If you have been to any sort of convention or expo, then you have probably had some interaction with a volunteer at any given time. In fact, I would say that without the help of volunteers, then some of the events, especially an event like UK Games Expo would be a lot smaller and less awesome. Volunteering is a great way to attend an event for a low cost, as well as a way to give back to your fandoms. You can use that as an opportunity to get to see a new town, city or even country, if that is part of the opportunity. You’ll have to pay for your own travel to get there (sometimes your own accommodation too) but after that, there is usually very little to spend for.
This past week has been really hectic, hence a somewhat lackadaisical post schedule.
If I were to tell you I went to London Anime and Gaming Convention, that is a busy enough weekend, along with keeping schedule going, right? What about when I then add into the mix that I was a member of staff throughout the entire time at the convention? Suddenly, it looks even busier. When you combine this with my day job, which had sent me out to Newcastle for the week to work, as you can imagine: No computer drives a blogger insane. I was able to get some done here and there, but when the convention started, hoo boy… It was all go.
Yes, that was my work journey.
I returned on the Thursday, packed up and went to London on Friday. I figured I would meet up with 1001-Up and see how things were going on their end. It was from that encounter that we learned about a really cool podcast. We’ll be mentioning them more on this website soon, once we’ve arranged some details with them.
So that was Friday, now let’s get to the chase. Saturday morning, outside of the LAGC main building, there were members of the public. They were hungry for admission into the convention; socialising, merchandise, purchasing, learning and sharing – Oh and don’t forget the boozing! When I say there were members of the public, they were in queues… and these were hectic. The queues were so busy that honestly, it’s no wonder England is considered to be filled with people who enjoy a good queue. I donned my staff t-shirt and away I went!
I worked as part of the registrations team, were I was able to meet some incredibly dedicated fans of anime and gaming, who collectively were the crew. Our first major job was to get people through the door and tell them what areas were already available, etcetera. It sounds like an easy task, but one thing you must realise is the very nature of humanity and wanting to get on in means it was hard work.
I checked down the huge crew of people an tried to get some order as to who had and who had not pre-paid on the website. The people who had prepaid, I checked their IDs and I gave them their wrist bands so they could get in. It was an incredibly cold day, so of course people wanted to be shuffled into the building as quickly as possible. We tried our best, but with people moving around, it was sometimes hard to locate who we had and had not already checked. Along with this and security asking us to keep to tight requirements on the pavements (understandable, since pedestrians who were not attending must be able to use the pavement), we had a lot of work on our hands. By about 12:30pm, however – The bulk were inside and we were collecting payments from those who were buying on the door.
We had to keep on top of what the current development was – Were tickets available? Were we sold out? How much were the tickets? Did we get all of the information required from the attendees? Everything like this had to be remembered throughout. Once the bulk of the people were inside, we kept dealing with the entries until about 1pm when things momentarily slowed down. It was like everything was done… for now!
Once inside, my task really was to help answer questions – and they came in plenty! Where is a certain event being held? When are certain events being held? Are the guests already here? I lost something, has anything been handed in? They’re all really basic questions that we get a lot of on the registrations team. We also worked with the security team as well as the bar to make things nice and smooth. We gave wristbands which basically told the bar staff if the attendee was ID checked or not. Simple systems are often amongst the best.
Sunday we had an equal amount of steady flow of people registering for the event. Many people came for just the Sunday, which saw me being absolutely swamped on the reception desk around the 2pm mark. I was able to get off shift occasionally throughout the days however and I was able to grab many pictures. Please stay tuned for the LAGC Gallery later this week as well as my verdict on the convention itself.
So what do I now think about convention crew? They have a simple job, which is damn hard to do. They have to keep the peace, they have to keep things fair for all involved. We also had to control people from doing things they really shouldn’t be doing, which sounds like it’d be a simple thing as people generally do want to just have a good time with minimal hassle… But explaining why things are why they are sometimes speaks volumes for itself. I have utmost respect for people who crew and now I fully appreciate the work they all do… So please spare a thought for your convention crew and hey, send them a drink, or just have a chat with them. They’d love to chat to you and they want nothing more but to help you out.
Have you ever crewed for a convention before? What did you think of the experience? What are your experiences with members of crew at an anime convention? As always, please put your comments in the section below, or over on Twitter or on Facebook. Watch out for the rest of this week as we get the gallery up and going, along with last weeks’ Cosplayer Highlight interview ((which is a bit different to usual!)) and much more!