We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha Douglas with DragonCon Media Relations. Check out the interview!
1) For those who do not already know, what is Dragon Con and why should they check it out?
Dragon Con is the world’s largest fan-run pop culture convention. It’s unlike any other con in that it’s truly run by the fans, for the fans. Dragon Con is a place for fans to gather and share their love for their favorite things whether that’s movies, TV shows, games, comics, books, cosplay, science, etc. It all amounts to over 1,600 hours of programming running 24/7. For four amazing days the passion brought by the fans radiates throughout every fiber of Dragon Con. You can see it in the programming, the cosplay, the parade, the events…it’s awesome. It’s what makes Dragon Con feel like one big family reunion.
I firmly believe that everyone, whether you’re a geek or not, should come to Dragon Con at least once. With so many tracks of programming, events, concerts, and the parade, there really is something for everyone.
2) Dragon Con has its origins in gaming, and its history spans decades. What has Dragon Con done to stay focused on areas of gaming throughout the years?
Gaming has evolved so much even over the last decade. Dragon Con’s gaming origins are what makes the gaming tracks so great. You’ll see the same people year after year, who maybe only see each other at Dragon Con, gathering for a game. But there’s also a sense of welcoming in the gaming community at Dragon Con. If you’re new to gaming they’ll embrace you with open arms. I think this is what made the gaming track grow so strongly at Dragon Con.
3) Do you see this presence growing or contracting in future years?
The gaming industry seems to be exploding. There’s huge popularity now for table top, video, and other forms of gaming. With advances in technology and the way people connect and communicate, I think we’re going to start seeing new and innovative games hitting the market. New games, as well as the tried and true classics, will only mean growth and expansion for gaming at Dragon Con.
4) What sorts of games, role playing or otherwise, are available at Dragon Con?
Dragon Con has a HUGE gaming presence. It’s currently divided into two tracks, one dedicated to video gaming and the other to table top gaming. Each track offers an enormous variety of gaming opportunities, panels and events. There are even WOW and video game character costume contests.
The Media Relations Interview Room was once located in the Hilton Hotel. We shared a hallway with several of the campaign RPG rooms. I’ve seen some campaigns start when I arrived in the Interview Room at 7:30 a.m. and were still running when I came back the next morning. It was incredible!
5) Have you had a chance yourself to sit down in the Dragon Con gaming area yourself and spend some time playing games? If so, which games?
Unfortunately, I have not. I spend my days at Dragon Con running the Media Relations Interview Room. My nights are usually spent with family and friends, hanging out, cosplaying, etc. I’ve always been into video games, even though I’m not very good at them. I’m definitely a Bioshock fangirl. We had a few interviews last year with one of the developers of the Unreal Engine. Meeting one of the people behind the engine used in my favorite game was pretty exciting.
I will say that if you’re looking to do some gaming at Dragon Con then there will definitely be something you’ll like. There are board games, campaign RPG’s, card games, LAN gaming, table top games, live action role playing, miniature games, non-campaign RPG’s, video games, workshops, contests and much much more.
6) We are seeing a surge in attendance numbers at conventions across the country, the numbers for Dragon Con alone are staggering. How will Dragon Con handle this growth as it continues?
Dragon Con will handle the growth the same way it always has, with a focus on the fans. Dragon Con does an amazing job of listening to what fans want and what fans like, and turning it into something that works. We’re in a unique position being a convention that is truly by the fans and for the fans. That’s something I don’t think Dragon Con will ever lose sight of. It’s what gives Dragon Con its friendly and cohesive atmosphere.
7) What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this growth that you are seeing?
A definite advantage I see to the growth is the involvement of more fans. More fans means more interests. More areas of interests translates into a wider variety of panels and events.
I’ve been coming to Dragon Con for 8 years now and I still haven’t seen everything! I love that there’s always something new to me. I see the advantage of growth as being an expansion of the tracks and events. Dragon Con will do more awesome and exciting things. The challenge becomes remaining true to the core that is Dragon Con, and that is being focused on the fans and the fan experiences. In my experience, Dragon Con leadership really does listen to the fans and what they want. They take ideas and suggestions to heart. As long as Dragon Con maintains that focus, and I’m sure they will, growth won’t be a bad thing.
8) What is the thing you like the most about Dragon Con?
For me, Dragon Con is like a big family reunion. I’ve had the chance to meet and work with so many amazing people here. It’s really fun seeing fellow volunteers, reporters, members, guests, and agents that I really only get to see once a year. We pick up right where we left off.
The moment I get to the con there is this amazing sense of belonging. It’s like coming home after a long trip. The universe aligns. Every nerdy or geeky thing you were picked on in school for is suddenly not only embraced, but supported. There’s no other feeling like it. I like the saying that the person next to you in line or at a panel is just a friend you haven’t met yet. So for me, the thing I like most about Dragon Con is the people, hands down.
9) For fun, what is the last book you read?
Oh gosh, I read a lot of non-fiction. Probably too much! Surprisingly, the book I just finished wasn’t non-fiction. I’m lucky in that I occasionally get a copy of Quirk Books’ latest release to review for my website. The last book I read was Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. Quirk was nice enough to send me a hardcover copy. It’s gorgeous!
I read the first book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and couldn’t put it down. It was the same for the second book.
10) Lastly, there will be people reading this who are going but have never been before, this will be their first year. What is the one thing they need to do or experience at their first Dragoncon?
I think the one thing I would say first timers should experience would have to be a panel. It doesn’t matter what fandom it’s in either. Pick your favorite! This is the best place to feel that sense of community. I’ve come out of panels with my ribs hurting because I was laughing so hard. One of the coolest I’ve ever seen was a BSG panel where Edward James Olmos stood up and got the entire room, it had to be nearly 1,000 people, to chant “So Say We All!” at the end of the panel. I get chills just thinking about it!
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