Star Wars super fan Jason Joiner has turned his hobby into one of the world’s biggest showbiz memorabilia events companies and the invasion arrives this weekend in Sheffield.
He is giving other film and TV fans the chance to meet their idols and snap up collectable gold at the first ever Sheffield Film and Comic Convention.
Today the Showmasters boss has been telling The Star how it all came about and how fans can get the most out of his latest event at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena, on Saturday and Sunday.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our special report.
MORE VIDEO: Star Wars legend Dave Prowse, who played Darth Vader, has been added to the guest list of signers. Details here and watch our chat with him, talking all things Star Wars, the last time he was in town in 2011 - CLICK HERE.
It will bring them face to face with the stars from TV, film and comics, as well as a whole host of fun activities including photo shoots, panels, autograph sessions and hundreds of stalls selling memorabilia.
The amazing spectacle will see many fans turning up dressed as their favourite characters, from Stormtroopers to Superman, featuring a Cosplay area, where costumes can be displayed on stage with a chance to win prizes.
There is a comic zone to meet comic writers and artistes, plus comic creation master classes and stals where you can buy that rare edition.
An artiste alley has been created, were amateur comic and manga artists will chill out, draw and meet other artists, plus a Video Game Zone, to showcase modern and retro gaming, with casual-play and full-scale tournaments.
Film and TV fans can browse hundreds of stalls selling collectable movie merchandise, costumes and toys. There will be a large number of free guest talks and several paid for premium guest talks over the weekend.
Autograph hunters can also meet the stars. Star Wars legend Dave Prowse, who played Darth Vaderm has been confirmed. Buffy star Anthony Head and 1980s TV legend Dirk Benedict, from The A-Team and Battlestar Galactica, are amongs the other VIP signers. The A-Team van and Michael Knight’s Kitt car from Knight Rider, will also be making an appearance.
Doctor Who fans can have their photo with former Time Lord Paul McGann and his Tardis.
Sylvester McCoy, the seventh Doctor, who preceded McGann, will be there with others, past and present from the cult series, currently enjoying a new Saturday night BBC TV return, including Louise Jameson, Bonnie Langford, Sophie Aldred, Mat Irvine, John Leeson, Terry Molloy, Dan Starkey and Frazer Hines, plus Eve Myles and Burn Gorman, from Doctor Who spin off TV series Torchwood.
Virginia Hey from Farscape and Mad Max 2, Craig Charles and Chris Barrie from Red Dwarf, plus Jeremy Bulloch, Ian Liston, John Morton, Jack McKenzie and Paul Blake from Star Wars are also coming, along with many other stars.
In short, the city’s Motorpoint Arena will be turned into an Aladdin’s cave of movie and television gold.
Jason, a former film special effects expert, ended up in the Guinness Book Of Records for the biggest Star Wars collection - over 20,000 toys, plus one of the original C3PO robots, an original R2D2 and an original Darth Vader costume. He began with picture cards in 1986, as did countless children around the world. But he never stopped.
Jason is now Managing Director of Showmasters Ltd, promoting film and TV events all over Europe, with over 20- years experience. from 500 attendees to 100,000 attendees, from hotels to football stadiums.
He told The Star: “Showmasters Ltd was founded back in 2002 when two friends wondered what would happen if you brought film and tv stars to a shopping centre! Would people want to meet them? Would anyone care? Was this just a hair brain scheme?
“As it turned out people cared very much and from that first show in 2002 Showmasters has now expanded to a point where it is running an event somewhere on most weekends of the year and making peoples dreams come true time and time again!
“Having hosted several thousand celebrities from the likes of Burt Reynolds to John Barrowman, Showmasters has proved that not only do the public enjoy meeting their screen idols, but those idols also love the opportunity to meet their fans.
“Back in 2002 there were just three of us working on this full time and maybe another 15 or so friends would help on a show weekend.
“Now we have an office full of people working all year round, and up to 350 crew who volunteer to help make the events happen on the weekend. It’s like having a huge extended family! “Seeing how much enjoyment the events bring is something that makes me very proud of everyone involved.
“Sheffield is the latest city to experience the fun that Showmasters brings with it’s Film and Comic Con events. With over 30 celebrity guests in attendance and over a hundred exhibitors this is just the start of what is to become an annual event in Sheffield’s entertainment calendar.
“And what became of those original two friends I hear you ask? Well, they will both be at the show this weekend still loving what they do and hoping you have the chance to experience it with them!”
* Sheffield Film and Comic Convention will run Saturday and Sunday, August 30 and 31, 2014, early bird entry from 9am, standard entry 11am, until 6pm.
Tickets £3.30 to £16.50, including booking fees. Buy in person from the Arena Box Office, call 0114 256 5656 or buy online, where you will find latest details and any guest additions and amends, at www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk.
There wil be charges for autographs and official photo shots. Full details, ticket prices and more at www.sheffieldfilmandcomiccon.com, The Star’s web site here and our entertainments and listings site at www.wow247.co.uk.
Top 10 Tips
* Check the event website and forums for guest details, including who is appearing on which days, amendments and FAQs, at www.sheffieldfilmandcomiccon.com.
* Arrive early to give yourself more time to get all the guest autographs you want.
* For bigger names, attracting queues, get ‘virtual tickets’ at autograph desks as soon as enter the event. Then return when your number is called.
* Bring cash, it’s always quicker and easier for these type of events but facilities will be available for credit card transactions
* Book photo shoots in advance
* Arrive for any booked photo shots 10 minutes before scheduled - they run to specific times..
* Check for notices at the autograph tables - some actors prefer not to pose at their desks.
* Be respectful to visitors who attend in costumes. If you wish to take a photo, ask for their permission first and respect their wishes.
* If you are wearing a costume, dress appropriately for the family environment.
* Remember to take selfies and tweet them to @SheffieldStar using #thestarselfie - we’ll retweet them and may publish the best.