Convention season is well underway and the annual celebration Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta is also set to be back in full force. Dragon Con has continued to grow year after year, only closing due to the pandemic in 2020 and limited access the year after. As the numbers continue to return to normal and grow again, expect things to be crowded. The annual fan convention spans several blocks and hotels throughout downtown Atlanta. The convention runs from Thursday, August 31st, through Monday, Sept 4th. Although the fan convention is back to full operation, there will be some differences this year that we have not seen in past years related to the SAG and WGA strikes that are still actively going on.
We had the chance to interview Media Engagement Director Dan Carroll about Dragon Con 2023. As always he is excited to see what fans will come up with this year cosplay-wise. Each year, Dragon Con’s cosplay environment provides a barometer for the most popular new genre titles from the year. That means we expect to see Barbie and Oppenheimer mashups, lots of Star Wars Ahsoka (including Rebels given the ties to the series), and so much more.
And another topic near and dear to Dan’s heart is the yearly charity event. Dragon Con consistently delivers huge donations every year and this year Dragon Con has increased its matching donation. Check out our full interview below.
What is Dragon Con?
Dragon Con is an annual fan convention that occurs every year on Labor Day Weekend. In the past most conventions focused on single genres, but not Dragon Con. Combining fandoms and genres into a single convention for fans who, like them, are interested in different things. In the early going, that meant bringing a science fiction convention and gaming convention together in the same hotel. While it doesn’t seem so radical today, it was audacious for its time and, eventually, it upended the staid convention scene.
For many Dragon Con fans, the quality of the cosplay and costuming distinguishes this one convention from all the others. Over the years, Labor Day weekend has become a four-day parade of the finest costumes that fans from across the country can muster, many bringing several costumes so that they have something different to wear each day of the convention. Cosplayers tend to save their best for the nighttime, though, promenading through the hotel lobbies and posing for photos.
So be prepared for a weekend full of cosplay people watching, talent, and fan panels covering a variety of genres and topics in past and present pop culture.
What is the current policy on masking?
The convention currently has no specific requirements for masking at the convention.
How will the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes affect talent at the convention?
Currently, talent attending the convention are not allowed to discuss any past, present, or future movies or shows they have worked on. Guests may refuse to answer any questions they feel violate the strike limitations. So let’s break this down for you.
Panels: Any panels they are on will either be very limited in the scope of the topic or will be unrelated to any work they have done under those contracts in the past. Expect more creative topics of discussion and more stringent screening of audience questions at panels.
Walk of Fame: Talking about the Walk of Fame, where you go to do autographs with talent, they will still be doing those sessions. However, you may want to bring your own items to be signed as they may be limited on what they will have with them for signing to avoid ‘promoting’. Also any video, audio or photos will likely no longer allow for quotes, poses or cosplaying as any characters related to projects they have worked on.
Photo Ops: Any photo ops will also have limitations on asking talent to pose, speak, or cosplay in anything related to past, present, or future projects under the SAG-AFTRA and WGA contracts.
For the video gaming, anime, and other non-SAG/non-union projects, they should remain unaffected, but be sure to check out each talent table for any restrictions as many are standing with their fellow SAG & WGA members on strike.
How will the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes affect fans and cosplaying?
There will be no restrictions on fans since fans are not subject to SAG-AFTRA/WGA contracts. So feel free to come in full cosplay with your favorite projects, mashups, and more.
What is Dragon Con 2023’s Charity?
Dragon Con is committed to helping the community through raising funds and providing a dollar for dollar match increased from $100,000 to $125,000 for the 2023 show.
CURE Childhood Cancer is dedicated to conquering childhood cancer through funding targeted research while supporting patients and their families. Since CURE’s beginnings in 1975, they have raised millions of dollars to advance promising research, lobbied for important legislation, and provided tangible support to thousands of childhood cancer patients and their families.
Studies reveal that lifestyle behaviors and environmental factors account for around 70-90% of adult cancer cases. Unlike many adult cancers, most causes of childhood cancer are unknown and therefore, not preventable. Childhood cancers are quite simply different from adult cancers, and the research that has increased adult survival rates rarely trickles down to help children.
Nearly every child diagnosed with cancer in the 1950’s died. Due to research, today more than 80% of children diagnosed will live. While that is great progress, it isn’t enough because 1 of every 5 children doesn’t survive and many who do survive will experience significant complications from today’s harsh treatments.
CURE only funds research into cancers that affect children!