Rants: A Serious Talk About MegaCon Orlando and Advice to New Press People!

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! It is time for a serious post, which I feel like getting this off my chest and if I don’t then I won’t be getting any sleep. (Haven’t been sleeping the past few days!)

Today, is going to be something of a little rant but at the same time a little warning and advice because I am here today to tell you guys what really happened with MegaCon Orlando’s press and what I went through to get the press badges in order to do it. I bet you are wondering why am I doing this? Well, things did come up after I sent the head of Orlando’s press the review and well me and Gondras, since we can only have two badges due to being online media, won’t be doing Orlando’s MegaCon for press anymore after what had happened. So, let me start from the beginning of the story.

This is the beginning…this is the beginning of the story: As you know we have done press for four years and we have done it with MetroCon, MythiCon, Holiday Matsuri, and Omni Expo, which Omni were the first to discover us after a small typo I had done and one of the reps asked me to contact them and they asked to do press for them and we have been doing it ever since and all thanks to them we were able to gain experience by not only reviewing their event, interview their celebrity ovice actor guests, and get to attend awesome events. Went the same with Metro, Mythic, and Matsuri and with all that experience we thought it was enough to try out for MegaCon and that was last year. We didn’t get it which was saddening enough and I thought well, I guess they don’t want us as press due to being so small despite our experience and Gondras wanted me to try again which got me trying out for Tampa and we did get the passes there but couldn’t make it due to me being in Daytona with a work experience. I did get to send questions for the Convention Head in Tampa and included that in a Convention Spotlight which added a bit more experience. So, fast forward to this year.

The form was early this year which I did talk to the head in Tampa that it should be earlier due to how press is like a regular attendee and we have to plan even with equipment to use for interviews and recording events, etc. That got considered and I did fill out the form and then got turned down again. I couldn’t sleep by the next morning and knew that they were giving us an unfair chance and got me contacting the Orlando Press Head and told her that we have done a lot for the convention community and that smaller blogs should get a chance to cover press and I even shown links of our work which included our interviews with Steve Blum, Brian Beacock, and Dameon Clarke, and of course our most viewed panel of all the Attack On Titan Cast Panel from Omni Expo 2015! I even mentioned that we were doing press at Omni for our fourth year in a row which that was the week leading up to that convention. So then, we got re-considered and was told that like the other press people that we get chosen to promote the brand and event which already do in the Convention Spotlight, heck even promoted the local attractions this time since all the websites mention our biggest thing in town Disney, Universal, I think SeaWorld was mentioned, heck Pandora at Animal Kingdom and Volcano Bay at Universal were opening during MegaCon Orlando! Plus, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 was out and people haven’t probably seen it so we do have the theaters in Pointe Orlando and CityWalk nearby and AMC over in Downtown Disney where the convention does close early and people probably want to see a movie. I know tangent! Anyways, I told them we do that anyways and even pass out business cards which we didn’t do that this time due to how fast we had to go between Concourses. So then that got me asking about interviews!

This is the middle…this is the middle…this is the middle of our story: So, next is the interview part. As you guys know the biggest part of our work is interviewing guests at the convention and this kind of gives you guys a taste of what they do in the booth or on the set of the show since we never see them tape an episode or record in the booth and also we get to see how they like to meet their fans face to face! Trust me, I even almost teared up when Steve Blum told the sotry about how a dad told him how his autistic child was able to talk due to watching him on Digimon Tamers. So, I was told to wait until April, month before big time press, and waited. The thing was on the form itself it asked, “Do you want to do interviews with staff or guests?” And the next question, “IF it is a celebrity guest, who are your top two you want to interview?” At the time, they only had really two big guests that really excited me and that was Stan Lee and Tim Curry and put that down. In April, didn’t get an email and decided to ask about it and got the response, “Sorry! We can’t fulfill your request.” I was surprised and then asked about voice actors and then got, “What voice actors do you want?” At the time they haven’t add any yet and said, “I will get back with you about that when they have some.”

Two days later, they started putting people like Billy West, Troy Baker, Jennifer Hale, and so many more and then contacted Mega again with the names since we haven’t done one with Nolan North, had him, Billy West, Troy Baker, and I think that was it because they haven’t added any anime people and we would like to do an updated interview with Troy Baker since the last time we saw him was at Metro 2014. So, yeah, he had more work and it has been a while since. Then got the answer, “Sorry! Can’t do that! We can only give you cosplayers, attendees, and comic book artists.” I tried explaining I sent them work even after they announced anime actors and got the same answer again which pissed me off and decided to go to Twitter to see about email interviews instead and you were able to read interviews with Katie Griffin and Linda Ballumtyne. Jamie Marchi did say ask again later, I am thinking of seeing about her being at other conventions first before asking again, I mean what if she is at Holiday Matsuri? That would be fun to ask her my newest question about the holidays. The convention did pass, I was able to meet Katie and Linda in person and even Linda thought it was smart with Twitter and she did love my Sailor Moon broach which I wore. (Yes, got one at Hot Topic.) Now onto the end.

This is the ending…this is the ending…this is the ending of our story: So, convention passes and I felt like I had so many things to say but I kept the review as professional as possible. We did have fun but I kind of felt like I was missing something and that is the interviews. Yes, I did mention that part and here is where the screwed up crap comes into play!

So, I sent the Convention Impossible review to the Orlando Press Head and did say “Convention Complete for the entirety of the convention.” And “Aonvention Aborted” for Press. So yeah, felt that we won’t do press again for Orlando but being careful with Tampa. This is what happened next.

So, Press Head asks me “Why didn’t you talk to me if you had a problem? I would’ve fixed it and normally we don’t have celebrity interviews at this convention. The question about interviews was there so we can know who we are working with.”

That stopped me right there! So in other words they baited us! Yes, that is actually the conclusion which I felt used and it made me mad, GOndras mad, even Nerdy Shirts go “Damn!” and I did put a response, “So you baited us…good luck with next year!” I get the response of “No! It’s information gathering!” That kind of set me off the edge in professional mode which I mentioned that there was no valid reasoning to us not being able to interview us and why put the question there in the first placewhen having press at all? I even did end it there because I felt like they don’t deserve us as press since I felt like I jumped through so many hoops to get to this convention and after the failure with AFO not letting us do press, that is why we wanted to show that we hadn’t given up.

What got me more mad is that someone put this as a response when a friend talked about being burned out slightly even after Mega since he was also going to AFO, “Conventions are supposed to be fun! If it is not worth it anymore, let the blog go and move on!” You guys know me, I won’t let this blog go because it has been my baby since 2012! We have also not only give you awesome content here and over at the YouTube channel, it doesn’t mean we have to give up just learn from this entire thing and find a new convention to cover. Heck, I am working on trying to get press for Ranger Stop and even sent the Press Kit. Oh yes, after all the issues that came up with this convention, Stellarnan suggested that we should have one if any other convention wants more work to be proven. I never thought when looking at the stats that we had a big increase of views over on YouTube when I thought we had thirty thousand less views. Lol At least now we know that our work is still seen today. Even people still comment on our Attack On Titan Cast Panel video and it’s two years since that video!

What Is My Advice? Well, my advice is if you want to do press for any convention like us is that make sure what you are getting into. As in, see what requirements the convention is asking for. As in, how many views that you get that they might ask for, see what they do for interviews, which would help because time to time a convention is different, etc. Because we don’t want you guys to go through what we had to do.

Another thing is, ask questions! There are times when the form doesn’t just do you justice nor the website doesn’t say much so usually asking the right questions to either the convention head themselves or the people heading press will help and they are supposed to be there to help. For instance, when I lost my money pouch the convention staff at MythiCon were amazing! They helped us in finding and returning my pouch. Another example the same year is when Nerdy Shirts had the Dameon Clarke interview and found out it was deleted from his phone while checking, the staff were kind enough to let us redo the interview like the deletion never happened! Even though Mr. Clarke did ask me what happened to my hair when I wasn’t wearing a wig on Sunday. (I still get a chuckle from that since when I wore both my blonde wigs that weekend, one was darker than the other.)

And lastly, have a press kit on hand! Like I said above, I did create a press kit all thanks to advice from my best friend, Stellarnan, because it shows that we have done work in the past. I did watch videos on it and did see that I can create it through Powerpoint which I did! Trust me, I had a lot of fun creating it and I did send it to the Mega Tampa Press Head to say, “Hey! This is proof of our work!” I even sent it to Ranger Stop and a little more help for Holiday Matsuri since we did fill out the form for that. Speaking of which…

Advice for conventions or anyone who wants to start one, make your press form as detailed and concise as possible. As in, list what you want, what social media you want to see from the blog such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. And of course experience if any because what if the blog has been around for more than five years or even ten and have been doing press for longer and showing the experience would help to see who is going to work for you and what do they do? And for interviews, just mention beforeheand that press outlets have to talk to staff or even use Google Hangouts as a way of not only meeting the press team, Holiday Matsuri did this and it was great, and ask, “Do you want to interview anyone?” If the person in the chat with you says, “Yes!” Then ask for who they want to interview. That would help with arrangements and of course, please private rooms and make sure that room is given a time slot because it would help anyone setting up for a panel if it is in a panel room or in a green room to say, “Can’t go in due to an interview.” And of course, let attendees know that there is an interview going on if it is in a panel room and may take ten or fifteen minutes to finish.

And for any guest liasons or volunteers, please don’t talk near an interview. As in, if you want to have a discussion privately, please stand away from the interview because there are times when background noice gets picked up in video and it can be hard to hear.

Any steps for us to take?: Well, after everything, I did send the review to Fan Expo who owns MegaCon now along with my press kit to pass along to other conventions for future attendance and press. They did say thanks and if they need anymore feedback that their staff would get in contact with me. No contact yet but I know they would read what I had to say and knowing that the hoops I jumped through to get us there were the hardest to jump. I am also not joking about expanding wisely in the convention press because after seeing what we went through, I don’t want to lose sleep again over another convention. Heck, I lost sleep due to what AFO said about us that isn’t true. Even when I suspected the baiting thing, I lost more sleep than ever. It is that bad.

So now, that is why we are sticking to the conventions that we know and love. Even though it may take longer to get back to MetroCon because when I posted on their group recently about how I missed doing press for them, another press person replied by saying, “I love doing press here because I get treated like family.” Which looking back on it, Metro did treat us well as press people. Yeah there were some hiccups but I did say in that review that not all conventions are perfect and when I read that it did mean a lot to me. What even meant to me more was Richard Epcar liking the post and I did confirm that it was actually him on Facebook and did send him a friend request. I guess he remembered my interview with him which you can still read here. Now I am starting to cry as I type…

So yeah, that is everything. It felt better to talk about it to you guys. I know it seems off for a convention that is wel-known for bringing big names to Orlando and has been around for ages or more like for years can have something wrong. Trust me, I missed doing interviews during MegaCon because I had so much fun doing them. If you saw my interview with Chris Rager and Josh Martin, you can see me having a lot of fun! Heck, when I interviewed RJ Heady about Face Off it was so interesting! You can see me, doing this and bringing it all to you so you guys can see what I experienced. That is why the new panel that Nerdy SHirts thought up of is going to show how I became press from an attendee and into an author because I am published now with a second book on its way. Even working on my third book at the moment. Heck, during the Totally Spies Reunion panel, they asked people to tell who they are and got applause for mentioning I was an author. (You will see in that video when I put it up here.)

That is it, most emotional post I’ve ever done and pure honesty. So, hoping for the best for us in the future and hoping that we do get Holiday Matsuri this year. I would say, if you still love MegaCon, keep going to it! Please don’t send any hate because of what we went through. We learned a lot from what we experienced and hoping things do get better and they will. We have learned from it and know that there are other conventions willing to open their doors to us despite how small or how much biggere we’re growing.

Well, hoping the next post is more lighthearted. Until next time!

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