(The rest of the Convention Idea series is here).
I love convention professional events, as you've pretty much guessed. I've certainly done enough in the past, and am always looking for new things to do and new ideas.
However I noticed one thing lately – convention events focused on professional issues such as writing careers, artists, etc. focus on the people doing the work and looking for jobs. They focus in short, on the people who need the advice.
What I'd like to see is conventions focusing on having events for the people who do the training, the advising, and the mentoring.
- Parents – How many parents go to a convention with their kids and don't get what's going on or wonder about their child's future. Who's supporting them.
- Teachers – I'm not just talking about full-time teachers. A lot of people teach part time or occasionally. These folks not only make good sources of events at conventions, there may be enough of them in attendance – or people interested in teaching as a side line to their career – to attend events.
- Other trainers and educators – How many people tutor (or would like to), work in training, etc. How many write or want to write self-help books? How many post art lessons to deviantart? At a larger convention there's probably enough people to base an event or two around.
- General mentoring. Fandom has a lot of mentoring relationships (not enough to hear some tell it). Why not do an event or two on mentoring people in art, writing, careers, etc.?
In fact you, the progeek, have likely been a mentor at some time. Maybe a good panel would have made that time you tired to explain sports blogging to someone a bit easier.
So, convention-wise, consider panels for mentors, teachers, and parents.
- Inform parents more about the careers their offspring may be interested in due to their interest. They may not get video game careers, etc. so tell them.
- General panels on how to mentor people, perhaps on specific topics like writing, art, etc. Tie them in with the regular fan-to-pro courses.
- Rally your teachers, mentors, speakers to do a panel ON being person whose career, side career, or hobby is educational. Tell them how to use their skills and interest on the job or as a job – or just as a hobby.
- Why not do a panel on HOW to do job/skill/fan-to-pro panels.
- Throw a "mentor only" networking event for teachers, panelists, etc. to confab, talk, and share ideas and commiserate.
Yes, your larger audience is doubtlessly people who are hoping to have a geektastic career. But part of that audience may be people who want to or can mentor, want to train others, or are already supporting and helping their children or students. Give them some events and help improve your convention offerings.
– Steven Savage