MidSouthCon 36 (http://www.midsouthcon.org) was this weekend. This just so happens to be the first convention I ever attended and I have actually made it to 35 of the 36 shows. During those years, I have also attended hundreds of conventions across the country. Some are better than others and a few are truly in the extreme category. My point here is that if you are a fan of anything in geek culture from hard science to animated fantasy stories, you really should go and support your local conventions. When I am doing appearances at venues other than conventions, I always get asked what the conventions are like as a guest. Okay- here we go.
As a performing guest, you get a schedule of events that the convention wants you to do. Normally, I get one or two big events coupled with several panel appearances. This normally shows up in the email before the event. If the event is out of town, There is the joy of loading up all the goodies you are going to need for the weekend. In my case, this includes books, freebies, postcards, flyers, and occasionally props like werewolf teeth or magic wands. It is important to make sure you are ready for odd panels. Normally, I arrive at the convention after a nice drive of about six hours or so and dash in for my first panel just in the nick of time. The rest of my weekend is a mix of meeting with fans both old and new, hurried conferences with other performers, and the well-practiced art of dashing into my next panel just in time.
There a few things to keep in mind at a convention. If you like art, chances are that the actual artist is sitting there at their booth and will chat with you and sign their art piece. That writer you wanted to meet might be at the writers table and happy to share a story or two time allowing. You will find someone willing to have a conversation about nearly any topic under the stars. You will make great new friends that can’t wait to see you at the next convention. Attend one convention and you may even find yourself thinking up your cos-play for the next one. The point is that you should go and enjoy yourself.
Don’t forget the new Dark Oak Press and Media YouTube channel. We are adding content as fast we can get out there and shoot it.