AG: Since about 2004, there has been absolutely no support from MGM to Gatecon. Unfortunately when MGM was bought out by Sony, things changed for the worse. That is a real shame, because it was Gatecon alone that showed MGM what a “real” convention was.
In 2000, Stargate SG-1 was already into its fourth season, and MGM still had no idea about merchandising or conventions. At the first convention we had Hank Cohen, the President of MGM Television, and a few other executives from MGM who were absolutely blown away by what Gatecon was, and pledged any and every bit of support they could. But with staff changes and the eventual takeover by Sony, it seemed that we suddenly stopped existing in the eyes of MGM, for the simple fact that we couldn’t “make them a buck.” And they went strictly with a “contract only” approach. Suddenly, fans no longer mattered. Only the dollar.
We were offered the chance of a contract from MGM to be an “official” Stargate convention, but the sheer outlay of money that MGM required automatically put us out of the picture. Each convention is self-supporting, and hardly ever leaves any money for upfront costs of the next convention, so the chance of raising the upfront funds were zero to none — and we weren’t going to mortgage our own homes to do so.
Stargate Productions is a totally different story. What an absolutely fantastic group of people they are. Since Day 1, they embraced what we were and helped us in any possible way. I have to say that if it wasn’t for Stargate Productions, Gatecon may not have survived through its first couple of years.
But eventually we couldn’t get any support through the studio. As it was strict that any access to the studio went through MGM, we weren’t allowed to approach them directly. That was a real shame, because they truly are fantastic people and we loved working with them; especially John Smith, John Lenic (follow him on Twitter — he has some great cookie recipes), Brad Wright, Michael Greenburg, and the countless behind-the-scenes people we had the pleasure (and privilege) to work alongside.We can never thank Stargate Productions enough for the help and support they have given us over the years.
But in recent years, we would have little to no Stargate props, sets, costumes, etc., if it wasn’t for the fantastic help of Paul Brown from Legends Memorabilia. Paul does know the true value of a fan, and we are forever grateful for his support of Gatecon.
GW: Are there plans to make this final event next summer a special “going-away” party?
AG: Plans are still afoot. We want to try and make this the biggest Gatecon ever in terms of attending guests. We already have close to 30 guests, with more in the works (but obviously the number of ticket sales will determine how many more guests we can invite). We are trying to get more Universe and Atlantis guests, and will hopefully hear back about them soon. Keep your eyes peeled on the site, there may be an announcement any day now.
As for the “party” side of things … still in the planning stage, but it will be a good send-off for Gatecon.
Whatever the future may bring, I must reflect on the past and thank a few people. I won’t mention them all because the list will go on forever. Gatecon simply could not have existed or be run without the help and support of the key staff, volunteers, supporters and the actors attending … and, of course, the support from GateWorld. The past 11 years have been an absolute blast, and we couldn’t have done it without them.
It is these people who have made Gatecon a family reunion each year, rather than just a simply convention. And to all of the attendees over the years, we simply say …Thank you. If it wasn’t for the fans, there would never have been a Gatecon to start with.
So I invite absolutely everybody to come and join us in July 2010 for the biggest Gatecon party ever.
Gatecon 2010 will be held at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver, July 8 to 10, 2010. The line-up of guests so far includes nearly 30 names, from Beau Bridges, Teryl Rothery, and Lou Diamond Phillips to Tony Amendola, JR Bourne, David Nykl, and Cliff Simon — plus many, many more fan favorites. Tickets are on sale right now at the Web site.
Thanks to Allan and the rest of the Gatecon team for their candor, and for their hand in establishing Stargate fandom in its earliest years. We hope they and everyone in attendance has a great time at the last hurrah in July!