“Sometimes in crisis there’re positive opportunities,” says actor Paul Amos. While the world is experiencing a global pandemic unlike anything we’ve ever lived through before, Amos and his Lost Girl co-star Rachel Skarsten (Batwoman, Reign) are working together to seize the moment and create one of those positive opportunities. Together they have announced HomeCon, a virtual comic convention that will take place Friday, April 10 – Saturday, April 11, 2020, on the Twitch platform. To access the convention, attendees will simply need to pay a $4.99 subscription fee in order to receive access to show panels and other scheduled content.
With actors from 15 different shows participating, Skarsten and Amos have compiled quite the impressive guest list. Turning first to their own personal relationships, contacting actors on shows they’ve been on, Amos and Skarsten’s list soon grew to include actors from Batwoman, Reign, Lost Girl, Wynonna Earp, Supergirl, Lucifer, Assassin’s Creed, Riverdale, Stranger Things, and more! The entire guest list, as well as all information about the con and schedule of events, can be found at HomeCon’s website.
In addition to the panels being streamed on Twitch, HomeCon will replace the traditional signing tables with one-on-one Zoom chats that will be available for purchase. These chats will cost $50 for 5 minutes with a maximum of two per fan. This will serve as the exclusive part of the event and again, more information is available on the HomeCon website. Amos and Skarsten also recently spoke with The TV Junkies to give more details on where the idea for HomeCon came from, as well as why fans can expect a unique experience from the event.
The TV Junkies: I absolutely love the idea of this con and it’s needed now more than ever. How did HomeCon come to be?
Paul Amos: Once we all went into lockdown, I was trying to figure out if I could do something fun that involved fans. I got fans to send messages to me, and I created a weekly schedule where I talked to one fan every day on a Zoom conference call. The response was overwhelming and the fans really loved it.
Rach had just come back from Vancouver and I told her I had been doing a visual comic con, with a conference call instead of the signing table. Rachel said, ‘That’s a genius idea!’ For Rachel to say anything positive about me, I knew I was onto something! [laughs] So we just went ahead, with a bit of a crack squad of amazing people, and put a plan in action.
Rachel Skarsten: It really snowballed! We started with shows we had personally been on and roped in our friends. The more people heard about it, though, the more they were excited and wanted to be a part of it.
TTVJ: You do have a really impressive list of guests participating. How did you get so many people on board so quickly and can you highlight a few of them here?
PA: The big thing about this is that we wanted to do something for the community of people who attend comic cons and enjoy our work. We wanted to create a space where we could connect people again and give them a space, a community, where they could come together. We also wanted something that was affordable, especially with what everyone is going through right now, and create an experience that was accessible to everybody. We also wanted a real charitable angle with the First Responders to help out in some way. Once we figured that all out, we just pitched it to the actors.
RS: I was getting so many tweets and comments on Instagram from people who were genuinely disappointed that these comic cons are being cancelled. Of course that’s understandable right now and is for the best, but for a lot of people, comic cons are their community and where they meet up with their friends. Paul and I wanted to give back to that community that we’ve been a part of and enjoyed and create a space for them to gather again.
TTVJ: I agree that cons do tend to really be that safe space you’re talking about. The fact you’re looking to create that here seems really cool.
PA: We wanted to create something brand new and unique for this community. With regards to the one-to-one calls, we wanted to create a unique experience for fans. It’s an incredibly unique experience to be able to phone into the actor from a show you love and be able to have a conversation, while also in your respective houses. It’s brand new and unlike anything that’s ever been before, and I think we’re offering something in this hard time that’s entirely unique and really special.
TTVJ: How will the panels and one-on-one Zoom chats work?
RS: The panels will be hosted on Twitch, an online gaming streaming service. There will be a Twitch channel that people subscribe to for $4.99. It’s free if you have Amazon Prime. You can never go to cons for that cheap! People will then have access to every single panel, as well as actors playing interactive games, and the schedule is available on our website. We have 15 shows that will have panels. They will then be replayed, for subscribers if you miss them.
PA: Twitch is like our comic convention, but normally you have talents at signing tables. Instead of that, we’ll have a Zoom table if you can imagine. So people will be calling in for one-to-one sessions with the guests, and you phone in and get 5 or 10 minutes, and you just chat away. Then the next person comes in and then the next one. These cost $50 for 5 minutes and 10% of everything we take at the con will go to a charity called First Responders First. Then, all of the actors are left to and encouraged to give whatever they make to their own respective charities.
TTVJ: Will there be ways for fans to donate to the charity as well?
RS: Fans can absolutely give individually to First Responders First through their website. We’ll have that link on our website.
PA: We’ll also be promoting that throughout the weekend. We are lucky enough to have four really great MCs and moderators and they’ll be making the audience aware of where they can put their money to help people fighting on the front lines.
TTVJ: For people who aren’t familiar with Twitch, you mentioned panels being available after if fans missed them. How does that work?
RS: The Twitch subscription gets you access to the HomeCon channel and then it’s like a video on-demand. You can watch the content at any time. A lot of people haven’t used Twitch, and I hadn’t before this convention. It seems daunting, but I assure you that if you’ve used any other social media then you’re more than capable of using it.
PA: The great thing about the VOD bit is that it’ll all be catalogued as well. So if you’re a Batwoman fan then you can just go directly to that bit.
TTVJ: If this is successful, do you think you’d be interested in doing another one?
RS: We’ve had so many actors reach out to us, and it’s only possible in the first event to host a certain amount. So we have actors on hold for 2.0 that’s in the works now.
TTVJ: Anything else you wanted to mention about the con that I may have missed?
PA: A big thing for me is that this puts the power of the convention back in the hands of the artists and fans. It’s really a space where the fan and artist can come and connect. That’s a really unique thing.
Excited for HomeCon? Sound off below!
HomeCon will stream April 10-11 on Twitch. For more information and schedule of events visit HomeCon’s Official website.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.