By Ashley Benson
It always baffles me that the biggest pop culture event of the season can pass by in a blur. Four days can seem like only four hours since every minute of San Diego Comic Con is packed with so much to see and do, especially for the dedicated Oncer. Once Upon a Time continued to shine at Comic Con, bringing fans from all over together to celebrate our favorite fairy tale show.
This year ABC decided to branch out from the single show format of their booth and created the ABC Castle, a fan experience that brought SDCC guests up close and personal with several ABC shows. Guests entering the castle could audition for The Quest, sing-a-long with Galavant, or take a photo to commemorate 10 years of Lost. However, the biggest draw this year was once again the pins. A visit to Mr. Gold’s Pawnshop allowed SDCC guests the chance to uncover one of five different show pins, the arguably most sought after being Elsa’s urn from the OUAT episode “There’s No Place Like Home”. If you collected all five pins, you gained entrance to different autograph sessions, including the one for Once Upon a Time. The exclusivity of both the pins and the signing created a similar situation to last year, with fans taking many turns through the ABC Castle in hopes to succeed in earning its treasures. I got very lucky and snagged an OUAT pin on my first go around during Preview Night.
By Erika Antoniazzi - @Erika_ElsaSnow
On the morning of July 4th in Perugia, Italy, my sister and I woke up a little bit later in the morning. When we reached the Quattrotorri Hotel, there were few people. We came to the desk and they gave us our passes.
It seemed to be a normal convention, but it wasn't.
I started watching Once Upon a Time this year in February, beginnning with Episode 12 from the third season. The first character I liked was the Wicked Witch of the West. So when I knew that Rebecca Mader would be at a convention in Italy, I bought a pass for "Night Itacon2.0".
A lot of fans from Merlin, Charmed and Once Upon a Time went to this beautiful convention. We were about one hundred seventy excited fans with only one dream: to meet our heroes. From the TV show Merlin there were Tom Hopper and Eoin Maken, and from Charmed Jennifer Rhodes, Wes Ramsey and Dorian Gregory. Last but not least were the actors from OUAT: Eion Bailey, Faustino Di Bauda, Rebecca Mader and Sean Maguire. All of the actors seemed to be very kind and answered all of our questions. They said that they love Italy. Some of the actors travelled also across our country. Faustino Di Bauda (Sleepy) for example was born in Italy. They were so happy because despite the fact that they are not main characters in the series, they have the love and support of a lot of fans, in particular Rebecca Mader and Sean Maguire. Someone could say "They are only people". Yes, that's true. But also, because they are real people, you love them for their kindness to fans.
The second day there were a lot of panel Q&A’s for all the shows, and also the photo and autographs sessions. My sister and me had some presents to give to Rebecca and Sean, a special book with messages and drawings from other fans that could not attend the convention. Sean was first for the photos session. My sister told me that he was so kind, and she gave him a great hug! In the afternoon was Rebecca's turn. I was very excited because I really love her. She's a great actress and a wonderful person. When I was in front of her, I only said, "Can we take a hug?" and she replied, "Of course". Then she hugged me so softly. She was very happy to see how fans love her
Later at the panel, she said that maybe there's a chance for Zelena to come back to OUAT, and we hope so! She made us laugh when she said "Oops", her favourite line from 3x15, and "This is the wicked west!". One of the audience asked her to dance and Sean to play a guitar, which were very funny moments! In the afternoon there were also a special “Once Meet & Greet” with all the actors.
Eion is very nice and sweet. When fans met him in the hotel, he always stood and talked to them. He said also that when in Once there was a scene with the motorcycle, he was afraid he was not able to take it. Sean admited that he was not able to use a bow, so all of those scenes are computer made. Faustino spoke to us in perfect Italian, so he didn't need a translator.
Rebecca said that her favourite Disney fairytale is The Little Mermaid and Sean loves The Jungle Book. Rebecca also likes Frozen and at the cocktail party sang a little bit of "Let it Go". At night there was also a cosplay contest and a dance with all the actors. They had a lot of fun, took a lot of selfies and posted them to Instagram and Twitter. Faustino has also a facebook group called “Sleepyheads” where there are all his Facebook friends.
Those were lovely days, but the end of the convention unfortunately came. Sean and Eion did not attend the “Ending Ceremony”. A couple of friends and I went out the hotel to say hello and Sean replied, “Ciao! A presto!” (Hello, see you) from his taxi.
At the ceremony, all of the actors took the stage to greet us. Rebecca suddenly turned to me and with hands created the W (Wicked Witch). I smiled to her and I think I started to cry from excitement.
The best thing about this convention was also the deep friendships that bind us, the fans of OUAT all over Italy. I will never forget the hugs, friendships, and chats about our favorite actors and episodes.
That is the magic of Once Upon a Time
Oz Comic Con Special Report by Courtenay Fairhurst - @emmarswan
After being a big fan of Jennifer Morrison for so long, I was ecstatic to hear she was coming to Melbourne for OZ Comic Con and doing a small intimate dinner with fans, to which I was lucky enough to get tickets.
I had no idea what to expect. We were just given an address of a hotel, told to wear smart casual and were given a time to be there. When my friend Emma and I showed up, we met some of the other girls (two of which I knew previously), and once we were all together the excitement grew. After about twenty minutes or so we were led to a room on the first level of the hotel, and while waiting to enter, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jason Dohring greeted us as they walked past into the room, and we realised we’d all be dining in the same area together. The thought of being in the same place as so many celebrities made it all that more exciting, but to be honest, the entire night I never took my eyes off Jennifer.
Once our tickets were scanned, we were seated at a circular table. I was sitting directly across from where Jennifer would be seated. Introductions were made with the other girls sitting at the table and we began to nervously ponder what we were all going to talk about. Would she ask us questions about ourselves? What questions can we ask her? About ten minutes after we were seated, she walked into the room looking absolutely stunning and grinned when she saw all of us. It was in that moment when I questioned how on earth I was going to stay completely composed the entire dinner because right in front of me, taking a seat, was someone I’ve looked up to, have loved, and admired for so long. People only dream about doing something like this with her. Yet here I was having a dinner with my favourite actress. I think I pinched myself five times the entire night.
She began by introducing us to her friend, Ashley, who she had brought with her and then made a point of looking at our names, which were written on cards faced in her direction. Ashley immediately commented on the spelling of my name (Courtenay) and said she really loved it. When Jennifer nodded in agreement, I think my thank you was intelligible, but it was probably more of a squeak.
It was silent for a moment (I think we were all in shock), and then Jennifer laughed and said she hoped she wasn’t going to be the only one to talk all night. We began asking questions about her time in Melbourne, and if she was enjoying it (yes). Had she ever been here before? (Yes, she had). How was her flight? (Long). When did she arrive? (Friday morning). I asked her if she was jetlagged at all, and she said no because she always sleeps on planes so it’s like she just went to bed and woke up in Australia. A waiter came over then and handed her a glass of red wine. When she went to “cheers” us, she noticed that we didn’t have any drinks and asked us if we wanted anything. We said we had to go to the bar to get drinks but were waiting for her. She reassured us she wasn’t going anywhere, so Emma and I rushed to grab drinks and get back to the table as quickly as we could (Hey, I was having dinner with Jennifer Morrison and I didn’t want to miss out on a second!).
Not long after sitting back down, Jennifer commented on all the braids everyone had in their hair. Before dinner started, I had braided the hair of almost half the table. So when they all pointed out I had done them, Jennifer looked at me with a big smile on her face and said I did a great job. This was the second time that day she had complimented my braids, so I was super thrilled. After fangirling internally for a moment, I told her she was my inspiration when it came to braids and asked her if she did her own. I was surprised to find out that, yes, she did all her braids. She then gave me a small tutorial on how to do her famous crown braid (so if you’re interested in knowing how, hit me up!). They began to serve the food then (chicken for half the table, and steak for the other half), and I’m not going to lie… I didn’t eat much because I was terrified Jennifer would ask me a question when my mouth was filled with mashed potato.
As we all became more comfortable and calm in Jennifer’s presence, we could feel the atmosphere change and it went from a dinner with our favourite actress to a dinner with a friend. She asked us questions about our lives, our pets and favourite places we’ve travelled to. We showed her pictures of our families and pets on our phones, and she told us things about what it’s like to be an actress and being on the set of Once and House. She also shared what it was like working with her cast members, as well as personal things about herself that we never knew before.
Magic arrived in the beautiful suburb of Versailles, France last weekend when hundreds of Oncers descended on the Palais des Congrès de Versailles to attend Xivent’s Fairy Tales II Convention. We arrived at the convention centre bright and early on Saturday and stood in line to get our passes, chatting with other fans while we waited. The sun was shining and the Oncer fandom was abuzz, a charge of positivity flowing as fans of all ages bonded over their favourite stories and characters.
t was so nice to talk directly with fans, not just about the show, but also about the fan site. Being recognised for something you have created was quite a surreal experience, but it was also great to get feedback from fans with regards to what they like about the site. Many were pleasantly surprised that, like themselves, we were simply “Oncers” who had come out to show the cast support and thanks.
After our passes had been claimed, we quickly made our way to the auditorium on the first floor of the building. Anticipation was building and the sound of hundreds of eager fan girls and boys was reaching fever pitch as we took our seats.