I couldn’t manage it. This is the one project I did not manage to meet the requirements for. Between my courseload(s) and full-time work with an inconsistent schedule, finding an event to attend escaped me. I’m assuming that I have classmates with schedules even crazier than mine who managed to complete this assignment, but this one simply fell off my plate.
Nevertheless, I have attended events in the past. I can’t prove that I attended them; I have many videos of myself at these events, but none that I’d be willing to share. This is because the events themselves weren’t specifically for professional endeavors, and we weren’t getting paid, but we were there as professional guests. Our activities at these events were conducted with networking in mind. At the very least, I’d like to be able to tell a story related to the topic at hand and I hope you’ll find it interesting.
I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a part of a group YouTube channel. Not only were these people my colleagues, but they were (and are) my best friends. If you’re curious, you can read about our wildly tumultuous origins in this post from the Fall.
As a group, we attended several conventions as guests/industry pros and saw the results of our channel’s growth in real-time, with every convention we attended. Our first convention was in Cleveland, in the Fall of 2012, where we hosted a blended panel about our content, with a boost from more popular figures in the industry. Our audience consisted of maybe 50 people and I’m sure it was only because we had more prominent people helping our panel. No one knew who we were at the time. Still, I’ll never forget meeting with other industry figures in hotel rooms and restaurants to discuss future plans for collaboration, or sharing upcoming projects with each other. We made our first connections at this convention.
The following convention took place in Seattle, in the Summer of 2013. By this point we were prominent figures in our industry ourselves. I was personally picked out of a vendor hall for an interview, our team was included in several panels, including an exclusive panel of our own and people knew who we were. Our panels held about 100 people at this point.
From there on, we attended mainly the largest conventions in our industry as headlining guests. Our panels held hundreds of people. As individuals of the group we were all sought after, and as a team we were signing autographs and networking in green rooms. It’s a little hard to believe now, since the channel no longer exists and these events are all in the past. I learned about in-groups and cliques in the professional world, and how to handle competition that is actively seeking to trample all over you. The solution was obvious: don’t respond to provocation, and be on your best behavior at all times. The hard part was also coming to an agreement with a friend who had ended up on a few people’s blacklist, the mutual decision being that we would temporarily dissociate from each other. This was the last big convention we ever did as a team, intentionally.
I’m still involved in creative endeavors, and hope to someday guest at more conventions with these new projects. The networking was invaluable, and seeing our real-life audience grow over the years was an unforgettable experience. All my past experiences at these events have all been extremely useful, and I’m looking forward to the time we can resume normal activities.