Allen here, Owner/Founder of The Superhero Costuming Forum and Director of the GIANT Marvel and DC Universe photoshoots at DragonCon.
There are 3 major announcements I'd like to make concerning the use of the Hilton Steps for photoshoots at DragonCon this year:
1) DragonCon's Concourse Stage track will be setting up an outdoor music stage at the Hilton Steps this year. As you exit the hallway from the Hilton to the LEFT, this stage will be set up sort of in front of / below the middle set of "diagonal" steps. Live Music will be playing outside from 12:00-8:00PM Friday through Sunday. DragonCon is expecting anywhere from 300-500 attendees at these shows all weekend long. Please expect that the steps will be CROWDED (point #2 below will explain just how crowded it's going to get).
IMPORTANTLY, PHOTOSHOOTS ARE STILL BEING ALLOWED AT THE STEPS.
However, this is going to come with a few caveats.
A) As you exit the hallway from the Hilton to the left, the very first set of small steps will be off-limits for photoshoots. These steps will be in the area where other DragonCon attendees will be congregating to watch the live music. Additionally, attempting to stage a photoshoot on these steps will create too much of a "choke-point" between the assembled crowd and the exit doors. Looking on the bright side, that leaves our fan photoshoots with 4 other sets of steps that will still be open for use.
B) I'm kindly asking everyone to be extremely polite and respectful to the non-costumed crowd assembled to watch the music - and ESPECIALLY to the DragonCon staff. I would respectfully ask that every group have a stated goal of trying to co-exist as peacefully as possible. We're all nerds and we should all try to get along with each other anyway, right? Please, let's do our best to make the best of this situation as it is. Becoming argumentative and combative towards the crowd and/or other groups won't do anyone any good and could potentially lead to your group being asked to leave by DragonCon security. Please, PLAY NICE and we'll all get to keep playing in this sandbox.
C) Again, the Steps will be CROWDED (again, see point #2 below), and there will be a narrow "choke-point" between the stage and the walkway that leads up to the sets of steps that are "elevated". Please instruct your photoshoot members NOT to congregate in the walkways! Impeding the flow of traffic is a fire hazard and will not be permitted. (Trust me, the last thing anyone wants is for the Fire Marshal to get cranky and involved.) There is also a set of doors inside the Hilton (outside the Crystal Ballroom) that directly lead out to these elevated steps and I would encourage your groups to use these doors to access the elevated steps.
Here's a diagram made by SCF Admin Joy Sutton (& Incoming 2015 GIANT Marvel & DC Universe Photoshoot Director) to help illustrate the stage area:
(Please note that only the lower front portion of the steps labeled #2 above may be used for photoshoots. Costumers will not be allowed to stand overlooking the stage.)
2) There is MAJOR construction occurring at the building behind the Hilton and adjacent to the steps. The Hilton has sold the building behind them and it is undergoing a complete renovation.
There is now an extremely LARGE white wall that has been erected around this building, which has sealed off all of the large "flat areas" that we've enjoyed in the past and the total volume of the Hilton Steps is now effectively 1/2 of the size that they were in year's past.
Here's a few examples. Here's what the view from the top of the largest set of steps to the RIGHT of the hallway USED to look like:
and here's the change as of today 8/16/14:
You see that enormous white wall? That wall now extends across both sides of the hallway completely blocking off all of the "flat" areas and the awnings around this building. Here's a few more photos; first, standing on those same largest set of steps to the RIGHT of the hallway and looking back towards the hallway:
Here's the view of the wall as you exit the hallway from the Hilton to the LEFT:
and continuing down that wall, you'll see that this wall blocks off all of the "flat" area to the LEFT of the hallway too, and this is the narrow "chokepoint" I referred to of the walkway leading up to the elevated steps:
Group leaders, please instruct your costumers to stay off the wall. Anyone climbing on and over the wall is liable to be escorted off the premises by DragonCon/Hotel security or worse. (Trespassing on a construction site isn't going to be looked upon kindly.)
Again, the presence of the Music Stage and this Construction Wall is going to make things CROWDED. For all of the smaller photoshoots (50-100 total attendees), these are all obstacles that can be overcome, but I feel that you should be made aware of them before DragonCon so that you can plan and instruct your groups accordingly.
However, for the GIANT Marvel and DC Universe photoshoots (encompassing anywhere from 800-1,000 total attendees), these obstacles are going to present some MAJOR challenges and, unfortunately, some MAJOR changes are going to be made to our agenda.
3) MAJOR CHANGES TO THE GIANT AND MARVEL & DC UNIVERSE PHOTOSHOOTS:
Due to the presence of the ENORMOUS construction wall and the hundreds of attendees at the DragonCon music stage, I am sorry to have to announce the following changes:
A) The following changes to the GIANT DC and Marvel Universe Sub-groups photos are as follows:
- There will no longer be a "Villains" sub-group. All Villain costumers should now go to and get pictures with the sub-groups of heroes that they "fight" with the most.
- The Deadpool subgroup will now be merged with the Mutants subgroup.
- Spider-Man and Marvel Knights subgroups will be merged in to one subgroup.
- There will no longer be a "Defenders" subgroup. Those characters all fit within other subgroups and should go to those subgroups respectively.
- There will no longer be Shazam (Marvel Family) and Lantern Corps subgroups. Those subgroups will be merged with the JLA subgroup.
- DC Shoot: Gotham, JLA/Lantern Corps/Shazam,Teen Titans & Young Justice, Wonder Woman, Superman, and JSA/All-Star Squadron
- Marvel Shoot: Avengers, Mutants, Marvel Cosmic, Captain America/SHIELD, Spider-Man/Marvel Knights, and Asgardians
B) ONLY OUR OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS WILL BE ALLOWED IN A SINGLE FILE LINE along this white wall in front of the Large Group picture to the RIGHT of the hallway from the Hilton:
I sincerely apologize in advance to all other attendees and photographers - but there simply isn't any room for anyone else. As it is, the official photographers will all already be in a single file with their backs up against this wall. Please understand: trying to add additional photographers will be IMPOSSIBLE as we will not then be able to get all of the assembled costumers into one photo. It's already going to be a tight fit!!!
These are the names of the Official Photographers who will be allowed along this wall, in a single file line. (If your name is not on this list, I'm sorry but you will not be allowed to be in this line along the wall). Our Official Photographers are:
Patrick Sun, Grace Moss, Judy Stephens, Nicole Ciaramella, Blake Faucette (and the rest of the BeatDownBoogie/Distractotron crew), Pat Loika, Davin Ng, Mark Shafer, Troy Nelson, Paul Cory, Chase Yarwood-Gustafson, Danny Hunter, Michael Blitch, Jeff James, Leigh Willis, Chris Thompson, Tobias Royal, Ben Badger, Allen Finley, Dan Ethan, Seraphina Brennan, Troy Nelson and Jack Walsh.
I apologize, I am no longer accepting any more official Photographers and this list is CLOSED. Please do not ask for an exception. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
C) THE LARGE GROUP PHOTO (scheduled for 4:15 to 5:00 on Saturday and Sunday) IS NOW BEING SPLIT INTO TWO GROUP PHOTOS.
When the Subgroups photo time is concluded:
- All Comics "Canon" characters, All Marvel Cosmic Characters and all "Crossplay" characters (where the costumer is attempting to portray the opposite gender, NOT gender-swapping) will assemble on the large set of steps to the RIGHT of the hallway.
- All Other Characters (Movie, TV, Video Game, Ame-Comi, Steampunk, Original/Custom Designs, Gender-Swapping, Rule 63 & EVERYONE ELSE) will assemble on the large elevated set of steps to the LEFT of the hallway. (If your character is NOT "Canon," i.e., your costume isn't the same as the character has been portrayed in the comics - this is the group you will go to.) Bill Watters will be the Official Photographer of this group.
SUBGROUPS WILL NOT BE SPLIT UP BY COSTUME TYPE - ONLY THE 2 LARGE SHOOTS.
Due to the congestion, we're going to be very short on time and space, so given these limitation I'm asking EVERY superhero costumer attending to read and abide by the rules of the photoshoots listed here:
All other "Non-Official" Photographers please note: There will be plenty of space for you to take pictures of the "All Other Characters" Large Group in #2 above.
SCF Members please note: The Sunday night Meet-n-Greet is unaffected by these changes; we will still be meeting Sunday night on the side of the steps opposite the music stage starting at 8PM (and the music is supposed to conclude at 8PM). (The backup location in case of weather remains the Hilton's lobby bar.)
Everyone, I'm truly sorry for all of this. Please don't shoot the messenger! Working together, we can work with DragonCon and make the best of this. I'm kindly asking for your patience, help and cooperation at the steps and thank you in advance.
Owner / Founder of The SCF
GIANT Marvel and DC Universe Photoshoots Director