As The Neverending Living Nightmare – or ‘2020’, as it was previously known – rolls on, more and more fandom conventions are finding themselves in the difficult positions of either postponing until later in the year – itself a precarious option, in the absence of any definable light at the end of the tunnel – or cancelling altogether.
However, many organisations are deciding to plump for a third alternative of keeping the fandom torch alight: connecting with fans in a virtual space online. Several conventions have taken their content to t’interwebs with either links to exhibitor pages, which as been the choice for shows such as CCI’s WonderCon Anaheim, or hosting panel sessions with Special Guests, such as MCM Comic Con did with its Birmingham show (do check out the panels that Yours Truly held with the likes of J.K. Woodward, Kit Buss and Craig Rousseau, a few weeks ago).
There is also the option to really try to bring the full convention experience to an online audience, bringing as much of the content that could be seen at a show as possible – this has been the choice for an upcoming streaming event that is the brainchild of Collider and Legion M, along with partners Kaleidoko and XLEVELENT, intending to bring what they plan to be an unparalleled experience.
Called VIRTUAL FAN EXPO and running over the weekend of Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th May, fans will be able to ‘visit’ a virtual exhibitor floor, thanks to the technologies of Auxxit, with hundreds of exhibitors and vendors presenting their wears and interacting with fans and each other. There are also plans to host panels and Q&A’s, gaming rooms, an actual Cosplay Ball and much more – all without leaving your comfortable (and mandatory) abode.
VIRTUAL FAN EXPO promises to take the online convention experience up to a whole other level previously seen so far… And all while making sure fans are safe, healthy and as far away from each other as possible. Finally! A solution to that eternal dilemma of whether to actually wear pants at a comic con or not!
What? Stop looking at me like that.
From the VFE 2020 Press Release:
Virtual Fan Expo Launching as an Inclusive Con Experience for Pop Culture Fans Searching for Community and Fun
Produced by Entertainment Industry Leaders Collider, Kaleidoko, Legion M and XLEVELENT, Virtual Fan Expo Safely Recreates the Con Experience with Live Panels, Celeb Appearances, Social Opportunities and Exclusive Access to Merchandise From More Than One Hundred Exhibitors
LOS ANGELES (April 06, 2020)– With mandated social distancing shuttering large-scale events worldwide, the future of pop culture conventions has arrived: Virtual Fan Expo (VFE). Event producers Kaleidoko, Experience Level Entertainment (XLEVELENT), Legion M and Collider announced today that VFE 2020 is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 9-10; a jam-packed, two-day event offering fun, fandom and the ultimate celebration of the pop culture community in a safe, inclusive virtual environment.
“We’re launching Virtual Fan Expo as an exciting, revolutionary con experience that best replicates ‘being there’ without compromising anyone’s health, well-being or need to leave home,” said Bernie Bregman, director of business development and talent acquisitions, Experience Level Entertainment. “Above all, we’re enabling a deep, inclusive and meaningful sense of community for pop culture fans hungry for fun and engaging social opportunities currently stolen by the global pandemic.”
VFE promises to be an integrated fan experience featuring exciting panels, Q&A’s and celebrity appearances, including actor Joe Manganiello (“Magic Mike,” “True Blood,” “Rampage”) and “Maltin on Movies” podcast co-hosts Leonard and Jessie Maltin, as well as interactive gaming rooms, online happy hours, and a cosplay “ball.” An event centerpiece will be a seamless virtual exhibitor floor featuring more than one hundred exhibitors and vendors offering the hottest merchandise typically found at well-known Cons. Attendees will have exclusive access to vendors on the exhibitor floor via Auxxit, an innovative virtual marketplace that will feature special shopping segments including limited edition and VFE-exclusive merch. The platform also gives the community unparalleled ability to communicate with exhibitors and each other throughout the weekend.
Kaleidoko Director and Community Engineer Jenny Stiven added, “Virtual Fan Expo fills a tremendous void that many communities are feeling with the cancellation of major Cons around the world. VFE’s integrated environment will not only elevate the Con experience for fans, but it will deliver a seamless ‘exhibitor floor’ that enables vendors a phenomenal opportunity to engage with consumers and showcase their inventory that would have otherwise gone untouched during this uncertain time.”
Amplifying the Con’s reach across fandom, VFE producer Legion M–the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company–will mobilize its highly-engaged community of more than 100,000 members leading up to and during the event, as well as provide programming support for the weekend’s schedule. The Con’s media partner Collider will stream VFE segments and feature exclusive content on its website.
More details will be announced soon. To stay informed about Virtual Fan Expo, including panel and Q&A schedules, celebrity appearances, as well as fan experience and exhibitor details, please visit VirtualFanExpo.com. Follow Virtual Fan Expo at Facebook.com/virtualfanexpo and Twitter/Instagram at @virtualfanexpo.
Kaleidoko Ltd. is a global think tank and advisory focused on the future – helping individuals, organizations and communities see things differently and position themselves for growth in an ever-changing world. Based in both London and Los Angeles and comprised of global market experts and connectors, they cultivate cultural change, technological evolution and social transformation to guide society forward. For additional information, visit www.kaleidoko.com.
ABOUT EXPERIENCE LEVEL ENTERTAINMENT (XLEVELENT)
Experience Level Entertainment (XLEVELENT) is an event production company that specializes in creating immersive pop culture experiences. Founded by entertainment insiders and media experts with deep roots in pop culture fandom, XLEVELENT has set out to revolutionize the industry recognizing that fans crave elevated experiences. Blending their expertise in conceptualizing and executing large-scale conventions, concerts, parties, pop-ups, and immersive experiences, the XLEVELENT team takes production dreams from concept to completion.
ABOUT LEGION M
Legion M is the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company that is revolutionizing the way entertainment is made in Hollywood by uniting a growing fan community of 100,000+ members including more than 25,000 fan-owners. Through its Fan-Owned business model, Legion M invests in a diverse slate of original projects in various stages of development, including the epic fantasy The Emperor’s Blades, comic book and feature film Girl With No Name, and documentary Memory: The Origins of Alien;multiple original television series including Evermor, Airship Cowboys, and Malice; as well as interactive and VR-based projects, including ICONS: Face to Face starring the late Stan Lee and Kevin Smith. Legion M also invests in partner productions, including Kevin Smith’s feature film Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, as well as the critically acclaimed Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, the cult hit Mandy starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Panos Cosmatos, the upcoming gritty, hard-edged epic Archenemy starring Joe Manganiello, and Bad Samaritan starring David Tennant and directed and produced by Dean Devlin. Legion M and its fan community has produced high-profile events honoring some of the industry’s biggest names, including the Stan Lee hand and footprint ceremony at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre in 2017. To learn more about Legion M and become a member of the Legion for free, visit www.legionm.com.
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