[BUSINESS | PERSONAL] ConnectiCon

It was Saturday in July 2009 at ConnectiCon. All my friends had abandoned me for general convention fun. The masquerade skit my friends and I edited together at the last minute, despite months of planning, still needed to be rehearsed. I sat alone at a rounded table, near the convention food stand, an exit from the dealer’s room, and the tabletop games. In my hands were a pair of yellow shorts that I was tediously hemming the bottom of for my younger sister to wear during our skit. I looked down and a single thought ran across my head: This isn’t worth it.

After 2009, I kept away from all conventions. In 2015, I decided to return…but as an artist. In 2016, I attended as an artist. And in 2017, I returned to ConnectiCon, as an artist.

Before the Con/Thursday:

  • I picked up my friend from an hour and a half away;
  • Two of my friends, my mom, my husband, and I all worked together to finish as much as we could before the convention;
  • I tried to print out whatever prints were missing & my printer kept messing up…turns out I needed to restart my computer;
  • My friends and I went to get our passes; we didn’t know where we were going and were eventually directed to the loading dock because we were part of the artist;
  • My first thought arriving to my booth: THERE IS SO MUCH SPACE, I COULD DANCE!!!!
  • My first reaction to arriving to my booth: jumping up and down and feeling a tiny bit nostalgic because CONNECTICON!!!
  • We set up my booth, minus my product, because I was still trying to put everything together when we left to pick up our passes;

Friday:

My husband and I left later than I intended. We picked up our friend who lived nearby and drove off to the convention center. I was tired and exhausted and I just wanted to get to the convention and do the remainder of my set up.

You can probably imagine how much I wanted to cry when I saw the sign in front of the convention center garage that it was full. I did not know where to go and I wanted to break down in tears because I did not know where else to park. I decided to pull around to the loading dock, considering I needed to unload my merchandise anyway.

After unloading at the dock (thanks to my friend and my husband, who kindly took everything inside), I asked one of the staff members where do I park if the garage is full. The staff member laughed and said he doubts it was full — there were ten floors! He recommended I just pull around the corner and go in from there, so I did. After going up a whole bunch of floors, I finally found a parking spot…on the roof between two cars that weren’t parked well.

Also, it was raining. Fun.

Anyway, I managed to go inside and set up fairly fast. I sat down and got settled in, working on putting together my prints binder. (My previous one got messed up when I tried to do a photo shoot.)

The convention soon started. My husband and I were sitting behind my booth while my friend was off exploring. My husband and I watched as Doug of Nostalgia Critic walked browsed the booths of Artist Colony…and walked over to mine. He actually walked over to mine. We didn’t even have to call him over! We had a very casual conversation that reminded me a lot of when I talk to Michele Knotz (who is one of the most awesomest people have ever had the pleasure of knowing). It was just a fairly brief exchange of words. I can’t remember if he took a booklet or business cards, but my husband says he did.

I wish I had the opportunity to speak to him for a bit longer. I would have loved to tell him:

1.) some of the illustrations he is looking at probably were worked on while Nostalgia Critic ran in the background

and

2.) I am a huge Pokémon fan, especially of the TV series. I was introduced to it when there was only 151 known Pokémon plus Togepi. It has been a strong influence in my artwork, among other things. Even though I grew up with the original Pokémon series, it is among my least favourite. I have had a hard time explaining in the past exactly what I don’t like about it. His Pokémon the First Movie review made me laugh and so happy because he was able to perfectly describe what I felt about the original series. (Of course, please do not get me wrong — I appreciate the original series for what it is and without its existence, the TV series would still not be around today; however, if given the choice, I would rather watch any of the later series, ESPECIALLY Diamond & Pearl.) If anyone was ever to ask me why I don’t like the original series all that much, I would happily direct them to his video.

Anyway, he left, I got back to working on my prints binder and putting up my booth lights (unless I did that before I started working on the binder…I can’t remember). I made sales, talked to people…to be honest, it like…I don’t know.

Most things weren’t notable. It kind of blended into every convention, which I guess I’ll talk about a bit later.

My husband brought Andre of BlackNerdComedy over to my table at some point during the day. It was fairly cool to see him in person — I’ll admit, I haven’t watched his channel in a long time (I had been watching it around the time WheezyWaiter and Tobuscus were super popular), but I’m always happy to see his face show up in videos on other channels. We only talked briefly, even briefer than the conversation with Doug. I couldn’t tell if he was trying to be polite, if he actually was annoyed, or if he was in a hurry when he spoke with us. He said he had to go run his panel. (No, it wasn’t a bad interaction. I was just like…is this okay that my husband brought him over here? If it wasn’t, thank you for grinning and bearing it, Andre!)

Towards the end of Friday, I FINALLY saw some familiar faces.

I saw some of my friends who I haven’t seen in a while.

I saw PhG from Arisia Con, who was the first person to write me a fan letter (and thank you PhG for spending as much as you did on my works!! I really appreciate it! ;w; I’m sorry there wasn’t cooler items.)

And…I think the day ended pretty okay.

Saturday:

MY BEST FRIEND WHO USED TO BE MY CUSTOMER SHOWED UP FINALLY AND WAS MY FIRST CUSTOMER AND SPENT AN AWESOME AMOUNT OF MOOLAH ON MY MERCH.

She bought stickers. And pins.

I saw PhG again.

I talked to more people.

I…I don’t know. I was kind of expecting Saturday to be eventful, but it wasn’t. At least, I don’t remember it being eventful.

It was mostly chatting with my friends and greeting customers and enjoying people and watching awkwardly as people were like “naaaah, not interested” (which is fine!)

Sunday:

I made my first sale before the doors even opened. One of the cleaning crew stopped by and liked my little round pebble magnets and bought the Seamay Chibi and the Coral Chibi one. They were happy when they found out the water element association with both characters, which I thought was super cool.

After that, I made a couple of more sales pretty quickly. Of course, they quickly trailed off…

I did see PhG again, although very briefly.

One of my friend’s brought over Isaiah Mustafa, you know, the “I’m on a horse” Old Spice commercial guy, to my table. I felt bad for having a minor starstruck moment, but I maintained myself because I was at the convention on business. We had a pleasant conversation that was casual, also reminding me of the one with Michele Knotz. He even took one of my booklets!!!

Sunday ended on a pretty quiet note with not too many sales after the first two hours. One of my friend’s layered my convention items on my little hand cart amazingly well, making me super thankful for his help. At the end, my 3 helpers, plus two of our friends walked us out of the Artist Colony. We put everything into the car and took an end-of-con picture. Despite it being slanted, it was a sweet note to end on.

After Con Thoughts:

I wish I had gotten pictures with Doug, Andre, and Isaiah, but I wanted to be like an uptight professional who can only have fun when talking about the product they are selling. Oh well.

I wish I had the opportunity to walk around the convention, just to explore the old halls I once roamed, but you know…uptight professional mode.

I wanted to sell more than I did, but I understand that I am at a severe disadvantage. I am selling original artwork with original characters that are a part of my original stories. I am surrounded by people who also draw in anime-influenced styles and fan art. Until my works become more well-known, I will be at a disadvantage. Once my works, however, become better known, people will be willing to spend more money — for example, thegalaxycollective (my friend) and PhG, who spent the most money on me this weekend, are already fans of my work. I think it will help. Maybe.

Or maybe I am just whiny and delusional and I don’t deserve to be thinking that way. Who knows.

I am going to stick to what I do and focus on my future. I know where I want to go, where I should go, and what I am doing.

I expected ConnectiCon to be terrible. While it certainly wasn’t terrible, it definitely was noting special. At most, it was the largest convention I had been to. All 17 slots for the Newsletter sign-ups were filled in, which was cool. I met some people from Arisia Con, U-Con @ UConn, and even a person from Fubuki Con!!! That was really cool. Otherwise…it was lackluster, but that’s okay.

I wish too my online shop was completed before the convention, but it was not. It’s not even done right now, although I’d like to think I could get it done later this week. There isn’t too much more to go with it. Most of it is updating artwork.

I hope everyone is doing well!

I know I sound ungrateful, but it was definitely a nice experience. I hope I can start rolling out works early next year.

I am looking forward to Camp Anime in about 2 months!

Thank you everyone who made ConnectiCon a pleasant experience. I hope I will not disappoint!