September Recap, Part 1: Volunteering at Fan Expo

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Fan Expo occurred over the Labour Day weekend, and for the third year in a row, I came back as a volunteer. Being how busy my weeks are, I once again could only commit to working Saturday/Sunday. As a volunteer, it’s mandatory that we do four shifts during the Con, so I ended up pulling double shifts for the weekend. For the past two years I got assigned to work Volunteer Registration, which in the end really meant that I was a Floater and worked wherever I was needed. I didn’t mind it, honestly, and I was fully expecting to be there again this year. But then assignments came and I found out I got moved to Autographs! I was f**king excited! I mean I knew I was gonna be dead tired by the end of it, but didn’t matter. Because despite having to work all weekend, I still got to see most of the celebrity guests, and got to work with some of them. Well, work with the celebs, really means working with the handlers/agents who work with them. But still, close proximity!

I got to work Gillian Anderson’s line on Saturday. When she left, I got to work Katie Cassidy’s line, which was in between Danielle Panabaker and John Barrowman, so I got to see all three of them. On Sunday, I worked the lines for Jewel Staite, who brought her husband and adorable baby boy as well. Getting to work Jewel’s line was pretty awesome, because her and her handler were just so great to work with. But also, on the one side of Jewel’s booth was Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, and Ben McKenzie; on the other side, Mark Hamill. Like I said, AWESOME.

Despite all the craziness and busyness of the weekend, volunteers were still allowed to enjoy their time. That meant if there was a photo-op or autograph we wanted to get, or even a panel we wanted to go to that fell during our shift, our Team Leaders/Coordinators were very accommodating. Working in Autographs, it was easy to get them, as long as we paid for them like everybody else. We were told not to straight up ask the celebs for a free autograph, ESPECIALLY while we’re on shift, because it makes the volunteers look bad and we’re all (including the celebs) there to work. And honestly, it’s understandable. So with that being said, even with double shifts, I managed to do a photo-op with Hayley Atwell, and got autographs from Ben McKenzie and Charlie Cox.

I had never done a photo-op at a Con before, but I’ve always known that it goes really quickly. So it barely even registered that I met Hayley. Walked into the photo-op area, quick “Hi!” to Hayley, took the picture, and out. It was barely 10 seconds. Enough time for a not great picture (there’s a reason I hadn’t done photo-ops, I just generally don’t like taking pictures), but not enough time for me to get awkward.

During a bit of a lull while on shift and kind of close to the end of the show, I went over to get Ben McKenzie’s autograph. And guys, I totally forgot how much of a crush I had on Ryan Atwood! I mean every time he walked over to his booth, I’d have a stupid smile on my face. Then when I actually went up to get his autograph, I couldn’t even get anything O.C.-related to come out of my mouth. It was the standard pleasantries: “Hi, how are you? Are you enjoying your time here in Toronto?” I was just total fangirling! Ben, for what’s it worth, was just so nice and thanked me as a volunteer for the hard work we put in over the weekend.

By 4:30 Sunday, the majority of the celebs were done and gone, and it was then just a matter of cleaning up the booths. So after cleaning up and such, I was pretty much done my shift before the Con was even over. I looked over and saw Charlie Cox was still signing autographs, and he stayed there until the very end. I was just hanging around at that point, and impulsively decided to get Charlie’s autograph. End of the day, not much of a line, whatever. Anyways, when I got up to meet Charlie, he read and mispronounced my name, which happens all the time, so I just waved it off and said “It’s T.” Charlie being adorable was like, “Oh, sorry! T? I love tea! I drink it all the time. Because you know, I’m English.” It was cute, especially with the accent; I fangirled, obviously. And then, even after he got through signing for everybody that was left, I don’t know for sure how it was instigated, but he was about to leave and then came back to take a group picture with a few fans (and us volunteers that were still hanging around lol). I am still looking for that picture.

It was such a busy weekend, but my third year volunteering turned out to be the best year so far. Working the autograph lines was such a fun experience, tiring as it was, though so completely worth it. My only hope is that I get to do it again next year!

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