Worldbuilding: Conventions and Research

One thing I want to get into a follow-up story to What Comes Around is our heroes finding Yamraiha at a convention.

Bunnies. They have their whims. Normally I don’t mind them, but… I’ve never been to a convention.

Well, in about a month and a half I plan to fix that. I’m going to Pensacon.

Pensacon

So if you see an odd person wandering around half-dazed inΒ a green floppy-brimmed hat and taking notes all over the place, it might well be me.

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47 thoughts on “Worldbuilding: Conventions and Research

  1. Ah, but what KIND of con, that is the question…XD I hope you have fun, cons can be very fun! Though IMO, they’re best with a group of people, especially if you all cosplay. Try not to get Hotel California’d into the Dealer’s Room/Artist’s Alley (IMO, also part of the quintessential con experience).

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, attending as a writer probably means working the con. Which probably doesn’t combine well with a) going to your first con b) to conduct research.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. The bunnies probably think there is a lot of potential for shenanigans at a convention.

    Well, there kinda has to be. Because Simon (or Sinbad) is not allowed to meet or reunite with one of his Generals without some kind of trouble.

    And your bunnies already said they want Tiburon to literally carry her off. Which probably means something going on to make Yam decide to wait for him to put her down or something before turning him into a frog or the like for acting like a caveman . . .

    Also that conventions can attract a lot of people of various backgrounds and locations into one spot. So a likely place for some of our heroes to run into each other despite likely living in very different places and doing very different jobs.

    Through mine are convinced that at least one of these General or other reunions is going to involve people literally running into each other.

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  3. I’m kind of hoping the title to the follow-up is ‘Goes Around’, because it goes together so neatly! πŸ˜› I can totally see evil wizards attacking the convention right after they meet Yamraiha so Tiburon just grabs her and carries her off while she’s in shock because THOSE PEOPLE ARE THROWING LIGHTNING BOLTS! πŸ˜„ I wish you the best of luck on your writing!

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  4. Dragoncon anyone? Baal would appreciate the irony.

    Also, FIELDTRIP!

    Aaaaand suddenly, I’m having Ms. Frizzle flashbacks.

    “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

    She and Simon would have soooo much fun together. Everyone else would be…apprehensive, terrified, worried?

    (Does anyone else wonder if Ms. Frizzle’s a Timelord? That was my first thought while my sister was watching The Magic School Bus on Netflix.)

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      1. Now I’m seeing the kids pile into the classroom one day and having to ask, “This is that an ape?”
        “It sure looks like one.”

        It’s not so much that there is an ape in the classroom. Bringing an ape to school won’t be the weirdest thing their teacher had ever done. It was that he and Mrs. Frizzle seem to be having a normal, if rather Oook-filled, conversation with each other.

        It got even stranger when Mrs. Frizzle introduce him as “The Librarian” and said he was a colleague of hers that was going to help them learn something that day . . .

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      2. That is a scary, scary crossover. DiscWorld, Doctor Who, and the Magic School Bus… That way lies Madness!

        Good thing We’re All Mad Here, ah? Less distance to commute.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. My favored theory of Discworld/Who crosses is that the Doctor’s voice is best transcribed LIKE THIS.

        I also subscribe to John Wright’s explanation that low ranking Time Lords are styled The XXXX. So The Batman, The Bride, and The Jedi Exile are time lords.

        I’ve missed too much sleep, because I’m imagining a Frizzle trip to The Somme. Pleasant dreams.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. So, as a semi experienced con goer(just barely, dragon con and geekgirl, which is the awesome), I suggest a bag with water(I usually aim for three bottles), snacks, and very comfortable shoes. You might have to check the bag for the dealers room, but I’ve never had to. Shoes because there’s nothing worse then sore feet in the middle of a con. And water is your friend, you will need it. Thankfully, most cons now have an emergency table and a water/snack station if you need them, but it depends on the size. (I know Geekgirl also had an introvert room, when you could just relax and not deal with other people, but it’s also a very safe space con)

    And don’t feel bad about asking the volunteers about those things either, that’s what they’re there for. And there should be a con map that you can download/get paper form. That helps a lot. And have fun!

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    1. Also the 7/3/1 rule! Some cons have actual official reminders of this rule, some don’t, but either way every con-goer should know it – 7 hours of sleep, 3 meals, and 1 shower every day. (Because YES people literally do forget. These people are asked to write the rule down somewhere they are guaranteed to see it regularly.)

      And then there’s That One Guy – the guy (or girl) who is not into the convention scene, does not much care about the scene, maybe even is a little freaked out by all the people who are into the convention scene, but is there because his kid or friend or girlfriend said “I want to go!” and to be a good friend/boyfriend/parent he went along. (Maybe to keep his friend out of trouble, maybe because he hopes to get laid, whatever.)

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  6. Big Conventions in Big Convention Centers are indeed different from lil’ bitty Old School Conventions in Hotels.

    Either way, dress in layers and wear comfy shoes. Convention AC and heating can be fickle.

    Writers are okay with you bringing books and stuff to sign, but actors make their money by selling signables to you. (Mostly headshots and other nice pics.)

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    1. But yeah, I see Misty is a guest, so expect a limit on amount of stuff she will sign. She may only sign and/or sell recent books, given the possible numbers of books and fans!

      Do pre-register, if you can. It pays the venue fees for the convention, and it gets you admission more quickly as well as being (slightly) cheaper.

      Be cheerful, whatever happens. (Within reason.)

      Make friends. Don’t get overwhelmed with fannish euphoria, but don’t be afraid to chat with people. Particularly in long lines.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, and bring book business cards or book bookmarks or other giveaway swag/ads, and put both Vathara and C. Chancy on your badge. (Or wear a publicizing shirt or button.)

        I mean, not to deprive you of cosplay or anonymity, but authors who attend cons as civilians are still able to do a little gentle promotion. Bookmarks are good stuff, when people are trying to remember the name of That Nice Lady in Line.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I will preregister if at all possible; unfortunately it looks like you have to print a ticket off the website, so that’ll have to wait until I can get to the library again. πŸ™‚

        Cheerful, hopefully, yes. Bringing water will help with that. Also cheese. Because protein is good.

        Thanks. πŸ™‚

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      1. Yes, but getting to see Mercedes Lackey is pretty cool. You may be able to ask some questions if she gives a presentation. Just don’t talk about the fanfic… The first rule of Fanfic Club is more important to some writers than others, and she is one of them. Messes her up.

        Oh, and if you meet some cool celebrity in the elevator, bathroom, etc., you have to resist the urge to squee, attack hug, follow them around the bathroom, etc. Even Sinbad probably likes it better when fans play it cool in personal encounters, although it is great for them to get excited in a crowd at a presentation. Actors are not used to being the most normal person in the room! It sets off all kinds of alarms for them! Also, a relaxed celeb is a more fun celeb.

        (I know you probably know all this and have good company manners beside, but for the benefit of everybody reading this thread ever — inadvertently frightening convention guests is Something Fans Should Avoid! There have been cases where actors swore off the convention circuit, for good reason.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. *Blinks* Okay, I know this probably sounds like a silly and socially totally helpless question – but why would I want to see a celebrity at all? I like the characters, that’s completely different from the actor. Same with books and writers.

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  7. I know someone else said it, but pre-registering is very important. Failing to do so will roughly quadruple your wait time to get in to the con. Also, I’ve found that cons are only as fun as the people I go with. If you know someone that’s also interested in going, it would definitely be worth your while to convince them to join you. On the other hand, other people can also *ruin* a con. I’ve gone with friends and had a blast… I’ve also gone with the same group of friends and wanted to throttle them by the end of the weekend because their refusal to leave the hotel room for whatever reason derailed whatever I wanted to do. I’ve gone to several cons over the years… never really met anyone fameous, I mostly go for the dealers rooms and to be able to run around in costumes for three days without getting stares, but if you want stories about dealing with your awesome/idiot friends and the various ways cosplay costumes can malfunction I am happy to share.

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  8. Oooh~ Are Calli or Phaenomena going to be there? (Possibly as forced socialization…) I am looking forward to them finding out that those are THAT Fire Prince and Sinbad. Remembering Calli’s reaction to the dragon, it’s certain to be fun.

    Also them observing the ‘You will be assimilated’ response of Simon’s bodyguards/crazies to a new general w/o knowing about the general reincarnation thing, compare and contrast with their own recruitment? Or possibly one of the new generals going to them as the relatively sane-seeming ones and going ‘explain these people to me’ ‘I wish.’ When Yamraiha was the past magic inventor person, and now there’s both Ja’far and Calli (both of whom frequently want to strangle Simon) in the group…

    Now I’m considering Simon making Ja’far cosplay, and how that would go given Ja’far’s dislike of Disney. Or him encountering Ja’far cosplayers? Or Aladdin cosplaying Aladdin…

    Hmm, a convention panel might be a good place to showcase footage from the school’s ‘project?’ To spread around that this is totally a ‘for fun’ movie they’re making/talk about the various cool things they’re doing that are totally not magic?

    I’ve only been to two conventions, and one was for stuff not up my alley and the other I only hit the dealer’s room (I am weak to artbooks and they had Please Save My Earth and Rayearth), so I don’t really know anything helpful on that front, sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Callimachus might have to be dragged. Phae would probably find it great fun, since Tiburon’s planning to put on some demonstrations. πŸ˜‰

      Their reaction to a new General should be interesting, not least because they have no idea most of these people are reincarnations, yet!

      Hmm. If Ja’far goes in cosplay, I suspect he’s either playing himself, or… well, there are a lot of white-haired bishie candidates out there….

      And yes. Some dragon footage will be shown!

      And Alan tries to make sure he’s totally unrecognizable….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My bunnies and I think it would be amusing for them all to cosplay themselves at least once.

        They are also cackling about when Callimachus and Phaenomena figure out or are told the whole reincarnation thing. Figuring out has the option of the idea occurring to them and them getting theories, some of which are correct . . .

        They also think the look on their faces when they realize or learn that Simon doesn’t just play Sinbad in the movies, that he actually was Sinbad. And since I’m sure the Generals were not left out of the stories, figuring out who the rest of them are . . . I bet epic would be a good description. πŸ™‚

        And Alan tries to make sure he’s totally unrecognizable…

        Somehow I think he isn’t going to be entirely successful . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sure that’s one of the sets of costumes Simon wants them to wear on one con day. I can see Alan arguing no, no, heck no.

        Morgan: “I wonder if I can make the shift as short as it was and still not get arrested….”

        Alan: Frizz!

        And then Aladdin asks him what an upskirt shot means, anyway….

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Maybe a Partevian hat would help….

        Until Murphy conspires to knock it off his head in the worst possible (to Alan’s figuring) place / moment, thus ruining all of his efforts to avoid people noticing the resemblance . . .

        Because you know how Dread One is when you attempt to wriggle your way out of whatever situation it set up . . . each new set-up Murphy has to make for something is worse in terms of your pain/humiliation/etc . . . .

        It isn’t the right answer for every situation but sometimes there is merit to Simon / Sinbad’s going with the flow and play-it-cool-i-know-exactly-what-i-am-doing-or-I-can-wing-it-well-enough-not-matter . . . sometimes it is better to just roll with it and get whatever Murphy wants over with the first time . . .

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  9. okay, cons seem to work slightly differently in the US, from the comments – and frankly, scattering the events over four buildings that require separate travel time seems like bad planning. But maybe my inner curmudgeon is showing?… I did go to Otacon 20, and that was across three hotels right next to each other, which was still something of a pain but doable. My local anime con was at the local university for the first seven or eight years before switching to the convention centre, and our two pop-culture cons are at the local showgrounds (lots of parking!) (so is Comiket, btw – yes, I am bragging)

    If a suggestion wouldn’t offend you? Make Yam a volunteer at the convention, an experienced one. If Tiburon carries her off, she’ll just calmly go along til they’re clear of the crowds and then kick him in the shins or give him a wedgie to let her down. The volunteers deal with all kinds of crazy shit with aplomb; Yam will come with built-in Simon handling and crazy survival skills. If you need some details, just ask; one of my best friends was a volunteer at Supanova for 13 years and 40 shows over five or six cities, so he’s a huge store of stories. (yes, he is insane in a good way)

    (ie James Edward Olmos (BSG2003) was nicknamed ‘Admiral Grab-Ass’ by Oz Comic-Con volunteers, for getting so handsy with the girl volunteers. When James Marsden (Buffy/Angel) shows up, everyone tries to stay at least a foot away because he constantly sweats like he’s in a sauna. From attending panels with Christopher Judge (Stargate SG-1), I can tell you his panels should all be rated R for foul language, but the guy is hysterically funny!)

    PensaCon sounds a little too insane for Ja’far, if not even Simon, from what I understand. You probably want a smaller, local con, where Simon could properly grandstand (and have a recruitment booth for Hamilton High in the dealers hall? Adelaide University does at all 3 major Adelaide cons). I forget, which city is the ‘Around’ verse in? Tampa? Miami? Have it at the local convention centre, with maybe a 15,000 – 25,000 attendance.

    Also, not only do guests at cons always have a volunteer or two as minders/bodyguards to peel off enthusiastic fans, but so do most of the events and panels. If Tiburon is doing some kind of swordsmanship demo, (and both Adelaide OzComiCon and Supanova have a AWF wrestling ring in the dealers hall!) you could just have her show up at that.

    Also, most of the Supanova’s have at least one indie film/TV show screening in a panels hall (most of them come with huge screens, for either backgrounds or for close-ups of the guest so that people down the back get a good view), sometimes followed with a Q&A by cast or crew. If you’re going to have Simon show up as a guest at a con? Absolutely. They’d want him for the Sinbad role (why not have him show up in full costume from the show? Don’t tell me he hasn’t kept at least a couple). If he’s doing ‘sneak footage’ from the Dragon Incident? He’d absolutely get to show it. That, however, would be a separate panel, and he’d also probably be committed to several hours on the autograph/photo lines.

    There’s also another idea… Supanova and OCC like to recruit several guests from the same cult shows/movies, (ie Michael Shanks, Ben Browder and the guy who played Ba’al from SG-1) and get them to do joint panels, and even photo sessions with fans (the idea is that you can get a photo of yourself with the star, then get them to autograph it in a separate session). What about bringing along one of Simon’s former co-stars for added Simon (TM) moments? It could even be a good reason to have Simon and Ja’far unavailable to stop Tiburon from doing his snatch-and-grab of Yam?

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      1. Personally, I can totally see Simon volunteering Tiburon for something (as in “Everyone here’s a volunteer, whether they do their own volunteering or not”). If it’s after Tiburon’s carried off Yam, he’d be good at Looming, if Yam needed to throw out a vendor for inappropriate and/or counterfeit stock.
        Counterfeits and bootleg-spotting was my friend’s speciality, btw, and rights infringement and abusing another vendor/con-goer is pretty much the only things besides outright criminal behaviour that can get a vendor thrown out of a con.
        Some of the fandom-accessories or artist-alley sellers can infringe copyrights without meaning to, (especially tshirts with slogans or logos) or just meaning to. It also depends on the rights holder; some are harsher than others. I remember one con when my friend had to go through an entire stall’s stock, and make them pull 5 out of about 20 different Tshirt designs (he had to yank the Doctor Who and Sherlock designs, but could let them keep the Supernatural and Stargate ones).
        Another point on weapons, since several of your characters carry them: some of the accessories/replica sellers can go over the lines on accuracy or materials (weapons regulations vary from con to con, other than common sense things); for example, a replica weapons dealer selling katana sets with real steel – Tiburon might, as a licensed professional, be able to get away with having his weapon peace-bonded (meaning tied up with cord or such so it can’t be drawn), but a regular con-goer wouldn’t, or would have to check it into the cosplay weapons-check and only get it out for the parade/competition. (this varies again at places like medieval fairs) A seller would have to sell them packed (and unable to be drawn) in the box – if they can be sold at all. I’ve known conventions where selling weapons made of anything harder than shaped foam is banned, and con goers with wooden weapons have to stow them in weapons check or even be banned from entering with them. Again, possibly different in the US, so you might want to check with the locals.
        Also? If you’re having Yam as a volunteer, I guarantee that all the old guard volunteers (ie anyone who’s been around longer than 3/4 years or so) will know each other, and know any dirt to be had, whether on repeat guests or other volunteers. I went to an anime con with my friend once, and we couldn’t go more than ten feet without someone recognising him and saying hello. This was at a con he’d never been to before, in a different state than where he lives!

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