We all know these conventions are expensive, between the tickets, the travel (airfare and hotel plus eating) this can be one of the biggest investments you may make into your career or business. It's exciting to go, knowing you are going to meet people you've idolized in the business or perhaps people you've chatted with and networked with online. Aside from that, the opportunity to possibly work with talent from other areas of the country is HUGE and a great way to maximize your trip with gaining some content.
Having said all that, let's get into some things to know about your attendace to the biggest conventions of the industry.
1. Attend with no expectations. Every convention is different every year. Things happen fast and you NEVER know what could go down at one of these things so definitely be prepared to move fast, talk fast and snap your shots fast. The more you have a preconceived idea of what to expect, you set yourself up for disappointment. Just go, make the best of it and walk away with, if nothing else, an experience to remember.
2. Do your research. Know what's going on during the show from important informative seminars to events and special appearances. KNOW what you want to attend and plan your day accordingly. Nothing is worse than walking aimlessly having missed all the goodies from the show. EVERY show is designed to cater to a different side of the business so make sure it will fit into YOUR purpose of going. Find out what tickets are best for you before buying them. There are usually B2B (business 2 business) type tickets, industry (talent) type tickets and then there are normal FAN patron tickets for these events. Don't get stuck in line for hours as a fan!
3. Don't be a groupie. It's not cute. Admire and move on. Enough said.
4. NETWORK. - Regardless of ANYTHING you attend, networking is key. There is NO social media that supercedes a real life encounter and intelliegent and personable conversation. As a webmodel/personality, it is EASY to depend on your online persona to converse with industry moguels. Take this time to show them you are more than just a face, or a webmaster. Let your personality make a lasting impression!
5. TAKE YOUR PROMOTIONAL PRINTS. - Business cards, a tshirt with your site url on it, stickers - whatever you can afford or already have it is ESSENTIAL to have professional forms of print with you AT ALL TIMES. You never know who you might run into and the FIRST thing they will ask is for your business card. One of my BIGGEST mistakes @ Internext 09 was leaving them behind. Although alot of contacts still made way to get in touch with me after writing my name, email address, phone number AND url's about 10,000 times... I am SURE I lost some VERY good network contacts off presentation and lack of preparedness alone. Come prepared with your business cards if NOTHING else. Dvd's, magazines, photos to sign are great, but most importantly NETWORKING is going to take place and NOT having a card could cost you a potential connection. You meet SO many people that you won't remember when you get back to your hotel, that receiving and giving YOUR business card sets a GOOD impression.
6. Take a bottled water or two. They rape you with small warm bottles of water for astronomical amounts of money. Take snakes in your purse/bag if you can... its going to be a long day. The food their isn't that good and is way over priced.
7. Don't try to be there all three days all day every day. Break it up... otherwise you find yourself bored and having accomplished everything in the 1st hour. Pace yourself. Personally, I have found that Friday is set up day, and Sunday most have left or are breaking things down. Saturday is the BEST day to spend ALL day and most things happen during then. Fridays and Sundays are great days for seminars.
8. KNOW WHY YOU ARE GOING. If your intention is just to have fun, then go! But if you have a business speficied agenda, be aware of that agenda and stay focused. These events are so entertaining, it is VERY easy to lose sight of your purpose and leave without accomplishing your goals.
9. PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE. What more needs to be said about that? There are fans EVERYWHERE, even INSIDE the industry. Promotions help patrons recognize that YOU are a star. Go out there and show them who you are and SHINE so bright they can't ever forget you!
10. DON'T MAKE EXCUSES. If you can't afford to go to the next one, plan on one far enough ahead of time so that you can go. My excuse was that "these events aren't FAT friendly" -no pun intended. We hear alot about the lack of plus size presentation at these conventions. Isn't it time we made a presence? We can't be upset if we never go. Strength in numbers is what I say.
11. FIND OTHER MODELS ATTENDING - AND SHOOT TOGETHER! Why not? Take advantage of the rare moment that you are in the same place as other models you would be less likely to meet up with and shoot some content. **Content Exchange vs Paid Content is a whole different post- coming soon**
12. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES! This is the only way you will make it. I know, we want to look sexy but think of this as an amusement park. Would you wear stiletto's to Six Flags? Just advice!
13. JUST GO.