To be a fan of any show is to be aware of any and all events that will help us meet our faves. There are several different cons that will offer fans an eclectic variety of stars from DragonCon to San Diego Comic Con but very few that are specifically designed for one show. For The 100, Unity Days is the end all to be all event, offering fans a chance for panels, meet and greets, photo shoot opportunities, and a slew of other activities.
Because I am so interested in Unity Days I asked Unity Days co-founder Leana Santos if I could pick her brain about all things UD-and of course if we would be getting one next year. Luckily, she agreed and you can read our q&a below.
How did the idea of Unity Days come to be?
Leana: After going to a few multi-genre conventions I realized there wasn’t anything The 100 – no actors, shirts, stickers, fan art – nothing. Shortly after the Calgary Expo last year, I met my now business partner, Miah, and she agreed about the lack of exposure of such a great show. So we decided to plan the convention ourselves in Vancouver where they film.
In the infancy of the planning of the very first event, what was the intent/what were you looking to achieve with such an event?
Leana: We just wanted fellow fans to have a good time and make it a small, intimate convention. That was the goal and that was achieved. The theme of unity surrounding the convention made it that much more special.
What steps did you have to take to make this in to such a huge success, i.e-securing the venue, the talent, coming up with the ideas for each panel/combination.
Leana: There were a few trips made to Vancouver to lock down the venue and make sure it was the right fit then it was just a matter of reaching out to the talent’s agents and booking them. I have to give credit to Miah for creating the schedule and handling operations, she did everything – from graphic design to scheduling. We also had to ensure we had the right team – from our staff to the volunteers, everyone put in hard work and it showed. Our Techinical Site Manager, Shayne, ensured our vision came to life with his carefully crafted floor plans and AV. Linda, our Event Manager, hand-selected all the volunteers and was all hands on deck at the event itself, making sure everything ran smoothly. I really have to hand it to our team, I could go on and on – I’m incredibly proud of them.
UD has partnered with cancergetslost, and raised $4,600 for the cause at the last Unity Days. Will you be reaching out to other charities to partner with or are you going to keep your focus on just the one?
Leana: We focused on Cancer Gets LOST because our vision and mission aligned with theirs. Also, their Co-Founder, Jo Garfein, was our panel moder at the convention – she did a phenomenal job. We’re open to working with other charities in the future as well.
There is a clamoring for a UD2018, which is very flattering. Can it get daunting since the past event has been such a success and now people have these expectations?
Leana: I believe we raised the bar for The 100 conventions – we just have to out-do ourselves.
Would UD ever consider extending in to other parts of Canada or even the US?
Leana: Vancouver will always be home base for Unity Days.
What is your biggest take away from everything; not just hosting the event but also getting to experience it as a fan? Surreal?
Leana: It was definitely a lot of fun. I love the grind of working hard for months then seeing it come to life and seeing how happy and grateful attendees are. The cast is amazing, they’re all friendly and outgoing, it was like hanging out with old friends.
With the season five renewal news, is it reasonable to assume that we will actually get to see a UD18?
Leana: It’s in the works!
IT’S IN THE WORKS! Good news for me since I’ve been nickel and diming it since January so that I’d be able to go to the next one.
A show like The 100, whose fandom is rife with shipwars and often strife, an event such as Unity Days is so important to have. It not only allows us to interact with those from the show, but also with each other. It strips away the animosity and the anonymity and puts us together in a room where we are better able to interact and it also brings together those of us are already ~fandom friends~ It’s an event that I hope is around for several years to come.
A very special thank you to Leana who has been incredibly patient as I not only harassed her with all of my questions but also bore with me as I attempted to fight (and failed) the exhaustion of traveling.
Like what you read? Heather writes about The 100 regularly for Post Apocalyptic Media. Join our email list to stay updated by clicking here and be sure to follow us on Twitter. And while you’re waiting for the next article, stream some episodes of The 100 here.