Interview: Creators of WISH Con, the Ultimate Women in Sci-Fi and Horror Convention

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Women in Science Fiction and Horror is for sure something to celebrate, and a group of wonderful women is bringing the efforts of female creators centerstage for the upcoming first ever WISH Con in 2016. Chairman Crystal, Co-Chair Kerry, Head of Publicity Emma and  Head of Vendor Relations Deb have banded together to create a convention to celebrate the influence of women in the Science Fiction and Horror Genres. These fantastic folks attook time out of their busy holiday and planning schedules to tell us a bit more about their upcoming convention.

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Crystal, Chairman

FGN:  For those folks just discovering WISH-con, what does the name stand for?

Kerry (Co-Chair): WiSHcon stands for Women in Sci-Fi and Horror Convention

FGN: What prompted the creation of WISH con?

Crystal (Chairman): I have worked with other conventions in the past and something just felt like it was missing from the event or planning. When I started to really think about it, the missing piece was a true representation of women at these events. Sure, you would see a few sprinkled in here and there, but most of the draw to the conventions were for men. Nothing wrong with that, but I wholly believe that women deserve the same amount of celebration and representation, and an event all their own.

Kerry: Several of us have noticed that women tend to get shuffled off to the side a lot in television, which is a pity because of all the amazingly talented women in front of the cameras, as well as behind the scenes. So we wanted to find a way to honor these women, and to give them some time in the spotlight.

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Emma, Head of Publicity

Emma: I had started chatting with Crystal on Twitter when she was looking at being a part of another convention focusing on the women of one certain show. I had mentioned to her that I thought it would be great if there was a convention that celebrated all women in the genre. And before I knew it Crystal, Deb and Kerry were already two steps ahead!

FGN:  How did you join forces for a creation team?

Crystal: Thinking about this actually make me chuckle a bit. I’ve known Kerry quite a while from past involvement in the Lord of the Rings fandom. I actually recruited her to work on another event that is slightly similar to ours because I know how phenomenal she works and her passion is contagious. From there, we started working on the idea of WiSHCon -throwing show ideas out, designing logos, etc- and before we knew it, it was born. I first talked to Deb on that same project and threw the idea to her about working with us. Luckily, she accepted. She is a vast well of knowledge in business and fandom. I had spoken with Emma several times thru (very long) emails and messages on Twitter. When this event started to come to fruition, I immediately reached out to her to bring her aboard and it’s been a joy working with her.

Kerry: I’ve known Crystal for several years, and she and I had talked many times about the idea of working together on a convention. She pulled in the other core team members, and we’ve taken off from there.

Emma: Facebook group and private chat – it’s been where all the planning has been taking place since we’re not all located in the same area.

FGN:  Why did you choose Columbus, Ohio for the first WISH Con event?

Crystal: As a native and resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbus is just a hop, skip and a jump away. I’ve been there several times for concerts and conventions and when I fly, that’s where I head. When Kerry and I first started discussing location, I had intended to really campaign for Cincinnati to be the place, but the city of Columbus won by leaps and bounds. It’s one of the top 15 cities in the country to visit with eclectic shops, restaurants and nightlife. Not to mention, if you are flying into Columbus, it is one of the least expensive places to do so.

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Kerry: Co-Chair

Kerry: Ooh, I love this question because it’s my home town! Columbus is a great city for a convention. There are several really active fandom groups in the area, as well as gaming circles, cosplay workshops, and geek-friendly businesses. Columbus is also home to some really great conventions that encompass a variety of interests, such as anime, gaming, and comics. It’s affordable, there’s some fantastic nightlife here, it’s a foodie heaven…it’s just got something for everyone. I truly think that people who come to our convention will be impressed with Columbus!

 

FGN: As the creators, you all come from various backgrounds. What do you feel it is about fandom that gathers us together?

Crystal: Fandom is a crazy place, both good and bad, but if you can look past the political things and shipping wars, it’s really just one great big functionally dysfunctional family. Sure we disagree on plots or who is the better captain or hunter, but at the end of the day we have each other’s back. It’s very much like how brothers and sisters pick on one another, but no one outside that family better even think about it. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve seen life-long friendships formed, marriages and even people saving other fans’ lives. When you step back and look at it, fandom is one of the greatest things we’ve beengiven as fans. Afterall, “Family don’t end with blood.”

Kerry: I think a big piece of what pulls fans together is how easy it is to share our love with others online. We have an instant community where we all have something in common, and from there we can forge personal relationships. For example, Crystal and I met through a Lord of the Rings fan group here in Ohio. She then introduced me to Deb, and Deb and I share a love of Agents of SHIELD. Having a fandom, or several fandoms, gives you a way to overcome any shyness or anxiety about interacting with others. It’s really fantastic to see people talking about the really powerful friendships they’ve formed through their mutual interests. We’re all humans, and we all want to be connected.

Emma: I think that’s the amazing thing about fandom. Everyone can come from vastly different backgrounds (and locations), but still find this connection with one another, because they both love a certain show. People that normally would never meet or talk, become friends because they both are able to identify with a certain series – that’s amazing to me.

Deb: Much like what brings sports fans together – the desire to share excitement about something you love!

FGN: What are your hopes for the first year of WISH?

Crystal: I have a lot of hopes for WiSHCon, both personally and professionally. I hope to be able to make my fellow board members proud of not just me, but what we’re doing here. I hope we can bring more awareness to just how tough it is for women in ALL businesses, but especially as actresses, directors and writers. As for the event itself, I truly hope to be able to stop for a moment and watch Kerry, Deb and Emma thrive in the environment. I hope we make a lasting positive impression on the fans as well as our guests and that both look forward to returning with us in 2017. I want every single person involved from the board members to the volunteer guarding a door to be proud to say, “I helped make that happen”.

Kerry: To have an engaging con. I want people (lots of people!) to attend, and I want them to walk away thinking about how much fun they had at our movie night, or how cool it was to get to meet an actress from their favorite show after hearing them speak in a panel. I want fans to remember the awesome hotel we’re in, or that market with all the tasty restaurants that’s just a few blocks away. I want to hear feedback about how friendships were made, or about the cool swag they picked up from our vendors. I want to make a con that people will want to come back to every year.

Emma: That it will bring together a group of passionate fans to celebrate the work of the amazing women in Sci-fi and Horror, and that it will not only be successful – but also be something that fans demand more of for 2017.

Deb: Magic.

FGN: Do you have any confirmed guests so far?

Crystal: Yes we do, in fact. Those guests will be announced in our press release and Newsletter on December 28th! As much as I’d like to disclose this information, we cannot at this time.

 

FGN: What are some of your personal favorite shows and Franchises?

Crystal: I think it would be safer to ask me what aren’t. I have so many, but I’ll scale it down a bit: Supernatural, How To Get Away With Murder, Castle, Firefly, Lost, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, Fringe, Chuck, and True Blood are the ones I could watch over and over.

Kerry: Agents of SHIELD (omg that mid-season finale!!) and Marvel in general, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Agent Carter, Sherlock, BSG [Battle Star Galactica], Star Trek…there’s a lot. And if you haven’t watched Jessica Jones yet, go do it! Krysten Ritter is amazing!

Emma: For me personally, it would be these: The X-Files, Firefly, Supernatural, Lost, Breaking Bad, iZombie, and The Walking Dead.

Deb: Supernatural, MCU [Marvel Cinematic Universe], and Leverage.

FGN: What have been your favorite experiences at conventions you’ve attended?

Crystal: Some of my favorite moments have been watching others have their dreams come true. Sure, I enjoy meeting the stars of TV and Movies, but the excitement on other people’s faces is what gets me. I also love the way certain panel guests banter with the audience and really make people feel a part of the whole experience. I also really enjoy being able to experience everything I can from vendors to seeing cosplayers and getting some rare merchandise and meeting new friends.

Kerry: I really love how the excitement in a crowd is contagious. And I love checking out the cosplayers! I could be totally happy attending a con and never stepping foot in a panel, lol. I just love the happy vibes!

Emma: While I personally love the larger conventions like Comic-Con, my favorite experiences have been at the more fan-focused conventions – smaller conventions like ATX in Austin or DragonCon in Atlanta – they’re more focused on the fans (and less of a tradeshow). With conventions like those, you frequently see the talent out and interacting with the fans.  It’s just a wonderful celebration of fandom. That’s what WiSHCon will be. A celebration of not only fandom but also the amazing women in the Sci-Fi and Horror genre – which is something that has never been the focus of a fan convention before.

FGN: Are your recruiting volunteers?

Crystal: Very much so! We need volunteers that can work from home and at the event.

Kerry: Absolutely!! There’s room for every level of involvement, from directly assisting the organizers to checking badges the day of.

Crystal: Details can be found on wishcon.org under the “Get Involved” tab at the top of the page. If anyone has any questions, they’re welcome to shoot us a tweet at @WiSHConOfficial on twitter too.

FGN: Where can our readers follow updates regarding the convention and guests?

Crystal: There are a few ways to do that. They can head over to wishcon.org and sign up for our mailing list, follow us on Twitter (@WiSHConOfficial) or Check out our Facebook.

Kerry: Keep an eye out for future contests, announcements, and other fun things!

 

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