After my attendance at the inaugural Indy PopCon this weekend, there'll be no denying it -- I'm a nerd. A geek.
Those close to me have always been privy to this information, but for the past 11 years, my public persona has been fairly nerdless. So the idea of complete immersion into the con world (convention for all the non-nerds and newbies) is exhilarating and terrifying. Add to the mix, dressing up as some of my favorite comic book/cartoon/anime characters and roaming the Indianapolis Convention Center halls for thousands of people to see -- and silently judge -- and the anxiety begins to mount. However, as the consummate planner, I've calmed my fears a bit by diving into the Indy PopCon website, creating my schedule, talking with other self-professed geeks, and consuming what feels like all of the con and cosplay info the Internet has to offer.
Since I've been on a 10-year hiatus from the con world, I'm putting myself back in the newbie category. From my n00b perspective, here are some things Indy PopCon seems to be doing right.
This is the inaugural year for this con, but the buzz has been loud and strong for this event. I first got word of the convention in August 2013, right after GenCon. And over the past three months, I can't seem to walk into a local arts or culture establishment without seeing that delightfully simple and geeky logo. I sure hope Indy PopCon is ready for all of the eager geeks that will converge on the Convention Center this weekend. With the tagline "One con to rule them all," it better be.
Great Social Media Buzz
I knew I was attending Indy PopCon at the beginning of the year. But the lively (and inclusive) conversations occurring online have helped build up so much anticipation that I want to walk around my house in my Poison Ivy costume, blowing deadly kisses and tying things up in ivy until noon on Friday the 30th, then proudly march out my door and off to the con.
From the Kickstarter that helped fund the con, to Facebook and Twitter contests back in August, to the Street Team's 11th-hour posts, PopCon has done an exceptional job interacting with potential participants and creating genuine buy-in. You know, the type of buy-in where you acknowledge that you drank the Kool-Aid and could care less. All you wonder is "Can I get a refill?"
Appeal to a wider audience
There are conventions with a focus on just about any aspect of popular culture. What sets Indy PopCon apart from other cons is the range of geektastic genres/tracks they are offering. PopCon is unique for Indiana in that it will feature nine different aspects: Anime, Art & Music, Comics, Cosplay (!!), Fantasy, Gaming, Internet, Sci-Fi and TV/Movies.
All of those tracks might seem overwhelming ("I love ALL THE THINGS! How does one choose?"), but never fear: The Indy PopCon crew has utilized the app Sched.org to help participants organize a jam-packed weekend. Sched.org allows users to create a customized schedule with all of the sessions the user would like to attend and easy integration with social media. I've set up my Sched for Indy PopCon, connected the schedule to Facebook and my iCal. The setup and schedule creation took no more than seven minutes, and now I have easy access to my sessions of interest and notifications when a Facebook friend also sets up his or her Sched.
The genre/track color-coding doesn't hurt either.
This is a big draw for many con-goers and Indy PopCon doesn't disappoint. Here's just a sample of the famous folks coming to the city.
Ron Glass (Firefly, Serenity)
Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who's 7th Doctor)
Kristian Nairn & Esme Bianco (Game of Thrones)
Kandyse McClure (BattlestarGalactica, Hemlock Grove)
Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Criminal Minds) -- I'm personally excited for this one!
Norm Breyfogle (DC Artist and Illustrator)
Kevin Eastman (co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
There's so much more I'd love to talk about, but my own short attention span, a costume that needs completing, and horrible, horrible blog-writing word-counts limit me to this. Instead, check out Indy PopCon online via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or in person on Friday, Saturday and Sunday!
2014 Indy PopCon
Friday, May 30 - Sunday, June 1
Indiana Convention Center, Halls F-I
100 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN