Dragon Con is coming up this weekend in Atlanta. It’s a huge science fiction/fantasy/horror fan convention; they’re estimating 82,000 people in attendance this year. That’s a lot of people.
All the things you’d expect to happen with that many people in a two mile square area happen: traffic is crazy; restaurant wait times are off the chain; and don’t forget something in your room, because it’ll take you an hour to get up there and back again. And some things you might not think to expect: don’t bother with your cell phone, as the towers are so jammed, you can’t hold a phone call; texts too. They’ll go through, but on their own time, so if you’re trying to plan something for NOW, smoke signals might be better.
I have a monthly column over at Speculative Chic. Over the last year, I’ve written a number of posts on convention life. I thought it’d be a good idea to curate them all into a list in one post. So here it is!
Here’s your intro to conventions. If you don’t have any idea what to expect; if you’re not sure whether they’re right for you; if you have no idea how to even find one or choose one, then this is the post for you!
In deciding what convention to attend, take into consideration your purpose in going. Are you looking to land an agent? Hobnob with actors? Reinvigorate your writing? Your why will help you to decide which conventions you want to invest your time and money in.
I wrote two posts especially for those of us who are not independently wealthy, about doing con season on a budget. It’s all about volunteering.
In this post, I give some pretty detailed steps about how to go about figuring out what you want to do for a convention and how to land the volunteer spot, including how to interact in a face to face meeting with a track director and the wording if you’re contacting them via e-mail instead.
Before you reach out to throw yourself into the volunteering fray, figure out what areas you’d enjoy working in or which could utilize your strengths.
And we keep going with the volunteering theme. In this one, I talk about what to do and what not to do, so that the conventions you work with will want you to come back year after year. Since conventions usually offer free or discounted admission to volunteers, this can save you some nice cash that you can instead spend in the vendor rooms!
And on the topic of guests — people who are on panels or giving classes — you might be in contact with celebrities. It can be a little overwhelming and you might be tempted to fangirl/boy all over your favorite author/actor/artist. Don’t do it.
There are a lot of “C” words associated with conventions. I didn’t really notice it until I did this series 😉
If you haven’t done many cons, you may not have heard these terms. But it’s good to be familiar with them so you can guard against things that need to be guarded against and deal with things that need to be dealt with.
You don’t want to be in the middle of getting dressed, then realize you left your pants at home (I say this from experience!).
Consent has come to the forefront of conversations about fan conventions in recent years and I’m really glad that it has. Consent is something we don’t talk about enough in our culture anyway, and conventions are places where having someone’s consent to do anything — from taking a photo to touching them — is of the greatest importance.
Anyone has the ability to violate consent. It happens much more to women by men than vice versa, but it can happen both ways. The only hope in combating this is to make us all more aware.
It’s everyone’s responsibility to police our own actions.
So there you go! Lots of stuff about attending conventions, working conventions, and surviving conventions!
Any additional suggestions about conventions? Please let me know in the comments!