Photographic.

Equicon will be documenting the convention both on video tape and on film.

If anyone wishes to do so they are not only welcome to, but encouraged to do so. But certain provisions must be followed. First, Any Photos or Tape will be for you [sic] own private use ONLY and NOT for resale. Second, At NO TIME are you allowed to touch or move any of the props or artifacts. Third, Any art in the art show is not to be photographed or video taped unless prior artist approval. Lastly, There is to be NO auxiliary lights during the Masquerade (This includes the use of flash, NO FLASH PICTURES). There is to be NO impromptu directions to contestants, and No wandering in front of the audience. There will be a Photo Area for those who must use flash, auxiliary lights, or for those who want to get close up photos (Video cameras have the same rights as Photographers). In short, We would like you to just observe common courtesy and basic common sense, it will make for a better convention for all involved. Thank You.

Images from the Progress Report

References

  1. "When we tried to trademark EQUICON:FILMCON, only to discover "Filmcon" was in use elsewhere, so technically we could not use it. We subscribe to the "A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME..." theory, so no plan to phase out the use of "Filmcon", reverting to simply EQUICON. We won't drop the CONCEPT of FILMCON; it merely means a shorter, more easily pronounced convention title. With the stronger emphasis on aerospace, there is more programming utilizing real space talent at this new EQUICON. Suddenly we aren't just a "Star Trek" or a "Film" convention any longer, but a greater, broader event than either!" -- from the 1981 Equicon program book
  2. "We're shelving EQUICON & reviving FILMCON once again! Only this time, it'll cover all types of film & television entertainment: Science Fiction, Westerns, Costume Epics, Comedies, Mysteries, etc. This exciting concept will be the ultimate media con, worth travelling from all over the world to see! Stars you've only dreamed of meeting; cast & crew from major films & TV shows: past, present & future, will be invited to speak, sign autographs, & be available to their fans as they've never been before. Plan your Summer Vacation for mid-June of 1989!" -- from an undated 24-page progress report for a 1989 con that did not take place.
  3. from the 1981 Equicon program book
  4. from the 1981 Equicon program book
  5. from No #13