I did several events at Animation On Display in San Francisco this weekend. Despite being a bit ill, I had a blast and wanted to relate what I saw – and how my panels went.
Animation on Display is a small con in San Francisco – well small by some standards, it's a good 1000+ attendees. It recently relocated to the Hotel Kabuki at Japantown in San Francisco, which you can imagine is a pretty ideal fusion; Japantown provides dining, space, and acts almost as an extra dealer's room.
I ran several events there, all fan to pro panels:
- When Your Child Sees a Hobby As a Job – This panel was for parents, but I adjusted it to be more about families when everyone brought their kids. This was really interesting as I spoke to parents and children about the possible conflicts of hobbies becoming jobs. The parents who attended were all very cool and aware and supportive – as one man said he liked that the panel confirmed he was doing the right thing.
- Otaku at Work: Why You Don't Have Your Dream Job – A humorous panel coming from a chapter in my upcoming book, a look at how and what sabotages people's dream careers. This one was packed, and people seemed to really enjoy the humor and the insights it provided. Another keeper, definitely.
- Gaming as a Career: What To Expect – A panel I do on video game careers, focused not so much on getting in, but what the industry's unique nature means for your career. Well-attended, and we had some attendees that shared wisdom too. Lots of good questions were asked. Also a gentleman who worked at crunchyroll found, after mentioning casually, that all eyes were on him with envy.
- From Fan To Pro – Using your Hobbies in your career – My ever-updated panel did good. We had some great conversations while I discussed ways to look at fandom differently to find out how to find career ideas. A big high point was the group helping a person brainstorm a way to mix fandom, martial arts, and his own business.
I wasn't the only one doing these panels ether – this was a con with a heavy level of career oriented elements:
- Panels on creation of iconic characters.
- Panels on voice acting.
- A panel on the nuts-and-bolts of creating your own fannish business by Venus De Coy (is there something about us folks with superhero names and fandom?). She didn't waste time and went right for the serious things one has to do to make a fannish business, based on her own real-life experience.
- Multiple panels on animation issues and careers.
This was a pretty intense convention event-wise; a lot of them were serious panels, even if sometimes done with humor. It was an impressive lineup. Indeed, I wished I'd been less ill since I wanted to go to more events (as opposed to sitting around waiting for the Red Bull to kick in).
The convention, as usual for AOD, ran extremely smoothly – they run with almost a military precision that keeps things running on time, AV equipment in place, and people moving properly.
The hotel was a bit oddly constructed, so for the first year there were some traffic jams, but they did get managed. A new hotel is always a learning experience.
Everyone seemed to have a blast, as did I. Next year, I need to get a hotel room and stay late. I'll definitely be bringing a round of events to it for 2011.
– Steven Savage