Holding a fan's convention at sea offers fans and celebrities a chance to relax and enjoy each other's company.Extra Events and Autograph Sessions
Richard Hatch held two "private" lectures - for an extra charge of $50 each - for his trademark workshops. He provided a condensed version of his Heart to Heart Actors Workshop for Non-Actors and another one covering Battlestar Galactica - Past and Future. At that seminar, he showed a series of DVDs including a trailer for "The Second Coming," a new version of the show he is currently working on, as well as several other reels covering other versions from the past. He also treated fans to some of the "blooper" footage that hasn't been made available in the past. Much of this material was highly proprietary, and thus photos and video were not permitted.
Another special event was held on the last full day of the cruise - an autograph session as well as a special charity auction to benefit the Texas Autism Foundation. This is the favorite charity of Anne Lockhart, who played Commander Adama's daughter in the original series. She was originally scheduled to attend the convention, but had to back out due to last minute professional commitments.
A silent auction was held for various Battlestar memorabilia, such as character dolls, books, and scale models of the various ships featured on the show. From what I understand, this auction generated a decent sum of money for the charity, especially since either the fan club or the actors themselves donated many of the items. And the fans were happy to walk away with a variety of items they probably could have gotten nowhere else as these were clearly priceless Battlestar Galactica collectors' pieces.
The autograph session and charity auction was my only source of disappointment with this convention. Each principal from the show sat in a designated spot. Many of them had their books for sale, as well as photos and other memorabilia. That's fine. If fans want to procure certain items, it's great to have a convenient way to do so, I also realize that these items offered for sale, like 8 x 10 glossy photos, cost money. So I certainly don't expect them to give photos and other products away.
However, charging $5 for an autograph is tacky in my humble opinion. To their credit, some of the celebrities refused to do so. While they would charge for a photo or a book or DVD, if a fan just wanted their program signed, some of the celebrities would gladly do that at no charge. Some of them, however, did collect the money, which I felt cheapened the entire event.
I was told that the fan club, which sponsored this event, required this charge. Considering we paid over $200 beyond the cost of the cruise for this event, I was so put off with being charged an extra $5 just for an autograph I left early. It's not that I can't afford $5. Lord knows I spent enough on this cruise already. But I just think that when fans spend a considerable amount of money to travel and participate in an event, the celebrities should be more than happy to pose for pictures and sign autographs free of charge.
I also felt that while an actor's workshop not related to Battlestar Galactica itself could be considered a separate event, the Richard Hatch seminar covering Battlestar Past and Present should have been covered by the event fee we paid to the fan club. Several other fans I spoke to also felt this way, especially when some of them were forced to forego the Hatch seminars due to financial constraints.
These issues aside, I was ultimately very impressed by how seamlessly such a production could be hosted at sea. While a land-based venue could easily match the amenities (conference rooms, A/V equipment, food, etc.) having the event on a cruise ship seemed to make everyone far more relaxed and friendly.
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