Saturday, April 5, 2008

[GUIDE] Preparing for conventions and general big community meet-ups: Tips, tricks, and common sense

Tomorrow is IP e-Games's second anniversary event, dubbed Dom1nation II. The event will be held at the SMX Convention Center, which is right next to the SM Mall of Asia. Best to check out the map of how to get there, as well as make sure that you've pre-registered for the event. Be sure as well to check the shuttle service schedules, so you can see if you can actually get on one of their chartered buses.

Important Notes:
pCM Veya warns that boxer shorts, sandos, slippers, and the like are NOT ALLOWED to be worn at the event. Dom1nation II is still subject to security rules, and the set we need to follow in this case is the one laid out by SM Mall of Asia.

A four-day sale is currently ongoing at SM Mall of Asia, from 4-7 April. As Dom1nation II lands square on the Sunday of that sale, I suggest you plan your transportation accordingly, whether you're commuting or bringing your own ride. See the bus schedules link above.


Now: are you ready to go?

Whether you're all packed and set right now, or are thinking, "Meh, it's just a convention, I'll get ready tomorrow," you'd do well to pay attention to some of the stuff in this post.

Before you do anything else, read the Blacksword family's timely, excellent, and blogspotted Player's Guide to Conventions and Events. Tons of excellent advice in this entry; he hasn't been blogspotted for nothing. A few highlights, and some suggestions from me:

Bring a bag and lots of extra money. I'd recommend a backpack - it leaves your hands free, you can keep all your precious things close to your body, and there are lots of backpacks that look cool. Messenger bags don't always work because only one shoulder at a time bears the load of the bag and its contents, and you'll have to shift it from time to time if you want to avoid a backache.

Wear comfortable clothes. This includes having sensible shoes: rubber shoes, running shoes, and sneakers are best recommended. Wear jeans only if you're sure they're broken-in and comfortable. For the ladies, I recommend wearing modest, comfy stuff. There will be a LOT of strangers at a con, not to mention very few seats. Don't make it difficult on yourself by wearing extremely short skirts.

Bring a pen and papers. Blacksword actually recommends you carry at least two pens. I would respectfully take it one step further, and suggest you bring 2 good pens, at least 1 marker (of the Pentel or Sharpie type), and notebooks or loose-leaf paper. You'll need those for registration forms, autographs, doodling and sketching, and even taking notes of what's going on around you.

Required items include: con requirements such as IDs and game cards, cameras and/or camcorders, mobile phone. And it goes without saying: secure your belongings!

Be early. Registration takes time, and you might miss the giveaways that sometimes fall into the hands of lucky early birds.

Be polite. This is actually something you should do all throughout the con: while standing in line to get in, while meeting new people, while speaking with a celebrity, while taking photos.

Participate in all the activities that you can. You never know what you're going to walk away with: a cool prize, a new friend, or lots more fun than you had initially expected!

American sci-fi author John Scalzi also has some guidelines on going to cons. Even if the subject of that post might be leaning slightly towards advice for people who want to meet famous authors (such as China Mieville, Neil Gaiman, and Scalzi himself), the man's been going to cons for a seriously long time now, and some of his suggestions are pretty spot-on.

The "how to meet famous people" part of that post might well be tied into the fact that one of the Granado Espada PH guests of honor will be none other than GE RCM Hrin herself. Dom1nation II marks the second straight time she's graced this event.

Other than RCM Hrin, of course, you might want to "meet and greet" some other guy who you look up to in your respective fandom, gaming community, faction, or whatever. These tips will also come in handy then.

"Even though you've read ... (and our blogs) and feel friendly towards [famous people] ... you're a stranger, even if [they've] interacted with you through blog comments or e-mail or whatever."
Hence the need - I cannot over-emphasize this enough - the NEED to be polite.

"...the way to introduce yourself to [a famous person] is the same way you would introduce yourself to anyone you've not actually met before in real life. You come up, make sure [the famous person
is] not currently engaged in a task that needs [his / her] full attention, say excuse me or hello to get [his / her] attention, and then introduce yourself."

"Note the difference between public and private spaces, and public and private conversations."
If the famous person is talking loudly to a crowd of people, feel free to join that crowd. If, on the other hand, that famous person is talking quietly to a small group of people, it might be best to wait until their conversation is finished before attempting the "meet and greet".


ONE MORE THING: the rules for meeting new, famous, or even notorious people get somewhat fuzzy when the people you want to meet are female. If you're going to have to be polite when meeting other gamer guys, be doubly or even triply so when meeting gamer girls. No pawing, no leering, no rude words, no pick-up lines.

You never know if the girl you were trying to smarm up on: 1) has a bodyguard / boyfriend / posse, 2) knows enough martial arts to knock you out, 3) is more than capable of embarrassing you in the VERY public space that is a con, or 4) is really a guy.

Be smart.

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