This weekend I had the pleasure to attend my second annual SNAFU con in Reno, NV. This is the fifth showing for this particular group, and let me tell you, I cannot complain. I would love to jump into dissecting this convention, but first, a little about me.
I am a thirty-something year old mother, who has been doing cosplay since 2012. I’m a rookie in the grand scheme of things. I am slowly getting better at my own craft, and relish every moment in the presence of those better (and worse) than myself for the simple fact that there is never an opportunity lost if you know how to treat it. I am also a woman who believes that the lines drawn on the internet about cosplay rules are silly. I don’t believe there is a wrong way to do anything if you care about the end product! So, that being said let me tell you about my weekend!
This was my second adventure to SNAFU. Let’s talk about last year. Last year, I was super excited that there was convention in my home town (I had just moved home after being gone for eight years and enjoying the larger con circuit in Dallas, Texas). And when I went, I won’t lie, I was disappointed. Maybe it was the after affects of having a local big con. Well, four of them. Maybe it was the fact that I was used to cons that had talent. I’m not demeaning anyone that SNAFU brings in as a “non-talent,” but let’s be honest. There is a vast difference from bringing in fifteen or twenty screen actors, and bringing in a handful of voice actors. Any talent is great talent, and yes, I understand budget, but Bill Shatner will net far more than Warky, and that is vastly important to the guy footing the bill. Simply put, Captain Kirk is expensive, and will net you higher sales from those wishing to meet him, if that is what you are shooting for. Being this was an anime convention, that may be a poor comparison, but I’m sure you get my point.
So let’s cut to the chase. Pros and Cons, 2013 v 2014: Here are my top three:
1) Not Enough Panels. Let’s face it though. I’ll compromise here. Every attendee is different and everyone wants to see something they want. In 2013, there were only two panels I wanted to see, and they were based on crafting. In 2014, I had a hard time choosing where to spend my time. This year brought many panels that I wished had more than an hour time slot. There were conflictions, and that was not a bad thing. Give me content, and make me choose. You have my attention. That alone will bring me back next year, as long as you bring the same guests. Or even more.
2) In 2013, the main room encompassed artist alley, console gaming, and tabletop. It was stuffy. As a PFS (Pathfinder Society) player, I was extremely grateful that tabletop had our own room this year. Last year we were buddied up (and I mean uncomfortably close with) the console gamers. Too bad we were right next to the music stage [room] this year. However, we had a great chance to have peace, and an adequate run without hordes of teens playing DDR in the background. We were able to make a successful traverse through the Stonekeep and other locales. Step in the right direction!
3) This year I saw the addition of something I have never seen at a con: The Cosplay Cooldown. This is a room where you can relax as a Cosplayer. No photography allowed! Thank you SNAFU, for realizing we need a break, too. My only qualm was that I did not know it existed in the first place! Well, until I figured it out on my own. Post signs that are clearer, and cater to your crowd. Kudos, SNAFU. This is a great way to appreciate your guests.
This year saw one other major improvement that doesn’t belong in a comparison list. The fans. I can’t speak for ticket sales, but it sure seemed like there were a lot more people there on Saturday alone than in the entire weekend last year. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many cosplayers, and even some that I recognized from the year before.
Sure, there are always little nit-picky things that can be said about any con. There is always room for criticism. This article could literally go another ten thousand words. The end result though is that I couldn’t be happier with how the organizers of SNAFU decided to move their pawns. And that is something that SNAFU has nailed. They asked for criticism in 2013, and they got it. And they listened! If you ask this humble attendee, this con is only going to grow. So far they are doing a glorious job of paying attention to what their fans want, and in the two years that I have been present? Hell. Nothing about the name of the con rings true [if you ignore the acronym. I think this con is going places. Granted, we are the Biggest Little City, and if played right, SNAFU could be the Biggest Little Con.
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