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Four Days at Dragon*Con, PBS World Special, Fandom on Film April 3, 2011

Posted by Jason W Ellis in Movies, Science Fiction.
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Last night, I caught the one hour documentary Four Days at Dragon*Con. It is a brief snapshot of the fandom and programming at the growing Atlanta science fiction, fantasy, horror, and gaming convention.

It was interesting to see how Dragon*Con has changed and developed since I was last there for the full convention (2000), because this documentary presented a time capsule view of the con from one particular point in time.

The emphasis of the program is on the fans and the idea that the convention is driven by fan interests. Essentially, the program argues that Dragon*Con is a convention that is more fandom generated than any of the other large conventions in the United States. As a result, the documentary focused on cosplay and robot wars, which are two of the strongest emergent fan-creative aspects of the con in recent years.

Perhaps in a longer or future documentary, it would be more interesting to see a historical approach to the Dragon*Con phenomenon. Four Days at Dragon*Con is a synchronic snapshot of the con at a particular point in time.

I want a diachronic documentary on Dragon*Con. I would like to see more about how the convention progressed from its inception to the present. There are obvious controversial topics such as Dragon*Con’s founder Ed Kramer’s arrest and extended wait for trial that deserves investigation. There are also mundane issues such as when certain tracks entered the con’s ever-expanding schedule.

If you study fandom or enjoy seeing what folks do at cons, I suspect that you would enjoy spending an hour with Four Days at Dragon*Con.