august 21st, 2023
what the title says!
i just had the worst fucking weekend!
make yourself comfortable, grab some snacks, really kick back as you read this unfortunate story. i promise this isn't just all needless ranting, though. i try to make sense of my suffering at the end. without any further ado, a story, and my thoughts:
so, i'm tabling at a local anime convention in the artist alley. i won't name it, because that's not the point. and besides, i'm about to give you enough information to figure it out on your own anyway if you know how to sleuth around the internet.
to preface, the convention i was attending has only been around since 2019, which is very young in the world of anime conventions. a lot of the popular conventions of today have been established since the early 90s/00s, so we're looking at cons with decades of experience.
i knew this was a small convention going in, but i had hope.
see, tabling at a small convention can actually be quite lucrative because there is typically less competition, and a smaller venue. in its previous years of operation, this convention was held at small venues, such as hotels.
in previous years, the artist allies were small.
for some fucking reason, this year, this small convention with an attendance of 5000 people the year before, books the convention center that two of the most popular cons in the midwest are held at. those conventions both see around 20,000 attendees. you can see where the problem is shaping up, right?
well, get ready, because it gets fucking worse.
so, me and my friend i'm splitting a table with get there on friday, and i need to let you all know right now that the artist alley had over 100 artists in it, which is quite large for a convention of this caliber. we sit at our table. and sit. and sit.
and wow, this convention is dead. in my 5 years of doing artist alley at conventions, i have never seen such a dead venue. there were no fucking people. everything was spaced apart so far - this convention had a venue far too large for them and it was painfully clear. it was downright liminal.
i have never sold so poorly before at a convention, but the worst part of this is that i was not the only one. every single table was not getting any business. not a single fucking one. it wasn't a matter of my art or product, it was just the fact that the convention was a ghost town. i even saw the artist across from me sleeping it was so bad.
at the end of friday, we walked home with not a lot, with hopes things would pick up on saturday.
on saturday, i tabled for 9 hours.
in that 9 hours, i only made $100.
i hope i don't come off as dramatic when i say, this con made me never want to table again. i was already thinking about how i disliked doing artist alleys, but this convention was the nail in the coffin. each day you have to table for 9 hours at a convention - 9 fucking hours in a convention hall with no lights. no break. i fucking hate it. i'm done with it
i have never made so little on a saturday at a convention before. i was in shock over how i literally made more on friday. where the fuck was everyone? nowhere to be found.
despite being awfully slow, nothing overly eventful happened on this day.
well, this is where shit gets really awful for me!
my table mate messages me in the morning letting me know they have a stomach bug and they can't come to the convention, nor can they help me breakdown the table at the end of the day. awesome!
at this point i was so fucking fed up with circumstance after circumstance that i thought to myself that's it, i hate this, i'm done. i hung up a ton of obnoxious signs that said SALE and marked everything down to half price. i just didn't care anymore. i wanted it gone. i don't like making fanmerch, and i don't like tabling in artist alleys.
marking everything down was a good choice, because i actually made the most money on sunday due to this fact.
breaking the table down is where things got pretty awful for me. i struggled alone, as i often do, and i had trouble taking down the photostand on my own. luckily, a kind stranger helped me. at the end of it all, i had to figure out how to transport 3 suitcases, a photostand, and a large additional bag all on my own.
a few times as i was clumsily rolling the suitcases they toppled over, causing me to silently pick them up and move on. i don't really do well alone. even if i can survive alone, i hate it more than anything.
when i got to the elevator, i lugged the suitcases inside, struggling to push them all in. and right as the elevator doors shut, it beeped loudly, indicating that it was out of service.
i lugged everything out of the elevator again and wheeled it to the side, where i cried for the next 15 minutes.
when i was done crying, i hauled my shit into the elevator that was working, got downstairs, called an uber, and cried in the car the entire way home.
the uber driver was really nice and understanding actually, she really calmed me down. i gave her a 100% tip after it all, because without her i just don't know what i would do. i mean, she was just doing her job lol. but still, i just appreciated her kindness, idk
how i'm feeling
i don't fucking know. lost? after this con i'm rethinking my entire fucking career.
i'm sick of conventions and don't want to do them again. i don't really want to make more fan merch either. so scratch those options off the table for work, because they make me hate my fucking life.
i enjoy taking commissions, but i run the risk of burnout, and they're genuinely not reliable all the time. sometimes i have a rush of clients asking for art, and sometimes i struggle to get people to fill slots. it's a bit unpredictable.
i'm tired of always having to fight really hard for my money. constantly having to sell myself and promo myself on social media. it's wearing me down.
is this sustainable? can i keep living like this? do i have a choice?
a few friends have suggested i try looking for jobs in social media management since i have the skillset for it. i'm considering it. i know i said i hate social media, but when it's for a job it's different. i mostly hate social media because i have to sell myself as a product.
i'm going to think things over and see how i feel after this moment is long gone.
but this weekend really fucking sucked. and that's about it.
i'll make sure the next blog entry is about something fun, something nice. my life isn't all doom and gloom, you know? i'm just... going through it right now.