Last Tuesday, I asked artists about their experiences with conventions. There have been a lot of interesting responses, as well as some advice. Please read the comment thread when you have a chance. The comments made me think about the impact conventions have had on Shannon Cottrell and I as journalists.
I had asked Shannon about this and she mentioned, "for that weekend or day it is just a free world to inspire each other."
On Saturday, Shannon and I covered Power Morphicon, a Power Rangers convention, for Style Council. As I wrote in the blog post, this was different from most of our con adventures in that neither one of us can say that we're Power Ranger fans. When we go to cons, we're typically there as both journalists and fans. This time, we were just journalists, but after watching the fans, and talking to some of them, we left ready to give Power Rangers another try. Their passion prompted us to reconsider a show that neither one of us had probably seen since the 1990s. It was certainly one of the more inspiring events we've attended this year.
There's often a sort of stigma to admitting you're a huge fan of something. You can tell in the tone of voice people will use when dropping terms like "nerd," "geek," and, particularly, "fanboy" or "fangirl." It's okay to like a movie or a comic or a video game, but once you start to appear passionate about the subject, it can be considered off-putting. When you go to a convention, though, all those unspoken rules about how much you can express your enthusiasm about something disappear. Whether you want to dress up as Zelda, bring your favorite ball-jointed dolls to a meet-up or debate the merits of moe anime for hours on end, it's okay. Everybody is a fan of something and those influences help shape who we become later in life. Having a place where we can physically interact with people and not hear something like, "okay, can you stop talking about cartoons already?" helps foster creativity.
Cons have had a profound impact on Shannon and I both personally and professionally and I'm happy to have had the chance to tell you a bit about what we do and who we've met. Thanks to Xeni for asking me to guestblog for Boing Boing for the past three weeks and thanks to everyone who kept reading. It's been a lot of fun. I'll be back to blogging daily for LA Weekly's Style Council today and hope to share more with you there.