Posted By Kathleen David on April 25, 2012
This topic came to mind to me when I was talking to someone about conventions since they were thinking about attending one since they are a fan and they found out that an actor that they admire is going to be at the convention. They asked my advice on going to a convention and what they might encounter. They had some odd ideas about conventions due to the TV portrait of conventions and fans.
I have been going to conventions since the late 70s/early 80s. I have volunteered for conventions in various departments. I have work on con committees for various sized conventions. I have been on both sides of the table as a fan and later as a pro. I have been to a lot of conventions and not all of them in the US. I have also been to a lot of different kinds of conventions as well. I know a lot of the ins and outs of conventions.
Interestingly enough the first thing I had to assure my friend was that they didn’t need a costume to go to the convention. We can thank the news media for that one. I explained that some people did dress up but a majority didn’t. Although by looking at DragonCon, one would think that a majority did dress up if you just walked through the hotel atriums. I explained it was like a Ren Faire in that if you wanted to wear garb it was perfectly OK but you didn’t HAVE to wear garb.
The two things I learned the hard way are wear comfortable shoes and drink lots of water. I am much better about the water drinking than I was when I was younger. I wonder how much of con crud is just dehydration on top of fatigue. Comfortable shoes are a must if you are going to be standing a majority of the day or doing a lot of walking to get from point A to point B.
Also as I have gotten older, I find sleep a bigger necessity than I did in my youth. The 24 hour convention does exist but I no longer participate in the whole 24 hours.
Recently there has been what is called the 5-2-1 rule: 5 hours of sleep, two meals (not just junk food) and one shower per day. I prefer to call it the 5-2-1 strong suggestion. It does help to make sure the brain is working on the last day of the convention as well as the first.
My husband came up with his Fan/Pro bill of rights last year as his take on what should be expect by both pros and fans. Fan/Pro Bill of Rights which can be boiled down to
The Prime Directive
Fans and Pros have the right to be treated by each other with the same courtesy that they themselves would expect to be treated.* Fans and Pros who act like jerks abrogate the right to complain when they themselves are treated like jerks.
*The expectations of masochists notwithstanding.
Which is pretty much how I see it.
So do y’all have any questions about conventions?
Next week I will be writing about why conventions are cool to attend including a number of stories from my own experiences.
I am grateful for all the conventions I have attended over the years.