Surviving a Day at a Con Table

Written on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 by Kyle posted by kyle

The topic of how to survive at a convention has been covered from so many angles so many times that there is bound to be a small library dedicated to it by now. How to pack, how to get cheap food, how to avoid excessive BO, etc. I’ve read dozens of them over the years. One thing I’ve slowly done to a lot of those tips in funnel them down to ways to keep myself healthy and active while working at Unshaven Comics table at every show. Here are my tips for not just getting through a show, but to hopefully even take some good care of yourself while there.
1. Hydrate. In the old days I would pack 2 main things for eating at conventions: a giant box of Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies and a 12 case of Mt. Dew. It seemed like a good idea at the start of the weekend to have plenty of sugar and caffeine to burn off as fuel but as time went on I felt more and more lousy. Having something to give you a jolt of energy is fine but you’re better off bringing water. Make a metal note of where the bathrooms/ drinking fountains are as well.
Drinking a lot of water will help you keep hydrated and keep your voice going longer if you plan on talking to a lot of people. It also leads to another helpful side effect.
2. Move around or stand. Standing for the full 8 hours of a show can lead to cramping and a lot of discomfort. Getting upfor regular bathroom breaks is a good way to make sure you move your legs and get blood flowing. It’s also a good excuse to see the rest show while you are up.
3. Food. I already mentioned my history of relying on sugar bombs to get through a whole convention on a regular basis. In recent years I’ve got with something more simple and a whole lot better for you. I bring 2 large tupperware containers of grapes and carrots. You can really use any fruit and vegetable that won’t make a mess but there are the easiest for me because they are both small enough that I can pop one in my mouth and requires minimal chewing before I’m back to selling books.
4. Maintaining your voice. One trick someone immediately told use was to bring cough drops with us. I’ve since come to a point of going through them like candy at shows. On the second or third day of a show it’s rare to see another vendor who’s eyes don’t light up when offered some. Another trick I’ve recently tried was bringing a hot thermos of Black tea with lemon as a source of hot soothing caffeine to help out. I’ve only brought tea to one show so far but the results were phenomenal.
5. Attitude in check. All of the other tips will help some of the physical aspects of working a show but they are less important than staying positive and keeping a good attitude. The show might go amazingly for you or be a total bomb but either way you need to present a positive face to it. If you want people to give you money for art, comics, crafts, whatever then you need to be excited in order to help them be excited for it. One of our companies biggest advantages if we set the game face on before every show and we keep it up. Sometimes it’s thanks to a 5 hour energy drink but keep the excited faces forward.

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