Con Prep is a new series of blog pieces providing tips, suggestions and other ideas as to help you prepare for convention season.
The second installment of Con Prep was written by Guest Contributor Mike James.
Conventions should be somewhere that everyone can have a good time and feel safe to be themselves. But if it’s your first time going to a convention it can be an unusual experience that’s quite different to anything else in the world. It’s important to understand convention etiquette so that you, and everyone else, can have a great time.
Things You Need To Bring
Let’s get started by looking at the things that you need to remember to bring to the convention. Firstly, possibly the most important item is a good, sturdy backpack. There are plenty of things that you will need while you’re here so you need a way to carry them. Remember you may want to buy things or pick up freebies.
Also remember to bring a charger for your phone – many conventions have charging stations, but you usually need to provide your own lead. And it’s also a good idea to bring along some anti-bacterial gel. Lots of people all touching the same things all day can make conventions a breeding ground for bacteria, so it’s best to have gel available to clean your hands every so often.
What to Wear
Comfort is key word when it comes to convention wear. You’re going to be on your feet for a significant amount of time so prioritise comfortable shoes over stylish ones. It’s also a good idea to dress in layers, so that you can remove or add if you get too hot or cold.
If you’re playing on cosplaying at the convention, this can be a lot of fun, but it may be best to have some comfortable clothes that you can change into if you overheat or get tired of the attention that outfits inevitably bring.
Conventions are often filled with both famous and talented individuals that you might admire as well as people cosplaying in fantastic costumes. As such, people taking photos is expected at many conventions. But that doesn’t mean you can just start taking photos of whoever you like, from any angle you like. Just as you would in almost any scenario; if you want to take a picture of or with someone, it’s just good manners to ask their permission first. At many conventions this is a rule, so be aware of what is allowed at the convention you’re visiting.
You might want to avoid the embarrassment of asking someone if it’s fine to take a photo of them, but getting caught trying to covertly take pictures is far worse. In most cases, as long as they are not too busy, most people will be delighted to take a photo with you. Just remember to approach them at a time that is convenient – don’t butt into someone’s conversation just to get a photo. And always remember that you are taking up someone else’s time, so be courteous.
Follow The Rules
If you are bringing a costume or anything unusual, it can be best to check the rules or ask the convention directly whether it is acceptable. For example, you might be tempted to bring a hoverboard to your next convention. These slick and stylish personal transportation devices might seem like the perfect way to take the weight off your feet, rather than walking around all day. But it might be the case that devices like these are banned at the convention you’re visiting.
Of course, you want to stand out from the crowd, but be careful that you don’t bring along anything that is against the rules.
Additionally, you should note that each individual convention will have their own rules about what is and what is not acceptable in terms of behaviour. You should definitely familiarise yourself with the rules if it’s your first time at this particular convention – what’s OK elsewhere, might not be OK here.
Get Permission First
This goes for almost anything you want to do. Whether you want to have a chat with someone, hug them, touch a part of their costume, or anything else, make sure you graciously ask if they are happy for you to do so. Even if it seems like something innocuous or something that that wouldn’t bother you, that doesn’t mean that it is acceptable behaviour for everyone. So respect everyone’s space and ask permission before you do anything. And don’t be offended if they say no.
Do you have other tips for con attendees? Let us know in the comments below!
A photo from GeekGirlCon’s gaming floor in 2014. (Photo by Sayed Alamy)
More than 1,000 people recently liked and reblogged a post on tumblr titled, “What happened to the women that built the video game industry?”
The publication Mic posted the article, which explores the early adventure computer game industry in the 80s and 90s. The piece widely credits women as being designers, producers, and directors in the new frontier of hit software development — with games like Sierra Co-founder Roberta Williams’ King’s Quest selling over 400,000 copies and leaders like Electronic Arts’ art department head Nancy L. Fong.
But the article notes that some women designers started to lose interest as the hyper-masculine game culture emerged in the mid-90s.
Think of it now: this September, the convention floor will crowded with cosplayers, artists, and fans alike–gathered together for what we’ve been looking forward to all year. GeekGirlCon 2017! Everyone will be lining up for panels, taking selfies with their favorite voice actors, checking their wallets to make sure they have enough cash for that plushie or print they saw in the Exhibitor Hall, fervently discussing how excited we all are to see Ellie again in The Last of Us 2 (well, maybe that last part is my girl-crush speaking). I can see it now: busy and exciting. It’ll be filled with laugher, and maybe even a few tears over Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
Right now, the GeekGirlCon team is busy at work making sure that everything is perfect when you step foot on the floor of The Conference Center as the WSCC, and there’s still time to get involved. You have until next Saturday, July 15th, at 10pm to apply to become an Agent for GeekGirlCon 2017.
GeekGirlCon is fueled by its volunteers, and we wouldn’t be able to host the convention each year without our team of Agents ready and waiting on the convention floor to help us throw an amazing event. Whether or not you’re working behind the scenes, or directing the traffic of con-goers on the floor, there’s plenty that needs to be done over the weekend of the convention, and we’re still looking to expand our team of volunteers to make sure we’re able to put on the show without a hitch.
There are only two basic requirement to become an Agent:
You must be at least 16 years of age at the time of the convention.
You must be available to work 2 shifts (that are 4 to 5 hours each) over the weekend of the convention, September 30th and October 1st.
That’s it! So long as those requirements are met, get ready because this year’s GeekGirlCon is bigger than ever before, and we’re excited to share what we’ve been working so hard on since last year.
At GeekGirlCon, accessibility is everything. Putting together a packed weekend of accessible and inclusive geeky programming is fundamental to GeekGirlCon’s mission. One event that reflects this commitment is our DIY Science Zone. The DIY Science Zone is one of GeekGirlCon’s most unique bits of programming, and this year we’re celebrating its fifth anniversary. Equally as exciting for both kids and adults, the DIY Science Zone brings together scientists, science educators, and science enthusiasts alike to participate in hands-on activities and experiments, chat about various scientific fields, and celebrate accessible learning.
A game played at GeekGirlCon’s board game night at Wayward Cafe, held the second and fourth Friday of every month.
Looking to expand your Dungeons and Dragons nights? Moved to Seattle and trying to find a gathering? New to tabletops and looking for direction?
For any reason, finding a tabletop role-playing group is exciting, but it can also be daunting. So, the GeekGirlCon gaming team has narrowed down some safe spaces that you can roll into and try out in the Seattle area.
By now I’m sure you’ve all noticed a theme in my updates: plan ahead! As I’ve mentioned before, I love not only the calm but the increased anticipation that comes with making plans early. In terms of GeekGirlCon, there’s even perks to prepping in advance. First of all, the sooner you take care of the mundane task of acquiring Saturday, Sunday, or Saturday-Sunday passes for you, your parents, your kids, your friends, and your Dungeon Master, the sooner you can start sorting out the epic costume you’ll be entering in our cosplay competition. Second of all, the sooner you buy passes, the less likely it is that you’ll forget and have to contend with the upcoming price increase. And if you prefer, passes will go on sale in local Seattle stores in late July!
Alternatively, if you’re interested in participating in more of the behind-the-scenes of GeekGirlCon, apply to be an Agent now! Agents receive passes in exchange for eight to 10 hours of volunteer work during con weekend, which this year will be September 30 and October 1.
GeekGirlCon 2016 at Washington State Conference Center in Seattle, Washington. October 2016. Photo by James McDaniel.
Every year, our volunteers bring GeekGirlCon to life. We wouldn’t be able to host the convention each fall without our team of stellar Agents behind the scenes, setting up equipment, handing out passes, and so much more. From dawn to dusk, our Agents are on the convention floor helping make sure that everything is running like a well-oiled machine, and we’re currently looking for even more model citizen geeks to help us put on our biggest year yet!
There are a couple requirements to be an Agent with GeekGirlCon. During the weekend of the convention, which will be held on September 30th and October 1st at the Conference Center at the WSCC, you must be available to work two shifts that are 4 to 5 hours each. You must also be at least 16 years of age at the time of the convention. That’s it! Most Agents will help support panels, set up, hand out passes, and help guide guests as they make their way through the Conference Center.
We’re also looking for some more specialized volunteers, such as ASL interpreters and photographers (who are able to bring their own equipment). If you are able to perform either of those roles, please make sure to check them off while filling out your application.
Applications close July 15th, at 10pm PST, so make sure to fill yours out today and we’ll see you in September!
I may be alone in this (though I highly suspect I am not), but one of my favorite parts of attending a convention isn’t even the event itself—it’s the anticipation that builds for months and months beforehand. And, for something as near and dear to my heart as GeekGirlCon, something I know I can count on making time and plans for every year regardless of whatever else is going on in my life, I like to extend the duration of that anticipation period for as long as possible. I like to start preparations for the following year basically as soon as I emotionally recover from the con weekend.
Procuring passes as soon as possible is just one of my pre-con rituals, and I’ve found that it comes with a lot of logistical perks as well. This is no different with GeekGirlCon. Currently, two-day passes for GeekGirlCon ‘17 are 35 dollars and one-day passes are 20 dollars. (I realize I’m biased, but typing this out right now, I can’t help but marvel at what a steal that is.) However, on May 1—that is, 12:01 a.m. on May 1—that is all about to (slightly) change. Our first price increase will leave two-day passes at 45 dollars each and one-day passes at 30 dollars each. Kid passes (ages 6-12) will remain 10 dollars each throughout the increases, and littles (ages 0-5) can attend for free! GeekGirlCon is a family event, people! That is my point. Please bring your kids and your friends’ kids. They are the future and deserve to have things like GeekGirlCon in their lives.
Do you have a stellar idea for a panel, or have you been working hard on developing your first tabletop game? Own a trendy DIY business, and have a great idea for a workshop? Never fear, it’s not too late to submit Programming Submissions for GeekGirlCon 2017!
Whether you and a small group are geared up with an idea for a panel, or you are an individual interested in being a panelist or moderator, we’re looking for mission-aligned panel ideas for #GGC17. We’re also accepting applications for performance and event submissions (such as musical performances, variety and game shows, and networking events), workshop submissions, and tabletop game host submissions.
Photo via Danny Ngan, GGC Flickr.
So make sure to mark your calendars, because the following forms are due on April 30th, 2017 at 11:59 PST: