Thanks to The Big Bang Theory even my dad now knows what comic con is. Little did I know I would ever attend such an event – let alone as a fan! So here is my report form FACTS, the Belgian comic con.
Before we start, I will give you some background information. First of all: no, I am not a fan of any elfs, dwarfs, dragons or other fantasy creatures. I am however a huge, no HUGE, fan of Gillian Anderson. For those of you who don’t hear a bell ringing: Gillian portrayed special agent Dana Scully in the best tv series ever, The X-Files. After the show originally stopped airing in 2002, Gillian starred in several theatre productions in London. Like I said, I am a big fan so went to see all of them. Of course I bought every merchandise I could find during these shows and always waited in line to get an autograph and a picture. The autograph was never a problem, but a picture… You see, ms. Anderson does not pose for photos. This mean that I have several photos of her and yes also some of me in it, but not recognizable. Some are too dark, some moved and in some I am just looking the wrong way. So when I read Gillian would be coming to Belgium and you could buy tickets for a photo opp: I was exhilarated!
On tv people are always stressed about the cost of tickets and getting them before they were sold out. This is not my experience with FACTS. I bought tickets some 4 to 6 weeks in advance and by that time only some of the VIP experiences were sold out. The site was actually very informative and easy to navigate and you were able to buy everything online. The price for entering the convention was about € 15,- so very affordable. Unfortunately I cannot say the same about my photo ticket for Gillian Anderson. This cost me an additional € 85,- (that is actually twice as much as the other stars that were attending..). But, like mr. Scientist said: still cheaper than a weekend in London!
The location was a bit outside the town of Gent, good to reach with huge parking areas so there is plenty of room to come by car. The fun started at the parking place, where we saw several people turning into Jedi, super heroes and characters from Game of Thrones. The security check went pretty fast because there were more than enough people and after maybe 10 minutes we were inside, where there were even more Disney figures, storm troopers and Doctor Who’s walking about. People had obviously put a lot of time, money and effort in their costumes and it is a sheer pleasure looking at them!
I must say that I was a bit disappointed though about the activities. The major section held stores where you could buy merchandise and costumes. In another hall there was a parkour over several bouncers, in the third fan club stands (mostly star wars) and the fourth was the celebrity section. To the left were the booths and lines for autographs and to the right were the two photo booths.
Online you could find a schedule and some important extra explanations, like: come early because as soon as the line dries up, the star will go home. Of course this would not happen to me, so the first thing I did after arriving was checking with the photo booth assistants about how the show would go down. They were all very friendly and warned me that it would probably take some time to get my picture taken. Boy, were they right! When I came to stand in line about 30 minutes before Gillian would arrive, I had already 100 or 200 people standing in front of me. Tip 1: come early! Or if you have more money than time: buy a VIP ticket. All VIPs were let in front of us simple folk..
After enough patience and a full phone battery, it was almost my turn. As long as it took to get here, as fast was it over with. When it is your turn you leave your bag, you go into the photo booth (± 20m²) and stand on the first cross at the entrance. On the left is a professional photographer, on the right is Gillian Anderson and in between are fans and assistants. After 10 seconds you can move to the second cross, then to the third and then to the last and most important one: the one next to Gillian Anderson. You take a stand, try not to look to bewildered into the camera, *click*, you get a quick “thank you” from ms. Anderson and out you go. Which brings you to the printers and a new adrenaline rush: to see whether the photo turned out ok! Thank God this only took about a minute or two. After 16 years of trying I finally did it:
All information and tickets about upoming conventions: https://facts.be/