Tag Archive: AwesomeCon


Post-AwesomeCon Update

This past weekend was my fourth AwesomeCon, which was also the fourth AwesomeCon, period. I’ve seen it grow over those four iterations, and I’m very glad that I’m in the neighborhood. It’s great fun, with great people and great entertainment, including some people, stories, games, and more that I probably never would have encountered without it.

Speaking at this convention is truly a highlight of my year, and has been since the beginning. Despite its size (starting out as a postage-stamp-sized event and growing this year to be a so-far-estimated 50k+ mass of humans, elves, dwarves, robots, and space marines), it’s always been laid-back, relaxed, and focused on fun. I’ve been to cons that took themselves too seriously, or let their success get to them, and AwesomeCon has always been the most welcoming, joyful event I’ve ever been to. Continue reading

WorkingWell, I’ve been silent. That is, I’ve been silent on this blog. Why? Because I’m trying to devote as much effort to my main job as possible. That is, jobs, but the priority goes to the company that pays me the most for my editorial and research skills. That company has been very generous with letting me balance going to places like AwesomeCon (and three more events this year, possibly five), so I’m trying to not take that for granted.

Sadly, thanks to a flare-up with my fibromyalgia that coincided with AwesomeCon weekend, well, I’m a bit behind. But I’m taking a few moments here to talk about the convention and a few other things before I let too much time pass.  Continue reading

AwesomeConEmails went out to all the speakers and panelists at AwesomeCon 2015 yesterday, and four out of seven of my suggestions were accepted. I was expecting two at most, so this is fun.

If you’re planning to go to AwesomeCon this year and want to see me talk, three of the events will be on Friday, and one (mostly of interest to gamers) will be on Sunday.  Continue reading

Mary Robinette Kowal is not the easiest person to disagree with. In the past, her response to a difference of opinion has been rather sharp. I know this, as I was the one she was speaking to. We used to correspond, but haven’t in years. I mention this not because I want to defame her in any way, but rather to point out that if she and I are agreeing on something, it’s something worth paying attention to.

On her blog, Kowal has addressed the Hugo Awards controversy, and I agree with her on every major point.  Continue reading

With Moderation

It’s the end of March, and that means that even as winter leaves, convention season shall soon be upon us.

Conventions are coming

Right now, I’m only planning on AwesomeCon and BrickFair, both local events. I’ve been invited to speak at AwesomeCon (though I don’t know which of my proposals they’ll pick; their panel schedule has been delayed); but while BrickFair is awesome, I won’t be there as an editor, writer, or anything but a guy who likes art made out of Lego bricks.

may be at the Catholic Writers Conference (in New Jersey) and possibly at Capclave (DC area again), but I’m not certain. I’ve been invited to speak at the former, but it may conflict with another obligation; and Capclave is just too far out to plan right now. I originally wanted to go to DragonCon again as well, but my schedule just got too full for that part of the year.

Regardless, I wanted to share some tips for one of the things I do well at conventions: how to be a panel moderator. Continue reading

As I noted before, AwesomeCon is much bigger this year. I forgot my camera and didn’t want to just use my phone, so I’ll take pictures tomorrow; but I found myself looking around the dealer hall in disbelief. That room alone would convince anyone who didn’t know better that this was an established con, and not something in its second year. The staff and other volunteers were doing a top-notch job, and the convention center staff were extremely helpful to everyone.

Also, I was amused to hear one of the screens playing “Everything is Awesome” (from The LEGO Movie) on continuous loop in the library. Despite its ultimate meaning in the movie, I was still appreciative! Continue reading

ACDClogoThis Easter weekend happens to fall on the third weekend in April, which means only one thing: it’s time to cosplay as the Easter Bunny at AwesomeCon!

. . . okay, I won’t actually be in a bunny costume. But I will be at AwesomeCon. I was invited back to do another presentation at DC’s only genre convention (sorry, otaku, but Katsucon doesn’t count). I’ll be part of a panel this Friday at 4pm, called “Worldbuilding and Fantasy,” and giving a solo talk on Easter Sunday, “Writing Dynamic Characters,” at 11:15am.

I was at AwesomeCon last year, and it was pretty fun. It wasn’t the biggest convention I’ve ever been to (nor was it the smallest), but between what I observed and my brief conversations with Ben Penrod, the convention organizer, I could tell it wasn’t going to be satisfied with a small footprint.  Continue reading

ACDClogoOver the past weekend, I attended AwesomeConDC, the first genre/comic convention in the Nation’s Capitol. It was an interesting mix of both small and large; it’s the first year for this particular location, but it’s part of a regional franchise . . . which meant that while it was small, it still thought big. This one’s definitely going to grow.

I got involved in the con because the organizer, Ben Penrod, was looking for someone to do a panel on Harry Potter. I’m a (casual and kind of infrequently-attending) member of a local Harry Potter fan club, the DADA (or “Defense Against Dumb A’s”), and when he posted on our message board I mentioned I had experience with public speaking, speaking at cons, and moderating panels to boot. I also have a passing familiarity with the given topic. (Read: I did my thesis on Harry Potter.) 

Ben invited me to give a presentation on writing, and was originally going to have me moderate a novelists’ panel. The wound up getting cancelled, and the second was given to someone else; and when I showed up to moderate the panel on Harry Potter, no one actually showed up for the other seats.

A bit of a mess, yeah. Not really the con’s fault, though; in addition to the craziness that happens with organizing any convention, they wound up with more programing than expected and had to cut something; and the other panel actually already had a moderator, but Ben just didn’t know at the time. And even though a panel on Harry Potter turned into just me babbling on the subject and taking audience questions for fifty minutes, the audience was very kind and didn’t throw a single tomato. And it was a much larger crowd than I’d expected, considering I was competing with Futurama actors next door.

The original topic was going to be (quoting from the program): “Why is the world of Harry Potter so engaging? Is it just the story we read, or is there something more to it, something more enduring that sparks the imagination?” We discussed the purpose of fantasy in the larger culture, what benefit we get from it, why some stories are so engaging, why reboots are common right now, and so on. I got questions on Harry Potter, fantasy languages, Percy Jackson, dropping clues for attentive readers, and a bunch more on writing and editing in general. And for the first time in my public speaking experience, I was unable to get off the stage before people were already asking post-event questions.

Oh, and one young lady wanted to be certain of the exact spelling of G. K. Chesterton’s name. I’d call that one a win.

Ben sent me an email during the talk: “You are awesome. I am so sorry this didn’t go as planned. We will do something great next year. Anything you want, and we will plan WAYYY ahead.” I must say, I’ve never been booked a year in advance, and I’ve never been given carte blanche. I’m all giddy. 😉

So in other words, while I was stressing about not having enough people for a full panel and then discovered that no one else showed up, it turned out pretty well. I had fun, and I’m very glad that AwesomeCon wants me back.

The convention itself is very much centered around comics, and the only reason it didn’t have an Artists’ Alley was because it was kind of hard to tell where to stash it — about a third of the dealers’ room was comprised of artists of various kinds, and they were doing a pretty brisk business. This seems to be an excellent low-overhead con for small-name artists who are dipping their toes in the convention scene. As I said, this convention is definitely going to grow; the space they had was full to bursting, and I suspect they’ll double that next year.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures this year; actually, I didn’t expect to see so many good costumes around at a first-time convention. I did take two, though — my favorites not because they were so “authentic,” but rather because I’ve never seen either a Static nor an X-Men: Evolution cosplay before. In fact, the young lady cosplaying as Evo Rogue was delighted that I even recognized the source material. Static unfortunately turned out blurry, but that was probably his electricity powers interfering with my camera.

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Note: the Wolverine and Emma Frost pictured here are from Wolverine and the X-Men; Storm and Rogue are from X-Men: Evolution.

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