It’s been a while since I’ve done an actual convention retrospective. The reason is that I’m always working cons, usually promoting MTAC and GMX. As such, for the most part, the convention experience is the same aside from the friend experiences that are uninteresting to read or insider knowledge or critiques that I don’t feel comfortable discussing in my public forum.
Dragon*Con 2011 is my fourth, and it’s the first vacation con I’ve had since probably the first one, except I still volunteered at that one. Honestly, I expected to be somewhat bored, but that didn’t happen. That’s the great thing about Dragon*Con. There’s so much to do and see at the con that boredom rarely happened. What downtime there is was spent resting and recuperating (and chowing down on sandwiches we made in the hotel room).
(It’s also the 25th Dragon*Con, which means it’s as old as I am. Slightly intimidating, but not near as much as its tens and tens of thousands of attendance.)
That’s not to say I don’t have fun at the cons I go to working. Just ask the folks at Seishun Con. The freedom of responsibility is liberating though. If I had to put a name on a specific thing, it’s getting to sleep in.
The con was not without any work though. As I mentioned two posts ago, I performed two panels: DC Animated Universe and Tokusatsu (Japanese Super Heroes, kind of thinking THAT should be the name for now on). Both went very well and had decent attendance. I constantly find my weaknesses in public speaking and preparedness, but the feedback was positive, so I know I’m on the right track.
(In the middle of my toku panel, my friends made a drinking game out of every time I said “Power Rangers” or “Kamen Rider.” They ran out of their drinks in a matter of minutes.)
Along with not working with a con, I got to experience the dreaded walk-in registration, which wasn’t all that bad (except for my wallet *ouch*). I got through it in under an hour. Dragon*Con’s walk-in process is interesting in that there are three unique stations (each with multiple staff and terminals) to process the walk-ins: the payment station, the registration station and the badge pick-up station. You pay at the first station, divided into cash and credit. Then you take your registration form you fill out in line for the registration station to enter that data in its systems. Finally, you are sent to badge pick-up where the relevant data is printed onto a sticker and put on your badge. Now you’re good to go.
Everything I’ve heard about pre-registration is that it breezed by compared to years past, as long as you had your postcard. Dragon*Con switching to a barcode scanning system so they just scan your card, hand you your badge and send you on your merry way.
Recreationally, I spent the con hanging out with many good friends. I didn’t even go to as many panels and events I expected myself to do now that I could. I did make time for two TWiT panels: Tech News Today and NSFW (both of which are available online, being free podcasts and all). Both were pretty interesting, and the NSFW one was really funny with a dancing Red Skull and a xenomorphic alien trying to make out with Veronica Belmont.
Speaking of guests, my roommate passed by probably the best Felicia Day costumer at the con… who turned out to be Felicia Day. Seeing guests randomly walk by is one of the biggest attractions at Dragon*Con. It’s such a party con, a social con, and that possibility of socializing with your favorite TV stars is very alluring. I always feel off around people I watch on TV or follow online, never wanting to say anything for fear of seeming fanboyish.
Not that there is any shortage of people to mingle with anyway at a 50,000-person convention. It’s in fact the best part of the con. I spent all of Saturday night running into person after person I knew and catching up with several of my friends I rarely get to see anymore. People have their conventions made by meeting a beloved guest or snagging some awesome swag, but I love just goofing around and being geeky with all my friends.
But I also snagged some awesome swag. See you next year, Dragon*Con.
Check out the rest of my Dragon*Con pics at flickr.com/nikoscream