I’m surprised by how many of these reviews I’ve been doing here on this blog this year! While I would prefer most of these to be more related to my Etsy, I look at them all as learning experiences for when the day will come that they will also be related to my shop. No point selling at a convention you don’t like! I made that mistake before in the past.
Of course, my dream convention to sell at still is NYCC and probably always will be, though unfortunately for me the event is so gigantic that unless I get more happy helper elves on hand (literally), it probably may never happen. It makes me scared to think there is a low glass ceiling for my store, and a little sad. If anyone has any tips or advice on overcoming this type of obstacle please share in the comments below. How do you handle such large venues for your shop?
That aside, the real reason I came to Professional Thursday was to help out as a panelist actually :)! One of my previous posts I mentioned speaking on a cosplay & libraries panel, and while I mostly spoke on behalf as a commissioner and someone who REALLY likes being hands-on in the craft, I learned a lot about adding more cosplay-themed events to my library in the future. Currently I’m testing it out via a costume contest for International Games Day, though I know in the past my library has done sewing and other makerspace-themed programs for teens, so the concept is not too alien. My goal however is to really get families involved, as well as the elusive 20-35 age group. But that’s another show.
Being a panelist is a lot of fun, and while I’m horrible at public speaking (especially with a filled audience of 100+!), talking about one of my favorite hobbies really helped out. People came up to us afterwards on how to get and use certain materials, ideas for costumes, and so on. It was amazing! It made me get excited to work on gigantic props again. I had thought about adding it to my Etsy as a local order but with so much feedback received, I really think I will start adding this to the shop in the future. I may only be able to stay on the island and the neighboring boroughs for now, as I prefer to drive for drop-off so nothing gets damaged, so if you were always interested in getting a 6-foot sword, keep a lookout! I can also do smaller props which can be mailed, 2 feet being the limit.
After the panel, I went ahead and pretty much became a dragon building its hoard. (I also literally bought a dragon. Don’t worry, it’s a puppet!) Some of them were gifts though, and pickup exclusives that will be paid in return, so it isn’t as bad as I had in my head by the time I banned myself from making any more purchases. Overall I’m super happy with my loot!
I met up with longtime friends Naomi and Noemi Romero at the artist alley, and also some familiar faces from Alterna Comics. Working at the booth for American Library Association was a lot of fun, and I was with good people! After things closed for the day, I went for some sushi with friends and while we were all exhausted towards the end, it was a successful time!
Usually in the past I did the full weekend for NYCC (though never the 4-day when that came about), but between heading to AAC next weekend and having things due for work in between, it wasn’t practical. I also would love to have the energy as I once had for doing a NYCC weekend! Sometimes I wonder how I did it years ago!
As a final takeaway, I noticed some improvements the event had, some long overdue, and others that still need some work. Of course, over the past few years you may have heard that the convention puts the new definition for “crowded”, “nerd central”, and “overly-congested”, so if you really do not like gigantic venues, you will be miserable at this convention. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is now with the demand it’s been having these days.
However, if you’re not shy and at least keep an open mind, I still highly recommend the experience. The artists and vendors there are incredibly friendly, and there are so many unique things to find that are happening out there in the world of geekery. There actually are quiet rooms and cosplay changing rooms now too (shocking!), not to mention it was a relief to see food trucks at the lower lot of the outside center at last! You know how I like my food options.
They also started adding programs outside of the Javits Center, like the Hammerstein Ballroom. This was a wonderful idea that was needed years ago when the event quickly outgrew its venue, though I really wished outreach and publicity for this was done more effectively. I only found out the extra events a few weeks before the convention (though I haven’t been hounding their Facebook as I used to). I hope this continues though as it’s really needed; San Diego Comic-Con already has done this concept for years and it obviously has been successful if they’re still doing it. However, this will split the con-goers into two camps as it does over there – the ones who will want the exclusives, world-premieres, and follow their favorites no matter where in the city it takes place, and those like myself who prefer staying in one central location for convenience/lazyness. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.
Overall, I’m really happy I went to this convention again after having a break from it for a bit, though unless duty calls again I may skip in 2016. If I’m able to, I may end up just doing a one-day every other year. I’ve gone for the weekends for so long that it just did not feel fun anymore (to be fair, it’s hard to top a year when one of my favorite artists all time, Yoshitaka Amano, came in to town!). Kudos to my break, I actually was able to enjoy everything again just like I had years before.
Now if you excuse me, Killager needs to claim a victim for not following her town ordinance.