People kept asking us if we were going to ConnectiCon this year, and we kept telling them that we weren’t. Tickets are a bit pricey for casual con-goers and I had no plans on exhibiting like last year. On a whim, though, Roy was able to get media passes through his site. We weren’t too confident that our last minute request would go through, but within 24 hours we had confirmation, which is an AMAZING turnaround on behalf of PR Director Leo Marinak. When I applied for an online media guest exhibit last year it took months before I heard back from anybody.
So we drove into downtown Hartford to brave the heat and walk around the nerdy masses. It’s hilarious to see Hartford so active during the daytime on the weekends. Most businesses in the area were closed as usual, but some were smart and capitalized on the influx of visitors, offering discounts for those with badges.
Saturday we went to Woody’s to get away from the crowd. Despite being featured on Man vs. Food, Woody’s is enough of a hole-in-the-wall that we ate in almost entirely empty restaurant.
Afterwards we were joined by Shepard of Teamwork Cast and dove back into the convention.
The gaming room this year seemed to have expanded and had plenty of space for those to play together. The arrangement was really nice when we wanted to chat together and not have to shout over the noise. We found ourselves coming back to the gaming area to refuel and check our Street Passes.
The artist’s alley and online media guest hall were combined into one exhibition hall along with vendors like last year. The booths were arranged so that you could stroll through the artist’s alley first, then walk through the online media guest hall before hitting the vendors in the back. This arrangement is great for supporting independent artists as they are the first tables people will see and give their money to.
The online media guest hall was definitely my favorite place. This year’s roster of artists was fantastic and I feel incredibly lucky to have met some of my favorite online artists, not to mention meet up with artist friends I’ve met at previous conventions.
Cari Corene: I was introduced to Cari by Annie on Saturday night at City Steam. The next day I made a point of tracking down her booth, and had to circle back a couple of times because this girl’s table was constantly swarmed by attendees. For a good reason, too: her art stood head and shoulders above many others. Intricately drawn watercolors of mythical beasts filled her booth. My friend bought her Inari Fox print, which she later had framed.
C. Spike Trotman & Amanda Lefrenais: I discovered Spike’s comic Templar, AZ recently and it is quickly becoming a favorite. When I saw that she was tabling with Amanda, I knew I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to meet some of the hardest working artists I’ve seen online. I let my shyness get the better of me in the morning, but when Spike tweeted about selling out of copies of Smut Peddler, the decision was forced. I needed a copy! I needed to meet them! So I put on my big girl pants and dragged Roy and Shepard to meet them. I’m so glad I did. They were both friendly and professional, and it was clear that they really love what they do. They’re hilarious together, too. Roy said he could listen to them talk for hours.
Ming Doyle: I’ve been following Ming’s work online for a long, long time, and had always categorized her as one of the people that existed in Important People Land in Which I Would Never Tread. But when a friend asked me to show her around (it was her first time at a convention), I pointed out Ming as one of my favorites. She is really nice and approachable in person, which was kind of a relief because I’ve found that some artists from Important People Land can be a little cold. We both bought a tote bag from her, which has since become my go-to for outings.
Annie Stoll & Tim Ferrera: I met these two when I was tabling last year. Annie is an artist, graphic designer and comicker; Tim is a writer. Annie has been very generous with sharing tips and resources with me over the past year, for which I am forever grateful. Shepard ended up buying her infamous Ghibli print for his wife. I’m glad we were able to spend more time with these two on Saturday. Hopefully it won’t be so long until I see them again.
Jamie Noguchi: I met Jamie when I tabled next to him at one of my first-ever conventions. His energy is infectious and he always seems to be buzzing around with new projects. We caught the tail end of him winning Super Art Fight, which was filled with excited con goers. I’ll definitely make a point to watch it in its entirety next time. He gave me and my friends some Fuckin’ Do It stickers and bracelets. That man knows how to churn out excellent-looking merch.
I have no regrets on how I exercised my purchasing power.
Cosplayers are always fun to watch, but I didn’t see many groups going around. These Game of Thrones cosplayers made us stop in our tracks to ask for pictures…
…as did this Layton cosplayer, who Shepard introduced us to. He had a story behind why he wanted us to see this particular Layton cosplayer, but I only caught the end of it. When we met him I asked for a picture, to which he responded, “Well, you’ll have to solve a puzzle first.”
Oh. That was the part of the story I missed.
This man takes his role seriously. He whipped out puzzle after puzzle for interested con-goers, and a circle of people quickly formed around him. I couldn’t solve the puzzle he gave me (it was a level 5 puzzle, it had turned out – one of the harder ones). Roy was able to solve his level 2 puzzle in about 5 minutes, so I passed off my puzzle to him and continued to people watch, thinking about how this is why conventions are so fascinating and fun. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll wind up doing.
I was also reminded of just how…nice random strangers can be to each other. Con-goers would come along, try their hand at a puzzle, and politely leave. It dispelled some of my usual anxieties about meeting strangers, which was a nice change.
We ended Sunday night with a highly anticipated Monster Hunter 101 panel that was put together by Twitter friend Will. We were looking forward to it all weekend and it did not disappoint. Will broke down the basics very clearly and managed to slay a Lagiacrus with a gunlance – requested by the audience – in 15 minutes. It’s hard to speak while hunting, but to do so live in front of an interactive audience was very impressive. The audience also made the panel even more engaging with their enthusiasm. Shepard did a spontaneous giveaway at the end for whoever was the fastest at a Lagombi arena quest. He and Roy also gave out some masks and lanyards that were sent to us by Capcom.
We invited Will to join us for our latest episode of My Fair Hunter, and I’m so glad he obliged. Sweltering in our ridiculously hot and stuffy apartment, I was able to achieve G-rank thanks to Will, Shepard, and Roy. Roy and I messed up recording the second half of the episode, but expect it to come out some time this week.
Despite the last-minute arrangement, I’m pretty glad I was able to make it to ConnectiCon this year. Even though I didn’t exhibit, I still feel as though I’ve learned some things that can make my tabling experience better for next time. I’m also inspired to do a post series based on what I’ve learned both as an exhibitor and as an attendee. We’ll see.