Why I Wrote "Convention Career Connection"A column article, Mission: Professional by: Steven Savage
(A variant of this post was previously published at Fan To Pro.)
Last year I set about writing a book on how people can do career events at conventions. I titled it (being in love with alliteration),Convention Career Connection. I finally got it done, and out, self-published, at the end of March.
You can see more here.
So why write a book just on comic, SF, gaming, etc., conventions and the career events at them? It's strange, but after writing the book I wanted to share my feelings with my readers.
I believe in the power of conventions. They bring us together, they let us experience amazing things. Conventions enrich us in many ways - and in fun ways. I have been going to conventions on and off for 29 years, and my only regret is I didn't start earlier.
I believe in the power of fandom and our geekiness to help shape our careers. I believe that our loves and passions should drive our visions of careers and our place in the world. We are at our best when we do what we care about in many, many ways.
So, I wanted to try to formalize a set of mental tools and guidelines to help people make career events at conventions. I wanted to make it easier, clearer, and - if nothing else - to provide a tool to inspire people.
A convention is a marvelous place to run career events. You have a good idea of what the passions and interest of the attendees are. You have excellent potential teachers in attendance. People are in a good mood, and thus receptive to a good learning experience.
In fact, the sheer diversity at conventions, and the many potential ways to reach and teach people, are kind of overwhelming. I've seen absolutely amazing career workshops and panels, and I've seen the same old same old. So I wanted to make sure there was a guide to inspire people to create new and more effective career events - or to realize when the usual was actually appropriate.
I also realize that when it comes to creating workshops, panels, and so forth on careers, it's kind of hard to know where to start. Maybe that's the reason for many redundant panels and repetitious events–people stick with what they know. So I wanted to create a kind of system that would help people know where to start.
I realized some convention events to help people with careers really don't "go farther" like many professional training events. There's no follow-up, no handouts, no support community. I want do encourage people running conventions to include some of the same things that professional training events did. Sure convention is all the way!
Finally, let's face it; the economy sucks right now, the Great Recession grinds on, and many people are seeing their dreams crushed or deferred. This is my way to encourage fans, gamers, otaku, and geeks to turn their conventions into career engines and return people do their dreams.
So that's it in a nutshell. Why I wrote a book about it.
So you? You with the dreams of being a comic artist or an editor, the dream of a writer or a game programmer, go make it happen. I'm not talking your career alone - I'm saying go help out at that convention you attend, or run, or speak at. I'm saying go make it a career dream machine.
The potential is there. Make it happen. For us now, and the geeks yet to come.