ugh the mlp gameloft game annoys me I just tap around to get the coins from the shops but whoops haha I accientally tapped juuust beside the shop and went into one that wasn’t ready yet and accidentally spent 50 gems to ‘skip’ the waiting time and guess what there is zero way to undo that haha isn’t it fun that the game that makes getting gems so hard just loooves to find ways to make you accidentally spend lots of them and it just so happens that you can’t undo it isn’t it fuuuuuun
To Artists Who’ve Ever Had a Bad Con [Geekonomicon 2015]
It’s Saturday at comic con. Friday didn’t go as well as you imagined. You got up this morning believing that today would be better. It has to be, right? You’ve heard good things about this con. You want to be excited, you want to make people smile. You want to meet cosplayers and talk to people about your work and sell some things.
You have it in your head that you’d at least like to break even, but hey; profit would be even better.
But as each person passes your table pretending to be on their phone, or giving the all-important second-long glance without slowing down, or not looking at you at all. You’re invisible. The hours grow long and silent, and you wonder: what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my work? Am I really that bad?
I’ve been at my table before, holding back tears and doubting I’ll ever be a real artist. Who am I kidding, right? After all, if my work was worth anything, surely people who actually stop and look.
Here’s a truth, artist: it’s not you. Sometimes it’s the con.
I spent my weekend feeling utterly miserable about myself and my artwork. And Saturday night I realized something. It wasn’t me. It was the con. Now, I don’t know the full behind-the-scenes story. But I do know my subjective experience at Geekonomicon 2015 was the worst I’ve ever had at any comic convention.
I don’t say that lightly, to smear anyone, or to complain for the sake of complaining.
I feel like not saying anything about this experience would be a disservice to my fellow artists and creators. Hopefully something positive can be gleaned from it this note.
I’ve done a lot of cons in the past few years, both as a guest, vendor, and fan, so I have a lot of experience under my belt now. Otakon is next week, so now is as good of time as any to throw some tips out there for people so that they can have a fun and safe con!
Common Sense Tips
Take a bath every day. Duh. This should seem obvious, but there’s always that one person that is standing in my table’s line that makes me want to die.
If you go to the game room and play a physically intense game like DDR on heavy mode, for god’s sake go take a bath afterwards. There’s a reason they tell you to bathe after going to the gym.
Be mindful of the weather. I know there’s a lot of cosplayers out there, so please reconsider that full body leather outfit if you’re going to a con in the middle of August. This is mostly so you don’t die.
Stay hydrated/fed. I’ve only gotten con crud once, because I’m generally good about eating food/drinking water. Yes, staying hydrated means water. Caffeine is a diuretic, so it dehydrates you. Those 2 venti Starbucks iced coffees aren’t going to help you.
Wash your hands before eating anything, or at least use hand sanitizer. I’m not a germaphobe, but if you have a table and are handling a lot of money, use sanitizer before eating/putting your hands anywhere near your face. (and don’t be that crazy person that walks up and puts their dollars in their mouth while they get something out of their pocket. Grossss)
If you’re really really sick, don’t go. I don’t care that you spent however much money to be there. I’ve seen a few recent news stories where con staff got violently ill and one even died, because a con goer brought a serious illness to the con.
Cons are a Family Event Now
A lot of people don’t like to hear this, but outside of niche gaming or anime cons which are generally filled with mostly teens/adults, conventions are very much a family thing now. Keep an eye out for kids when walking through busy crowds, don’t run them over.
Unless a child is with their parent or alone and obviously in trouble, keep interaction with them to a minimum. I don’t mean that kids are scary and you should avoid them, but understandably a parent might be nervous and get the wrong idea if they see an adult randomly having an in depth conversation with their kid. This is obviously different if you have a table and the kid is there to see you/buy stuff. It’s totally acceptable to be like “who’s your favorite pony/turtle/superhero/etc” if you see one with a pony or TMNT or hero shirt. Use common sense with your interactions. Obviously don’t snub them and tell them go away if they come to you.
If you find a lost child or see a child in trouble, notify staff IMMEDIATELY. If a child is in immediate danger and it can’t wait (ie. they’re being abducted against their will or are injured)interfere. Don’t be the douchebag that sees a kid in danger and posts an elaborate dramatic story on tumblr about it instead of actually notifying staff/parents/police.
Just because there are kids at cons now, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. While I personally wouldn’t be standing around talking about the hot chick I banged last night if a 5 year old was directly behind me in line, I’m pretty sure most parents that are bringing their kids to a con are aware of what they might see/hear at cons. No one’s parent is going to run up and be like THINK OF THE CHILDREN! if you’re walking around with that body pillow or armful of explicit yaoi.
Be Considerate of Your Fellow Con Goers
If you find a lost item, report it to lost and found! My very first con ever was Ohayocon, an Ohio anime con. My friend lost her very nice camera with all her pictures from the con on it. But someone was kind enough to return the camera to lost and found. That experience really colored how I felt about cons for years. I get that there are horrible people out there that won’t do that, but please remember how you would feel if you were in that person’s shoes.
Want to walk around artist alley or the vendor room? Don’t stop in the middle of the floor to stare at something. Obviously at a larger con like Otakon, NYCC, Emerald City, etc. traffic is going to be moving slow, don’t make it worse by being the dude that stops to stare at something. Move aside so you don’t block people.
Please remember that cons are populated by people that are in your fandom community and are there because they love the same things you love. Everyone there is there because they too like anime or comics or game or ponies. You don’t have to be instant friends with anyone, but treat others with kindness. (ie don’t cut in line, don’t be a dick) Remember that no girl in the history of the world is going to spend $1000 for a badge and plane ticket to go to a con if she’s not really into comics/anime/games, so leave that “fake geek girl” shit at the door.
COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT
It’s acceptable to look, just don’t touch. (just don’t be a creeper and stare blankly at them for 10 minutes)While those Ryuko and Satsuki cosplayers totally want you to see their awesome cosplay, their revealing outfits don’t mean they want to be fondled by strangers.
Ask if you want to take their photo. Most cosplayers are fine with having their photo taken after spending a million years sewing their outfit, just be considerate and ask if you can take their picture. (you’ll often get a sweet in character pose that way! Which is better than the creepy photo you took of them as they washed their hands in the bathroom)
Interacting With Guests and Artists/Vendors With Tables
Be considerate of how much time you spend talking to them! While bigger guests will have someone to keep the line moving, vendors and artists at artist alley usually aren’t so lucky. If you want to swing by an artist’s table and say hi and talk for them for a minute or two that’s totally fine! But please remember people in artist alley/vendor halls are there to make money. If there is a line behind you or they’re obviously working on a commission, you’re effecting their business if you want to take all their time. Generally I don’t care if I’m just sitting around doing nothing or checking Streetpasses on my 3DS, but if I have other fans/customers or I’m working on a commission, I appreciate if people don’t take longer than 5 minutes.
Guests are people too! We’ve all had that time where we acted like total idiots towards an idol (I’m still kicking myself for being one when I met J.Scott Campbell years ago), but do your best to keep cool. If you want to take a picture of them, please ask first, as some guests charge for photos. Also never ever ever ever try to hug or touch them in any way without permission. Handshakes are fine as obviously the person knows about it ahead of time, but any other touching without permission is unacceptable.
Don’t dump your stuff all over someone’s table, and leave food/drinks off the table. I was at an event one time where someone was giving me pizza, which was fine. But they set the pizza box on my table and opened the lid, which knocked over the person at the table next to me’s drink, and ruined a ton of their stuff. This is not cool. And another time someone left some trash on my table and asked me to throw it away, despite my having a line of people. If you have trash, don’t leave it on someone’s table because you will have a much easier time getting to throw it away than the person behind the table.
If you need an item signed, please dear god remove the plastic prior to bringing it to the table. Hot Topic really likes to wrap their MLP variant comics in tight plastic, which is a huge pain to remove. There’s been many times where people have brought a stack of them to me wrapped, and held up the line for 10 minutes to slowly unwrap each one for me to sign. If you’re waiting in line for god knows how long, you have time to get that plastic off. Don’t be a dick.
If you need comics signed and they’re wrapped/boarded, pull them out of their package first. There’s been so many times I’ve almost ruined people’s comics because the tape on the package got caught on the cover. I stopped putting comics back in their bags for this reason.
It is not and never will be appropriate to offer to walk an artist/vendor/guest back to their hotel room. While I’m generally trusting and like to think everyone is pure and kind, I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that’s how you get raped/tortured/killed. If I for any reason feel uncomfortable walking back to the hotel, I will get security or con staff. I have bad anxiety problems, and nothing triggers a panic attack faster than people being creepers.
If you recognize a guest outside of the con, be considerate. I generally don’t mind con goers approaching me if I’m at the hotel bar or at a restaurant, but that doesn’t mean we’re BFFs and I want to hang out for an hour. Keep it brief, as they’re probably really tired.
Don’t complain about prices at the vendor hall/artist alley. They don’t care and won’t adjust their prices for you.
That’s about all I can think of! Have fun at your next con!