I went to my first con since the pandemic hit and it was a mixture of feelings. It was great! But it was weird. It was exhausting, and it was BUSY. As with every year, I ended up in the Artist Alley selling my wares. I also hosted a variety of panels, and slaved away making sales because it was B U S Y. So lets break it down!
My Zelda panel is nothing new, but this time I changed it into a full game show. I was trying out new ideas and testing out new mechanics. It was a bit bumpy and I felt like some people were frustrated with it, but that's growing pains! I told everyone they were my test subjects prior to starting so it's not like I didn't give a disclaimer. However, the panel was a success and I gave out some great prizes! Some of my questions did stump people which I'm glad, but now I know my questions are a little too easy so that means I have to change them up! I added new categories as well that was fun to do. I cant wait to host this panel again with everything fixed for smoother shenanigans.
Cosplay on a Budget was always my best panel and once again, I had a decent size turn out. I still cover the same categories but I changed up the pictures to make it a little more recent. People had questions, they laughed at my jokes, and it was nice to share my secrets again. I've decided to retire this panel from the NC con circuit due to my saturation of this panel and want to revamp many aspects of it with new tips, ideas, and sources.
My Saturday panel was early in the day which I am SO thankful for because had it been later, it would have been chaotic (more is covered in my table section of this blog). My conventions panel had a lower turn out that previous shows but people had some interesting questions and tips to share which is always appreciated!! This panel has become outdated since the pandemic and needs a lot of revamping so I also chose to retire this, it also was saturated in the NC con circuit. I think people are bored of these panels now haha.
Sunday's panel was new and by far the best panel I've hosted to date. The turn out was HUGE and we talked about some very important subjects related to Haikyuu, it really was a panel dedicated to the impact this anime had on the world. I had some friends host with me (as 3rd Gym characters!) and we each talked about how the show influenced us. One friend said it was because she is just sports trash, another said it was because it helped them be more comfortable in their own body, another said it was due to his group of friends, and for me I just gushed about how much I love Tsukki. At the end, I had people come up to share why or how they got into it, what it means to them, and how it influenced their lives for the better. I waited so long to get this panel on a con schedule and I am SO GLAD it finally happened. I cant wait to host it again.
Friday the dealers opened at 12pm and it was a slow slow start. I was worried because well, I'm a pessimist. Once I learned everyone else was already making good sales and I was not, it brought down my mood a lot. I have to stop doing that. But after 3pm, basically when school got out, the crowds started coming in and sales really picked up. I had a large overhead cost due to what I invested in so I needed to make $200 a day to break even by Sunday. I was shy at that goal at $179 but it was still a decent day considering the tables are cheap and I'm local. I went home a little sore due to left over pain from Thursday set up and instead of finish my cosplay for Saturday for the contest, I bailed and went to bed instead. I wasn't really motivated more and again, pessimism got to me. Which in the end work great because Saturday...oof. Saturday.
First, I want to give a shout out to BellaEternal for making this shirt for me. My logo for my webcomic is "ask me about gay demons". It's everywhere. It's a great way to get people to talk to me about my demon boys plus it usually makes them laugh because "Gay demons? haha". I think it's a great way to get people interested in my webcomic because who doesn't love gay demons?? The webcomic can be found at the top of my website under "webcomic" that redirects you to my other site. Give it a read c:
Anyway, bailing on the cosplay contest (and cosplay in general) was the best decision I made in a long time because if I wore a cosplay, I'd be SWAMPED and miserable. I knew for a few weeks that Saturday was going to be busy because the QCAC facebook page kept advertising that Saturday badges were almost sold out. Now, every year they sell out of Saturday badges but this is the first time they sold out before the con even started. All the vendors were prepared for a BUSY Saturday. The hall opened at 10am and it was nonstop until 7pm. I arrived about 30 mins early and parking was already an issue, I actually got there an hour early but the line into the garage was A NIGHTMARE. Omg. Now I know in future years the better entrances in besides the front. I was so annoyed.
So I get there, do some mild reorganizing, realize I forgot my big display item to bring people in, my beloved Lucifer BJD. Ugh. Oh well. My friend gets there at 10a on the dot and we just prepare as the crowd is let in. It got hot FAST. At one point it was so crowded that the people at the door had to stop people from going in because it was at max capacity. Doing that also helped cool the room down a bit but not by much. I can stand heat so it wasn't the worst for me but everyone around me was complaining up a storm. I just wish there was air flow, it got pretty stagnant. And even after all this talk about washing hands and being hygienic for the pandemic, I still was catching a whiff of B.O. Seriously??? My new button, TAKE A FUCKING SHOWER, was very popular among the other vendors who popped by haha. My panel was early on that day which I was glad, I had a friend take over for the hour I was away because at the rate business was going, it would be too much for BellaEternal to handle on her own (for both of our sales). I came back, and went immediately into sale talk. Sale here, sale there. People where EVERYWHERE.
It started to die down a bit around 3pm, possibly due to a main event, but the brief moment I went out to go to the bathroom, the halls were so so SO crowded. I haven't seen this for QCAC EVER. It's normally a small con of about 5K people but they said they had about 8K in attendance but tbh it felt more than that. Lots of big cosplays too for the contest and lots of chaotic kids running around happy that they got to be at a con since the pandemic's start. I felt that in my bones.
I left Saturday feeling very tired physically and mentally and also stressed because I had homework to do that night AND finish a wig I promised I'd do for a friend lol.
At last, the final day. Vendor hall opened again at 10am but closed at 3. It was another busy day. It started a little slow, possibly due to hotel check out. But it was a good day. I had my final panel early on again that was great, but once I got back I was followed by the Haikyuu mob and they bought so much from me!!! It was a little busy for a second, it was hard to talk to friends passing by because I had to make sales. Sorry friends!! The crowd stayed consistent pretty much the entire time up until 3 when we closed. I was able to make over $700 which is a LOT for me and I was able to make back every penny I invested on top of some profit. I was so proud and excited for my next show.
Break down was fast but painful. I need more bins and a bigger cart haha. The line to get out of the garage was so LONG. I had to actually wait to back out of my parking spot because the line wasn't moving and everyone wanted to leave at the same time. Headaches!!
Once the con was over and I recovered, I did a proper inventory count to see what I sold and prepare for my next event: Hickory Comic Con! It's a one day event near me that I hear is pretty good so I hope to have another review for that at some point.
Thanks for sticking around and I hope to see you someday!!
[Photos of my panel curtesy of Karla]