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Fandom PopWrapped | Fandom

The First Ever CommuniCon 'Community' Fan Convention is a Success!

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


02/12/2013 8:02 pm
PopWrapped | Fandom
The First Ever CommuniCon 'Community' Fan Convention is a Success!

(Fans of “Community” reenact a scene from the pilot episode on the steps of Los Angeles City College, where exterior scenes for the show were shot. Photo credit: Travis Sims)

Jennifer Stasak

Staff Writer

Fans of “Community” get stuff done. It’s a plain and simple fact that whatever needs to be accomplished, this fan base will find a way to bring it to fruition. When the show was placed on hiatus following its Christmas episode last year, a movement formed – a #sixseasonsandamovie Twitter movement – lead and driven entirely by fans who organized flash mobs, letter-writing campaigns, created fan videos, and tweeted advertisers all in order to garner support and awareness for the show and to get the attention of NBC and Sony executives. When the show returned to the air (eventually), Joel McHale and the rest of the cast consistently praised the fans for their hard work and involvement, insisting that the show was on the air because of them.

So when Gillian Morshedi began to think of a way to express her love and appreciation for the show, the only logical solution was to bring together as many “Community” fans and friends as possible in one place. Thus, the first annual CommuniCon was born. CommuniCon’s function was similar to that of Comic-Con – there would be actor and writer panels, contests, trivia, merchandise, and fan testimonials. Hosted at Los Angeles City College (the school where numerous exterior scenes were filmed for “Community”) from February 9th to the 10th, CommuniCon boasted nearly 400 attendees, not including the variety of cast members, writers, and producers who also attended. Morshedi’s vision was for fans of the show to come together and express their love of the show and each other. And she more than succeeded in accomplishing that vision.

As a fan of “Community,” I know how much the show and its fans have managed to touch my life. A vast majority of us have gone from being mere fans who tweet each other on Thursday nights to friends who share everything about their lives with one another – engagements, weddings, births of children, and even heartbreaking losses. Morshedi’s goal was for fans of “Community” to be able to come together and express their shared love of the show, whether they watch it on a weekly or are actually IN it. Because one of, arguably, the greatest things about “Community” is that it has an accessible cast and crew. These people are admittedly just as big fans of the series as their audience. Their love translates quite clearly, and is never more evident than when they participate in fan-driven events like the PixelDrip Six Seasons and a Movie Art Show or attend the inaugural CommuniCon.

(From left to right, writers: Tim Saccardo, Chris McKenna, Megan Ganz, Andy Bobrow, Steve Basilone. With moderator Megan Masters. Photo credit: Eric Goldman)

The convention kicked off with a writers’ panel, including veteran and now-departed writers Chris McKenna and Megan Ganz, as well as current writers Tim Saccardo, Andy Bobrow, and Steve Basilone. Highlights from this panel included:

  • Andy Bobrow speaking regarding the viewers’ apprehension of “Community” changing and becoming new without Dan Harmon. He said: “We can’t be old Community, because old Community was changing all the time.”

  • The writers divulging that some of them didn’t sleep for 96 hours while they wrote the “Glee” parody episode, “Regional Holiday Music.”

  • The writers discussing some past episodes and concepts that never came to fruition, including Annie and Abed taking a Nicholas Cage appreciation class.

  • Tim Saccardo, on how the show has taught him to write for television: “It’s always cool to be in a room where everyone’s better than you.”

After the panel, fans and writers went head-to-head in a trivia contest, which included questions about specific lines and episodes of the series. And the winners were… the fans! The next panel of the day, titled “No Small Parts,” centered on the supporting characters who attend Greendale. Though “Community” is centrally focused on seven characters, the show would not be the same without people like Todd, Neil, Vicki, Garrett, Vicki, and others.

(Supporting “Community” characters, from left to right: Brisco Diggs, Marcy McCusker, David Neher, Erik Charles Nielsen, Danielle Kaplowitz, Charley Koontz. With moderator Eric Goldman. Photo credit: Megan Masters)

After a break, former showrunner and creator of “Community,” Dan Harmon took the stage at CommuniCon, which earned a standing ovation from the crowd before he even uttered a word. One of the first things that the man noted in his speech was that he did not watch the season four premiere of “Community.” It was not, he said, because he’s upset or afraid – he simply does not feel like he is the “right person to give a response to it.” Other interesting bits from Harmon’s segment:

  • Marketing executives attempted to convince Harmon to name the show “Community College” rather than “Community,” because they were convinced the latter could not trend.

  • “Or, we could make sure that the show is WORTHY of the name ‘Community.’”

  • Harmon discussed the fundamental reason that people were gathered at a “Community” convention, rather than a “How I Met Your Mother” convention – because the show caused them to grow together and to need other people.

  • “You WANT to be a part of other individuals. You do not want to be alone.”

  • On discussing the versatility of actors and actresses on the show: “We need acrobats. […] It’s about creating a two-dimensional character and dropping a three-dimensional actor into it,” citing Alison Brie’s portrayal of Annie Edison as an example.

(Dan Harmon addressing the CommuniCon audience. Photo credit: Tim Saccardo)

After taking fan questions, Harmon had the opportunity to judge the costume contest, where a vast array of characters, including: “A Fistful of Paintballs” Annie, a Greendale Human Being, “Celebrity Pharmacology” cool cats, and many others!

The second day of CommuniCon featured a screening of PixelDrip’s Six Seasons and a Movie Art Show documentary. Throughout the weekend, many artists set up tables and were able to sell their fan art prints to those in attendance. The convention concluded with fan testimonials, where those in attendance (and those who were not, but submitted prior to the convention) had the opportunity to discuss the impact that “Community” has had on their lives and friendships. After many tears shed, tables were packed up and sound equipment returned to their cases. As the group of fans left CommuniCon, a 13-year old girl said: “Greendale is where I belong.” That sentiment was felt by 400 attendees and countless others afar. And hopefully, the success of the first ever CommuniCon means that there will be many more to come.

And, as Dan Harmon promised in his speech, he would attend every single one of them. (COMING SOON!) (COMING SOON!)

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