I just left ZomBCon 2011; it was my first and last time attending this con. I’m sure it didn’t help my overall impression of the con that I think zombies are beyond played out (seriously, stop beating the undead horse!), but I figured this would still have some horror things I would be interested in, and even better: it had Tom Savini, the “master of splatter”, a special FX artist I highly respect(ed).
But I’m getting ahead of myself. My first experience with the con was taking a lovely thirty minute tour of the Hilton parking garage, trying to find a parking spot. After I’d finally found a spot, we followed some posted signs to the convention, only to be told to turn around and trek back to a different area to get our wristbands. Since I was most excited to meet Tom Savini (I’d brought my first edition copy of Grande Illusions for him to sign), that was my first stop. He could not have been less interested in having any sort of conversation with me, looking away even as I paid him money for an autograph on an item I already owned. I asked him one question–has he ever considered offering online makeup courses for those people for whom moving to Pittsburgh would be extremely difficult if not impossible, and he cut me off, saying he wasn’t interested in competing with himself, and dismissed me. If looks could kill, the burning glance of hate he shot at me while sending me on my way would have killed me six times over–and that’s the only eye contact he made.
Look, I didn’t expect him to be my best friend, to stand up and take a photo with me, to chitchat or become sworn spit brothers. I understand that it’s awkward, even exhausting, to meet a bunch of people who know who you are, when you have no idea who they are, especially if they creep into the territory of rabid fandom, and you suspect they might want to make a dress out of your skin or something (which horror fans might be more likely to do). But I didn’t interrupt his lunch, or stop him at the john with his dick in his hand, asking him for an autograph. He was there of his own free will, I paid him for a moment of his time, and even then I couldn’t get his full attention. There wasn’t even anyone behind me–I was literally the only person asking for a second of his time, and he made me feel like I was some disgusting substance he’d found on his shoe. It was so disappointing, I could have cried. Granted, some of that is PMS talking, but if you’re not a person who is cut out to do meet-and-greets at conventions, maybe you shouldn’t do meet-and-greets. I’ve met a lot of celebrities–tv stars, movie stars, rock stars, porn stars, authors, artists, from the just-starting-out to the mega-famous-known-round-the-world and each and every one of them was nicer to me than Tom Savini.
We walked through the dealer’s area, but I was so embarrassed and shocked that I didn’t want to browse–not that I was much interested in getting a con tattoo beforehand, anyway. The only other activity going on at that time was a film screening of The Devil’s Rejects with Sid Haig and Bill Moseley, but I’d done that at Crypticon a few years ago and didn’t see much point in reprising the experience, and I didn’t have any interest in waiting around for any of the other zombie-related panels. When we left, about five minutes later, I left through a different door so I wouldn’t have to come face to face with Savini again.
I suppose I should look at it this way: forty minutes of wasted time saved me fifty grand in wasted money on Savini’s special FX school.