I've been to a couple conventions. In 2013 I went to my first Supernatural convention. It was a short 3 - 4 hour drive to Illinois, where I stayed in a hotel all weekend and got to press my body up against three hunky actors. Who are well known in their own rights, but not so well known that everyone knows who they are. Seriously, I know quite a few people who have been like "...who?" Baffles my mind, their show just got renewed for a twelfth season. TWELVE SEASONS!
It was by far the easiest convention: everything was happening right there in the hotel I had a room at. Just a short elevator trip down and I was suddenly in the mix of things, with actors sometimes discreetly and sometimes not so discreetly wandering by the masses lingering in the lobby. When I was sitting in a panel, my mom got a picture of Mark Sheppard as he waltzed by nonchalantly in the hallway. She got her own little celebrity sighting for free.
That was the beginning for me. The following year I made my way to RTX (I attended once more in 2015, which I vowed to be my last year as it was growing way too large for my liking), which is a video game / YouTube convention held in Downtown Austin, TX. I fell in love with the city while I was down there, and I was completely alone. I didn't know anyone. But that just enhanced my experience. I got to find people I had talked to through the Rooster Teeth community and we went to panels together, waited in lines together, and even went out to dinner together. It was exciting, it broke me out of my comfort zone. I was a new me. I went out of my way to talk to people, to connect.
That year, I also went to my second Supernatural convention. It wasn't as exciting the first time around. I only attended a few panels, and only got a few photo ops with a couple of the celebrities in attendance. The atmosphere didn't feel as...charged as it did the first go-around. But I enjoyed myself nonetheless, and I acknowledged my privelege to be able to afford to go and meet these celebrities. Not everyone can.
There's a big difference between these two conventions. A big difference.
At RTX you have:
- One convention hall, one (USA) convention meeting. There are thousands and thousands who attend.
- One big convention center, no convenience of just jogging downstairs or riding an elevator to the festivities.
- You only have to pay for an attendance pass to the convention itself. Not for autographs or photographs.
At a Supernatural convention you have:
- Multiple locations and dates throughout the USA (and other countries), so fewer people in attendance.
- You have to pay for Photographs (Anywhere from $50 to $400) and Autographs ($25 to $150).
- It's all located in a decently sized hotel, so no hustling to and from a convention center.
Compared to a lot of conventions out there (San Diego Comic Con, PAX Prime / East / South) these conventiones I've attended can be and most likely are referred to as baby cons. But you have to start somewhere. I'd rather start at these "smaller" conventions than to dive head first into PAX East and have a breakdown because of how many people there are.
That being said, I've been flirting with the idea of flying out to Seattle to try my luck with Pax Prime (or, more accurately since they renamed it, Pax West) this year. Mostly because I don't have any conventions lined up for this year yet, and mostly because I've never been to Seattle but it's somewhere I've been considering moving to, which many people know.
In summary: conventions are chaos. But it's the chaos that makes them fun. There are people pushing into you, there are people sweating beside you, and there are outrageous prices just to hug your favorite celebrity for two minutes tops. But they're an experience. Yes, there are cheaper experiences out there. But I'm a firm believer that everyone should experience some kind of convention at least once in their life.
It might not be for you, but at least you got a little nerdy and tried it out. Regale me with stories of your convention adventures below if you've attended.