ARTICLE: Sheffield Film & Comic Con @ Motorpoint Arena
Being an absolute fan of films, comic books, sci-fi and all the other facets that make up this world of comic conventions, I was astonished when I realised I had never actually attended one before. I always wanted to go to a convention for one reason or another I never got the chance. So when the opportunity arose I snapped at the chance to experience first-hand what a convention is truly like. I was told I would not be disappointed and now looking back in retrospect, I absolutely agree without a shadow of a doubt Sheffield Film & Comic Con did not dissapoint.
The whole atmosphere was very welcoming, mainly because everyone who is attending all have that shared interest and are just as fanatical as you. There are some maybe more hard core fans that go above and beyond (especially in the costume department). But in the end everyone is there for the same reason to meet their heroes and villains who they are captivated on screen by. The main area housed all the tables and displays selling merchandise from the most popular movies, TV series, comic books and graphic novels on the scene. It has a very hustle and bustle market feel but you never feel pressured into buying anything and all of the sellers are very friendly and informative. The prices are reasonable depending on the items you wish to buy and it comes down to your own personal views on what you think memorabilia is worth. I myself bought several items because of the niche things you can purchase weaving through the aisle. It’s impossible to resist and I guess that’s the point. Without some kind of souvenir to commemorate you kind of feel like you cheated yourself out of what could be missing out on something unique and special.
I was surprised to see the lengths people go to in order to look like their favourite characters in the most realistic ways they can. Most of them do it purely for the fun aspect but there are some who are paid to attend. Regardless of which one they are, they are always more than willing to pose for photos, as long as you ask them nicely mind. Of course like most people this is not something new but until you see them in the flesh and with your own eyes, you don’t really know how much effort they put in. Everyone who attended was very courteous and no matter how crowed the place got no one was rude or insulting. I was extremely impressed with a lot of the costumes and there was some cosplay discussions explaining how to start making your costume, budget constraints and all manner of cosplay topics.
Of course with all of these conventions the main attraction was meeting and greeting the various celebrities from your favourite films and TV shows. This convention was no different and it was such an awesome buzz to see them outside of a screen of some kind. Amongst the guests were to name a few many Doctor Who actors and actresses from the shows history such as: Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Dan Starkey, Bonnie Langford, Louise Jameson, Terry Molloy, Sophie Aldred, Mat Irvine, John Leeson and Frazer Hines. The other most notable guests were Burn Gorman (Torchwood, Game of Thrones), Eve Myles (Torchwood), John Rhys Davies (LOTR) and Stephanie Leonidas (Defiance). I didn’t meet all of the people I mentioned but from what I observed all of the guests were very friendly and easy to talk to, also everyone of them were more than willing to pose for photos and sign posters etc. Some of the selected guests held public Q&A sessions with the fans in which you get insight into their experiences on the shows. One of the guests that most impressed me with her welcoming demeanour and friendliness was Stephanie Leonidas who plays Irisa in Defiance. I say this because I was able to ask for a quick interview and she was more than willing to oblige. To read the interview click here.
It shows that from my first time experience at a convention that all of the guest are very humble and appreciate the fans as much as the fans appreciate them. Another guest who is incredibly humble and very welcoming was Burn Gorman. Jason Broadhurst who went with me to the convention managed to get an interview with him. Check out the interview here.
Overall I had a great time and the experience of my first convention is one I won’t forget. It has definitely encouraged me to go to conventions in the future. Hopefully it won’t be long before I go again. I guess the most fun part is being in a place where you feel connected in a way to everyone there. Having that shared interest just made the whole day that much more enjoyable and I’m sure I won’t be the only person who felt that way. In closing it’s a place where nothing is too weird and nothing to geeky, so get your elf ears on or your superhero costume on and go to your next convention… you won’t regret it.
Photos: Jason Broadhurst