Don’t be Afraid of Paizo-Con!
After dozens of conventions across the world I can’t help but admit Paizocon 2019 was easily my most successful. And now that I’m 100% recovered from my experience, I’d love to share what I learned.
1. Don’t be Afraid of Imposter Syndrome
If your looking to break into the industry, there is no better place than Paizocon. But it can feel overwhelming standing in the reach of so many giants. And while I was able to swallow my fear, even sitting in the lobby amidst titans like Owen K.C. Stephens, Mark Seifter & Alex Augunas, it wasn’t until days after the convention when an anonymous writer I’d played with managed to take a nagging feeling I had and sculpt it succinctly into a shiny nugget of truth.
“So the thing to realize is that basically the entire industry has imposter syndrome. When I found out all my industry heroes also have a ton of self-doubt, it made me realize I’m not alone. It turns out they are all just normal people!”Kate Baker
2. Don’t be Afraid to Play Before the Convention
Before the convention I was lucky enough to see a forum post by the Australian Venture Captain Steven Coling asking if anyone wanted to participate in some Seeker level content prior to the convention. And I’m still wondering why I ever second-guessed taking him up on the offer! There were amazing adventures, delicious Australian baked goods and even a tour of Paizo HQ courtesy of Tonya! The Aussie crew was so welcoming I felt like I was a part of their lodge by the end of the first afternoon! I was worried I’d burn myself out playing three days of Seeker material before the convention, but in retrospect I’m so glad I got all that gaming out of my system so I was able to take in the unique experiences Paizocon had to offer…not to mention make a group of friends I can’t wait to see again next year!
3. Don’t be Afraid to Attend Panels
Thanks to the internet, you can play PFS any day of the week. Panels on the other-hand are convention exclusive. Yeah, sure, you can stream them. But the information I retain from attending them in person is unparalleled. And don’t worry about asking a question at a panel; At best you’ll bring up a great point and everyone will learn something. At worst? A one-word answer. The panelists are professional and courteous, and are there to answer your questions!
4. Don’t be Afraid to Listen (and Talk)
Ultimately everyone at the convention is just another gamer, no matter how many credits they have. They are human, and getting along with them is as easy as getting along with anyone else at your local lodge. On the contrary, the fact so many industry insiders are looking for connections means they are probably more receptive to conversation than if you met them at a game store. Ask them about their character. Ask them about their last session. Pitch your silly ideas. Or just talk about your last job, no matter how irrelevant you think it might be to the tabletop industry. To quote every interviewee of every late-night talkshow: This really is the greatest crowd.
5. Don’t be Afraid to Try Something New
No one at Paizocon can do everything! And the Paizo community is too vast that you can know everyone! You will never be the only person in the room who has never done whatever activity it is that catches your eye. So whether its a strange homebrew system you’ve never played before, a group of strangers playing together in the lobby or a booth set up to teach you how to paint minis, pull up a chair and try something new (even if it’s just vegemite on toast).