Winning Best Series at Gen Con

I realize for those of you who watch all the video updates, “like” the PoPS page on Facebook, and follow me at @PoPSJakeJarvi on Twitter that this is seriously old news, but I want to take a minute to actually reflect on winning Best Series at Gen Con. But, in order to do that, I’m going to take you through our whole Gen Con experience.

We left Chicago for Indianapolis at about 9 on Friday morning. With minimal stops and an eternity looking for parking in a city hosting a massive gaming convention at the convention center and a round of the World Championship MotoGP at the Indianapolis Speedway all in the same weekend, we had our Gen Con badges in hand four hours later. It was at that point that my phone informed me that there’s a time-change between Chicago and Indianapolis. It was 2 p.m. and our screening had just begun. We raced to the screening and entered the massive ballroom it was showing in before the opening credits. Attendance was very light, but it was actually better than I expected. A couple of people already knew about the show and were there to support it, but the others had just found it in the event book and decided to check it out. I was really surprised by that. There are thousands of things to do in the book they hand out. I’m not even joking, it’s like the white pages with smaller type. I handed out PoPS pins and thanked everyone for showing up and we headed into the Expo Hall to see what Gen Con was all about. Glorious geekdom. That’s what’s going on at Gen Con. The video doesn’t do it justice. The wide angle lens on the GoPro does an adequate job of projecting how huge the space feels, but it does nothing to convey the sea of enthusiastic people all around and how crowded it is. But even as you bump into and step on one another, it’s the politest ginormous crowd you’ll ever run into.

We looked at steampunk stuff, role-playing game accessories, anime, fantasy and super-hero artwork, so many costumes, all sorts of geekcore movie and TV merch, zombie stuff, a surprising amount centered around Lovecraft, costume accessories from corsets to tails to detailed foam weaponry, so many Cosplayers (definition: Costume Player; one who creates a detailed costume to pose as a fictional or famous character in a public forum), and the games. The games were everywhere. The room of board games was actually more like three interconnected football fields, all of fold out tables with board games or card games on them.

That first night we decided to do it up right and we tried D&D for the first time. It was a lot of fun. Then we ended up in the console video game room and our group split up between a Halo tournament and round-robin Super Smash Bros. games.

By the afternoon of the second day, we were totally burnt out. It turns out that two big conventions in just under three weeks is a little overwhelming. Especially for people like Eliza and myself, who are more accustomed to sitting at home, working, and watching things. We played a great game of Settlers of Catan, made rounds in the Expo hall again, marveled at more Cosplayers, and tried another game of D&D. This time we had the WORST Dungeon Master ever leading the game. He kept getting distracted, wouldn’t answer questions, spoke in D&D terms that were over our heads despite our apparent novice, ignored Eliza, and tried to kill us at every turn with what seemed like vindictive focus. Added to that, the other people we were playing with hung us out to dry and most of them would never engage in battle. Look, I know how this sounds. It sounds kind of silly. But when you’re trying to buy in to the experience it was really a downer and a total waste of two hours.

After that, we were done for. We were all beat. We grabbed lunch at one of the greatest restaurants ever–Granite City needs to come to the Chicago area. We checked out the Costume Contest, which was in turns really amazing and really awkward. We bugged out and caught a showing of Elysium, and then headed back to the film festival for some more solid indie content. A highlight of that was finally seeing my friends’ excellent performances in the film Cheery Point.

By the end of the day we were in a daze. Convention overload.

The next morning was the award ceremony. We showed up and sat in the back. I had no expectations. There were web series there that were way better integrated into the Gen Con proceedings, and others that were much better about promoting themselves. So, there I sat ready to applaud all the winners, even as I knew we would get passed over for another worthy series. After all, everyone in that room is the same. We all dedicate a ton of ourselves to making a story exist and we all do it for the love of the game. When Chuck Budreau, the man responsible for the film festival, said, “The Platoon of…” I couldn’t believe it. I made my way up there desperately trying to think of something to say at the microphone. Recipients had been making little speeches. All I could think of to say was, “Open up YouTube. Pineappleboyfims. The Platoon of Power Squadron. Thanks.” And I started heading back to my seat. As I was heading down the aisle I finally had the presence of mind to turn back to Chuck and say, “This is amazing. Thank you,” which is exactly what I should have said at the podium.

So the prize is a check for $100 dollars and a free booth in the Expo hall next year, which costs like $1500 and the potential for exposure is outstanding. Now, we just need to figure out what to display there and have at least a couple things for sale.

Our half month of convention’ing has come to an end. Time to write the next episode and fall back into a little bit more of a routine. I know I’m pushing it when I get to my job on a Monday and think–Oh, thank God, I’m at work. I can relax a little. For real. I’ve been thinking that every day this week.

Thanks for reading.


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