A rant about Creation Entertainment and Star Trek Las Vegas #STLV

I’m kinda done with Creation Entertainment.

Creation runs the official Star Trek conventions, the biggest of which I just attended in Las Vegas. This is the fifth Vegas con I have attending, and almost certainly it will be the last.

Let me tell you why.

Once again, I was privileged to be asked to speak at the con, my second year in a row – but I was not invited by Creation. Some background: Last year I proposed two panels to Creation, both of which were accepted. Unfortunately because of Creation’s lack of attention, they scheduled one of my panels for Sunday… A day I specifically told them I was not going to be there (Karl Urban inherited my slot, and I’m certain he was better than I would have been).

(Sidebar #1: Last year some bad press for the Trek “brand” came out of the Vegas con, when one of the panels had fans vote for the best and worse Trek films. The newest Trek film, Into Darkness, was ranked the worse… Less than two months before the home video release of said film. Lots of sites picked up on that story, and this certainly didn’t help sales. More on that later.)

This year I once again pitched a couple of panels, and after a long period of silence I followed up with my contact at Creation. She said the secondary programming was now being run by CBS/Paramount, through the StarTrek.com team… And that she would forward my info to them. If she did, I was not cc’d and I never got any response.

To be frank, I was not surprised, mostly because one of my ideas (“Is Star Trek broken?”, based on my contentious and popular article for Trek Movie a year ago) was another potential “bad press” moment for the brand… And avoiding “brand-damaging” bad press is (I think) one of the reasons Paramount took charge of much of the programming this year. Lots of the programming Paramount put on/or approved this weekend (IMO) was very very “safe”.

Of course, my ideas could have also sucked (though Wizard World accepted one of my ideas and I presented it in May in Atlanta).

I got on a panel because I was asked by the lovely Kayla Iacovino to be a part of TrekMovie’s Captains in Charge panel, representing Archer in a debate around who was the best captain. I knew I had no chance of winning (Janeway, Kirk or Picard usually walk away with this one), but was happy to be there and decided to just have fun with it (In the end Archer was dead last, but I made some amusing bon mots and the crowd enjoyed it).

Creation was incredibly thoughtful and scheduled our panel at a great time… Just kidding, they put us on at 8:50 AM on Friday. Of course, 8:50 AM doesn’t exist in Vegas – people party until 2 AM and sleep till noon. So we expected tens of people to show up (surprisingly, we had a LOT more than that – a full house, in fact).

Even worse, the schedule Kayla’s other panel, a celebration of the late beloved Star Trek Experience, at 5:20 on SUNDAY – the last presentation of the convention. Shameful.

To add insult to injury two of our panelists had to drop out because they were attending a midnight screening of the episode of Star Trek Continues that they had helped produce the night before… Correction, the morning of. So Kayla had to scramble to replace them. Again, great job, Creation.

(Oh, did I mention Creation only posted the schedule less than a week before the con, and that is how the people who were doing programming found out when they were speaking? That’s right, Creation doesn’t have the common courtesy to let panelists know ahead of time – they found out when everyone else did.)

(Sidebar #2: I’ve spoken at numerous tech conferences and SF conventions and I have ALWAYS been told ahead of time when I would be presenting… And I was usually asked my preferred day and time before that. Creation never has done that for me or anyone I know… I understand that even some of the less-know Trek actors have had the same inconsiderate experience.)

Since I got a free pass for being on a panel (one day only, of course – why would I get one for the whole con if I was only on one panel, right?) I had to go pick it up ahead of time (I couldn’t get it the morning of because registration opens just before the panel started). It was a well-oiled machine, and got it with no issues at all… Wait, another correction: I ended up getting the runaround, having to talk to three different people before receiving it. And it was the exact same runaround I had gotten the year before. And like last year, Creation was brisk and rude. I am giving Creation my time and ideas, and this is the thanks I (and many others) get.

It was the morning of the panel when I encountered the straw that broke the clichĂ©s’ back. As I noted above, registration opened at 8:30… And while the Captains in Charge panel was really early, it wasn’t the first one scheduled for that day.

That was a panel run by my friend Mary Czerwinski… Mary has a great video podcast called Glue Guns and Phasers which combines two of her passions – Trek and crafts. Her panel is interactive and people make cool stuff like luggage tags and more, and it’s very kid friendly. That panel started at 8am.

As I walked towards the registration area at 8:15, I saw a line was already forming… A line for people to buy one-day passes. That line had many little girls in it… And they all really wanted to go to Mary’s panel.

I overheard one girl asking, “Why won’t they let us in, I want to do the Trek crafts! That’s a big reason I’m here.” She started crying.

A friend of mine saw this and went to the front desk. She asked if they could open registration early so the kids could get in.

Creation didn’t care. “They should have bought a package instead of a one-day ticket.”

Let me restate this, for emphasis; Several little girls were upset and Creation didn’t give a damn or do anything about it. They happily took these girl’s money… But only at THEIR CONVENIENCE.

Wow.

So, like I said at the beginning of this piece, I’m pretty over Creation. After seeing this (and other insensitive and incompetent acts I will not enumerate, mostly involving how they are treating fan productions and/or stealing ideas from friends) I will not give one more dime to these folks ever again.

Courtesy, politeness, the milk of human kindness… I haven’t seen any inkling of any of this from these guys. Other conventions do charity auctions, blood drives – not these folks. Creation wants your money, and that’s it. They will put on a show, do the bare minimum whenever possible, and gladly charge fans as much as the market will bear. When it comes to almost anything else… They. Don’t. Care.

If you enjoyed this or any other Creation event, I am happy for you. Glad you had a good time. I enjoyed it as well, though it was the getting together with (and making new) friends that made it fun… Much more than anything Creation did.

Creation used to have a lot more conventions, and a lot more licenses. Not anymore. Could how they have treated guests and attendees be a factor in this? The Next Gen cast now run their own autograph area in the dealers room, cutting Creation out of the equation (they previously got a cut of those signatures). Again, is this the result of Creation’s attitude or past actions? Don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I know Wil Wheaton has gone on record saying he’ll never go to another Creation con again because of the way they treated him. Good for him.

So, rant over. Instead of spending my money to Creation, I’m going to attend shows that treat fans and pros in a decent way. Wizard World, for example. They are smart, professional and (gasp!) friendly to fans and pros alike. That goes a long way in my book.

The only vote I have is with my pocketbook, and it is now shut to the company that made little girls cry.