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I find fandoms fascinating, from a purely anthropological standpoint of an outside observer there is nothing more interesting. Over the past year of blogging I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many people in various fandoms but very few have been as welcoming and supportive as the members of Team Matt Dallas, especially Nermina and Sam, the amazing creators of the fansite Matt Dallas Only. Created in 2011 Matt Dallas Only is a fansite that features all things Matt Dallas. The site is all about their favorite actor Matt Dallas, his acting projects, charities & fans. They wanted to create a site that would give fans more attention than what was offered when they started. Incredibly indicative of our virtual society Nermina and Sam have never met in person and met ‘online’ through a fan forum called Essential Matt Dallas. What started as a mutual fan appreciation of Kyle XY (Matt Dallas played the main character) has blossomed into an amazing friendship and collaborative effort making Matt Dallas Only such a success.
Nermina came up with the idea to create a site and asked Sam to be her partner. “The more we knew about Matt Dallas the more we loved the man that he is. Plus, at the time, there wasn’t enough websites for Matt & his fans. Especially since a lot of fans were asking a lot of questions but no one was answering them.” She credits Sam for always being on top of the latest news and updating the site with all the new photos and Matt Dallas’ appearances. Both agree that running a fansite can be time-consuming and requires dedication, but the pay off makes it more than worth it.
“It’s overwhelming sometimes. With our busy schedules, we have so little time to update all our social media accounts! However, it’s so rewarding when we see all the interactions from all over the world & we receive A LOT of feedback, questions, etc…”
Some of their favorite memories include when Matt Dallas followed them on twitter, and when Omar Epps, Marlon Wayans & Ty Hodges used a link from the website & tweeted them. Credited for creating the term Team Matt Dallas, Nermina and Sam shared some of the other possible names suggested on their Facebook page for the Matt Dallas fandom: Mattronauts, Matteratis/Mattinos/Mattinas, The Dallas Army,Mattsters, The Mattie Big Ds, Mattie’s Angels, Mattie Matts, Matt’s Munchkins.
“I remember that we got a lot of response from fans on Twitter when Matt returned to TV playing Fitch on Baby Daddy. It was a happy moment for all of us Kyle XY fans because we all miss seeing Matt on a TV-show. And also to see Matt reunite with Jean-Luc Bilodeau, who played Kyle’s brother on Kyle XY, was really awesome and it brought back many memories. Let’s not forget how everyone showed their support for the indie film Thunder Road. The summer & full of 2013 were truly unforgettable. And if the Astoria Boys asked for our help again, we’d be there for them in a heart beat.”
TVDDallas was my third foray into the world of The Vampire Diaries conventions, from deciding to attend TVDDallas at the last-minute this convention was a whirlwind of surprises from start to finish. Beginning with the announcement of both Paul Wesley and Michael Trevino cancelling their appearances at the convention days before the event I was anxious about what this new convention venue would bring. Creation Entertainment has been running conventions for years but has never hosted a TVD convention in Dallas. Being a new venue many of the attendees were first timers but luckily the Creation volunteers are more than equipped to handle all the confusion and questions any new convention goer may have.
Being my third convention I can navigate the convention with confidence, no longer overwhelmed by the fun though albeit hectic schedule. TVDDallas had a slightly different set up due to the addition of new last-minute guests and a different hotel configuration but both changes made little impact on the enjoyment of the convention.
Highlights of TVDDallas were numerous, from Steven McQueen joining the Hillywood girls as the hosted David Alpay’s panel, to Arielle Kebbel joining Zach Roerig and Steven in their panel. I was very fortunate to speak to many of the TVD cast members during the meet and greets, but also during the photo ops and autograph sessions. Dallas had a more relaxed feel than the previous two conventions I had attended, and the celebrities were more than happy to spend a little extra time with the guests especially during the Saturday night dance. Todd Williams, David Alpay, Trent Ford and Micah Parker spent the dance talking, taking pictures and even dancing with the guests! The addition of Trent Ford and Micah Parker was last-minute and I’m grateful for it, both gentlemen were personable and enjoy getting to interact with the guests, if you have the opportunity to attend a convention with either of these guests I highly recommend it. I am looking forward to seeing Trent at EyeCon and Micah was recently added to the guests at TVDOrlando.
As much as it was exciting to interact with the celebrity guests I also enjoyed the time I spent with the other convention attendees, I was finally able to meet the lovely Ruthie who runs Vampire Diaries Online and has kindly allowed me to write a piece on her site. I was able to see my favorite Creation Entertainment people: phenomenal photographer Chris Schmelke, and the fabulous volunteers April and Libby, they truly make the convention experiences not only run smoothly but more fun.
Dallas also surprised with their generosity and came out in strong support of Thunder Road, the film Charlie Bewley’s production company Astoria Entertainment is currently campaigning to raise funds for its production. Creation Entertainment held an auction for a dinner with Charlie for two guests in support of the campaign and the auction was won with a bid of $1300! The lucky winners were a lovely couple, Jason and Nicole Ross, Nicole is a therapist and director at The Creative Therapy Center. The Ross’ have become a great asset to the Thunder Road campaign holding fundraisers and helping promote wherever they can. I was fortunate enough to meet the lovely Robin Hefner who created the site Hico’s Hero and wanted to help support the campaign as her son was killed in action and knows many veterans who suffer from PTSD.
Though I was apprehensive about going to this convention in the beginning, TVDDallas was a wonderful surprise and will always be one of my favorite conventions.
- What do you do April? (isitjustmenadine.wordpress.com)
Having been to two Creation Entertainment conventions for the Vampire Diaries this year I’m still rather new to the world of conventions. I was lucky enough to talk with one of the lovely volunteers who make the events run ever so smoothly. April Lawson Hancock is one of the many volunteers Creation employs to help in various positions during each convention. April started out as a fan herself when she attended a Twilight convention in 2010, and from then she was hooked. As a stay at home mom she rarely spent time away from her family but loved the convention environment so much that in 2012 she started to volunteer.
As a volunteer April can be asked to cover many different duties depending on where she’s needed. She’s worked in the vendor’s room, security and her personal favorite; photo ops. When working as a photo-op volunteer her duties can include: ticket taking, line control, and helping the convention attendees through the photo-op process.
April loves interacting with the fans and seeing their excitement during the events; getting to meet a lot of people is one of the best parts of her volunteering. She’s also made many lasting friendships through working the events. Though it may seem like it’s all fun there is some work involved and April’s least favorite part is the exhaustion that comes Monday morning when the convention’s over.
Having volunteered at Twilight, Supernatural and Vampire Diaries conventions, April admits her favorite convention to volunteer at has been Supernatural and she doesn’t even watch the show! Favorite celebrity guests she’s worked with are Daniel Cudmore and Christian Camargo, from Twilight, whom she describes as gracious and down-to-earth. She tries to treat everyone she interacts with the same regardless of whether they are a celebrity or fan. Her craziest fan experience was when she got caught up in the madness of the Twilight Breaking Dawn 2 premiere. She loved being right in the middle of all the fandemonium on their black carpet. Though she doesn’t believe she’s been starstruck she thinks if she had a chance to meet Stan Lee she may just fangirl a little, and would love to be able to work with Sandra Bullock. April says, “I absolutely love working at the Creation Conventions, I’m a mother of 6 and this is my fun time with friends.”
For information on applying to volunteer.
- What do you do? (isitjustmenadine.wordpress.com)