Aside from admission to the convention and the Fairy Tale Ball, my Enchantacon ticket package included only one autograph, but I was fine with that. I’ve always had a funny feeling about the idea of paying to interact with a celebrity. It feels like I’m purchasing a piece of them, and I have a problem with that. I’ve always hoped for a serendipitous meeting as the result of a mutual interest or purpose. Surely a signed photograph would be far more meaningful if it stemmed from an organic experience rather than a contrived meeting. Not to demean those who do pay for such things, photo-op and autograph sessions are an appropriate and respectful way to obtain those kinds of mementos.
Enchantacon provided ample opportunities for both convention-sanctioned meetings and chance encounters with the actors. It was neat to run into the guests of honor in the most random ways. Whether riding in an elevator with David Anders or Ethan Embry, chatting with Tony Amendola at the water cooler in the fitness center, pointing out the excellent cosplay for Keegan Conor Tracy, or walking back to the main hotel with Gil McKinney after his Q&A, I found myself meeting the cast in just the way I’d always hoped.
For years, I’ve told myself that actors are people, and they deserve to be treated as such. I imagined that if I ever met a famous person I would treat him or her just as I would treat any other person. If we made eye contact, I’d smile, wave, maybe even offer a brief greeting or comment on the weather. If we struck up a conversation, I wouldn’t ask pointed, personal questions or request any favors (such as an autograph or picture). I wouldn’t want to invade the privacy of a random stranger, nor would I want to encroach upon their time. I believe in treating everyone with kindness and respect, so I planned to extend the same VIP treatment that I give to everyone. But until Enchantacon, I’d never had the occasion to put theory into practice.
On Friday, our emcee, Josh, led an Once Upon a Time trivia contest. Through an unlikely series of events, I wound up winning the second round. My prize? Being escorted to the Fairy Tale Ball by the actor of my choice. It took me several minutes to decide between my favorites, and in the end I asked if I could choose Mr. Raphael Sbarge. I could hardly wait for Saturday night to come.
Other blessings were in store. On Saturday, I was provided with an additional, completely unexpected chance to hang out with the actors. The best part was that I got to invite two of my friends, Angela and Marie, and share the experience with them. Not only was I excited to have an extended chat with Mr. Sbarge and Mr. McKinney, I thoroughly enjoyed the way my two Oncer pals’ faces lit up with joy and disbelief as they took seats beside Ms. Tracy. Their blessing was mine as well.
The Fairy Tale Ball on Saturday night was everything I’d hoped it would be. I’d never felt so beautiful in my entire life, and Mr. Sbarge was a perfect gentleman. Of course the moment we entered the ballroom, he was immediately surrounded by other Oncers eager for a photo-op and a chat of their own. I spent the rest of the evening mingling with other fans. We danced as girls tend to do when there aren’t enough men around to go around: with wild abandon and a total disregard for looking cool. Or maybe that was just me.
Sunday’s pace was noticeably slower. Some of the fans decided to skip the final day of the convention, but they shortchanged themselves. David Anders and Ethan Embry led candid Q&As, loaded with unvarnished tales of the highs and lows of being a working actor in Hollywood. At the end of it all, my introverted self took shelter from freezing winds and smiling faces in a soft couch tucked away somewhere hidden. I journaled for an hour at least, silently recording my thoughts and emotions. Several of the actors noticed me in my hidey-spot as they walked on their way out of the hotel. We said a quick farewell and wished each other safe travels.
Even though I had not purchased one of the more expensive ticket packages, I was surprised at how often I got to interact with the guests of honor over the course of the weekend. Perhaps the small size of the convention had something to do with it. I would guess there were no more than 150 attendees at the peak. But, as for me, I felt Heaven-blessed. It was as though God had just decided to open up many doors of opportunity to meet.
Better than that, God opened my heart to meeting many wonderful people, actors and fans alike, and sharing a wonderful weekend together.
Stay tuned! Enchantacon, Part 3: Open Hearts still to come…