Greetings, and welcome to another rousing post from your friends at inDevelopment!
We talk a lot about going to conventions, but how do you find one near you? You may live somewhere rural and assume a con adventure is out of your reach. Well, it might be–then again, something could be happening right under your nose.
If you live within reasonable driving distance of a city, or even a college or university with a sizable science fiction or anime club, chances are good there’s a con brewing.
For the uninitiated, there are basically two types of conventions: fan-run and commercial.
Fan-run cons are–with a few exceptions–smaller, more intimate, and mostly for fans to get together and run discussion panels, workshops, and gaming sessions. These cons may focus on media, literature, gaming, or all of the above. Most fan-run cons take place in hotels and have programming that runs quite late–sometimes 24 hours.
Commercial cons are more like trade shows than conventions. They often take place in convention centers, due to the sheer amount of people they attract. Good examples include San Diego and New York Comic Cons. These cons focus on large vendors’ areas and big-name guests, with celebrity Q&A panels and autograph sessions.
Some cons fall in between these categories: Dragon Con has aspects of both, and it’s enormous, but at it’s heart it’s still a fan con. Creation Entertainment runs Star Trek events that tend to be smaller, so, while lacking the intimacy of a fan programming, fans are still afforded the opportunity to network with one another.
One isn’t necessarily better than the other, it just depends on what type of experience you’re looking for.
Here are a few calendars listing upcoming conventions:
Creation Entertainment – Official Star Trek events in the U.S. and Canada.
New England Science Fiction Association – Fan-run cons in New England and elsewhere in the U.S.
Southern Fandom Resource Guide – Cons in the southeastern U.S.
AnimeCons.com – Worldwide; includes all events with anime programming.
Try getting in contact with your local science fiction club–they may be able to give you information about upcoming events.
One more thing: Fan conventions rely on volunteer labor to keep things running smoothly. A great way to get involved in your local fan community–while getting a free or reduced price membership–is to sign up as a volunteer.
Thanks for reading!
Ell, for inDevelopment
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