I once heard a really pithy quote about being a musician that weighed the value of the instrments, the value of a card you could afford, the cost of gas you’d pay for, just so you could have the privilege of working a gig that made a tiny amount of money by comparison to the other values, and it was meant to be sad and meaningful and yet, when I read it, I imagined to myself a simple response: It’s for a priceless dream.
Today, I did a lot of work.
Pendix has been umming and ahhing about names for his company now for about, oh, forever, and it wasn’t until Thursday when I think he finally got sick of my active-aggressively demanding he just fucking pick something already that he chose Ex Manus, a Latin phrase meaning “Of the Hands,” which I felt represented quite well the hand-crafted nature of this tabletop products. With that decision made, we had a hearty twenty-four hours in which we had to get his business cards crafted and made, set up an email address, a twitter feed and a facebook presence. You know, totally reasonable. Then Pendix went to bed, woke up, went to his meeting with the government, and came back with the idea of a mailing list for the convention.
Then, when we finally understood what was going on at nine PM the night before, with the last of our printing done, we decided to make plans for transport. Some hastily constructed google map plans, uncertainty as to when we would get there, we found that at ten thirty at night, we’d need to be waking up at five in the morning to get on time. Fox then spent until one sorting and cataloguing her prints.
Five am, nobody misses anything, Pendix is a weensy bit late but who the hell cares and we’re off. We talk, we plan, we try to come up with something that isn’t pornography and American law to discuss, and when we get to the convention centre, we begin a process of staying in one spot and waiting for someone else to do something. In this case, it was ‘check our credentials.’ When we had that done, we moved to our table, and set ourselves up.
I’d love to say we had sincerity, but that really means we didn’t have a table plan, posters, or much to sell. We just wanted to be there. What ensued after that point was ten hours of non-stop hawking, barking selling, cajoling, ploying, teasing, laughing and even lightly insulting the people as they want past, making our table active, interesting, and a place for people to stop, stay, and look at things. We did not sell many things that we brought with us, but the plan was to raise attention for Pendix’s future IndieGoGo – which is basically a Kickstarter that will talk to Australia.
We ran out of business cards in the first hour.
One of the most pathetic things I’ve ever done is sat there next to Pendix, frantically writing his URL and business name on the back of someone else’s business card, in the hope that it wouldn’t be a big problem. Nonetheless, that sign-up sheet that he only had because someone else suggested it? We filled two pages and almost half filled the third. People wanted to know, we got their email addresses, and now we have a base from which to advertise, hopefully, a really exciting new miniatures opportunity.
I ache all over, my eyes are killing me, my throat is sore as fuck, and my feet are flat. I saw a huge host of beautiful girls in raunchy outfits throughout the day which made a lot of the day a careful excursion in not ogling strangers, and engaging them as best I could as adults. There was a concert, there were vendors, there were places you could go and play videogames, competitively and cooperatively. It was a place where people can go and have a lot of fun.
If you like Conventions, SMASH seems a pretty great convention.
We came home, with three utterly awful junk food meals inside us, unpacked, and settled in.
I have worked my arse off all day, I hope that I have given Pendix insight on how to do this sort of work for himself in the future (because I can’t afford to attend cons for fun, let alone to work and have no fun), and maybe my friend’s dream will come true.
In the mean time, I get to slide into bed knowing that if I’m very, very lucky, it won’t be necessary next year because Pendix will be able to hire people to go to cons and do it for him.