SO people will ask me soon enough after the three day jaunt to the Emerald City (or at least one of its many 'burbs) how was the show? How did you do?
Well curious ones I will fill you in WITH THE PROS AND CONS OF CRYPTICON!
Like the buildup of Holst's "Mars, Bringer of War" in returning to a show that had left me so frustrated and mad last year I was never quiet sure if I was going to return as a vendor but certain planetary alignments came into play with the email to start the process up again.
Ok, so my documentation of photos and the litany of complaints did not fall upon deaf ears. Yea! Now I get a table of my choosing. Cool pass the word on down to my buddy George who was with my during last year's poor showing.
BUT I am getting off topic.
1). Travel time to show. In times past when you travel with a group of friends to an event time personal time schedules can get really messed up. Not so this trip.
2). Friends. I really couldn't have asked for a better group of people to travel up with. Though I will say our banter is best left unspoken here with maybe the exception of the "Brown Bomber" it was the most hilarious time up. And it did not stop when we got to our final destination (haha play on words).
3). The location of the show. Seattle is not that far away from PDX. Some cue up in the in flight movie? Oh wait, we've got one already going on.
4). The crowds. I would have to say that they were the easiest to deal with this year. Very little to do deal with the cos players this year and the width of the floor layout was easy to get around others.
5). The guests. Most if not all celebrities will or choose not to mingle with the regular crowds. After having a morning coffee drawing session broken up by Michael Berryman (from the original Hill Have Eyes). It was a wonderful and hilarious time to talk to an actor that has been around for a number of years. It's not often that you get some personal insight into these people one on one. And George and I were just kicking back and doing some drawing while having some coffee.
6). The Table. Somehow someway we managed to get bumped from having a bad a good table in artists alley to a table inside the red room. This again was for free so it was totally cool. And things started looking cool.
7). THE PAID FLOOR REPS.
There were some people that knew exactly what was going on and where and when of events and vendors. These people like Ryan and his wife whom I had met at ECCC about 4 years ago were there along with one other bald headed goatee gentleman (I can't remember his name) constantly checking up on everyone there at the show. Fantastic. Thank you so much.
8). THE COST.
I THINK that this was the main reason that I went this time as well as George because of how things were handled so poorly last year. A free table was a HUGE bonus without the huge overage for traveling up. We really only needed to cover the cost of the printing, hotel, food and gas. Without the $150.00 for the table we could focus on other cost issues. It was great that Troy (the organizer of the show) realized what had happened and did the right thing by giving us a table.
8). THE SET UP.
This one has to go to my girlfriend Beth for lending George and I two wire displays that she had been using for her shows with her prints and postcards.
BUT THERE is a pattern beginning to form here... can you see what it is? HERE IT COMES
1). The TABLE.
|2015 Crypticon Floor Plan. 204 was our Final Destination.|
Now as thankful for having a free table is awesome. I don't think that any vendor would ever say no to something like that. I sure the hell didn't. But when tables during check in are only marked with a number and you haven't been given a lanyard and a badge and a map of the floor event layout (like at most shows when I have been to -Rose City, ECCC, Jet City, PacCon, Stumptown- )and the though I know that most of the folks who are helping out are volunteers man there somebody needs to make a guidebook for these disenfranchised S.C.A. members to help the fuck out.
BUT I DIGRESS.
There was a guy who was at our table after we checked in to our hotel room and it was like "What..? Is this your table? Ah hell no I ain't getting lost in the mix this time! Fuck that!" I ran down to the check in and found that we'd been "Up-Graded". We didn't even get a say on this. Personally, I think that if we had stayed with the artist's alley table that was agreed upon through email I know we (George and I) that we would have sold a shit ton more than we did.
I think George and I would have done better had we had stools to sit upon rather the con chairs that were provided for us at the show but there was no way for us (or them, the organizers of the show) that we would have needed such things.
But you live, you learn.
We didn't really have any other issue since were moved into that space without another vendor (artist or other) next to us on one side and a couple of writers on the others.
That's until the next day of Saturday.
Speaking of Saturday, THE OTHER issue with the table was one of our next door neighbors who was not there Friday moved in on Saturday. morning for set up. To me this is always a big issue when you have change ups in the layout of a show and then make changes to everything that doesn't match up to the floor map.
I can only assume that there were a number of people who didn't show up for the show because of other commitments or other personal issues. Everything was going well for us. But it wasn't until the introduction of our fedora wearing gnome of a neighbor whom burst onto the scene like a case of bad acne. His table looked like the pizza face of artwork; a smattering of gloobed on color with only one kind of bad technique being added to make it look cool.
AND ON TOP OF THAT...only did he not stand up once to greet his customers with loud over the top voice of introduction but also devaluing the other surrounding artists around him by making his Kinko's Prints $6 bucks a pot without a backing board and cheap plastic bags but the kicker (to me anyway) was that he had the nerve to have a fucking tip jar!
Who does that at a show?
Again just bad vendor etiquette.
It was leaving a bad taste in our mouths and I for one hate that flavor.
4). ORGANIZATION AT CHECK IN.
Years have taught me that if it can slip through the cracks it will. This was no show was no different. I knew that I had to stay on top of this issue because all these people who were working at the show again were mainly volunteers. I am glad that they are they are there with their enthusiasm for the show and everything but I really would hope that they would get some better organization going on.
Timing was a major factor that was constantly being brought up by the vendors and artist's alley – When do we show up? What time does this take place? Where are we supposed to go? There were two times that were shown on SCHEDULE once we were able to get one that was passed out to us once were set up. Shouldn't have this been dealt with like the aforementioned lanyard issue and show packet?
One would think so.
But I had to wait in line to find out what the hell was going on. Again look above the cons for the table.
AS they say this was the weakest link in the whole of things. I am not sure where they (God Forbid!) hired these guys but PLEEEZ! The old worn out t-shirts of Cthulhu that look like baby swiss cheese and the slightly unkempt beardos without anything so much as a t-shirt as a minion/henchman just made it difficult to ask questions about what, when where anything was taking place.
I KNOW these guys are unpaid – no, really I get it. But there should be someway to easily recognize volunteer from the crowd there.
Surprisingly there is no actual photos on the web of any of the volunteers to post. Maybe they thought that if people saw them there nobody would want to come. The horror of it all... the horror....
6). PASSERS BY.
Now I might get into shit about this but there was a general over feeling to me that nearly none of the artwork was worth stopping and looking at. I get it. Not your cup of tea. Even one of my sisters never quite got it why I illustrated the things that I do. But there were those who seemed intimated by the work and wouldn't have even come up to the table if I hadn't chided them to come over. It wasn't even the sale that I was going for (though that's in the back of your mind) but there was not the larger crowds like that had been there in the past. And not a lot of people were asking for business cards even though I did have a few interests in commissions and more comics.
There were a few crazy people that managed to get in but when you can 't tell if someone is a true whack job V.S. an act as a vendor -shove off! These folks are in costume as well and I couldn't tell if they were there for cos play or what but I don't need that kind of headache for figuring it out nor does anybody else for that matter. I have a display to show my work I shouldn't have to hide behind it avoid talking to people.
7). THE COST.
I know a number of my friends and buddies like to think that going to a show is not about the making money but the interaction that you have with the public.
As well as making contacts and hanging out with friends kicking back shooting the shit about the state of affairs of comics (a favorite pass time) over drinks and whatever. But for this kid it was about making money. I know that sounds like a real mercinary but I didn't spend $300.00 plus dollars just to piss it away for a good time.
My work is better than that as is George's, Adam's and Jason's. I don't know how Jake made out on his side of the vendor's room but I am sure I will find out.
I could easily just gone to a strip joint with a fraction of that cash or better yet taken out my girlfriend and had a fantastic dinner for two down at the nearby waterfront.
I still followed the rules set down by both Devon Deveraux and Jason Pott:
1) Always have something new.
2) Have something for everyone prices.
When people are only looking at .50 cent buttons the entire weekend, I think that is a clear indicator that something ain't working here.
Work and effort should be rewarded and none of that happened this year again - even with all the new set up and placement of out table.
If anybody is really looking at the numbers of their sales (and I am sure that a lot of other people were as well) numbers don't lie.I would have to make three times what I made to really make any money of the work. I was in hole the moment we got in Adam's SUV.
SO IN CONCLUSION....
Would I do it again? Unlike last year with so many factors working against me I seriously had to look at this show as a massive learning experince and say no. It was fun but this was not a vaccation for me and if I ever want to really make as an artist being supported by my work I have to throw my money smartly towards those places where I will see a return.
Local gallery work for group shows here and commissions are what I need to focus upon. Maybe if I was just going up to hang out without the huge overhead of staying might treat me better.
Again these are only my opinions for the show but I don't think I'll be heading back up anytime soon.
OTHER THAN THAT I still have to find that perfect niche for myself and I don't think Crypticon Seattle is it for me.
You can check out these places for work.
And of course I still have my comics that I have worked on here at Indyplanet.
And mind you there is website
and the facebook page
The Website also has some new stuff added for the comic books featuring Corpse Cop.