Curious: Are there any volunteer opportunities for people who might want to get involved?
Leah: Right now, we need to get people to know this is a thing that exists. The biggest help anyone can do is spread the word-of-mouth, tell people about us, share the link, share on Twitter, share on Tumblr, because there are so many people for whom this would be great. They just don’t know we exist. Trying to reach those people is the best way anyone can get involved.
Curious: I think that’s so true, because I have so many friends who are fans of femslash. I don’t think they even knew this con existed or that it was in its second year.
Jarrow: It is still fairly new. Word has been gradually spreading. It helps that we already have one con under our belts, and we’ve got 75 people who went and had a great time who can talk about it, and that can point and say, “Look, we did a thing and it went well. Please, come to the next round of the thing.”
It started out as FaberryCon. A lot of us, our social circles are all very integrated. We all know the same people. We’re trying to move outside of our social circles and reach new corners of fandom because there are femslash fans all over who could really benefit from this kind of event and this kind of experience.
Leah: Yes. A brand new thing we are doing this year is a film festival, because so many of us who are already in the con family are branching out from fan works and doing original works—including me, including Karyn, and several of our long time attendees. We are very excited to be able to give an opportunity for people to show their work.
We’re thrilled about it, because so much of what we talk about when we go to these conventions, and especially when we’re online, is like, “If only I had a voice. Why won’t they let me write it? I could fix it.” I think it’s really important for us to show people it’s possible. Karyn financed an entire movie based on fandom donations and her own pocket, and she made a movie.
For us, it’s a success story. It’s an opportunity for us to show our work, an aspirational thing for new attendees to be like, “If they can do it, I can do it.” We’re very excited about that.
Curious: Expanding on that idea of, “If they can do it, I can do it,” what advice can you give to someone who’s thinking about putting on a small con?
Jarrow: My first piece of advice is: go to cons. If someone wants to become a writer, they need to read a lot. They need to see what people do and figure out what they like, and what works and what doesn’t work. I would never have been able to start FaberryCon successfully if I had not previously gone to not just big cons, but smaller cons like Vividcon and Bitchin’ Party, and seen the kinds of things that go over well.
Second would be to talk to people who run them, because there is so much that happens behind the scenes that other people don’t even think about. It’s nice to go to a con. You can just show up and take all of those things for granted, all of the conversations that happened with the hotel, all of the math that went into trying to figure out what your pricing should be or, “Hey, where should our location be? What should our dates be? How are we going to get all our programming figured out?” There’s so much work that goes into it. It can be very overwhelming.
Leah: The thing is, don’t do it alone. Even the very, very first FaberryCon, Jarrow did not do alone. He had friends. He had help. Having a core staff, having someone who can do the website, if that’s not in your wheelhouse, is great. If you are a website person, and you’re maybe not so much a ‘great at talking to people on the phone’ person, find someone who can take that role. Having a core group is important, so it’s not all falling on any one person’s shoulders. I don’t think any one person could ever take it on, unless you’re going to do a meet-up with a 25-person group in a park. There has to be multiple brains involved because things fall through the cracks. The buddy system is a big help.
Jarrow: I would also say be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. I think it’s something that happens with a lot of events, is that everyone gets very excited about it and think that since people are talking about it online, it’s going to be huge. I think a lot of events have crumbled because they did not end up with the numbers that they were counting on. It’s happened to others; it’s happened to me. You just have to be careful. It’s okay to start small, and then grow from there, versus trying to start with a huge thing.
With the first FaberryCon, we had 700 people following us on Tumblr, but only 33 people actually came to the event. There can be lots of people supporting you and be invited, but then you start figuring in access issues, like, well, who can actually afford to travel? Who can get out of whatever work situation they may be in or school situation? Who can overcome whatever anxiety they might be facing to come in person? There are all these reasons why someone may not show up. Just being mindful of that is important.
Curious: What’s exciting you in fandom right now?
Leah: Well, I just caught up on Legend of Korra, several years too late. Right now, I’m like, “You know what’s great? Korrasami.” Everyone’s like, “Yeah. No shit. We’ve known that for a while.” Well, it’s new with me!
Also Supergirl. I’m thrilled with where Supergirl is going with Alex and Maggie. It’s a roller coaster that keeps going up right now.
Jarrow: In the wake of all of the terribleness of 2016, I am excited about improved and increased representation and visibility. I’m really excited about the show Pitch right now, which may not go past 1 season, but hey, we’re getting to see a female major league pitcher, of color even. That’s a show that I’m very excited about. We’re starting to see trickles of a better trans representation, which is something that’s very important to me as a trans person. I am cautiously optimistic about what is going to grow anew out of the burnt forest of 2016.
While there isn’t a particular new show or pairing that is the thing of my heart right now, I’m watching many different things. I am starting to feel better about the state of things.
Leah: San Junipero helped a lot.
Jarrow: Right. That episode of Black Mirror, it’s a good example of, “Look, we’re starting to have episodes of television where women are queer, and their queerness is not the point of the episode.” It can just be a love story that happens to feature two women. Nobody has to die. There doesn’t have to be some tragic coming out scene. We’re moving past that and getting to the fundamental fact that these are still just people who experience love and pain and loss and all of these things just like anybody else.
I’m glad that queer women on TV has become normalized, or is starting to. I feel good about that. I look forward to that happening with trans people, although it’s still a ways out to where their reveal or their coming out is not the big thing and the point of their story line, where they can just exist. The Fosters is doing well with the character that they have on right now. Otherwise, there’s just not too much in the way of that. Someday…
TGIF/F is a multi-fandom femslash convention in Los Angeles designed to bring together various fan communities to build connections, encourage conversation, and create art. If you love femslash in media, you won’t want to miss out! Tickets range from $30 for a 1-day pass to $60 for a 3-day pass. Follow TGIF/F on Twitter and/or Tumblr for updates, and mark your calendars for April 7-9 2017! You can find Leah on Tumblr at professorspork.tumblr.com/ and on Twitter @. Jarrow can be found on Tumblr at jarrow272.tumblr.com/ and on Twitter @.