Adventures In Freelancing: NYCC Post Mortem

Between my photo diary entries over on The Monkee Diaries (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and a pair of posts over on Pop Poppa about my experiences leaving Lucy for the first extended period of time and her first comic con, I’ve done a lot of writing about the New York Comic Con. And that doesn’t even include all the actual work I did for CBR!

Last year, I wrote a pretty negative post about the NYCC. My main complaints were that people were not very considerate while walking along, the show was too crowded to really look for comics and the press pass line was way too long. And you know what? Those problems still exist. Well, I assume the press line thing was still a problem, I’m not exactly sure because, the main reason I enjoyed the show so much more this year over last was because I not only had a series of solid assignments but also was doing them for a company that really knows how to treat its employees.

I know this might seem like I’m being a company man or what have you, but I don’t do that and never have. I say good things about good people and groups, but if I happen to be aligned with a less reputable group, I’ll keep my mouth shut. So, take that into consideration when I say that Jonah Weiland and CBR are wonderful to work for. They not only had press passes waiting for us so we didn’t have to wade through the line, but also had a nice skybox overlooking the smaller of the show floor sections. The room was done up in a tiki theme, a desk was set up overlooking the floor and a corner was designated for video interviews with comic creators and celebrities. If you’re unfamiliar with the press situation at the NYCC, everyone is crammed into a living room-sized space on the bottom floor with no real ventilation and very little table space.

Being busy with panel coverage (sitting through the hour-or-so talk and then writing it up) kept me away from the show floor for the most part, which was fine by me. Actually, my only real problem this year, aside from huge crowd and a smell of buttered feet in the main area of the floor, was that press had to wait in line to cover a panel. I know this makes me sound like an entitled jerk, but hear me out. If you’re going to bother giving out press passes, the point is, presumably to get the press to cover the event. Whether the organization wants the event covered so news can reach the people or so people can read about how awesome the event is and want to go to it doesn’t really matter to me. What does matter is potentially not getting into a panel to cover it because of a huge line. It bothers me because this is my job, this is how I help feed my family. I’m not demanding front row seats or anything along those lines, but possibly a row or two set aside somewhere for press and the ability to take those seats between panels would not be beyond the realm of normalcy, right? Heck, look how well set-up sports writers are at baseball or football games.

Okay, that’s the end of my press rant. I still think there’s too many people on the floor, lines are impossible to control and there should be a height limit on costume accessories (or an outright ban), but at the end of the day, I had a good time at this show. It was long, hard work, but I liked that too. Last year I didn’t have any work to do, so I felt like I had more of a purpose this year. I also had a great place to do said work alongside great people, which always helps. I got to see some old friends, meet some new ones and even found myself in the same room with Tom Morello (a panel room, but it was still cool), Patton Oswalt, a good deal of the cast of The Walking Dead, Greg Nicotero, Liz Lee from My Life As Liz (got introduced to her and didn’t realize who she was until about 10 minutes later, but she was super nice) and Kenny from The Challenge. Honestly, being in the same room as Patton Oswalt and seeing how free and easy and insanely funny he is just talking to a bunch of people overlooking a comic convention floor was a career highlight. You can see the video interview here, by the way.

So, yes, I think I enjoyed the NYCC more this year than ever before. They shuffled things around yet again, but the set-up seemed to make sense. Most of the big booths were in one area while artists alley and people selling stuff were in another. It will never be a light and easy show to breeze in and out of or walk away with a big stack of cheap comics, but it’s starting to feel familiar and therefor somewhat more normal, which is funny considering I saw a guy dressed in a pretty darn good Voltron costume and an absolute army of girls dressed up as Finn from Adventure Time. Crossing dressing Finn is the new Slave Leia and I kind of like it.