August 27, 2012
What Is DragonCon?
From talking over Twitter this weekend I found out that a ton of people don't know what DragonCon is, so allow me to drop some knowledge.
Since 1987 people have been coming to Atlanta, Georgia (roughly 8 hours drive from The Secret Underground Lab) for DragonCon which has become one of the largest Sci-Fi, Fantasy conventions in the world. They say that they get about 40,000-45,000 people every year but it's closer to 65,000 or 70,000.
There is so much to see that it can actually short out your brain. it happened to my on my first year.When I got back my friends asked me how it was and I actually needed a few days to process all that I had seen and done, heard and tasted, battled and escaped from before I could talk to them about it.
There are panels about everything from making your own functional steampunk R2-D2, to meet-and-greets with some of the biggest names in TVs, Movies, Gaming and Books. There are thousands of people dressed up as their favorite characters, movie marathons, a sea of tables for table top games like Dungeons and Dragons, card games like Pokémon, Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh, board games like Risk, Settlers of Catan and King of Tokyo. There are several WAREHOUSE sized rooms stocked to the gills with Naruto headbands, Lightsabers (like mine and Yorumi's), Steampunk Goggles, Nerdy T-shirts, Comic Books, Art and anything else you can imagine for sale. There are nightly raves, Firefly themed shindigs, vampire masquerade balls and a constant stream of Concerts featuring people like I Fight Dragons, One-Eyed Doll and Voltaire... and, of course, our own Artix Entertainment Fan Panel.
We are a small company with a small but loyal fan base who keep showing up no matter how awful the panel was the year before. In fact, they keep giving us bigger rooms and better time-slots every single year.
At the panel we get to meet and hang out with some of our biggest fans, we talk about what is coming up, have a question and answer session, Artix usually shows some movies that he's made over the weekend and we usually have a Kick-The-Twilly contest. Last year we also had a Battleon Battle card game tourney which was a LOT of fun.
Every year we make a special item for those who have come from all over the globe just to hang out with us, but there is also an Artix Entertainment Flyer that we will be handing out that has a code for another DragonCon item for everyone. Just talk to one of your friends who goes to get the code.
This year the Artix Entertainment Panel:
- The time will be Saturday at 5:30PM
- The hotel will be the Hilton Atlanta
- The room will be the "Grand Salon E"
We've also started a tradition of holding a pizza party in Artix's hotel suite every year. Last year we made too much noise and got kicked out of the room so there are small changes this year. There is free pizza, soda and we get the chance to sit down with you guys and just chill out and talk.
This year's AE Pizza Party:
- The time will be Thursday at 7:30PM
- The hotel will be the Marriott Marquis Atlanta
- The location will be on the 10th Floor, in the Skyline meeting area.
We will also have a AE Fan Table in the Hayatt Recency Atlanta, on the lower level (we think). Members of the AE staff (and maybe some AE fans) will be manning the table all through the con. We have made special ribbons to attach to your Con Badges for all three days of the con. Make sure to stop by and grab your ribbons on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and keep us company!
A LOT of the famous people at con will sign something for you if you pay them, but lucky for YOU we're NOT FAMOUS AT ALL! All you have to do is give us a marker. We will sign ANYTHING. I mean that. Artix and I signed a dude's neck last year.
NOTE: WE DO NOT RUN DRAGONCON! AE has nothing to do with the set-up or funding of the convention. We just attend like everyone else. It's an institution in Atlanta and has been held there for the last quarter century so asking us to have it in YOUR hometown next year impossible on every level.
If this is your first Con, then you should carefully read...
Cysero's Con Survival Guide! (revised 2012 edition)
DragonCon starts THIS WEEKEND and as has become tradition I am imparting my knowledge and experience to you all. This is Cysero's Con Survival Guide '12!
WHAT TO BRING
- A Large Bag. You're going to to be carrying a LOT of stuff around with you and picking up a lot of stuff as you con so a large bag is necessary.
- A Towel. Your hotel room will probably come equipped with these but I always prefer to bring a large, beach-sized towel with me wherever I go. Hitchikers listed most of the uses, but for a more practical example: I have fallen asleep in the hallways of more than one convention hotel and it's always nice to have a towel for a blanket or pillow.
- Energy Bars. Meals come unpredictably during con and staying alive can be hard. You never know when you'll be stuck at a table-top gaming session that lasts 14 hours straight... and if you leave the brutal GM will just kill you.
- Bottle Of Water. See above. Also good for waking up wierdos who are sleeping in the hallways of your hotel.
- Extra Strength Energy Shots (Optional). You know, those little bottles of energy booster that they sell everywhere. These things are not great for you, but caffeine and sugar have no effect on MY metabolism and you might be built the same way. Con goes day and night, all weekend long. And it's a holiday weekend. I consider them a necessity during Con.
- Multi-Vitamins. There are thousands of people from all over the world at con and many of them have brought strange, exotic diseases with them. All these diseases mingle together and become some sort of super-flu affectionately called "Con Rot" that WILL infect you. Keeping your body's defenses up during con severely reduces the time and number of limbs you will lose to the Con Rot.
- Hand Sanitizer. See above.
- Cash (Well Hidden). As you explore the convention you WILL encounter some stuff you NEED to own. Swords, pithy shirts, novels, William Shattner selling autographs... and there is a 50% chance that the thing you want to buy, you can't buy with plastic. If you plan on falling asleep in a hall somewhere, be sure that your cash is in your sock or in the secret pocket in your boxers, or cloak... you don't want to wake up broke.
- A Mobile Computing Device. Most modern cell phones will do, but you might not get a signal in the underground mazes that connect the convention hotels. Having a wireless card in a small laptop is priceless. A smartphone attached to a 3G network will do (con-tested my iPhone in 2009, worked like a dream). You might or might not Tweet. You might or might not need to check your Facebook and Twitter but your FRIENDS will NEED to contact you about something that you HAVE TO SEE RIGHT NOW!
Additional: This year, DragonConhas perfected their free Con Schedule App!
You will eventually lose your paper one but so does everyone else so there are an endless supply of them in every corner BUT this way you don't have to get your hands sticky and wonder why the last person ditched it.
The App is for Ipnone and Android phones. It has maps, schedules for panels and speakers, concert times... everything you need to plan your Con experience.
- A Camera. Fully charged. Memory card empty. NEEDS a flash. Too many dark corners with Halo Spartans hiding in them. If you have newer generation smartphone with a decent flash, that will do fine.
- Glow Sticks or a Dance Party App. in 2010 Alces and I accidentally found ourselves in a mobile rave. One guy was wearing the sound system and power supply on his back and his two friends were each wearing giant speakers converted into backpacks. The party never stopped moving. Alces and I took a chance, caught a cab, went to an all night market and bought $44 worth of glowsticks to give to share with our fellow mobile partiers. We were gone about 4 minutes, but when we returned to the street corner, they had moved on. We spent the next hour following the sound of those booming speakers until we caught up. If on'y we'd had the glow sticks on us!
- Portable Gaming Device. Long lines. Really long lines. After last year this one was moved to the MUST catagory. Again, one of the newer generation smartphones will do.
- A Good Friend. The buddy system is always a good idea. That's why I bring Alces. He's part Dr. Gonzo, part Chief Medical Officer and part Tech Support. He is all best friend and has been for more than half of my life. If you have a friend who has been before and can show you around the ever changing paths of the convention, bonus.
- A Zorbak Plushy. It's the ultimate ice-breaker. "Can I get a picture of you holding this guy, please?" "Sure... what is he?"
- Good Walking Shoes. Trust me.
- An Umbrella or Poncho (Optional). Last year the Venture Brothers panel line was long enough that it went outside the hotel and Alces and I found ourselves in the middle of a rain storm. With all of the weather coming from Tropical Storm Isaac headed toward Atlanta just in time for con, I suggest packing weather protection. A poncho will fit in your bag but an unmbrella makes you look swanky of you rock it right.
- Duct Tape. This is just something you should have all the time anyway, BUT there are a LOT of people in a LOT of costumes and things start falling apart on day one. A well timed piece of duct tape can make you a lot of friends very quickly.
That should be, more or less, everything that you need to pack. Other options include: clean clothes, costumes, things you want autographed, video camera, your Battleon Battle Card deck (teach a stranger how to play!), a map of the con (some of us like getting lost), a pair of scissors (for a lock of Kevin Sorbo's hair while he's passed out in a fountain somewhere), a sketchbook (for ideas), a steampunk R2 unit, 8 channel progrmable remote control, Sonic Screwdriver, or grappling hook... just cause.
You're Doing A Release From Con?!
Yes. As always we will be running a release from our lap-tops using the hotel's internet. The team is scrambling like mad to get everything ready for the release so all we need to go is hit the GO button. Look for ALINA's Design Notes Post a little later on today for more details!