Dragon*Con's Walk Of Fame: The Cost Of Being A Fan
Dragon*Con's Walk Of Fame gives fans a rare opportunity to meet their favorite sci-fi stars. This year's convention brought big names such as Gillian Anderson, Richard Dean Anderson, and Dean Cain to Hilton's Grand Ballroom where fans waited in line to meet the stars they idolize.
Out of the almost 400 celebrity guests that attended Dragon*Con this weekend, approximately 100 of those celebrities were on the Walk of Fame. Some of the longest lines were for the cast members of 'The Vampire Diaries' who charged between $30 and $45 dollars for autographs and $45 to $55 dollars for photos. Fans could even get a photo with the all of the show's cast members in attendance for $240 dollars.
Celebrities can make some serious dough at these signings. At one point there were over 40 fans in line for 'Torchwood' star John Barrowman who was charging $55 dollars for a signed picture, and the line stayed mostly consistent for him throughout the weekend, so it's not hard to do the math.
Was it worth it? It was for Tom Gardiner who had a great experience getting autographs from John Barrowman for his daughters Emily and Hannah.
"It was definitely worth it," Gardiner said. "John took time to interact with each of his fans, and he didn't have to do that."
John Barrowman fans weren't the only ones who had a great experience. 'X-Files' fans were also in heaven after having a chance to meet Gillian Anderson. The series may have ended a decade ago, but fans haven't forgotten. Anderson was one of the more expensive autographs this year. She was charging $60 dollars for an autograph and an additional $20 dollars if a fan wanted a personalization. Surely, at least one fan had her sign 'I want to believe.'
Caroline McCormic also had nothing but good things to say about her experience with the Walk of Fame, even though she admitted it can get rather pricey for fans.
"It is very convenient to have all the stars in one place. If a celebrity doesn't have many people in line, you can often have a fun conversation with them. This is basically the only opportunity for any interaction," McCormic explained. "It is where I spent the majority of my time at Dragon*Con, and I would definitely recommend it - just bring plenty of cash!"
Naturally, celebrities don't want to talk about how much they make from these events, and Dragon*Con can't be sure either. However, Walk of Fame director and 11 year Dragon*Con vet, John Hancock, knows the celebrities sign quite a high number of autographs throughout the convention.
"I wouldn't begin to know how many thousands of autographs they sign. Some of them literally sit there and sign for hours on end, while some don't have quite the huge line," Hancock said. "In all honesty, I wouldn't feel that I'm exaggerating to say there are probably a million signatures exchanging hands during Dragon*Con!"
With the demand for autographs continuing to grow each year as the convention brings in more attendees and bigger celebrities, the prices for photos and autographs have grown as well.
"When I started at Dragon*Con it seemed everyone was charging $20 dollars for an autograph. Over the years I've seen the prices get higher. I've seen some charge $65-$70 dollars, I've seen some that do combo deals for a picture and autograph for $200 dollars," Hancock explained. "At this point I'd say the average cost for an autograph is $45 dollars maybe. Most stick around the $30-$40 dollar range."
Money aside though, the experiences that fans have in these brief moments with their favorite stars are moments that they carry with them for a lifetime. Can you really put a price on that?
Ildar Prime didn't think so. His favorite Walk of Fame story didn't even involve him, but he still enjoyed witnessing the awkward moment one fan had with Felicia Day.
"My favorite story is when this guy met Felicia Day and just froze, couldn't say a word for few minutes. She eventually saw he was wearing a World of Warcraft shirt, and being a fan complemented his shirt. All he could say in response was '...I like yours too.' Felicia, wearing a plain green shirt, awkwardly laughed and said 'and it's now creepy.'" Prime recalled. "It was hilarious and everyone just laughed it off."
Being a fan isn't cheap. Collecting autographs, photos, and other memorabilia can quickly add up at conventions like this. However, at the end of Dragon*Con, fans seem to be only be thinking about next year and being able to do it all over again. These experiences are priceless to them.
Have you visited Dragon*Con's Walk of Fame? Stood in long lines for autographs and photos at other conventions? Share your stories with us!
Article By: Emma Loggins