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Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Posts tagged “Conventions

Bristol Comic Con 2018 preview

Sometimes I travel a fair distance to attend things that might be of interest to our community; but this weekend I’m attending an event right on my doorstep here in Bristol. Yes, it’s time for Bristol Comic Con which takes place this Sunday 8th April and GeekOut Media will be attending to document the occasion.

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UK Anime Convention Guide 2018

With the start of a new year comes the start of a new set of conventions, of which we currently only have one planned, but many more will pop up throughout the year no doubt. We adore anime conventions and we believe it should be accessible to everyone, too. In this article, we’ll look at what etiquette you really should take with you to a convention, no matter the size – then we’ll look at some anime conventions coming up in the UK in 2018.

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Getting Social – The Kitacon Hype Train

3 Days Remaining

It’s been four years since that fateful Ayacon where Tim and I first met and this bizarre experience, this weird GeekOut journey that has changed me for the “better”. Last year I hosted a panel on how to build confidence at Amecon, and one of the best pieces of advice I had to offer was to simply go to places where like minded people are and introduce yourself, because I can personally attest to the fact that it works. After so many conventions in a fairly short space of time it has become less about meeting new people, and more about catching up with those people who I see nowhere else.

Kita and it’s contemporaries are well aware that they are a social engine, a driving force behind many people’s interpersonal experiences that brings them out of their comfort zone and immerses them in a melting pot of ideas and attitudes on a platform of common ground… they may not have thought it in those words but I’m sure they’d probably say “Yeah, that sounds about right.” They put effort into making sure that people who are nervous have the best experience possible by ensuring a convention that is enjoyable, accessible and most importantly, safe.

Something popped up on the Kitacon Official Social Group (and shortly thereafter the official page) courtesy of chairman Phil Hutchinson that can go some way to help break the ice:

The “I’m new” badge will be available at a meet and greet for new people shortly after the opening ceremony, and the “Dance” badges will be available on the door to the ball. Sadly my request for “Will Talk To Anyone” badges was declined on the assumption that I’d have done that anyway, how very presumptuous! How terribly accurate. Let this be a warning to you, I am liable to engage in excesses of social interaction.

So what advice is best for people new to conventions?

We don’t know you. Really think about it. We don’t have a clue about all the things that are making you nervous, all we see is someone who likes the same things as we do, which means you’re welcome to join us in a conversation or play a game. You can leave your fears behind, and greet us as a fresh start.

Join in. It sounds daft, because you’re already there, but if you’re at a panel that’s asking for volunteers then go for it. If there’s a board game you’re interested in playing, ask. Ask cosplayers for pictures, trust me, they’ll love you for it. Get up and dance if you feel so inclined… I don’t, but that’s who I am.

Strike out alone. You came with friends, that’s a good thing because they’ll look after you when you need it, just make sure you don’t spend the whole weekend trailing after them. If there’s a panel that you want to see but they’re going to something else, do your thing and meet up later. Or if you’re really not into the party but they want to stay, why not come chill in the games rooms?

Come back next year. During the closing ceremonies there’s almost always an announcement for other conventions on the scene, and usually that’ll include the next big summer con. Or get chatting with the regulars, there’s always more conventions because the demand is enormous.

You’ll get back whatever you put into a convention and so much more. No matter how terrified you may be, if you’re new to the game or old hat, come and say hi to us.


Don’t Forget the DMing 101 panel at 20:00 Saturday in Chancellors 2 hosted by yours truly. I’ll be dishing out advice for those who have never been a DM, GM, Story Teller, Keeper or any other form of role-play master, but as always there’ll be something for those who are longer in the tooth, and will doubtless degrade into hilarious anecdote swapping long into the night.

See you at Kitacon.


UK Games Expo 2017

Last year I managed to attend the Play Expo up in Manchester, got to meet one of my heroes, played some fun games, spoke to some lovely people and in general had a really nice time. We asked you last year if there are any more Expo’s that you think GeekOut should try to attend and report on. I have already asked my niece to see if they would want me to take them to one of the many Anime Expo’s scattered around the country but this week whilst browsing one of my regular sites I saw a link that I found sparked my interest.

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Amecon 2016 – Joel

It has been a long time since I experienced a weekend go by so fast.

Amecon returned, but in a new and improved venue, and it’s a place that means a lot to us here because the Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry is where Tim and I first met three years ago at Ayacon Apocalypse, the end of an era that left a vacuum of power for the other titans of the community to occupy, and occupy they have. (more…)


AmeCon 2016 – Cosplay Masquerade

In case you hadn’t heard, both Timlah and Joel have been out at AmeCon 2016 this past weekend. The festivities are still ongoing, however we thought we’d share some of the amazing cosplays that people have put onto the stage. Join Timlah as we check out Saturdays Cosplay Masquerade in our latest gallery.

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AmeCon 2016

As fun as Kitacon was, truth be told there’s one convention that I’m looking forward to far more this year, and mercifully I do not have much longer to wait. We spoke about Amecon way back in September when all there really was to discuss was a date and a venue, well as of Sunday there’s a hell of a lot more to talk about, the committee gave us a big update about the current state of affairs. So let’s have a look at the shape of things to come. (more…)


Returning to Kita

I have a long and lonely train ride ahead of me, to a long weekend traipsing back and forth between two hotels about a mile or so apart, carrying more bags than I probably need, spending money I don’t have on things I then have to drag back on the long and lonely train home.

Ye gods I love Kita.

We’re back for the third time, and as this is my seventh convention I’ve got a lot of people I’m looking forward to seeing who I only ever see at conventions, maybe getting a few games in with new people. For all this Kita is going to be shade smaller than in previous incarnations, it might not be quite so big a weekend as it has been in the past, but that won’t make it any less fun.

The timetable popped up on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, so let’s have a look:

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Click for full size

Friday

Registration opens at 10:00 for those who get there early enough, and there’s a couple of panels before the big opening ceremony. More importantly they’ve left an hour after the ceremony because it always over runs, smart move guys. Otherwise it’s a fairly relaxed day until the first party kicks off, a few panels for anyone who wants to dig right in, and more to the point I won’t have to wait until Saturday for the games room to open.

Also a geeky burlesque show, I feel that’s a no-brainer.

Saturday

The last time I stayed at the Holiday Inn down the road from the Hilton they never had bacon for breakfast, but I’m still looking forward to a weekend of cooked breakfasts. Anyway, besides breakfast there’s also the dealers room to look forward to in between panels, and while I’m seeing a few gaps in my own scheduling plans, I’m seeing a lot of hard decisions. In the morning, do I go to my first ever Build-A-Mech, or go to the Performing panel next door? In the afternoon do I go for LARP 101 or wait the half hour for Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (I love that game!).

The worst for me is after the Cosplay Parade. Without an event description I don’t pretend to know what the ATA industry panel will be (probably something obvious I’ve missed completely), and while the Cartoons: Not Just For Children aligns with my interests perfectly, there’s something so mystery box tantalising about the Untitled Kitacon Discussion.

As a metal-head, Saturday night is my kind of party, even as a non-drinker I shall destroy myself with biannual attempts at dancing interspersed with shouting myself hoarse. Or failing that I’ll go find a game in the bar somewhere, there’s usually a game of Cards Against Humanity, or someone up for whatever’s to hand.

Sunday

Ignoring for just one moment the infamous Kita’s Got Talent and the ever entertaining closing ceremonies, Sunday looks like a fairly well packed day too. Getting Legless with the Legless may have to supersede the charity auction despite how funny that proved last year, and Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer will be holding a luncheon that will likely be similar to his meal with Professor Elemental last year, although with 50% less dapper MC than the last time around. The man himself will return to perform in the evening before we are subjected to a long evening of cheese-tastic music. I’m sure Tim is thrilled.

Kita’s Got Talent usually presents us with a broader and more interesting selection of entertainment than does the more nationally recognised version, certainly a lot geekier. Finally the closing ceremony shall commence the winding down process as we come to terms with the end of another con, and another four months for me to sit and twiddle our thumbs until Amecon at the end of July.


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So that’s my Kita ’16, although there’s still a few things left unknown, so until the conbook is firmly in hand nothing is certain, not even certainty! Oh, but do read the conbook because Tim has an article in there. Are you going? Have you already made your plans? If so come see us, we want to see everyone, all at once if needs be.

Otherwise we’ll see you lovely people on the other side.


Conventions!

What a day.

I must admit I’ve not really had much by way of inspiration to write today, I’ve been focussed on one thing and one thing only. At 19:00 registrations opened for Amecon 2016. And at 19:33 all one thousand places had gone!

Kita 2015 was consumed in seventy three minutes, Ame has more than halved that record, and for good reason. The Warwick Arts Centre is quite possibly the most perfect location for a convention, the auditorium, lecture halls, screening rooms, on site facilities, and beautiful spots for photo-taking. Ame is going to have it all, and so will one thousand (and two) of us for the first time since the tragic passing of the late great Ayacon in 2013, where Tim and I first began our journey, both through the con-scene that has supported and driven us, but together in this venture.

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So many people even now despair at the arrival of christmas on the high-street, slowly but inexorably worming tinsel-tendrils into our collective awareness, ushering winter behind it. “No!” they cry, “Too soon to be thinking of Christmas!” while we fall over ourselves, practically tearing each other limb-from-limb to get into an event that’s at the end of July next year, without even knowing what guests we can expect.

Too soon would be ALcon. That’s at the end of this week, and I have to say it rather snuck up on me. I’ve been booked into it for months now, and while I’m looking forward to it, I still wasn’t expecting it so soon. I guess I’ll see many of you soon, bring a Magic deck and dice, and be ready for practically anything if you see me, I’m in an unpredictable mood.

In 2013 I attended my first convention. Last year I attended both Kita and AL, this weekend AL will be my third convention of the year. In keeping with my current pattern, I’m planning on a fourth convention for 2016, I just need to work out how to squeeze one into an already packed schedule, and I have ambitions of getting into an MCM or maybe Cardiff Comicon (even bigger ones of getting in as a press-member).

As a final comment, we want to thank you for your continued support. We fell three views shy of 4000 for the first time ever this August. You never cease to amaze us, and we’re continuing to work hard towards bringing you amazing new content with our traditional “flare” (read “bumbling enthusiasm”) and as we build towards a conventionless winter, we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our Bristol MeetUps and at Shrewsbury games events.


Kitacon – What Timlah’s Looking Forward To

Ah yes, it was last year that I was introduced to the hilarious antics of Kitacon. This year however, Joel and I will be attending the convention as members of press. We’ve checked out our hotels, we’ve seen the schedule of activities and we’ve been following the Facebook and Twitter feeds closely. Today, I’m going to look through the events that excite me the most and perhaps you’ll join in with my excitement!

This marks my tenth convention since I started attending conventions in 2013. Those who don’t know the history of this site may be surprised that the very first convention I went to was the motivation for making GeekOut South-West. The community was such a diverse, embracing spirit that I knew I needed future fixes of convention goodness, as well as an escape from the monotony of life when I’m back in Bristol, through the working weeks. Basically, without attending conventions, I’d probably still be working towards a career. Umm…

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Friday

Getting there

This’ll seem like a really bizarre thing to actually look forward to, but I’m really excited about travelling to the convention. There’s something so pleasing about leaving your home, with your bags and your costumes in hand, then making that long journey to wherever your convention is. I’m driving to this convention, as I drive to many of them, with my friend and fellow Kitacon goer Dave who has helped us write on our Top 10’s in the past.

I’ll be leaving my house at around 7am so we can get there nice and early. Dave is looking to play a few games of Magic: the Gathering with me whilst we wait, so it’ll be a good way to refine our decks and how we play as we wait for the event to start. This time, we’re not going to be about 2 hours later than expected. We’re going to be at the event way before it starts so we can get our passes and get the event off to a great start (including Joel and I having to sign the waiver to explain we’re acting as press).

Make, Code, Glow: Microcontrollers 101

Something about making things glow is just damn fascinating to me. Whether it’s rather simple programming that does it, such as the little LED USB connected microcontroller we backed on Kickstarter, mBuino, or it’s a full scale Arduino board – Whatever it is, it’s fun and it’s exciting. It’s time to light ’em up!

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Opening Ceremony

Yes, the opening ceremony of a convention is really a rite of passage. If you don’t sit through one of these, you lose a fair bit of context for what’s going down at the convention. From Charity Auctions, to Cosplay Competitions and even the Video Game Competitions, the opening ceremony covers them all. It also introduces you to the guests for the convention and allows you to just have a bit of a laugh from the very start of the event.

Quantum [BLEEP]

I’m taking part in Quantum [BLEEP] so I’m excited to see what this is all about. It’s going to be an improvised RPG session – But that’s about as much as I know about it. I’m excited to play the game and find out what mysteries are in store! Hosted by the brilliant Mr Purple who attends many of the UK’s conventions, Joel and I are looking forward to this introduction to Kitacon 2015.

Saturday

Prop Making For Beginners

Okay, so I’ve made a scythe. It’s not great, but it’s a scythe. I’ve also made a large mask. It’s not great, but it’s a large mask. I’m hoping that by attending this panel, there’s going to be a few tips and tricks I can pick up to make prop making easier and all around better.

Cosplay Masquerade

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Who doesn’t love to watch all of the wonderful costumes come to the stage and show their stuff? It’s part of what makes these conventions so damn fun to go to. The effort a lot of people put into their costumes is simply staggering. More than I can ever say for my costumes! Still, I’m hoping to check this out!

Dealers Hall

Another great element of conventions are the awesome selection of dealers you get access to. It usually works out cheaper to buy things at conventions than it does in the shops, as it’s a chance for the dealers to showcase themselves. Perhaps one day, we’ll be able to set up in a Dealers Hall for ourselves? Hey, take note Joel!

Sunday

Speed Cosplay

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Build a cosplay costume in a short amount of time, using limited resources? Sounds like my idea of heaven! I’m all about making cheap and easy costumes and on Sunday, I’ll be running around as Oskar! Muwahaha, let’s see if I can make something great in a short amount of time!

These Boots Were Made For Walking OR Intro To Mold Making

Both of these panels are taking place at the same time, so I’d ideally like to go to one of them… I’m just uncertain as to which one I should attend! Both would be incredibly useful for me, but we’ll see when I get there, I guess..!

Kita’s Got Talent?!/Closing Ceremony

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Who doesn’t love a good talent competition? These are usually great fun events and I remember some of the skits fondly from last year. I wonder if there’ll be anyone who can truly take everyone’s breaths away like last year?

This then leads into the very sad closing ceremony, when it’s all over and it’s time to wind down the activities. Having seen what goes on behind the scenes after a closing ceremony, I can tell you now that the staff will be working their behinds off during and after this to make sure everything gets packed away properly. Not all events close after this mind, as we’ll then be led into…

Professor Elemental and Mr. B live set

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I think enough said here, Professor Elemental makes his return and Mr. B makes his debut at Kitacon. I’m hoping for a jolly good rap off between these two gents of ‘chap hop’! Bitter rivals, yet also great friends, these two will put on one hell of a show!

 

And of course the most important things to Kitacon – The parties and the people! Also, this year, Karaoke! Hopefully Joel and I will be hitting up the Karaoke and embarrassing ourselves. If it happens, expect a bonus video to be recorded of my ‘particularly drunk antics‘ here on GeekOut… or Joel’s so say masterful singing. I think I can see the glass shattering now.

That’s it. That’s what I’m looking forward to most at this years’ Kitacon. I’m really looking forward to it and it’s only 3 working days left as of the time of writing this. Hopefully you’ll not mind seeing all of the posts we do during the event, as we’re all eager for it. My body is ready, my wallet is not… and my cosplays… Well, there’s still time! Buckle up everyone, it’s time to go Back to the Kitacon!