First Supernatural Convention: How to make the best of it




Supernatural Day was September 13th 2016! 11 years ago this show aired on the Warner Brothers channel now known as the CW, and still going strong entering it's 12th season in October. One of the best things about this show other than the actors and story lines is the Fandom, the fandom known as the SPN (Supernatural) Family. Aside from seeing them everywhere on Twitter or Comic Con meetups they have the Official Supernatural Conventions put on by Creation Entertainment who also does the Star Trek Conventions. In honor of Supernatural day earlier this week and the premiere of the 12th season coming up, I wanted to share my first SPN Convention. Not only what I did but how you can make the best of your first time, even if that means you are not purchasing any of the awesome photo ops or autographs. I was blessed when I got to attend the Phoenix Arizona Supernatural Convention in June of 2016, more days than I had planned on.

Volunteer Back in back in June 2015 I had signed up to be a volunteer, this was before I got into the show and wanted to add it to my convention volunteer "resume". Volunteering is always a great way to experience the conventions from a whole different perspective, and have bonuses like free entry with a shift completed. 2016 when I fell in love with the show and needed to go,  I applied and they said spots were full. Fear not I still planned on going, I hope to one day volunteer, but sign up early as spots fill up fast! 
Purchase Tickets Tickets can be super pricey but depending which day you want to go the price differs. Not a lot of places will advertise other sources to buy tickets, and advise not to buy tickets from other sites other than their own. However I had bought my Friday ticket from a discounted site (shhhhh) it worked, they had a separate line for us at the convention. Next time though I am buying from the site itself, which is the route always to take and recommended. I had a slight desperate bone in my body at the time to attend, so the cheaper the better.
Go all 3 Days. A typical convention is Friday –Sunday there is so much packed in the weekend, I was originally only going to go for Friday, that way I can say I at least went. I was blessed however to be Volunteering at an exhibitor booth and was able to attend the convention all three days. I was excited for the opportunity to experience my first Supernatural convention all while doing something I love to do, making a difference.


 

Get Involved The SPN family is known for their generosity and organizations that fans and actors have created. One of the organizations (pictured on the left) recently started by the stars Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) and Misha Collins (Castiel) You Are Not Alone had a presence. They had a table that was set up to see what you knew about mental health; there was also a chance to win a Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki photo op so I thought I would give it a try.  Another organization that I was a bit more involved with, and had the opportunity to interview on the site as well is Attitudes in Reverse® (pictured on the right). I had the opportunity to volunteer my time for the Attitudes in Reverse® (not affiliated with Creation Entertainment) table which also allowed me to be there the whole weekend. 
Enjoy the atmosphere The atmosphere was ridiculous and I mean that in the most positive way ever! I was late to the game in enjoying the show, but there were people there who have been with the show since the beginning of time. The generosity, excitement, merchandise, the actors the vibe you name it, it was all positive. Walking around and taking it all in is one of the best things to do, although at times my being an introvert does kick in, at this convention it seemed to take a back seat and make it more easier to talk to people.

Go to Panels The panels were some of the highlights of the weekend, and not just to mention the Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles (J2 Panel) on Sunday. The actors getting involved with the crowd! Telling inspiring stories about the TV show, their fellow co workers, the SPN family you name it. One of my favorite panels was Mark Sheppard Panel as he would walk around the panel room floor, picking on fans (in good fun of course) and bringing out the Crowley (his character on the show) in him. It was nice to see that some of the actors can have that sort of relationship with the fans.






Go to Friday Night Karaoke
The night where stars of the show and fellow fans sing their lungs out to classic and modern day tunes! I was excited for this event, especially when I heard Misha Collins (Castiel) was going to be there when he usually is not. I wanted to experience the actors anyway I could since I was not doing autographs, photos ops or seeing them up close and personal. There were some songs that I will never hear the same again after listening to the actors and fans sing it together. One of the best ones of course was the TV show’s theme song Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas! It really hit me that this was a fandom family and hearing everyone sing the main tune for Supernatural! Karaoke was free to attend and ended up getting a good spot for the show.    
     
Things to do before another scheduled event This would go along more with getting involved piece to. Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) has expressed his battle with depression over the years including his Always Keep Fighting Campaign, he has helped other organizations that open the conversation about mental health. One of the events (not affiliated with Creation Entertainment) was Attitudes in Reverse® "In Their Shoes" Exhibit, this was the launch of their Phoenix AZ Chapter. I was able to be a part of it and help set it up, it was a very moving event. This event was held before the Saturday Night Special in the area and is always a great event to check out. Rather then just sitting and waiting, get involved and attend one if you are able to. Jared Padalecki and Mark Pellegrino (Lucifer) recently attended the exhibit for the Minnesota Chapter Launch back in August 2016.

Attend the Saturday Night Special! I had heard Jensen Ackles was going to be there singing and knew I had to go, yes I am aware of what a true fangirl is now. Jensen was going to be joining Louden Swain who was also founded by one of the actors Rob Benedict who plays Chuck/God on the show. The event was $50.00 and was worth it, again I wanted to experience the actors any way I could. I helped pass out glow sticks from a group that also brings fans together called Women of Letters, that in itself was fun to! Everyone was going to light up during one of the bands songs, "She Waits" which was dedicated to Rob Benedict's Mother. This night is hard to put in words, Jensen and Jared had introduced the band and the night began! Between the magic of the light sticks, stars singing their songs (again favorites I will never hear the same again). It was awesome the best part besides Jensen Ackles and my sweet spot on the side of the stage, was everything about this night was amazing.


Buy all things I was unable to get photo ops, autographs or a ton of merchandise (mostly due to Dad having a recent heart transplant) but buy all things! The prices were high but after seeing the photos, the excitement of the fans as the prep for the photo ops, and seeing it all weekend I was tempted to break the bank! They had autographs as well, although me personally, I would rather pay for a picture then a scribble on something with no personalization (but you never know). The quality of the photos was definitely worth the price, everyone looked great in their photos. I was close to paying for at least one picture with an actress, I am really growing to love Kim Rhodes who plays Sheriff Jody Mills on the show, I didn’t, but motivation to save up for the next convention. I ended up buying some merchandise and some things to add to my Hunters Journal from Con Quest Journals.

SPN Family The generosity and positivity from the fandom family blew me away! I had some great experiences by meeting some fandom family members. Experiences including meeting Jensen Ackles and getting an autograph!! Best 7.5 seconds of my life! One of the volunteers I was working with had to leave for her flight and wasn't able to stay for Jensen Ackles so she gave it to me, I could not give enough thank you hugs. Some of the SPN family I met during the convention were cyber-ships turned into real life friendships, and made new friends that I still talk to and have seen since then. I realized this was also one of the best parts about these conventions. I didn’t have the fun photos ops or autographs purchased, but still had great time. A big thanks to the SPN family, even the actors for showing up and giving more than they have to.

I am grateful for the experience I had! At first when researching the conventions I thought the prices for a lot of things were extremely high, even just to get a good seat in the panel room. It was at the times discouraging, dishing out almost 300 dollars for a photo op, it all sounded crazy to me! I realized the convention does have fans by the dollar bills, but after my 3 days at the con that all CHANGED! Seeing the respect the actors and fans have for each other, the actors want to be there rather than being contractually obligated (you can tell the difference). This made all the difference, these experiences are well worth paying for and now understand why. I will be saving up to go to at least one a year and enjoy it all the way! I love seeing all the posts throughout the year from fellow fans, and am always reminded why it’s all worth it and looking forward to the next!
Have you been to a Supernatural Convention? What was your experience like? 
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