There are some really amazing outlets for women in the geek industry these days, from Geek Girl Con to the newly-formed Wayward Daughters Academy, and now there is a new, up-and-coming convention dedicated to celebrating women in horror and science fiction: WiSH Con.
2016 will be the convention’s inaugural year, and I could not be more excited about what the convention has to offer. The guest list is shaping up nicely with guests like Kim Rhodes from Supernatural, Nicki Clyne and Leah Cairns from Battlestar Gallactica, Gracyn Shinyei from Supernatural, music from Destiny Whitaker and The Salty Caramels, writers and directors will be there, there will be yoga and panels on geeky wellness, fan-led panels, a costume contest, vendors, a red carpet, and much more. I could not be more excited about this convention. I love how the founders are making an entire convention just for celebrating the women who help make horror and sci-fi a genre we all love so much. I got to chat with the convention founders to learn a bit more about the con. Here’s our conversation:
Where did the idea come for starting this convention?
Being fans ourselves, we have gone to many different conventions throughout the years. We have noticed, in those years, that there has been a lack of support for the women in front of and behind the camera that make these shows great. With all of that in mind, we wanted to make a: for fans by fans event. With all of us being conventions goers it seemed like the natural way to go.
How did you take WiSHCon from idea to actual convention?
Kerry (co-chair) and I were talking about it hypothetically for a few weeks to see if it could go from a dream to a reality. First, we came up with the concept with the name following soon after. After we came up with the WiSHCon name, we started to throw out our dream list of shows that we wanted to see participate. Once we took a step back and saw the vast list we had created, we knew that this is a much bigger opportunity than we had initially realized and there are so many women that need to be honored. After that we added in Deb (head of Vendor Relations) and Emma (Head of publicity) as well as a couple of assistants to help make this event work a bit smoother.
What was the most challenging thing you encountered while starting this convention?
In the beginning stages, with this being our first year, the challenge was where to start first and how make sure each step did not become an overwhelming event. Each stage we encounter can lead to ten more things that need to be accomplished. That alone presents multiple challenges that seem to reproduce in the blink of an eye.
Once we got to the point where our website went live and we started sending out invites for panelists, our biggest obstacle was being taken seriously. We have been seen as only fans trying to put on an event for other fans just for personal entertainment or as a hobby. To be clear, we are a: for fans by fans event, but that is not the sole purpose of WiSHCon and it is taken a lot more serious than just a hobby. Along that same line, it’s been quite difficult being taken seriously as women in a male dominated business.
Currently, our biggest challenge has been financial side of things; being that we are not privately funded like a lot of other conventions. So our present-day obstacle is getting sponsors, fundraising on Indiegogo, and maintaining broad exposure.
What do you hope attendees will gain from WiSHCon?
We really hope attendees get an appreciation of what women experience not only in Hollywood but in business in general. It’s not about showing that women are superior but that they are equals and should be treated as such in Hollywood and in life. On a lighter note, we want fans to have fun meeting these amazing women, making lifelong friendships with other fans from across the world, like all of us have.
Who are some of the celebrity guests we can expect to see at the con?
The ones we have currently signed are Kim Rhodes best known for Supernatural, Star Trek Voyager, and the upcoming show Colony. Claudia Christian best known for her role in the Babylon 5 franchise. Shannon Eichorn who is a science fiction author. Luvia Petersen best known for Continuum and Battlestar Galactica. Marita Grabiak – writer/director – who has worked on Firefly, Dollhouse, Smallville, and Battlestar Galactica among many others. Leah Cairns best known for Battlestar Galactica, the movie Interstellar, and Kyle XY.
What kind of panels will you have at the con?
We will have a mix celebrity guest panels and fan panels representing shows past and present. Besides panels, we will have an eclectic vendor room, costume contest and red carpet, Saturday night concert, trivia contest, and a special VIP breakfast with celebrity guests on Sunday.
Where do you hope to see WiSHCon in five years?
In five years, we hope to see an event that happens more than once a year in multiple states across the country.
Can we help fund the con? Where can we donate?
Absolutely! Anyone can contribute by visiting our Indiegogo page where we have perks listed for official swag, discount weekend passes, and autographed merchandise. There are also once in a lifetime opportunities listed among the perks. Fans can also donate through our website, Red Bubble store, and an ongoing Represent campaign.
Where can we buy tickets?
Currently, the only place to buy tickets is through our Indiegogo campaign. Once our campaign has successfully ended, regular price tickets will be available come April 2016 link will be posted on our sites. In the meantime, the hotel location where the convention will be held, The Hilton Columbus Downtown, is currently taking reservations at a discounted price, rooms are limited.
Thanks so much to the WiSH Con team for taking the time to chat. Be sure to check out their website, and donate to the con if you can! What do you think of WiSH Con? Do you think you’ll attend? What would you like to see at the con this year or in future years? Let me know in the comments!