Fan Expo Canada in Toronto is just a day away, taking place amid the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, but Andrew Moyes, Vice President of Fan Expo HQ, said there have only been "minor" changes to the event.
"We've changed a couple of minor things, just to be respectful of the circumstance," Moyes told Yahoo Canada. "So you'll see that some of the ways that we're promoting and presenting are a little different."
"For the most part, I don't think fans will really see a big change. Of course they'll still have the opportunity to get an autograph, they'll still have the opportunity to get a photograph with their heroes. It may change, a little, some of the conversations that are happening. Some of the actors may not want to speak to their characters or necessarily the titles."
Moyes added that these circumstances have created opportunities for "new conversations" to be had at Fan Expo.
"Maybe what inspires the actors. What got them into the business," Moyes said. "A lot of those unique questions that help the fans get to know know their heroes more as people, which has been a really unique dimension to the change that this has had a bit of a domino effect for."
'Fandom is fuelled by passion'
The Fan Expo that takes place in Toronto is, as Moyes describes, really Canada's national convention. It's also the third largest event of its kind in North America.
"I've been going for over 20 years here in Toronto, it delivers a huge impact to the city, hotels, restaurants," Moyes said. "Everyone knows that Fan Expo's in town when they start to see those Stormtroopers and costumed characters on the TTC."
"We're a really multi-genre show. Whether you love sci-fi, anime, gaming, horror, or comics of course, ... and even emerging genres, such as fantasy and cosplay and others, there's a space for you here at this event. ... It is a space where you can celebrate with like-minded friends and fans, pop culture enthusiasts that share those same passions."
Moyes also stressed that "fandom is fuelled by passion," which is what makes this event so important and such a highlight for so many people.
"You see it when a fan gets the opportunity to meet [their] hero," Moyes said.
"These people are beloved. They're the top of their field and seeing those electric moments I think is really indicative of what ... drives people, and fuels their desire to come and celebrate together at our shows."
Plan out 75 per cent of your schedule
For anyone who's going to Fan Expo this year, or for those who are going for the first time or are newer to the experience, Moyes' advice is simple: "Don't be overwhelmed."
"So in order to avoid that, I would say plan out your day a little," he suggested.
"Work out what your non-negotiables are. Do you really want to walk away from the show saying, 'I got to meet such and such, I got my photo with such and such. I bought this item from this retailer and I was part of this piece of programming.'"
Moyes recommends that anyone attending Fan Expo plan out about 75 per cent of their time, leaving about 25 per cent open to "surprises and delights," with the help of the information on the Fan Expo app.
"It's those unexpected moments where maybe as a first timer, if you're courageous enough to get in costume, you bump into someone that's dressed up in the same costume," Moyes said. "That's another one of those electric moments where you connect through fandom."
"You might take a photo with each other. You may have a new friend for life."