I definitely wrote 2017 in the title... Oops.
Happy New Year, RT friends! I've had a great start to the year with PAX South, school starting up again (I'm so close to being done!!), and working on some projects I'm really excited about! (and you'll definitely hear about at least one of them SOON tm)
That's not what this post is for, though. Several weeks ago I said I'd write a post about Podcon and WHOOPS I never did. So let's tackle that!
I heard about Podcon from John and Hank Green and the McElroys, who are also the creators/runners of Podcon (along with the Welcome to Nightvale guys, who I don't really follow but I admire their hard-work and creativity!) In 2017 I fell head-over-heels for the McElroy podcasts (The Adventure Zone is one of the most incredible stories I have ever heard, and I'm beyond excited for what they do next!) and the idea of a podcast convention struck every interest I have. Initially I didn't plan to attend, just back it at the level where I would get recordings of the panels, and then went Hey. I could also like... go to Seattle and attend it! Sure, why not travel even more this year, the week after moving across the country. GREAT idea! And while we're at it, why not apply to volunteer! Even better!
So I was a *bit* stressed about going. I had a lot going on, and I knew absolutely no one who was going. I was staying by myself, so I didn't have anyone to force my company on.
The communities Hank and John Green and the McElroys have built and fostered are absolutely incredible. I've never seen a community that is so friendly and open and welcoming. I don't know if it is the positivity that these creators put out into the world, or something else, but I have never felt as welcome and appreciated and valid as I did that weekend in a convention center full of strangers.
Everyone I talked to, or even smiled at, smiled back, and was excited to talk about their interests. Everyone was excited to learn about new podcasts, new creators, and new ideas.
Everyone was excited to make new friends, talk to everyone they saw, and delight in this community.
At volunteer orientation I almost immediately made friends, and spent the rest of the weekend with them. Everyone was very friendly and creative and easy to talk to. We've stayed in contact, and I'm confident we'll be friends for a very long time, thanks to a chance meeting because of a backwards shirt and almost falling off an escalator. (Nothing brings you together like the threat of death!)
I went to The Adventure Zone Live Show the night before Podcon, and made friends there as well, even though I had gone alone. We spent the hour long bus ride back downtown chatting.
I worked the signature area (Team Sigs for LIFE) and every single attendee and volunteer I talked to was friendly and chatty. People in cosplay were excited to talk about their characters, people with pins were excited to share their interests, people in line for signings were SO hyped to be there surrounded by other passionate fans, and there were SO many people who had brought art and pins and other knick-knacks to give out. For free. Just because they wanted to (I got an adorable little duck pin and a TAZ print and some other little things that are lovely!)
I didn't have a single negative experience for the entire weekend. I left re-invigorated, full of creative energy and positive feelings and a sense of accomplishment and community.
I guess because this IS the RT site, I'm obligated to at least do a little bit of a comparison to RTX, specifically RTXAustin for this.
I think Podcon, a first-year less-than-3000 attendee convention, felt a lot like the first 1 or 2 RTXs must have felt like - a long-awaited meeting of a community of enthusiasts and the creators they admire. I don't know if the sense of community the first Podcon created will scale as they grow, but I hope it does.
RTX certainly has, to a point. I will always love RTX, it was my first convention, and I've made some of my best friends among the guardians. But the tight-knit community I saw at Podcon, a community that has never had a platform to connect on (nothing along the lines of the RT site, or even the old forums) gave me so much hope, and a wonderful sense of belonging.
I'm not entirely sure if Podcon is my favorite convention - I'm very deeply connected to RTX, and I've built incredible friendships from it. But I think if I could only attend (not work) one convention, it would be Podcon. Even just hanging out in panel rooms before shows started we made friends and chatted and had a great time - and I wish the real world was more like that.