Why everyone should attend a geek-themed convention.
The San Diego Comic Con is starting later this week. Arguably the largest convention in the country, SDCC brings together geeks, nerds, fanpersons, creators, and top influencers to collectively geek out over different fandoms. While it’s called a “comic” convention, it’s scope reaches the breadth of film and the depth of TV, and has extended to online media creation as well. It has grown in popularity to such a degree, that the tributary has become mainstream in popular culture. Geek is chic.
The one obstacle to attending such a prestigious event is, perhaps obviously, the cost. Between travel, accommodations, exhibitions, event tickets, and special admissions to meet and greets, panels, etc, the cost of attending SDCC is prohibitive for most. What’s a small town geek to do? Find a small town convention, of course!
With the increase in popularity for all things geek, more and more small conventions have started popping up. Fans have more access to these events where they can commiserate with like-minded individuals.
Earlier this year, I attended my first convention. Bonus, it was local. Dual bonus, I gots connections and attended as a vendor. I was able to enjoy a truly enjoyable experience with near “backstage access.”
One of the best parts of attending conventions is being surrounded by one’s people. It’s easy to feel far removed from fans when your only interaction is online. Being at a convention, you can see people cosplaying their favorite characters and instantly start up a conversation (sometimes even in Klingon, if you so choose). There are vendor booths selling all kinds of merch that either celebrate your geeky loves or inspire you to create your own. Trust me, vendors are geeks too, and they love discussing their wares. Convention goers are often the most approachable and engaging people.
Another great reason to attend a convention is access to celebrities. The bigger the convention, the bigger the names. The trade off is you often won’t get up close and personal. Small conventions may not have the mega stars, but you’ll get much more facetime with the ones they have. With the resurgence in 80s and 90s culture, the celebrities you meet could likely be the ones you’ve idolized (or crushed on) for decades.
The final reason that conventions should be a destination and not a distraction: the merch, or merchandise. Depending on the event, vendors could be selling licensed products, classic toys/games/media, geek-inspired craftiness, or new content like books, film, and artwork. The merchandise is gathered all in one place, sometimes with a swag bonus, to collectively share in the fandom love and possibly engage you in a newly-created universe.
Whether you attend a small convention or go to one that’s part of the geekworld’s stage, conventions definitely serve to connect geeks with one another. They can help you reconnect with yourself as well.
Either way, remember: work hard, be smart, and geek out.