Convention Next

A column article, Mission: Professional by: Steven Savage

So with Convention Career Connection out, I've been speculating on what comics conventions can do to keep up the progeekery. When I looked at it, I found quite a lot.

If you're on staff at a comic con? You've got a cultural foundation to really help people out while they're attending a con.

I always found comic conventions had a distinct advantage in having career events; a lot of people who go to these conventions are interested in, careers, and the professional–amateur–fan divisions in comics are often very ambiguous. There's a good, solid foundation of interest and history here.

Comic conventions have their panels on breaking in, on doing arts, and getting career advice from guests, and so on. In the conventions I've attended over the decades (yes, decades) I've seen and attended a lot of good stuff. The culture of comic conventions seems to have "professional geek" in its DNA.

(Is it any wonder I love them?)

If anything, they should just keep turning the carer volume up to eleven. Comics are having a kind of heyday between webcomics and movie adaptions, so there's plenty to teach and plenty to learn - and plenty of career options. Conventions can take advantage of that.

In fact, what I think, conventions need to do more of is to embrace the fact that they are the center points of a lot of change.

Look what happen to the larger comic conventions around the world - they're now giant multimedia events, marketing events, major release points, major merchandise unveiling opportunities. These conventions are becoming major "happenings" that are important to companies and fans alike. Indeed, it seems sometimes they're a bit too glitzy and big for people's tastes anymore.

I think that for people working the comic convention scene, they need to consider the ways they can take advantage of this new attention, and this transformation, to create career events for the attendees. This new hipness, this new awareness, can help a lot of current and future progeeks:

  1. Is your convention getting a lot of media attention? Play up the professional events and discuss the issues with the media. You can set the stage to do more - and get more people interested in helping with these events.
  2. Is your convention attracting more and more talent? Stick them on the career panels you have - or create new ones.
  3. All this new attention and awareness and multimedia? You've just gotten new panel subjects to discuss - and to discuss with a career-oriented twist. It's time to discuss the economic shifts going on.
  4. All the marketing glitz and so on? More grist for the career mill - discuss the marketing changes and the various media blitzes. In fact, invite all those guys who are doing PR events at the con to speak - they may like the attention (let's face it when you're the one running the embarrassingly huge media setup at a convention it might be a nice break).

Comic conventions are changing. Ride that change and build further foundations of professional geekery.

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