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Synonyms: pro con, professional con, actor con, actorcon
See also: Convention, fan con
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A procon is one run by a professional organization, often for profit. Another term for this type of con is "Gate Show."

Common examples include ones run by Creation Entertainment and Comic-Con.

These procons, or gate shows, often have actors and show crew members appearing which then requires that convention goers pay extra for better seats or an autograph. Fans attend them to be entertained, which makes them different than fan-run, not-for-profit cons in which fans volunteer to help and are not paid. Procons may depend on unpaid fans to do labor, but the heads and producers of these cons expect a salary.

Some fans like procons for the chance to get celebrity autographs and for the bigger huckster rooms. Other fans dislike pro cons because they are too expensive, are impersonal, do not have a feeling of community, communication, and cooperation, and are too large for them to get to see their friends; they instead, prefer fan-run cons.

It's All Relative

One fan in early 1981 expressed unhappiness with the big Star Trek cons of the time:

Are you as totally fed up with the irresponsible behavior of J. Townsley as I am? I'm referring, of course, to the recent Philadelphia convention fiasco. [Referring to schedule changes with no notification]... in both cases, I suffered considerable financial setback and an even greater degree of mental anguish. I am (to put it bluntly) sick of getting screwed by this turkey, and I want to shoot him down! True, he is the only person who handles pro cons, but his cons are little better than nothing. And surely there must be some way we could stage our own larger-than-fan cons. Townsley's advertising efforts are so pathetic. I would be surprised if we couldn't do better via the grapevine. Perhaps we have legal recourse?... Or perhaps we could stage a boycott in hopes of getting Townsley to improve? I am as anxious as the next fan to get together with friends, especially since I don't live on the east coast where gatherings are common... but I do think we owe it to ourselves to consider alternatives... [1]

A fan in 1987, presented then with Creation Cons and such, looked back as well:

The Star Trek cons today are nothing like the ST cons of the 70s, in particularly the Al Schuster and the Committee cons. First of all, they were larger, averaging 3000+, and there seemed to be more enthusiasm among the attendees. Even the one-day Mini-Trek cons were fun. Shucks, even the John Townsley ST cons were fun compared to ST cons nowadays. I went to Clippercon in February, and even though I had a nice time, the con didn't have the same electricity, the excitement of the old cons. Maybe I'm just getting old. More importantly, the ST cons of the 70s were fan run cons. With your inexpensive (by today's standards) membership, you got a con shopping bag with lots of goodies: a really nice program book, badge, pocket program, Buttons, etc. .. There were NASA exhibits, guest speakers, and usually at least one member of the cast as Guest of Honor. The dealer's room was good, the art show was decent, and the film program kept you going all night. The con suite was really active, especially after the con. At the 1975 New York ST Con, we had a con suite party that lasted 12 hours! Honest! It started when the con closed at 6:00 pm and I got home at about 8:00 am the next morning. At this party was composed the famous filksong 'Battle Hymn of the Convention'. [2]

Expectations ran both ways, however, and some fans who were used to big, for-profit "shows" found fancons to be disappointing. From a fan in 1987:

This is the first Equicon that I’ve attended, before this I have been a regular at the Creation shows which I have enjoyed very much. Maybe it’s because of them that I was disappointed with this convention. I found it to be somewhat unorganized with programming running behind several times. The costume contest seemed to me to be too long and the video programming was uneven. This is suppose to be a fan convention so maybe that’s what the difference was. [3]

From a fan in 1994:

[The pro cons] with the ten-to-five cons that treat the fans like cattle? ... You see, Fandom didn't used to be about cheering Paramount Pictures or going to their licensed conventions (actually, I prefer to call them "shows," because they are totally non-participatory.) Fandom didn't used to be about eating up every little crumb that some "professional" threw us, helping those same professionals get rich all the while. Fandom used to be about producing, as opposed to consuming. Fans used to produce fanzines, run conventions, create artwork — be it paintings or costumes. [4]

From a fan in 2010:

I went to a few of the "Townsley" conventions in New York. I never got to the "official" Committee Cons Joanie Winston wrote about. After pushing my way through one day of the NYC Comic-con, I miss those days! [5]

Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ from a personal statement in Universal Translator #7, an opinion that came from a Creation Entertainment member who used take a table and sell Star Trek goods, and memorabilia, who decided to go on his own and become a competitor of John Townsley's Star Trek Conventions
  2. ^ from Comlink #32 (October 1987)
  3. ^ from Starland News (summer 1987)
  4. ^ Steve Wilson, chair of the Farpoint, comments in the program book for that con
  5. ^ comment by Ed Rhodes at The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Unicorns are real, October 28, 2010