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[personal profile] tabbiewolf
Y'all know me. I go to conventions pretty regularly (though not as regularly as some of my friends), and I almost always go as a dealer. I am also highly critical of how conventions are run, because it only takes one bad experience to make me analyze why the experience was bad (this is what lead to the attendee:dealer ratio thing I do) and to stop going to that convention.

This past weekend, we went to (Re)Generation Who. It was the con's first year, we knew a lot of the staff, and both me and [ profile] spotweld are fans of Doctor Who. Since it's not a furry con, I focused mostly on my buttons, as well as bumper stickers (which are a new addition to my convention lineup) and a new cocktail book based on Doctor Who (I'll hopefully be posting a PDF of that book to my Patreon later today, for $10+ patrons). And since it was a small con, and its first year, I was not expecting to make a massive amount of profit.

Straight to the point: I didn't. I covered my table costs, and my part of the room (not Spot's), but in the end my total profit (allowing for the cost of table & room) was around $26.

And yet, I still want to go next year.

So what was the difference?

In all honesty, the entire experience. This was one of, if not the most professional conventions I have ever been to, especially for a first year. It was also a rather intimate experience because it was such a small convention, meaning you were basically walking down the hallway or sharing a dining room with Colin Baker or Terry Molloy (or both at once). My booth was along the back of the dealers room, diagonal to the guests of honor, meaning my weekend was filled with squee moments of listening to Sylvester McCoy talk like Radagast, or hearing/watching him and Terry Molloy play a ukulele/spoons ditty with Cat Smith. You can totally see my banner in the background of that video, so you can see right where I was sitting.

I'm a little starstruck, yes. But it's nerdy starstruck, so hopefully that's normal?

The weekend was also a lot less stressful. Usually I have an emotional crash mid-convention and get really snappy and irritable, but that didn't happen at ALL (I was definitely a bit snappy on the drive down; I think I was nervous about setup). I don't know if it was because I wasn't doing a lot of art (I did a trade with a fellow vendor, and a single badge, and worked a bit on Falconeio's sketchbook -- there were plenty of furries at the con [they kept trying to get me to Fur The More] but it wasn't an art-focused convention), or that we were going out for all the local booze & good food (CRAB AND OLD BAY SEASONING ON EVERYTHING, I'm home!) or it was simply the atmosphere of the convention.

Anyway. I came away from the con, despite the lack of profits, feeling just happy with the world. Maybe I'm hypomanic right now (I'm gonna be getting my brain pills later today and starting that whole deal), was just a completely different experience than every furry con I've been to. So much less drama, no room parties causing too much noise (that we could hear, anyway), and it just seems like the Doctor Who fandom is a lot...quieter isn't the right word, but it's the first to come to mind, than the furry fandom.

Also notable: the gender split was pretty much right down the middle and the age of fans ranged from toddler to senior citizen. The latter probably has to do with the fact that the show has been around for 50+ years -- a lot of old school sci-fi fans were met this weekend -- but the former is interesting to me. I have to wonder: why does the furry fandom lean so heavily male? I used to think that was just fandoms in general (and unfortunately things like the video game explosion [not gonna name it, don't want my journal to get bombed by those people] and all that crap are making the male constituency of fans even more obvious), but that's just not right.

After the con we visited DuClaw for the best beer ever, and then on the drive back home on Monday (after, yes, running into various guests of honor in the lobby because that's just how cons like this go and we were all checking out at the same time...I maintain that Sylvester McCoy is adorable [I want to put him in my pocket] and Terry Molloy is just a delightful human being in general, and Patricia Quinn has amazing outfits, and Sophie Aldred is a joy, and I can't name everyone here but they are all just amazing, wonderful people) we hit Boordy Vineyards, home of my favorite wine of all time. We somehow fit everything in the car, even amongst all my con crap, and we listened to Terry Pratchett's Soul Music on the drive home.

I also want to get everyone to road trip down to Maryland this summer. This is a thing that should happen. Or I can just get some Maryland blue crabs and we can do a cookout in the backyard. Hmmm...


Date: 2015-03-31 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm glad you had a good time. You know I'm no Dr. Who fan, but I still clicked on the links to see the classic Doctors playing together. It looks like it was a great time and the guests of honor were very approachable.

And I think the fact that they were able to attract the actual actors to come across the ocean to the con means that they HAD to plan well. It's a long trip, the actors are older (ie even less likely to travel far afield), and the actors, despite their age, are still in high demand for conventions. I think some of their professionalism came from having a higher bar to get the convention off the ground.

As to furries, I don't know if you've ever run into the sociologist at Anthrocon studying furries? Dr. Kathy Gerbasi is actually on lj. She makes a report every year. Anyway, based on her studies female furries, if I'm remembering this correctly, are something like 45% bi, 10% gay, and 45% straight. Meanwhile the males are 33% straight, 33% bi, and 33% gay. And there's an odd minor group of straight males who fake being gay to fit in.

I'm not relaying these statistics to in anyway say that non-straights inherently make for more drama. I think there's a correlation, but not causation. I think the actual cause is that a group or groups who face social stigma are much more heavily represented in the furry fandom, and feel safe and accepted there. And thus it's a place they can be with other people who feel the same (ie extremely outcast just because of who they are), and that getting together in a large group is a chance for them to express repressed emotions and be with other people who understand some of the emotional pain they feel. It leads to higher drama because the intense pressure cooker of conforming to society isn't present.

Your Dr. Who fans are probably much more social accepted (it's a show that's been around for 50-60 years, so the original fans have become adults, parents, and grandparents, and nurtured a love of scifi in their own relatives). And scifi itself has become more accepted over time due to Dr. Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, and fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings. Scifi fans are much more mainstream other than a few overriding passions in regards to subject matter. Your furry fans? Conventions are still relatively new and small, your passionate furries are prone to more eccentric and obvious behaviors (costuming as opposed to quoting episodes learned by heart) and consist of people who are struggling with sexuality and gender identity issues (and even species identity issues according to the sociology report). It's really not surprising that furries have more drama. This too, shall pass, as furries age up and become more comfortable with who they are and as society becomes more accepting of people who are different in general.

Anyway, I hope I didn't offend anyone who reads this, that wasn't my intent nor indicative of my personal feelings. I was just trying to answer the question by analyzing the data I have available.

See you in July at the latest, I hope.

Re: Con-Going

Date: 2015-04-02 02:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I dunno, I think all conventions should treat their guests of honor with...well, that much respect and professionalism. The professionalism was the major difference. Yes, furry cons are fan-run, but so was this. And this was SO much better.

And the first furry con was (according to Wikipedia) in 1989, so they aren't THAT young. Heck, brony cons are younger and from what I've heard, a lot of them are more professionally run than furry cons (though I have no personal experience here, having never dealt at one, so this is purely third- or fourthhand pass along).

And the Doctor Who con had plenty of costuming! I expect it was about the same as furry cons (around 20%), though it's possible it was MORE than furry cons just because the costumes are more affordable (buy a tweed jacket and a fez at your local Savers, you're instantly cosplaying the 11th Doctor). The fans are definitely less blatantly obvious than furries, but if you know the show, you know they're fans. Hopefully that makes some degree of sense.

I dunno. I guess I'm personally a bit annoyed at the lack of mainstream that furry is. I've been in this fandom for 16 years and it seems extremely happy to STAY on the outskirts of fandom (and unfortunately, less professional -- I've heard "Well, we're run by fans!" used as an excuse for a lack of professionalism so many times) than my experience with other fan-run conventions. This one was just a big reminder of that, and while being a complete blast, it made me reanalyze how many more cons I'm going to keep going to, especially furry ones.

Re: Con-Going

Date: 2015-04-03 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree with you that all guests should be treated with professionalism. And especially guests of honor.

But some people are easier to get/attract/have less experience. To attract the stars of the show, even retired, into traveling across an ocean just to go to your con, it seems to me they might have their assistants ask about various things (security, accommodations, etc) and you need to have answers ready to go and thought out. Compare that to the time we got Beetlejuice from Universal Studios at Fur Fright. Same continent, same time zone, not a high demand. He was a great guy, but there's likely a different level of scrutiny into your con plan from him vs. Dr. Who.

Date: 2015-04-01 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's cool to read that you had a good experience at Who Regeneration. I'm happy to hear that it was so well organized. Did you say you met my friend who lives in Phoenix and is in our Shadowrun game?

Date: 2015-04-01 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I definitely saw him, and he got a big cheer in the "So, How'd We Do?" panel at the end of the con :) I was behind my table for the whole con and he was off running things, so best I can recall I didn't get a chance to introduce myself.

The challenges of being a dealer or staff at convention: your time is extremely limited!


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