Turns out “convention” is Latin for “wake up at ungodly hours
First of all, a little intro – hi! My name is Chrissi! I’m an animator currently situated in Moncton, New Brunswick. Over the weekend of November 7-9, I was an exhibitor at Hal-Con 2014, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. When NSTAGU (or “no-sta-goo” if you’re a fan of pronouncing unpronounceable words) asked me to do a Day in the Life post, I thought it would be great fun to record day 2 (Saturday) of the convention.
For the weekend, my boyfriend and I shared our Dartmouth apartment with two of our friends, who were also exhibiting at the convention.
Fun fact about sharing a space with three different artists: pencils will
show up everywhere.
If you’re some kind of ace pro, or incredibly organized, you can prep everything Friday, and be able to grab your Starbucks, sidle in nice and cozy on Saturday and just chill while watching the plebeians run around with their heads cut off, desperately trying to cut out prints and set up their displays before the 9:00am opening.
I am a plebeian.
The nice thing, though, is that it’s usually very quiet for the first hour or two, so there’s not a terrible rush to get everything done before the doors open. It would just be pleasant to keep your head on.
The Warp Speed/First Tickets holders start trickling in at 9:00, then everyone else gets in at 10:00. A lot of the celebrity panels are hosted in the mornings, so things only start to pick up around noon. Things really get interesting though, since Saturdays are usually when people whip out their real champion cosplay!
And then there’s this guy.
Something they don’t teach you in convention school: you get bored. You get really, really, bored, especially if you’re an introvert and you don’t get that burst of energy extroverts get from talking to people. And when you have approximated 2 sq. ft. of space for yourself, there’s not a whole lot of room for your usual pilates. So what do you do?
Some artists choose to bring their sketchbook, but if you’re anything at all like me, drawing in a cramped space and surrounded by strangers is a big no-go. Be sure to pick up a different hobby that doesn’t take up much elbow room and can be put to the side when people come up.
Like crochet! You should definitely crochet. Crochet is great.
Please be my crochet friend.
And, boy-howdy, do they show up – as soon as you’re doing anything remotely interesting, people will just crowd your table. If what you’re doing is mesmerizing (like crochet!) they’ll stand there and watch until you say hi. Some will ask what you’re making, some will share their own stories about that particular hobby, but humans are really weird in that they’ll find peace just watching someone make something. From a business standpoint, it’s great, because a happy customer is a paying customer. From a less Nook-ish angle (video game joke!) it’s really fun just watching people mellow out completely while you tie fancy knots.
The doors close on Saturday at 7:00pm, and there’s a mad dash to all the local restaurants. See, con-goers – attendees and vendors alike – have this really bad habit of basically starving themselves during the weekend. Time eating is time lost. On Saturday, I had had a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich at 8:00am, then nothing but coffee and water until my boyfriend brought me leftover pad thai at 3:00pm. We are an intense people. When we left to go to a new sushi place in Dartmouth, my hands were shaking, which really is not a good sign, friends.
As indicated by this blurry photo of the restaurant doors –
the only reason why Kirsten is in focus is because she’s moving at the
same frequency as my hands.
After enjoying all-you-can-eat sushi to the point that the staff was giving us stink-eye, we head home. A funny thing happens when you’re sharing an apartment with friends: you lose all sense of time. We get back at 9:00pm, watch one YouTube video, and it’s midnight. What happens? Where does that time go? Every exhibitor I know tells the same story Saturday and Sunday morning – “We really wanted to get to bed early, but we ended up staying up until 1:00am!” The friend-time-vortex is a mysterious anomaly, for sure.
So there you have it! A little peek inside the mind of a convention vendor. Is this still a life choice you want to make? Have you spoken to your mother about this? Are you prepared to starve yourself to the point of shaking, in the name of art?!
“Convention” is also Ancient Greek for “destroy your wellbeing.”
Find Chrissi on tumblr, Twitter, and deviantART!