Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Flip Side of the Con

Interesting post-San Diego Comic-Con article by Elisabeth Rappe over on Cinematical about what it's like for a reporter/fan to attend and have to spend the entire time conducting interviews rather than doing what all the other fans get to do. Sort of a grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side kind of a piece.

I can empathize with her. During my days as a reporter a few years ago, I had my fair share of assignments to cover fun events (though I was never sent out to file from the floor of a con) but not get to join in the fun. Hot summer nights at the Vancouver fireworks competition spent scribbling stories on a notepad, ear pressed to the recorder looking for the perfect soundbite, watching the crowd for the next happy partier to interview for the same clips as last year (while avoiding the more hostile drunks), trying to walk out of the cellphone dead zones by the beach, and keeping an eye on the clock to be sure I filed on time for the next newscast. The same thing with chocolate fundraisers for local charities - get the interview and get out... no time to stick around and enjoy the thing for what it was. The debut of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace was a similar occasion. After a day of covering some criminal trial in court in Nanaimo, I was sent to the other end of town to interview the fanboys who'd been camped-out in front of the local multiplex for a couple of days waiting to catch the first screening. The geek in me wanted to join them - it was, after all, the first new installment in the franchise in a long, long time (and we were blissfully unaware of the Jar Jar factor) - but duty called, and that meant getting some tape from the cavorting fanboys, who were all too eager to share their enthusiastic predictions, before moving on to the next assignment. Luckily, this time I managed to finish filing that night after the city council meeting and leave the station with enough time to get to the theatre for the last show on the opening day. There was still a good-sized crowd cued-up outside too, and it was nice to be part of that waiting-in-line-for-the-big-show vibe again.

Yeah it's cool to have the press pass sometimes, but other times, it's a lot easier and more fun just to be part of the crowd.

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