Tag Archives: Panel

Adventures at Connecticon – My Panel

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And onto the main event. The main course of the convention. The reason I had even come in the first place. My panel on talking to girls.

I was nervous that morning. Of course I was – everyone’s a bit nervous right before before giving a talk to people they’ve never met. Even the best and most experienced presenters I’ve talked to agree to this – the key is that they’ve become used to it. I… I wasn’t really used to it just yet.

So, I got up early and had a great breakfast of Bacon, Eggs, fruit, and coffee. I’ve found that being well fed is really the best way to get myself prepped and ready to get stuff done, and today was no exception.

I woke up at around 7:30 or so, but the panel itself wasn’t until 1:30 in the afternoon – giving Daniel, T, and myself just enough time to put the finishing touches on the presentation, go through our lines, and make sure that we all had the right cues set up for each other. We didn’t spend a huge amount of time prepping or going over our lines – instead we focused more on mentally readying ourselves, getting our minds in the right place.

And with that set up, we walked into the panel room.

And it was empty. Granted, I wasn’t expecting a full house, but I was at least hoping that someone would have shown up to it. I mean, it was only 20min before the panel, not that long, right?

Wrong. Not a soul was in the room until 10min before it started, and in those ten minutes, the room went from classification “ghost town” to classification “wait, there are no more seats?”

Seriously, it was completely full, to a standing room only level, within five minutes. So, once all three of us were comfortable, the laptops were running, and the projector was projecting, I stood up and started talking.

And I kept talking.

For nearly 30minutes, I held the room in my hand. We chatted, we joked, I played little games with the people in the front rows. It honestly went amazing, and I was quite surprised when the little timer we had set up started flashing to tell me that I needed to hand the reins over to T. It was exactly like tackling a tough climb – I sort of zoned out and rolled with it, keeping that perfect feeling of zen.

After I finished my set I handed the room over to Big T, who in turn handed it over to Daniel once he was finished up. All three of us rocked different presentation styles – I kept to my naturally mobile style, where I walked and talked, gestured and conversed directly with specific people. T pulled the “cool old grandpa” routine by pulling his chair up onto the stage, sitting down, and holding a fireside chat with the audience. Daniel worked a combination of the two, standing up, but holding himself a goodly bit more still and professional than I usually do.

After our last slide was done, and our last topic covered, we passed the floor over to the room itself by fielding questions from the audience.

To be honest, this part was my favorite – we got to talk even more conversationally with people, addressing specific concerns and directly answering questions that they had. We all had fun, and some of the people actually stayed so long after the panel that we had to leave the room in order to let the next on start on time.

Every part of the weekend was amazing, but the panel itself was by far my favorite portion of it – I love getting to meet new people and talk about adventures, and this was honestly just a chance to do that… even though these adventures were of a very specific type.

 

To see a video of the discussion, see it here!

WARNING – Not 100% suitable for all audiences.  Contains some coarse language, and the idea that you should treat women as normal people.  Scary, I know 😛

Adventures at Connecticon – The Convention itself (Part 1)

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This marked the third year in a row that I’ve been to ConnectiCon. I’ve gone to some other conventions and fairs before, but this one is definitely my longest-running, though I’m honestly not exactly sure why. No singular thing really stands out to me that would make me want to come back – the panels are interesting, but not supremely tailored to my interests. The rave is fun, but a bit young. The food… we’ll just skip that part completely.

So while I was wandering around on Saturday morning, I found myself wondering what keeps pulling me back, year after year.

What I finally came up with was the atmosphere. Conventions like this have a bit of everything, and the people are almost universally open and welcoming. True, there are the rare outliers, but most of the time all it takes to start talking to someone is a simple “Hi, what’s up?”. And that’s rare.

In the interest of brevity and sanity, I’ve isolated a few of the more exciting events from the weekend below:

The Burlesque Show

Friday night found Big T and myself wandering around the convention hall, checking out things to do. I had already registered with the panels group and done a bit of volunteer work (consisting entirely of walking around with a clipboard telling people to quiet down), so we were just moving around aimlessly looking for something to do. Allison had broken off from us to check out a few smaller panels that I honestly wasn’t at all interested in, so it was just us guys for the night. And what’s the best thing to do when it’s just the guys?

A burlesque show.

That’s right – for the first year ever, ConnectiCon was putting on a burlesque show courtesy of a group of ladies called the “SlaughterHouse Sweethearts”, a group who I’d actually seen before at a few Boston parties. And so, we hurried in and took our seats.

I think the strangest part about the already-strange show (one of the ladies was, initially, dressed as pikachu) was the MC… They picked the artist behind a rather large webcomic to introduce the ladies, but they didn’t take into account the fact that he was bringing his wife along with him.

Now, you’re probably thinking “ohh no! His wife got angry at him for introducing burlesque dancers!” Not so much. Instead, the poor guys wife stole one of the microphones, and kept yelling at him to take his clothes off.

Yeah. It could have been more than a little awkward, but it fit into the show quite well, and everyone had an amazing time.

After the show T and I wandered around a wee bit more, but the convention hall was pretty much dead at that point. A few people milling about, but nothing really major was going on. So, we headed back across the river to retire for the evening.

Being the Guard of the Dealers Room

As I mentioned, I did some volunteer work for the convention while I was there. Not for any real material gain (since I already had the free badge), but more as a way to stave off boredom and to feel accomplished – one downside of being unemployed is that I don’t generally feel like I’ve gotten anything done. Getting to play foot soldier for the convention staff felt like a way to alleviate this.

And did it ever. When I walked in, they gave me a cool orange shirt and sent me to relieve one of the guys who’d been standing watch at the dealers room for the last two hours. I felt bad for the guy… exactly up until I arrived at the gate he was “guarding”.

Half of the fun of any comic convention is seeing the costumes. People spend months working on some of these, and the craftsmanship shows. You can walk around the hall and meet people, looking for amazing costumes… Or, as it turns out, you can simply sit guard at the dealers room, and have all of the awesome people come to you.

So, that’s what we did. The guy I was supposed to relieve refused to leave, and so I stayed alongside him, helping out for nearly two hours. We chatted, joked, and oogled some of the most impressive costumes that I’ve ever seen – from massive gowns to guys with working articulated wings, from five-foot scythes to full body armor, we saw it all. Heck, I even saw one guy dressed as a fully armored Space Marine – clocking in nearly 7ft tall.

Aside from the costumes though, the guard-dog posting had another fun advantage to it – I got to scream and yell at everyone walking in. We had to make sure that everyone entering the dealers room had a badge, and that the badge was for the correct day – thus, we had to see the front panel of the badges. Unfortunately though, said badges would often time spin around, with the back of it facing us instead of the front.

And that’s where I came in. I swear, I made up at least 50 variations of the simple phrase “turn your badge so we can see it!”, ranging from “BADGES FACING FRONT!” all the way to “Hey y’all, git dem badges facin tha right way ’round!”. I even did a little dance to go with it, twirling my fingers around to mimic spinning a badge.

I think my favorite part was when a whole group of costumed con-goers started dancing, when they mistook my finger-twirl for a dance request.