Ladies of SPN Con: A Con to Celebrate the Women of Supernatural
Supernatural has a presence at many conventions throughout the year. Besides the Creation Convention circuit, which hosts over a dozen Supernatural conventions per year, the show has a presence at San Diego Comic-Con, international Supernatural-focused cons, and fan-run conventions such as the second annual Destiel Con that happened over the summer. This year, a new fandom-run convention has begun to organize that focuses on the women of the SPN universe. The Ladies of SPN Con is set to take place in the Seattle area in the summer of 2016. The organizers are currently running an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $15,000 to get the convention off the ground. I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with some of the organizers about what inspired them to create the convention and what we can look forward to from Ladies of SPN Con.
What inspired the idea for Ladies of SPN con?
CORA: We’ve watched much of the SPNFamily being upset at the lack of female representation at the conventions currently in peak popularity. Every so often one or two of them will show up at a comic convention or a fan convention that isn’t Supernatural specific, but it doesn’t have the same sort of atmosphere.
That not to say that other conventions haven’t made the effort, but oftentimes the ratio of men to women talent is 3:1. And oftentimes based on the prices of autographs and photo ops, they don’t get nearly enough of the spotlight. We’re hoping to change that a little bit.
GINGER: The Supernatural phenomenon is centered around the lives and relationship of two amazing “boys,” but within their universe is a number of smart, strong, independent women. It is a testament to this project that those women last much longer in the hearts and minds of the fans than the few episodes they may be featured on. Included in that appreciation is the opportunity to speak to the talented actresses, writers, directors and crew members that have been a part of a very unique world. Bringing attention to the women in the television industry, any industry, is an important point of the Con as well. How do we celebrate these women, the work that they do on set, as well as their interests and abilities away from Supernatural.
How has the reception from the fandom been to your idea?
CORA: Curious and interested, for the most part! A little bit of concern in the beginning, mostly that we’d get hounded for doing this without being direct affiliates. I think the biggest concern I’ve had is that we don’t have enough information to give everyone, but that’s the nature of a first time convention — until we have the funds to lock in the venue and a bit to guarantee flight for at least one guest, we have to work in Hopefuls and Maybes. Best believe, though, that we’re working as hard as we can to make this real and we won’t stop until it happens! It might not end up coming to its full potential until 2017, but something is happening May 2016.
REBA: There’s a LOT of buzz but little feedback as in way of donation. We hope that changes soon.
GINGER: When the fans actually get wind of the idea, it is always positive. Along with the pleasure of the possibility of the con comes the doubts that surround fan-based projects. Unfortunately, it is a snake biting its tail, the apprehension of throwing support and money at something that may fail, and something that may fail unless that support is given. If excitement was money and delight was investment, this convention would be in its second year already.
Have any actresses thrown their support behind the project?
CORA: We’ve had nothing but positive feedback from so many of the actresses and crew! Many of the talented ladies have followed us back on Twitter, and even those who are unable to attend have given us the names of their preferred charities so we can give a little back in their names.
GINGER: Though I have not spoken with any of the actresses myself, I am aware through other conversations and social media posts that a number of actresses and other women involved with Supernatural do feel this project offers opportunities that other cons may not have. Not only does it offer a more intimate opportunity for the fans and the talent to meet, visit and celebrate one another, but also it allows a chance to discuss bigger issues that pertain to the work that women do, not only in the entertainment industry. It is a wonderful opportunity to give young women a glimpse of the power they wield through their own imagination, perseverance, compassion and humor.
REBA: I have gotten responses from Lauren Tom and Katie Sarife to my postings and it’s generated a lot of attention!
CORA: Nicki Aycox and Rachel Miner are both ready to come. We also have support from Sam Smith, Cindy Sampson, Julie Mcniven, Amy Gumenick, Lindsey Mckeown, Lanette Ware, Katherine Boecher, Jessica Heafy, Brit Sheridan, Director Jan Eliasberg, Director Rachel Talalay, Emily Perkins, Kat Munroe, Julia Maxwell, and the girls from the 200th episode – Katie Sarife, Nina Winkler, Viv Armour, Natalie Sharp, Joy Regullano, Alyssa Lynch, Kelli Ogmundson, Rachel Warkentin, and Hannah Levien.
All we have to do is provide the platform and the dates, and expense fees.
Besides possible appearances by actresses from the show, what other type of programming will your convention have?
CORA: This convention is just as much about the fans as it is the talented women involved on the show. We’ve already been approached by several fan projects about doing panels, and we’re interested in getting more, so long as they align with our mission. We’ve also spoken to crew, and are hoping that the decided date falls into their availability, because it would certainly add a uniqueness to our convention that many others haven’t had.
REBA: Karaoke, vendors room, and a benefit concert where fans will have a chance to be as close to the actresses as they could ever get.
GINGER: It is hoped that there are plenty of opportunities for levity and entertainment between the fans and the talent, but also an incredible opportunity to learn from one another about women in the industry, how they are perceived, their own unique voices and how that translates outside the entertainment industry. Supernatural, the show, offers the chance to bring these people together, but it is the planners, the talent and the fans that may enrich the experience, just as the show they all love is much more than about monsters.
CORA: There are also plans for some interactive fun, like a Rocky Horror Picture Show style performance of the 200th episode. That is, if we can get the screening rights! Can’t give more info than that, lest we’re mined for all our great ideas.
Is this the first fan-run convention any of you guys have put on? Has it been daunting at all?
REBA: Daunting?! For me heck no! I love the challenge of it all. I have seen fan-created cons (such as Walker Stalker Con) become huge successes and I just know that LOS will be too.
CORA: For some of us it’s definitely a new experience, although many of us have volunteered before. I personally have coordinated a lot of local events that have had large numbers of attendees, but nothing of the size we’re hoping to get at this convention. It is a little daunting, but it’s also something that we really and truly want.
GINGER: I speak for myself when I say not only is this the first fan convention I have assisted with….it may be only the second time I have ever attended a fan convention. Supernatural grabbed a hold of me in a, well, supernatural, way that I have never really experienced. I have become immersed in the fandom, the show, the very real people that make the show happen. To that end, I only wish to share that true admiration and intense appeal with others that feel the same…and to attempt to bring others to this very amazing world. Because it IS new to me, it all seems overwhelming and intimidating. But, just like life, the journey…the process…is more about communication, empathy, collaboration and hope. Just like Supernatural.
STEVE: I in fact have run a fan convention. It’s basically a mini Comic-Con. I’ve featured many artists that have worked on DC, Marvel, and Image Comics, which are the top 3 in the industry, as well as had cosplayers, and even guests who’ve appeared on television shows. I run all aspects of that show by myself, in a tiny town, and still manage to draw hundreds. Yes, it’s very “daunting” work. But I love it, and the challenge it puts in front of me. That’s why I agreed to come on and help with the Ladies of SPN con. That challenge! That and my love of Supernatural, and the kick-ass female characters the show has brought us! This con needs to happen!
Thanks for chatting with me! I look forward to the convention getting off the ground and encourage supporters to check out their campaign page for more information.
Author: Angel Wilson
Stephanie “Angel” Wilson is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3.
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