What’s Your Favorite Part of Conventions?
Conventions are part of an everyday lifestyle of your average geek. I’m certainly no exception to this rule. Most of us enjoy going to the convention several times a year, but we have a tendency to enjoy different parts and different aspects of conventions. Now with so many different people going to conventions and so many different types of conventions out there, I thought it would be of use to go through and break down each aspect of the convention and give us all an idea of what some of the other geeks are enjoying.
Absolutely the most common reason for going to the convention would be to get an autograph. You want to meet the stars face-to-face, shake their hand, and thank them for what they do to inspire you. Some people I know even take it so far as to bring their very own artwork and ask idols or respected peers to sign it. Others simply go up and say hi or shake their hands and leave. Most commonly, though, I would suspect that it’s people going up and getting pictures taken and getting autographs on the pre-printed pictures the guest is selling.
Next on the list of most popular, I would suspect, is the dealers’ room. The dealers’ room carries lots of goodies and fun for practically everyone there. This is where you go when you’re looking for that special item that you can’t find. If you’re a comic book collector, you go here looking for that special comic you can’t find. If you’re a sci-fi action figure collector, you go looking for those rare figures. You know the kind: the ones that are alternates that only show up one in every 10 or every 100 figures printed. If you’re an autograph collector, then you run around the dealers’ room looking for those dealers that have previously signed memorabilia. Trust me, if you’re looking for something signed by someone, you can usually find it in the dealers’ room.
The rest of the list has much more gray area, as not all conventions have each of these aspects, but I will cover some of them in no particular order, other than the order that I thought of them. First, let’s take a look at Q&A’s. these attract quite large crowds depending upon who’s doing your questions and who’s giving the answers. Sometimes I like to attend these simply to take a rest from the hustle and bustle of running around the convention. Other times, and most of the time, I’ll go to the Q&A because there’s somebody there that I’ve always wanted to hear and know their opinions. I don’t have much ambition for actually asking questions, but I can understand that some of you would have that ambition. For some of you, this would be the highlight of your day.
In addition to getting an autograph, running around the dealers’ room, visiting a Q&A, I’ve noticed lately a trend starting with actually having professional photography sessions at some of the conventions. Popularity in these seems to be growing as the attendee gets a customized photograph with their favorite guest. And of course, this is also beneficial to the guest as they get to provide a custom photograph to some of their largest fans.
Another large section of every convention, or practically every convention, these days is the Artist Alley. Artist Alleys are mostly up-and-coming artists and almost famous artists that show up to promote or sell their wares. Not surprisingly, you can find a large group of very talented individuals in Artist Alley. I personally am not very talented when it comes to the art of drawing, painting, or inking. To someone who is highly involved in this particular area, Artist Alley can absorb most of their day. Not only that, but at times they can spend their entire convention visiting and talking one-on-one with local artists and other talented people. Some of the most talented people at a convention are in the Artist Alley, just waiting for you to visit.
Costumes and cosplay has become commonplace at most conventions, I think predominately in your anime conventions, but I’ve noticed that sci-fi is running a very close second at this point. This, I think, is quite entertaining with a costume contest, and a lot of wonderful costumes and individuals running around in costume for you to take pictures of. They bring a little excitement and fun to some of these conventions, and some are just downright scary. Again, I’m not one to dress up and go to the convention, but I can see the fascination. I can imagine the fun and excitement of walking around and getting all the attention from a particular costume, and I see how that could be quite effectuating and addictive.
I believe that covers most of the common things to do. However I’m sure it is not a complete list, and there are other things to do at a convention if you’re not involved in participating, like running a convention, volunteering to help, operating something in a dealers’ room, having a table at the Artist Alley, or even just a science-fiction club showing up to promote themselves to other like-minded science-fiction geeks. I personally look forward to each and every convention regardless of my attendance type. I can be there under a media pass reporting for the SciFiFX.com website, I could be there as a dealer running a booth selling my wares to people for my comic book store, I could be there representing my science-fiction club looking for new members and new people to discuss science fiction with, or I could simply be an attendee going to see and participate in all the fun that we call conventions.
I would encourage you to get up and go to a convention, be a part of the fun, be a part of the entertainment. For those of you that don’t know, the bigger the convention, the more fun it is. The more people that show up, the more people that come in costume, the more dealers that are there, and all the other items all put together are what make conventions fun for everyone. So again, I say schedule your next convention, enjoy, and when you get back, write me an e-mail let me know how went.