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Episode 41- Convention Advice

edited January 2006 in Conventions
Alright. It's not time to start telling convention stories just yet. Although I don't think I can stop anyone from doing so, myself included. But let's at least try to give convention advice here first.

One piece of advice I left out of the show was knowing when to commit and when not to. It is important to commit to certain things like giant events you know will be fun, awesome dinner reservations and hotel reservations. It is important not to commit to anything else. Things which are going to provide guaranteed awesome in a big way require you to ante up, and it's well worth it. But if you start promising to go to tons of panels and other things you could end up screwing yourself when you miss out on ad hoc fun.


  • man.. wish I could help podcast this subject.... :-(
  • So, if you're both convention grandmasters, what would you do at a virology convention?
  • Bring vaccines.
  • Good answer ^_^
  • Anyhow, Scott speaks the truth. I find it's best to commit fully to maybe one or two things at the con (concert, horrible tasteless movie, one really killer panel, etc.) and then just wing it the rest of the time. Your most interesting things will probably happen solely by chance, and you need to stay flexible for chance to really arise like that.
  • That is especially true of gaming cons. Many people sign up for as many events as they can fit into their schedule to "get their money's worth." Frankly, I had a better time at Ubercon playing in a handful of tournaments and demos, but just chillin' with some friends in the artist alley area for the rest of the time.

    Also, gaming cons are notorious for having events go long, so back-to-back scheduling is pretty-much doomed from the start.
  • I've heard that "my first otakon" story from the other side. Very interesting.
  • Really? That must have been ages ago. Our first Otakon was back some four years.

    We just remembered that old story when we were trying to come up with a way to introduce all of our points concerning how -not- to organize a con trip. It was the only convention we've ever had issues with, so the mistakes we made were definitely a learning experience. (Just wait until part 2. The trip and the hotel reservations weren't the only problems we had ^_~).

    The main thing we learned was that having a plan is only half of the battle. You also need to stick to that plan and hold everyone accountable for their part in it. If someone doesn't meet their obligation, you have to write them off IMMEDIATELY and enact the backup plan.

    We'd planned everything out. What we failed to do was enforce our plan promptly. The proper solution would have been to have left from their house on our own the moment it was discovered that they were unprepared to depart. By waiting, we compromised the integrity of the rest of the trip and almost ended up arriving late to the con. (Luckily, we averaged about 90mph for the rest of the journey and thus still made it in time to meet the rest of our group as planned).

    If the person who's supposed to reserve your room hasn't done it by your deadline, do it for them. If someone hasn't paid yet despite agreeing to pre-pay, but wants into your room, don't let them in until they pay. If you can't trust your friends 100% to do their jobs, then don't give them jobs to do.

    Conversely, if you take responsibility for something, you're on the line to do it. Organizing a trip for 10-20 of your friends is not for the faint-hearted. Don't expect it to be easy, and NEVER assume that everything will work out on its own.
  • Another tip:
    Cosplayers make sure you have your cosplay done a week before the con. This is so that you can plan out trunk space and fix any last minute stuff.

    I will not spend another con sewing.
  • If you cosplay at a convention and someone with a camera asks you for an interview, expect that you will be made fun of when the final edit is done.
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