Monday, March 21, 2011

C2E2: Post Game Part 1

I'm back from C2E2 and decided to recount my experience in full. This will be three parts (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) of everything I did at my first ever con.

The day started earlier than it should have. Sleep was nearly impossible. I was far too busy worrying if I had packed everything and if I would miss my train. Maybe I would be mugged in Chicago, or worse, get lost and never find my way home!!!! I'm a country mouse about to be thrust into the big city. I've been to Chicago many times, but this was going to be the first time I spent a weekend in downtown Chicago pretty much on my own. I arrived at the station with no food in my belly and dying of thirst. My friend Andy was purchasing his ticket as I walked in. We both bought round trip tickets just to be safe. Perhaps a bit preemptive on my part, but we'll get to that later. And so began the adventure. The train ride was long and tedious. Andy and I chatted most of the way, talking about how these cons work. Since I was such a rookie, I was eager to learn whatever I could. Andy's advice: be yourself, and don't be too pushy.

The train wouldn't drop us off at McCormick because of some retarded bylaw about weekday travel to the convention center. BS. Luckily, the train's last stop was Millennium Station, 3 or 4 blocks from our hotel. I had my own room, which I would be sharing with my Dad and brother when they came up for the Saturday show. Andy was bunking with some of his cohorts who arrived the day earlier. They were kind enough to meet us at Millennium Station and guide us along the way. Not that it was all that confusing, but it was still a pretty stand up gesture.

We walked out of the station and into the big city. It was dizzyingly huge. Little city mouse had arrived and was somewhat overwhelmed. I took in the sights as we trekked to the hotel. It was hard to here the conversations going on with Andy and his buds, with all the traffic and wind (they don't call it the Windy City for nothing) so I took it all in slowly, rather than be too vocal.
At last we arrived at the hotel. It was stylish and classy, but I expected that much from Chicago. Andy went up to his room to drop some things off, so I decided to check in. They put me up on the 30th floor. Dad would not be happy about that. Oh well.

After getting all set up, it was time to head to the con. One short shuttle ride was all it took. I headed down to Artist Alley, excited to set up the booth and get down to business. I had to split a table with another artist, but I didn't mind. It gave me a chance to network and expand my contacts in the industry. I already did some investigating on my neighbors. I was familiar with Jeremy Dale. He and I knew a lot of the same people, being that we're both from the same town. I had met him at C2E2 2010, where I was just a spectator. It was nice being nearby someone I was at least somewhat familiar. To my left was Stephen Bryant, who despite all my googling, I could not find anything on (it kept taking me to Steven Bryant, who was also at C2E2). But the guy I was really nervous about was Dave Crosland. I would be sharing the table with Dave all weekend, so if we didn't get along it was going to be an uncomfortable weekend. Fortunately, Dave turned out to be a great guy. I seriously could not have asked for a better table buddy. He was also quite experienced with these conventions. Dave's advice: Don't get too wrapped in the sales. Just relax, have fun and chat with be good to your neighbors. Nothing is worse than a bad neighbor, thankfully, I didn't have one. Also, Dave's work is absolutely astounding. Check him out. Go on, I won't be offended. In fact Jeremy and Stephen had some incredible work too. Google them while you're at it.

Back to topic. The show was about to begin. My first sale was to a guy who was clearly very excited about my comic. I didn't even need to pitch it to the guy. He just needed to buy an issue of Star Crossed Galaxy. I'd rather have one person who needs to read this than hundreds of people who want to read this. I think I just paraphrased Joss Whedon, but I'm not sure. Needless to say it was just the confidence boost I needed for the show.

At this point the show finally opened to the general public. I was having a great time networking with some of the pros, but it was time to get busy. Friday started a bit slow. There was a lot of trial and error on my part on just how to deliver my hook, but once I got it, I really got it. By the end of Friday, I had a total of 7 sales for Star Crossed Galaxy and Twilight Pop. I predicted I'd make 5-10 sales for the whole weekend, so I was very happy with result of day one.

With the show over, I went around and met up with a few of my friends. I was curious about this "Bar Con" that I've heard about. I chatted with my pal Terry, also more experienced at these conventions. terry's advice: skip bar con. Taking Terry's advice I decided to forgo hanging out and networking at the local bars in favor of some family time (I had work tomorrow after all). My dad just arrived in Chicago with my younger brother, so I planned on catching a bite with them. We ate at a pizza joint just a few blocks away from our hotel. It reminded me of my younger years when I followed my dad around Chicago way back when he worked for WMAQ. Good memories. The pizza was good, but the appetizer burned my mouth so bad, that I couldn't taste anything in the morning. Maybe I should have blown on it first.

With dinner done, we headed back to the hotel and caught a much needed night sleep. It was the end of a great day. But, the best (and worst) had yet to come.

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