Convention season 2015 is upon us. Gen Con Event registration was this past weekend, while Origins and UK Games Expo are just around the corner. As a freelancer, do you attend any of the big conventions? How about local conventions? Do you work/volunteer during the convention, or do you attend only as a gamer? Conventions are great for business relationship building, but they can also be very time consuming and take away from your gaming hobby interests.
This year, I was approached by Chris Birch to help manage the Exhibit Hall Booth for Modiphius like I did for Chronicle City back in 2013. Chris and I are friends, and I have been blessed with some great freelance projects with Modiphius, so I am glad I can help with the booth. I was also approached by two other publishers this year about possibly helping in their booths. I will not have time available to work shifts in their booths also, but I do plan to spend some time at their booths talking with the publishers and their staff. As you build relationships with publishers, it takes quite a bit of communication and balancing of expectations. I also have to balance my parent and caregiver responsibilities. This will likely be my last year managing an Exhibit Hall Booth for a publisher because of my increasing responsibilities at home, but I do plan to find ways to continue to work or volunteer my time at publisher booths at future conventions.
As a freelancer, I do not feel working conventions is an obligation, but it can show, in a very physical way, your commitment to a publisher, which could lead to more trust and thus more freelance projects in the future. I have found my time working in Gen Con Exhibit Hall Booths introduced me to many publishers in the game industry and opened many freelance opportunities.
I am curious about your thoughts and experiences regarding conventions. How do you view conventions in relationship with your freelance work?
- Do you attend only as a gamer, separating your hobby time from your freelance time?
- Do you attend as a freelancer focused on visiting with publishers, balancing in some personal hobby time?
- Do you volunteer a significant amount of time to work for publishers at these conventions with only a limited amount of personal hobby time?