BiPositive Podcast Interviewed Me. This is What We Talked About!
You may know that I occasionally get to interview interesting LGBT+ people and allies on my international con trips. Well, a while back, I was interviewed myself, and that was a refreshing experience. It is funny to be on the other side. Mari and MD invited me for an episode of BiPositive Podcast. Thanks for the invite and the relaxed conversation!
Fun fact: we are all living in The Hague, and we were all at ClexaCon London, but we didn’t know about each other. We found out about it on social media afterward. So, this is the first time we met!
In this blog post, I will highlight some of the subjects we discussed. As we talked for about an hour, this is only a small part, and you should definitely listen to the entire episode! You can follow BiPositive Podcast on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can listen to the episode on a bunch of websites, including iTunes and SoundCloud. Below this image is also a vlog about our podcast episode together.
The start of Meemoeder.com
I think most of my followers abroad know me from my LGBT+ con trips but have no idea what meemoeder stands for and why my website is called this way. It was indeed the first question I was asked.
Simply put, meemoeder is the word the Dutch government gives the non-biological mom of a married lesbian couple that has a kid together. When my wife was pregnant, I was looking for experiences from other lesbian moms, but I could not find any. I could only find info from the government and lawyers. Also, at almost every parenting blog, I was addressed as a father, which started to bug me after a while.
So, I started to describe my own experience (in Dutch) so that others would not end up in the same situation as me. This is my way of giving back to the LGBT+ community. I am now one of the first search results, which means others can find me easily.
I noticed I always somehow ended up talking about movies as they are one of my passions. Then, I saw videos of the first ClexaCon edition on YouTube, and I received a press pass for the second edition. That’s how this whole English version of my website and my YouTube channel came into existence. Funny how things sometimes go, right?!
Being a lesbian parent among other parents
Mari and MD wanted to know how it feels to be a lesbian parent among other parents. Thankfully, most of the time, there is no difference. I do remember two incidents when things were different for me.
One funny situation occurred at Schiphol Airport when we were taking a trip to the U.S. and Canada when our son was eleven months old. We did not even think about bringing his birth certificate. That caused some problems when we tried to leave The Netherlands.
The border control told us that they could not see if he was our baby. We were finally allowed to go on our trip by saying he has my wife’s looks and my last name, and that we were both wearing the same wedding rings. We were pretty scared when we crossed the American-Canadian border that trip, but nothing happened, fortunately.
One not so funny situation occurred a while back. I had an appointment somewhere and what often happens during such an appointment, is that you start talking about your family. You know the type of appointments, like at the hairdresser.
This woman started asking how we got our son, and I explained. Then, she started calling him my wife’s son, and I constantly had to say ‘our son.’ And it’s not like you can leave the appointment halfway through, so it’s just awkward all around.
I don’t know why but I started showing her pictures. Then, she started saying things like: “Oh yes, he really looks like her. Oh, that’s really a momma’s boy.” It hurt me, but I still have no idea how to respond. I did turn it into a Dutch blog post.
Mari and MD also wondered if we were worried about a social stigma for our kid before my wife became pregnant. I answered that we still are. I guess we’ll find out when he goes to school.
Right now, at his daycare center, it is no problem at all because toddlers don’t know any better. We are hopeful that things are better for him now than they were for me growing up. I think there is a change in how kids deal with homosexuality nowadays. Therefore, we hope his teenage years will be okay.
The one thing that we try to teach him is confidence. If you have confidence, you can speak up or fight back when something bad happens. If nothing bad happens, well great, you have confidence.
Our episode of BiPositive Podcast
I focused on the lesbian parenting part in this blog post as it is something I rarely talk about on the English version of my website. I thought it would be nice to give you my ideas on this topic for a change. We talked about plenty of other topics. As Mari and MD are from Ukraine and France, we talked about the differences in our cultures and in how safe we feel being queer. Naturally, ClexaCon and queer representation in media came up. SO, I encourage you to go to iTunes or SoundCloud and to listen to our episode of BiPositive Podcast!
The Importance of ClexaCon According to Its Directors
At the very first European edition of ClexaCon, the four directors sat down to talk about their amazing event for LGBTQ+ women. I wanted to know what it meant to them personally to be at the first edition abroad of an event that they have created from scratch. Also, what are some of the projects that have emerged as a result of ClexaCon? Below, you can read what Ashley, Danielle, Holly, and Heidi believe is the importance of ClexaCon.
The interview was too long to write down fully. If you want to see the full interview where the directors talk about the importance of ClexaCon and how their event contributes to better queer representation, I recommend watching the video that is included below this image.
Me: What does it mean to you personally to be here at the first European edition of an event that you created?
Danielle: We are really excited to be here. We have been wanting to do an event in Europe for a long time, for two years, since we started doing ClexaCon. So, it is really exciting to be here and have it be happening and have so many people come from all over the world again to join us in London.
Why do you think Clexa and the legacy of Clexa continues to be such an important legacy, even two years on now?
Danielle: I mean, she is an incredible character. The role of Lexa and the relationship of Clexa were incredibly important to a lot of us. It is one of the best roles I have ever seen on TV for queer women. So, I think for a lot of us that resonated.
The impact of how she died on the show, how she was killed off, really sparked a lot of anger. It got people really mobilized in a way that we had not seen before. I think that is still carrying on. People are still mobilized because of that. I think that character is really going to live on through us all being mobilized to make sure we have better characters on TV and in film.
How did you all come together to create ClexaCon?
Ashley: It was originally Holly’s idea and then we individually jumped in. ‘This is something that we want to participate in and let’s make it bigger and better. Let’s throw in a film festival. Let’s make it three days and let’s whatever else we do in Vegas. We do way too much. It just kind of exploded and Heidi has been there with us ever since.
Me: Was ClexaCon London a lot harder to organize than ClexaCon Vegas?
Danielle: Yes. I guess it is always harder to work in a country you are not familiar with. Even though we technically all speak the same language, it does not always feel like it. And things are different over here.
Me: What were some of the obstacles you ran into?
Ashley: Sometimes, it is just the little things. We call mixed drinks, like vodka and soda, mixed drinks. Here, it is called something else and we had to explain what mixed drinks are four times today alone. So, I think it is the little things like that that add up.
Me: Also, the time zone?
Ashley: Oh, that was really hard because we are not early morning people. We have become early morning people. Our meetings would have to be at 6 am our time. That was tough.
Danielle: And I think, on a larger scale, the idea of a ComicCon or an event like this is very normal now in the US. Agents and talents are very used to going to these events. For the agents and talents in the UK, it is still a newer idea. Often, the guests who are coming are US guests who are used to it and not so much the UK-based people. That was a learning experience for us, to navigate that.
Holly: Also, stores closing early if we had to go get something. Businesses are just run differently.
Danielle: Your Amazon does not work as well as ours.
Back to the importance of ClexaCon. Looking at the schedule for the panels and the scale of it, even for two days, what is the idea behind that?
Ashley: The workshops and the panels are the guts of this event. We want people to go to them. And we want people to learn how to create content and get involved in content creation so that we can have more representation, better representation.
We attack all those panels, and it really is an attack, from all different angles. People submit their ideas, which we love. Give a good description of what you want and we will do our best to make it happen. We try to do a lot of diversity panels and ‘how to’ panels so that we can really carry on in a positive way. It is a big effort.
Danielle: It is very intentional that we have such a broad range of topics. We do tend to start out by having submissions. If people are not submitting certain topics that we think are really important, we will go out of our way to find people to talk about this topic.
What can TV do to promote queer representation through events like this?
Danielle: Separately from events like ours, they are getting better, especially in the US. I do not know so much across Europe. They are getting better in the US. There are more queer characters being added and they are given better roles. They are not the stereotypical sidekick roles and they are not getting killed off as often. So, I think we are seeing baby steps in that direction, so we need to have that happen more.
We need to have LGBTQ women involved in the process. After all, it is very hard to change the industry if you do not have different voices making decisions. That is why the ‘how to’ panels and the workshops are so important to us. We want to be supporting queer women who are making content or who want to make content and encouraging more people to get involved.
Me: Another thing about the importance of ClexaCon. You also want to create network opportunities from guests. Have you received feedback from guests who attend the previous two Vegas editions how it has helped their careers?
Ashley: We definitely have. On a smaller level, we see ideas that have formed at ClexaCon come all the way through. They are now a web series. That is awesome. They met their lead actor at our event. They met their writer or their make-up artist at our event. There are many ways we can get involved in content creation. I think ClexaCon is definitely a place where you can come and meet people to start something and to make something beautiful because it has happened.
Danielle: There are two web series that are coming out in the next three or four months or maybe premiering at the next ClexaCon that totally came from people meeting at ClexaCon. That is super exciting for us to see that it is really helping people.
On a larger scale, we have heard through the grapevine that actresses have met producers and writers at our event and have had conversations after the fact because of the meeting at ClexaCon. From the people starting content creation to the stars of the show, we know that it is helping them.
Final statements on the importance of ClexaCon
As you can tell from the video, the directors of ClexaCon believe in the importance of ClexaCon in their core. They may have other jobs but they devote the rest of their time to ClexaCon as they believe in the cause.
I agree with Holly that bad representation is worse than no representation at all. About sixteen years ago, when I had recently come out, I watched a lesbian web series from the Netherlands. It was so bad in terms of acting, chemistry, writing, and camera work that it actually had me questioning my sexuality.
I also agree with Holly that the age category of thirties-forties (and probably also older than this) is underrepresented. We are often in the background. If we are in the picture, it is usually about our marriages not going well. So, let’s hope some brilliant ideas are being developed at the next ClexaCon edition!
I Had My Mind Blown at ClexaCon 2018 – Part 6 (ClexaCon 2018 Day 3)
This is part six of my ClexaCon 2018 adventure. April 4-10, I went on a trip to Las Vegas for ClexaCon, all the way from The Netherlands. Let me tell you, it was so worth the jetlag! You can find part one, part two, part three, part four and part five here. In this blog, I will tell you all about ClexaCon 2018 Day 3. This Sunday, I visited three panels: YouTube 2.0, Doccubus and Valkubus, and Shethority. And now I know that something called post-con blues exists. The horror!
I missed the first panel today. Yup, that was a direct result of the Ascension Party. My body and head just worked at a slower pace this morning. So, I decided to go for an extensive breakfast. Given the time, one might as well call it brunch 😉 After that, I was ready for the final ClexaCon day!
ClexaCon 2018 Day 3 – first panel: How to Use YouTube as a Platform 2.0
You know, I have never watched reaction videos. It just did not occur to me to watch other people watch my favorite shows. I would much rather spend that time watching the shows myself. When I saw this panel mentioned on the website prior to my visit, I was intrigued. I guess I never knew it was such a big thing.
It helped that I saw a Dutch name in the list of panelists. Elke van der Iest was going to be present. My Dutch pride took over: if ClexaCon has a panelist all the way from the Netherlands, I should be there to watch it, right?
The popularity of reaction videos does make sense to me now. Yes, you watch other people watching your favorite show while you could be watching the show yourself (or do you watch simultaneously?). Still, these YouTubers comment. In addition, people in YouTube’s comment section comment. And that is where this whole discussion about current LGBTQ issues takes place.
How interesting is that? If you are looking for like-minded people, these YouTube channels and their subscribers are a great hub. This realization might sound very idiotic to some of you but hey, I seriously had no idea!
Elke van der Iest
After the panel, I wanted to ask Elke if she had a moment to talk to me. Therefore, I walked up to her and asked her this in Dutch. Woopsy, I scared her because she was only expecting English. Sorry about that, Elke! Luckily, she agreed to talk to me for a bit.
During the panel, I learned that she was a film student. How cool is it to have a substantial YouTube channel (over 20,000 subscribers) about films and TV shows while majoring in film? I asked her how she ended up at ClexaCon and what she thought of the event. You can find it in the vlog!
ClexaCon 2018 Day 3 – second panel: Happy Wife, Happy Life
As you can read in my previous blog, I promised the Tello team of Happy Wife, Happy Life on the red carpet to come watch the taping of their show on Sunday. It was the same time as the Doccubus and Valkubus panel, so I had to make it a short visit. It was actually pretty cool because I could watch the entire preparation before the taping. As you may have heard in my vlogs, I love watching all the things a production requires backstage. I decided to film that and stop when the actual taping started. You can find the preparations in the vlog!
ClexaCon 2018 Day 3 – third panel: Doccubus and Valkubus
I was right on time for the Doccubus and Valkubus panel. I was curious to see what they would talk about since they had already been on stage with Emily Andras and the others on Friday. WayHaught had also been on a larger panel earlier but that relationship is still on a current show, so it seemed much easier to talk about.
Unfortunately, the moderator asked the same type of questions as the ones that the actresses had been asked in the previous panel. I had expected them to zoom in on those two relationships but it was more the general stuff about shooting Lost Girl and the characters’ sexual orientation.
Do not get me wrong, I can watch Anna Silk, Zoie Palmer, and Rachel Skarsten any day but this separate panel did not add anything. Okay, it added laughter to the day. They sure have humor!
Afterward, I went to the panel on Shethority not knowing what Shethority is. Shethority is a website founded by Chyler Leigh, Caity Lotz, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers to empower women through shared stories, support, and inspirational guidance. The website is not live yet but they were actively inviting everybody in the audience to share their stories there once it is live and create a sense of community.
End of ClexaCon
That was the final panel of ClexaCon for me. I walked around the vendor hall one more time to soak in the last ClexaCon vibes. I was feeling sad that it was over. My new-found friends Immy and Denise (more info in previous blogs) and I recorded some more videos. We recorded two together and in the ClexaCon recording booth, Immy used my mic to get her video done. She helped me get some photos on The Throne and I took her bag of fan pics up to my room for safekeeping. See, we really were a team 😊
Las Vegas sightseeing
We decided to walk the Strip together to do some sightseeing and get some food. It turned out we walked way more than we had initially intended. Even though we are not the biggest fans of Las Vegas (if you have been there once, you pretty much get the gist of it), we just kept going. I knew a nice spot that was a bit un-Vegassy (it is a word now), so I wanted to show them. They did not really trust me as we were all getting hangry and tired but man, once we were there, they loved it. Where? The botanical gardens in the Bellagio. You can see it in my vlog!
I finally said out loud that I was feeling very sad. I just had to share it. Immy said something about post-con blues and it was like a light switched on in my head. That makes sense! That is exactly what it was! Post-con blues. Wow. I never knew something like that existed but yes, it is real!
Finally, we ended up at a taco restaurant where we had a great meal. As Immy and Denise had tickets for the Blue Man Group, we had to rush back. They barely made it but still. I left Immy’s photos at the front desk and went to bed.
Final Last Vegas moments
On Monday, I walked around the Strip once more. Seeing actual daylight and feeling the sun on my skin was a new sensation as I had hardly been outside all weekend. My eyes caught a big sign saying that a patio was meant for brunch, which seemed too funny after the ClexaCon brunch joke. My Instagram followers agreed.
At 5 pm, my flight left and I had to switch planes in Salt Lake City. I tried to see that big temple but unfortunately, it was nowhere to be seen. Maybe on the other side of the plane? My flight home was good and arriving home felt great. I unpacked all my stuff immediately and went to the daycare center to pick up my son. He was really happy to see me but he was also a little mad that I had been gone for six days. I persuaded him with a gift though, so all was forgotten soon.
When we came back home, my wife was there. Home Sweet Home! Nope, I hardly suffered from a jetlag that week. Apparently, my body never adjusted to Las Vegas time, ghehe.
I had my mind blown at ClexaCon 2018 – Part 5 (ClexaCon 2018 Day 2 Cont.)
This is part five of my ClexaCon 2018 adventure. April 4-10, I went on a trip to Las Vegas for ClexaCon, all the way from The Netherlands. Let me tell you, it was so worth the jetlag! You can find part one, part two, part three, and part four here. In this ClexaCon 2018 Day 2 Cont. blog, I will tell you all about the Shoot and Hollstein reunions. Sarah and Amy came to the press room after their panel. I was also present at the red carpet event before the Cocktails for Change party. That means there will be much backstage footage this week! ClexaCon Saturday gave me such an adrenaline boost that despite the jetlag, the Ascension Party was no problem at all.
ClexaCon 2018 Day 2 Cont. – fifth panel: Shoot reunion
Ok, I am going to come clean in this ClexaCon 2018 Day 2 Cont. blog and say that I have never watched Person of Interest. What?! I know, I know…
So, yes, this was not the panel I absolutely had to attend because I love the show so much. However, this was my chance to finally see Sarah Shahi because, helloooo, Carmen…. I cannot tell you much about the POI stuff; all I can tell you is that that the view from the front was very, very nice.
Amy and Sarah came to the press room after the panel. They shared a few laughs when posing for the photos and after that, they both sat down at a table to answer some questions. They stayed for quite a while actually, which was really nice of them. Naturally, the first question was about the L Word reboot.
I also asked a question, the same I asked Dot-Marie Jones: if they were able to pick any award they could win, what would it be and why? Sarah jokingly named a few awards from countries abroad so that she could travel to beautiful places but when I asked her about awards for personal causes, she said that children and the LGBTQ community had a special place in her heart. Watch the interview material in my vlog (and subscribe to my YouTube channel)!
ClexaCon 2018 Day 2 Cont. – sixth panel: Hollstein
I am going to be honest again and confess that the Hollstein panel was my biggest reason for coming to ClexaCon. I started following this web series right before the second season dropped and so I was lucky enough to be able to binge watch the whole first season. As I had not told my wife about it, she was not really aware of this show.
Then the second season came and subsequently, the third season came. And then there was talk about this movie. And then there was a crowdfunding campaign. Oh, and then I backed the campaign. And then the release date of the movie was getting closer and I got really excited.
That is when I told my wife about Carmilla and how happy I was to see this movie soon. I watched it by myself (my wife had to work a lot around at that time, so she could not watch it with me). I told my wife how awesome it was. Naturally, she wanted to see the movie too but when we watched the movie together, she told me she did not get it and wanted to watch the series as well. NO problem at all, ha ha! So, we binge watched the three seasons and the movie. I love her…
I thought it was so cool to see them on that stage! This panel was my little fangirl moment. My big fangirl moment came a few hours later when I was able to talk to them on the red carpet, although I did my best to hide my excitement. Go watch the red carpet vlog and let me know how good or bad I was at hiding the fangirl in me!
I had to leave the Hollstein panel early as I wanted to secure a good spot at the red carpet event. It was my mission to record an awesome YouTube trailer at ClexaCon and this event was my best shot at getting amazing content. Want to see the result? Here it is.
Yup, leaving early meant that I completely missed the announcement that Natasha and Elise are coming to ClexaCon London…
As I was told that we were only allowed to talk to guests about thirty to sixty seconds, I figured I asked the guests to pronounce my name first and then see whether there was still some time to talk about anything else. I ended up being able to ask Natasha Negovanlis how Clairevoyant is going, Nicole Pacent about her two panels in the morning, Rachael Hip-Flores when she is going to record another video with Nicole, and Tamara Duarte how (un)comfortable it is to shoot a show while being pregnant. Oh, and the Happy Wife, Happy Life cast and Christin Baker pretty much interviewed me 😉
On my left was Immy and on my right was Jessica (see previous blogs for explanations) and since the place was crammed, we had to work together to get our interviews. I think we had a nice system going.
I had my back to Immy, so I had the right camera angle and she had room to interview people. Jessica would stand straight when interviewing guests and when I was interviewing people, she would move her shoulder away so that she would not be in my shot. It was quite funny.
This way, we gave each other room but we also ended up in each other’s interviews as guests just started talking to the two of us (me with Immy or me with Jessica), depending on where they were standing. It made our interviews more fun and it helped us greatly if one of us was not so very familiar with the guest standing in front of us 😉
This event was THE thing that made me most nervous before ClexaCon so I was really happy with how it all went down and how chill some of the conversations were. One moment I particularly cherish is when Holly, co-founder of ClexaCon, was told to move forward on the red carpet but decided to walk back to me, touched my arm, and thanked me for being there, coming all the way from The Netherlands. Are you kidding me? Thank YOU for ClexaCon and having me!!
Because of my jetlag, I had only slept for five hours. So, that morning, I expected I was not going to be very energetic at the Ascension party. Who wants to miss a party like that though? Luckily, I was so pumped from the red carpet that I had an abundance of energy!
Also, a Dutch/American couple had contacted me on Instagram because they had seen me walking around in my Meemoeder.com T-shirt. They were going to the party and I wanted to meet them. That means missing the party was not an option. I loved talking to them. Apparently, I take terrible selfies (note to self: try not to take selfies when a real photographer is present).
What a great party! At 1 AM, though, I had been awake for twenty hours so it seemed best to go to bed. I mean, I had to put my face in front of the camera the next day. I wanted to look reasonably okay…
ClexaCon 2018 Day 3 (Sunday)
That means the end of this ClexaCon 2018 Day 2 Cont. blog. Next week, you will read all about the final day of ClexaCon. That means you can read about the following panels: YouTube 2.0 – reaction videos, Doccubus & Valkubus, and Shethority. Also, you can see me being a tourist in Las Vegas. If you sign up for my newsletter, you can be sure you will be the first one to read it. You can find the sign-up form on the top right of this page or in the footer. Again, do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel! Thanks for reading this ClexaCon 2018 Day 2 Cont. blog!
I had my mind blown at ClexaCon 2018 – Part 4 (ClexaCon 2018 Day 2)
This is part four of my ClexaCon 2018 adventure. April 4-10, I went on a trip to Las Vegas for ClexaCon, all the way from The Netherlands. You can find part one, part two, and part three here. In this ClexaCon 2018 Day 2 blog, I will tell you all about the following panels: Anyone But Me, Bisexual Representation, WayHaught, and Swerve.
Next week, you can read all about the rest of this day: the Shoot and Hollstein reunions, the red carpet event before the Cocktails for Change party, and the Ascension Party.
They talked about the growth of the show – from a guerilla-style type of shooting (they had no permits when they started filming, Tina Cesa Ward confessed) to shooting with an entire crew – and playing LGBTQ characters after The L Word had just ended.
Apparently, Nicole was a bit nervous about acting with Rachael before the shooting started, given the fact that she is bisexual and Rachael is not. Also, apparently, Anyone But Me made Rachael realize that women have boobs. As mentioned, there was much laughter 😉
On a final note, Nicole and Rachael, when can we expect that video about the letter?
ClexaCon 2018 Day 2 – second panel: Bisexual representation
Did you know you can own the three seasons on DVD? Try Amazon or eBay!
I was only present at this panel for a little while. That little while made me learn a thing or two, though! The first thing that was amazing to see was how the room was too small for the audience. The place was packed so clearly, we want more bisexual representation.
Another thing I learned was when Nicole Pacent said something about The L Word that I had not realized when it happened. You see, when The L Word first aired, I had only recently come out and I was still figuring out my own identity as a lesbian woman; at the time, I apparently had no brain cells available for all the other letters in our beautiful community.
Nicole told the audience about how offended she was by the Alice storyline, who started out as a bisexual woman, only to look back at it in later seasons as something of a mistake or even joke. I feel stupid for realizing only now how much of a relief it must have been for many women to see an out and proud bisexual woman and how much that storyline must have hurt later on. I guess we are never too old to learn…
ClexaCon 2018 Day 2 – third panel: WayHaught
You know, a second chance to see WayHaught up close is never a bad thing 😀 It is so endearing to see how invested Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Kat Barrell are in both this couple and the LGBTQ community. The tears and emotions were real 😉
They talked about the relationship surviving (Dana: “You have always found your way back to each other. Why do you think that? Dominique: “Have you seen her?”), about what their WayHaught relationship means to the community (Dana: “You have been vocal fans of your fans.”), about the Rosita kiss, and about the whole oh-yeah-I-have-a-wife situation.
For me, a big moment was this: as you can read in my previous blog and see at the end of my vlog, I was somewhat emotional realizing after the first day of ClexaCon how easily available LGBTQ content is nowadays as opposed to when I was growing up. After about 19 minutes, Kat starts talking about LGBTQ people who are older now but did not have that representation growing up, and she starts tearing up. I think my mouth dropped open. It truly did something to me to hear that acknowledgment from someone like her and to see her get emotional about it.
Another panel that I was really excited about was Swerve the web series. You may wonder why I love this show so much. Indeed, after every episode, I have to go to the comment section to figure out what I have just seen. That is precisely the beauty of it. The show does not spell everything out; you are left with questions that make you want to watch the next episode and season.
Sharon Belle and Winny Clarke were on the panel with Sheila Allen and Kisha Tapangan. An area that this show specifically touches on is mental health issues. You could tell that showing the topic in an honest way means a lot to Sharon and Winny. Emotions seem to be a common theme at ClexaCon; both actresses were tearing up at some point during this panel. 😉
It was not all sad though. At one moment, it was revealed that nobody knew what was going to happen in the next season because Jason Armstrong never lets anyone know beforehand. Winny asked the room to tweet him all at the same time. I bet he had a buzzing phone for a while.
Then, they dropped the teaser for season three. At first, they could not get the laptop to work on the big screen. So the entire room got up and stood around the laptop, and the panel watched us watch the teaser. That was another fun moment to be a part of. After the panel, Sharon asked to see the teaser because she had not seen it yet. It was cool to watch Sharon watch her work and see how proud she was.
Next week, I will talk about the rest of ClexaCon 2018 Day 2. That means you can read about the Shoot and Hollstein reunions, the red carpet event, and the Ascension Party! Yes, that includes a lot of backstage footage. If you sign up for my newsletter, you can be sure you will be the first one to read it. You can find the sign-up form on the top right of this page or in the footer. Also, do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
This is part two of my ClexaCon 2018 adventure. April 4-10, I went on a trip to Las Vegas for ClexaCon, all the way from The Netherlands. Let me tell you, it was so worth the jetlag! You can find part one here. This is ClexaCon 2018 Day 1 (part two of my blog post series about ClexaCon)!
In this blog, I will tell you all about the first part of my ClexaCon 2018 Day 1 experience, from visiting interesting panels and meeting interesting people to my first interview EVER. Three-time Emmy nominee Dot Marie Jones (Glee) was so nice to help me out with this!
D-Day! ClexaCon finally officially started on Friday. This might be a good moment to say that I was pretty nervous beforehand and to explain why. As mentioned in my previous blog, I took a vlogging course. However, as we got closer to ClexaCon, I learned that press was allowed to hold short interviews with the talents at the red carpet and in the press room.
WHAT?! You mean actually talking to the people that I have been seeing on my screen for years now? Not just blogging and vlogging about the event but actually talking to the actresses? And, if possible, intelligently?
Here is something you need to know about me. I am easily impressed by people. Especially when I find them highly attractive. This makes my face decide to pop up a bright red color. This also makes my brain stop working and my mouth go silent. Nothing in my vlogging course said anything about interview styles and ways to prevent the fangirl in you from taking over your professional you.
ClexaCon 2018 Day 1 – First panel: Becoming YouTube creators
I started ClexaCon by visiting a panel that could help me with Meemoeder.com. Jess Harris-Distefano, Head of Creative Programming at YouTube Space LA, gave a presentation about becoming a YouTube creator. I have recently started making vlogs so of course, so I was interested in getting some tips.
Yes, there are tips all over the internet but being in The Netherlands, there is such a big distance between me and the company that getting help is hard. It felt like a unique opportunity to listen to someone who is dealing with big creators every day. Oh, and I am now rocking cool YouTube Spaces sunglasses 😉 Also, Jess recognized me from Instagram, how cool is that?!
Subscribe to my YouTube channel
Since you are reading this blog, could you subscribe to my YouTube channel? You do not know how much the numbers help when talking to people who can support this blog and my vlogs in moving forward. And if we can move Meemoeder.com forward, I can create more international LGTBQ content, which is what you want, right? It merely takes five seconds to click the subscribe button, so go, go, go! Thank you!!
If you want a specific example of how numbers help: at the moment of writing this blog, I am a few subscribers away from a hundred subscribers. If I reach that number of subscribers, I can claim a personalized link, which makes sharing my channel so much easier, allowing it to grow even more. In addition, it simply looks much more professional and I want to be taken seriously as a blogger and vlogger. Could you help me with that?
This is my new YouTube channel trailer. At ClexaCon, I asked many, many actresses to pronounce my name. How cool is it that people like Elise Bauman, Natasha Negovanlis, and Anna Silk help me introduce myself?!
During this panel, I also learned that the press pass had another big advantage. Other press members in the WhatsApp group, who were at one of the main panels, informed me that press was able to skip lines and go to a designated area in the front of the massive room.
Indeed, at the smaller panels too, I was able to go everywhere I wanted. This full access took away so many of my worries from before the con as I really wanted to cover as much as possible for you guys and the schedule was so insane that waiting in line would greatly reduce my ability to do so. Also, restroom breaks are a necessity 😉
ClexaCon 2018 Day 1 – Second panel: Queer lady business
Being an entrepreneur of one company that caters to the LGBTQ community specifically and one company that does not cater to this niche (I have founded translation agency BudgetVertalingOnline in 2011), I was interested in seeing how others view the LGBTQ community as a market and what the specific hurdles are.
I always see this one picture of Christin Baker, CEO of Tello Films, and I was surprised by how energetic and funny she was. I found Tello Films a couple of years ago. As it turns out from the panel, that was about the same time she founded it and was still struggling with it.
Plenty of pie
What struck me the most was that she said that we are not all fighting for the same piece of the pie. There is plenty of pie available for everyone. We can achieve much more by working together rather than looking at each other as competitors. As I am still positioning Meemoeder.com in the market, I can testify that sometimes, you are not sure if collaborations are something that help your brand. Will they make you look the same as the one you are collaborating with?
In those cases, I think about what I want to achieve with Meemoeder.com. My mission is to share information and experiences with the LGBTQ community (specifically lesbian parents) so that they can feel better about themselves and their choices and be more confident about them. Christin is right: most of the time, collaborations help me with this mission!
ClexaCon 2018 Day 1: Meeting Shannan Leigh Reeve
Before the Queer lady business panel started, I saw Shannan Leigh Reeve, who had been in the previous panel. I absolutely loved I Hate Tommy Finch, so I asked for a quick picture. I was not expecting so much friendliness (not because of Shannan but because I was not sure how guests would react to press) but she was so cool! She asked for my name, which I was not expecting at all.
This, however, reminded me of one of my ClexaCon missions. I wanted to make a compilation of the ClexaCon guests pronouncing (or mispronouncing) my name. After all, I always have such a hard time introducing myself in the States. I wanted to use this compilation as my YouTube channel trailer. She was extremely helpful (and you can watch the result above).
I also saw Lily Richards from Twenty the web series but there was no more time to talk to her. Actually, I saw her a couple of times at ClexaCon but every single moment was inconvenient (who wants to have a conversation in the restrooms?) so I ended up not talking to her, boohoo.
If you have not watched Twenty yet, you should. For some reason, I was not expecting much when I hit play the first episode. However, that whole cringeworthy introduction immediately had me hooked. This show is so funny, Lily is very interesting to watch and oh no, how you just want to punch some other characters. I backed the new season and I cannot wait for new episodes!
Lunch (not brunch)
ClexaCon 2018 Day 1, I learned something important about cons: food is essential if you want to keep going but it is also very hard to find time to eat if you are running around as press trying to cover everything.
So, when I received a message from Immy and Denise (other Dutchies I met, as you can read in my previous blog) that they were having lunch, I decided it was time for a break.
In this short break, I saw Sharon Belle, Winny Clarke, and Dot-Marie Jones casually walking by. In what alternative universe am I that these things happen? Right, ClexaCon! I felt so lucky and happy!
Interviewing Dot-Marie Jones
When I saw on the ClexaCon website a few months ago that Dot-Marie Jones was coming, I was really happy. I was a big Glee fan and her character always made me want to know more about both her and Coach Beiste. When I saw she had a quiet moment in the autograph section, I really wanted to talk to her. However, like I said, I had never interviewed anybody before and she is a pro at being interviewed. Also, I did not know if I was allowed to walk up to her.
Last summer, I joined a basketball team. I suck at dribbling, you guys. I usually throw the ball away immediately. My basketball team would have been proud seeing me dribbling around! I should apply this technique on the court!
After yelling at myself in my head for a while, I finally got up to a volunteer. I asked her if I was allowed to ask Dot a few questions. That was no problem at all, so now here I was, my heart pounding in my chest, telling the lovely volunteer that I was so nervous. She told me there was really nothing to worry about. Great. Ok. ClexaCon 2018 Day 1: here goes nothing…
ClexaCon 2018 Day 1: First interview EVER
So, I walked up to Dot and her wife. Then, I said something completely incoherent about me being nervous. I cannot believe how friendly she was. She literally helped me through the interview. As in, we found a good spot together and she helped me get a good camera angle. Being this nervous, I forgot to record the first part. I was being such an idiot but she stayed so friendly and calm. Also, how great to have a person about the same height for your first shot 😉
I asked her to pronounce my name too. The first tries were lost as I was not recording but she did it again when I finally was recording. I asked her about her playing a character being the victim of domestic abuse and a character transitioning from female to male. Also, having won many sports prizes and being nominated for an Emmy three times but not winning, I asked her what award she wants to win. See the conversation in the vlog at the top of this blog!
You know, I am so thankful for Dot-Marie Jones. She has helped me get over that first hurdle. Consequently, I felt so much more confident talking to the guests after that. I saw her a few times after the interview and she was just so chill.
Next week, I will talk about the second half of ClexaCon 2018 Day 1. That means you will read about the LGBTQ actresses panel, the Lost Girl panel, the Red panel, and the Wynonna Earp panel. If you sign up for my newsletter, you will be the first to know when this blog post comes out! You can sign up on the top right of this page or in the footer.
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