It’s been a week since I’ve returned from Momocon, but it feels substantially longer. I’ve been on pre-con crunch time, with the con I work for now a week and a half away. I feel only a little guilty taking time out to write this post, but that’s mitigated by the joy of not looking at my email in this mean time.
Momocon is an animation, comic, and gaming convention in Atlanta, GA that happened over the March 8-10, 2013 weekend. It was held in the Hilton Downtown Hotel, which would be familiar to any Dragon*Con attendees as one of their main five hotels. It’s a large hotel, but that didn’t stop Momocon from keeping it full with over 12,000 attendees, an almost 4,000 growth from the year before.
As usual, I attended as a promoter, pimping out my home con MTAC to the Atlanta masses. By simply assessing that, the trip was incredibly successful. Over 1,200 fliers were handed out, all that we had with us. Our promotion booth, while not the most prominent of the weekend (that honor goes to Atlanta’s June convention Seishun Con), the MTAC booth was definitely attention grabbing with its colored lights, dual-screen promo videos, and brand new convention mascot Conkitty. All of that is great, but it also needs pairing with old-fashioned handling the crowd and chatting people up, which we did in spades. An impressive booth display and personable promoters. Also, N64 Goldeneye. Everyone loves Goldeneye.
I have a lot of fun when I visit Atlanta, thanks to all the friends I have down there from the con circuit – Momocon, Seishun Con, Anime Weekend Atlanta, Dragon*Con. Not all of them travel my way often, so it’s good to see them and pal around the few times I’m in their neck of the woods.
Momocon serves as a stark preview of things to come, with only being three weeks before MTAC and the tables are turned by me running around and them promoting. It’s also a shining example of why I work with conventions. I enjoy the work, and I enjoy the people I meet and work with along the way. As nerve-wracking organizing trips or keeping information up to date can be, I love informing people about something I really enjoy and want them to attend. I also love seeing a lot of my con friends together. Come March 29-31, I’m going to be neck deep in the work side of things, but I look forward to seeing more of my friends. Even the ones I just saw last week.
Congrats to Jess, Stuckey, and all of their staff for another successful Momocon!
Who will be at MTAC in Nashville, TN on March 29-13?
Sometimes I get so used to regular geeky/anime conventions that I forget that “normal people” actually go to cultural festivals. That happened this time with JapanFest, Atlanta’s Japanese cultural festival, where I helped with some of the anime viewing content. Turns out, Akira and New Cutie Honey aren’t the most family friendly titles (retrospect d’uh). Thanks to my good friend Jess Merriman of MomoCon with helping in the selection.
I even had to quickly end my Cutey Honey: The LIVE clips in my “Tokusatsu Heroes” (Japanese super heroes) panel because it has partial nudity (sparkles cover the NSFW bits, but still…).
JapanFest is a rather large Japanese cultural event held every September in Atlanta, GA. It’s often on the same weekend as Anime Weekend Atlanta (which I also attend). This year, it wasn’t, so I got to stay the whole time. Again the con promo thing, as well as running panels and video.
I’m often surprised by how large JapanFest actually is. Anecdotal conversations said over 10,000 people, and I believe it. We ran through most of our promotional stickers and all of our fliers at the MTAC booth, and most of that was within the first day. I’m sure not being on AWA weekend helped, but it gets fairly large numbers anyway.
As a cultural festival, the big draws are the events and the exhibitions, of which I hardly got to see. The exhibition hall was littered with vendors and sponsors selling and promoting. Including a bunch of Yamaha vehicles. More importantly and probably just as big of a draw, the exhibition holds a popular food court of various Japanese restaurants. I was able to get some delicious okonomiyaki for just $3.
It’s nice to see so many different people from what I typically see at anime and geeky conventions. As a promoter, I get to reach a slightly different audience. As a people watcher, I get to see a new variety of people who aren’t all used to the foreign and “strange” costumes and content that I more or less see all the time at anime shows.
As a panelist, it’s a different experience as the audience for this rendition of my Tokusatsu Heroes panel seemed less interactive but just as interested versus the other cons I’ve presented this at.
JapanFest falls in September every year, also known as the month I might as well live in Atlanta. As mentioned, it’s around or during AWA as well as near to Dragon*Con. All three are worth it for the trips. JapanFest is a more peaceful show, partially because of it only being two days and no night content, but also because the crowd is calmer. I’m glad Nashville has been getting a similar event in the spring, with the three-year-old, one-day Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, but I don’t see that supplanting the interest in going to JapanFest.
Off topic: how do you prefer seeing titles of works protrayed on the web?
- “Quotation marks?”
It’s been a while since I’ve done an actual convention retrospective. The reason is that I’m always working cons, usually promoting MTAC and GMX. As such, for the most part, the convention experience is the same aside from the friend experiences that are uninteresting to read or insider knowledge or critiques that I don’t feel comfortable discussing in my public forum.
Dragon*Con 2011 is my fourth, and it’s the first vacation con I’ve had since probably the first one, except I still volunteered at that one. Honestly, I expected to be somewhat bored, but that didn’t happen. That’s the great thing about Dragon*Con. There’s so much to do and see at the con that boredom rarely happened. What downtime there is was spent resting and recuperating (and chowing down on sandwiches we made in the hotel room).
(It’s also the 25th Dragon*Con, which means it’s as old as I am. Slightly intimidating, but not near as much as its tens and tens of thousands of attendance.)
That’s not to say I don’t have fun at the cons I go to working. Just ask the folks at Seishun Con. The freedom of responsibility is liberating though. If I had to put a name on a specific thing, it’s getting to sleep in.
The con was not without any work though. As I mentioned two posts ago, I performed two panels: DC Animated Universe and Tokusatsu (Japanese Super Heroes, kind of thinking THAT should be the name for now on). Both went very well and had decent attendance. I constantly find my weaknesses in public speaking and preparedness, but the feedback was positive, so I know I’m on the right track.
(In the middle of my toku panel, my friends made a drinking game out of every time I said “Power Rangers” or “Kamen Rider.” They ran out of their drinks in a matter of minutes.)
Along with not working with a con, I got to experience the dreaded walk-in registration, which wasn’t all that bad (except for my wallet *ouch*). I got through it in under an hour. Dragon*Con’s walk-in process is interesting in that there are three unique stations (each with multiple staff and terminals) to process the walk-ins: the payment station, the registration station and the badge pick-up station. You pay at the first station, divided into cash and credit. Then you take your registration form you fill out in line for the registration station to enter that data in its systems. Finally, you are sent to badge pick-up where the relevant data is printed onto a sticker and put on your badge. Now you’re good to go.
Everything I’ve heard about pre-registration is that it breezed by compared to years past, as long as you had your postcard. Dragon*Con switching to a barcode scanning system so they just scan your card, hand you your badge and send you on your merry way.
Recreationally, I spent the con hanging out with many good friends. I didn’t even go to as many panels and events I expected myself to do now that I could. I did make time for two TWiT panels: Tech News Today and NSFW (both of which are available online, being free podcasts and all). Both were pretty interesting, and the NSFW one was really funny with a dancing Red Skull and a xenomorphic alien trying to make out with Veronica Belmont.
Speaking of guests, my roommate passed by probably the best Felicia Day costumer at the con… who turned out to be Felicia Day. Seeing guests randomly walk by is one of the biggest attractions at Dragon*Con. It’s such a party con, a social con, and that possibility of socializing with your favorite TV stars is very alluring. I always feel off around people I watch on TV or follow online, never wanting to say anything for fear of seeming fanboyish.
Not that there is any shortage of people to mingle with anyway at a 50,000-person convention. It’s in fact the best part of the con. I spent all of Saturday night running into person after person I knew and catching up with several of my friends I rarely get to see anymore. People have their conventions made by meeting a beloved guest or snagging some awesome swag, but I love just goofing around and being geeky with all my friends.
But I also snagged some awesome swag. See you next year, Dragon*Con.
Check out the rest of my Dragon*Con pics at flickr.com/nikoscream
Note: This year, I tried using only my Nexus S phone as my only camera. Many of the pictures are too grainy and blurry for my taste, so I’ll probably try not to rely on it for my sole photography device at trips like this (which requires me to finally get a halfway decent camera). You can find my full Dragon*Con 2011 gallery at flickr.com/nikoscream.
Godzilla rampages through the Marriott Marquis during Dragon*Con 2011.
Suddenly, something catches the eye of the King of Monsters…
If there’s anything Godzilla loves more than stomping on Godzooky’s face, it’s free hugs from cute girls.
Thus Godzilla is pleased with this year’s Dragon*Con and leaves Atlanta (mostly) intact.
This year, at least.
It’s Labor Day weekend again, which means thousands and thousands of geeks and nerds will descend upon downtown Atlanta for the 25th annual Dragon*Con, a large multi-genre fandom convention.
It’s also the first con since 2007 that I’m going to and not promoting. Thanks to the very capable staff that MTAC and GMX has been amassing, it’ll be in good hands. While this will be my “vacation” con, I’ll still be doing some work in panels. Check below to see my panels and those I’m helping on.
- DC Animated Universe
Friday at 2:30pm in the Dunwoody Room at the Hyatt (Animation Track)
- Tokusatsu Heroes
Saturday at 7pm in the Dunwoody Room at the Hyatt (Animation Track)
Panels I’ll sit on:
- How to Run a Convention
Monday at 1pm in the Courtland Room at the Hyatt (Anime/Manga Track)
Panels I helped on:
- OTAKU JEOPARDY: Live-Action Edition
Sunday at 5:30pm in the Courtland Room at the Hyatt (Anime/Manga Track)
If you’ll be in the area, hit me up on Twitter @nikoscream.
Dragon*Con 2009. One of the largest fandom conventions in the country, Dragon*Con takes over four hotels in downtown Atlanta every Labor Day weekend. This year was the 23rd year, making the convention as old as I am. This year was my second time going.
Dragon*Con makes experiencing the entire con difficult. It’s really a group of several mini-cons (not like Transformers Armada) with its several programming tracks, some of which having more content on their own than some other complete cons. All of these are spread out among the four convention hotels. If your interests are spread out among several fandom genres, expect some walking.
This past weekend, a group of us headed down in the wee hours of the morning to for the free, two-day convention MomoCon. Sponsored by Anime O-tekku, the anime club of the Georgia Institute of Technology, this was the con’s fifth year. It’s typically held in March at the beginning of the university’s spring break. While it was also on our spring break, it was at the end of it, making Monday morning somewhat unpleasant. Enough about that though and onto the con.