Day 1: Dragon Con starts for Atomsplit one day early because we have to meet up to set up the booth. So our first day of Dragon Con started at around 4 PM. Thursday. We met up in front of Americas Mart in Downtown Atlanta, which would be our home away from home for the next four days. We scoped out the load in area and thought that it would be a lot of trouble to get our gear through there with everyone else so we tried the sky bridge which would get us from where we were parked to our flor easily, but no dice. So, we got our first load together and headed through the load in area anyway. To our surprise it was easy to get this first load up We got signed in and took it on to our booth. I started setting up while DJD went to get the second load of gear. After he returned we worked on setting things up together. In little to no time we had the whole booth together and were ready for all the fun to start at Dragon Con 2013. After setting up we went and had our traditional dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. After that we parted ways to get a good night’s sleep for the next day.
Day 2: Friday is a late starting day for us so we had some time to sleep in. At 11am I left my house for the train station. I got on a train and headed up to Atlanta. Usually Dragon Con is a pain for me because I have to go through the MARTA train station, through Peachtree Center, and finally through the main lobby of the Marriott Marquis to get to the booth, but this year since the exhibitors were all in the Americas Mart I took the escalators on the other side of the station and just walked right into the building. Nothing to it…except the first day I got totally lost. I wandered around the vendors room for a long time until i finally found our booth. In the booklet the vendors are divided up into aisles and numbers, but I never saw any of these markings in the actual building which later on would prove to be a problem.
Eventually, however, I arrived at the booth with some time to spare and helped DJD with last minute preparations. Our booth neighbors were James Christopher Hill (Paintings), swords, and club clothes. Normally I would write up a whole bunch of stuff on booth drama that usually happens at conventions, but for the first time in a long time all of our neighbors were awesome!!! Even the swords which we have had troubles with in the past as they are usually run by high strung type A+++ personalities.
After we set up we got ready for all the fantastic conventioneers to start rolling in and getting this Dragon Con under way. The problem with that was hardly anyone showed up. So we just sat, waited, and got cold. I got a lot of work done on the stip that went up last Wednesday, but the point isn’t really getting work done the point is demoing making the strips to catch people’s attention. Anyway, it was pretty boring with no drama and no conventioneers and so after slowly passing by the first five hours of the first day we closed up shop and left the Americas Mart for the second time.
Day 3: Day Three, Saturday is Parade Day. Parade Day can be a tough situation. Last year the Peachtree Center escalator was out so I had to ride the Americas Mart one then force my way through a wall of people, across Peachtree Street, then get through another wall of people before i got to the Marriott Marquis. However, with the vendors being on the Americas Mart side it was easy as pie to get to our booth this year. In fact, for the first time since we have been exhibiting at Dragon Con I was the first one to arrive and DJD was the one caught up by the parade.
We were ready and open at 10 A.M. with everyone else. And then we sat there and listened to the crickets. For the first two hours I was sure it was because of the parade that hardly anyone was in The Dealer’s Room, but after the second two hours we were beginning to think something was definitely wrong. It wasn’t just us everyone around us was complaining about no one coming through, bad directions, or being put in the wrong location. We were just beginning to discuss not coming back for next year when people began to slowly move in. Then it began to pick up and stayed picked up for most of the day. Since it was parade day it was also the best day to snap photos of costumes. And there were some really good ones, but not as many as we usually see on Saturday. We saw our good friends Cory B. A little while after that Corey H. came by. It was good to see some old friends. The day continued on at a decent pace and seemed to wind down about 6 P.M. and we closed up shop around 7 P.M.
Day 4: Day Four is usually a mellow day, but it couldn’t have been much more mellow than the the way the convention had been progressing so far and in fact that as we were setting up people around us were already complaining.
The show opened at 10 A.M. and a few people were already coming in. It was always strange that I saw so many people when I arrived downstairs, but they never seemed to come around upstairs. Soon after the show had started they got on the PA and started directing people over to where we were and it really picked up for a while. Every so often they would come on and make announcements directing people where to go.
Finally our buddy Joshy G. stopped by and filled us in on what was going on around the at rest of the convention. After talking to him things started to come together as to why we weren’t picking up or normal amount of Dragon Con traffic. It seemed that the good thing about 2013 was that the Con was all spread out. No more cramped quarters for guests or attendees, but the bad thing was nobody knew where anything was because things weren’t in their normal location. The fact that everyone was lost combined with the severe lack of directions made for a very confusing showing, and in fact we learned that people didn’t know our side of the exhibition hall even existed or that there was even an upstairs part at all!!!
That info really shined some new light on what was going on with the lack of traffic coming our way. After that we had some more to consider if were were to keep on going to Dragon Con or not.
As the day progressed and the announcements kept coming the traffic was steady.
We had the most people coming by and the most people to play guitar yet. We met up with some more old pals like the nice librarian from up north and N.H. who also filled us in on what was going on outside the vendor area with the rest of the con, and some of her cosplay adventures as well. She was a trooper rocking four costumes this year if I recall correctly!
I have a lot of respect for Cosplayers. Not only are they cool to look at and take pictures of it takes a lot of guts to walk around town dressed up as well. When I got on the train head for home it was hilarious to see the faces of the people on the train when some cosplay cats got on there all geared up with swords and shields and stuff. seeing the reactions from regular train riders towards the cosplayers is one of my favorite things about Dragon Con!
Day 5: Day Five is the last day and we had a big decision to make as to whether we were going to make it back to Dragon Con 2014 or not.
After setting up the day kicked off at 10 A.M. and it was running kind of slow, but started to wind up. N.H. came by again with her buddy and we chit chatted for a minute. Then they were off again and Joshy G. dropped by and gave us the skinny on what we were missing on the other side of the booth. He was about to head home after that.
The day rolled on, we met more people, and around 2 P.M. it was time to decide on 2014. Taking into consideration that there were a lot of kinks the first time switching things up and getting some opinions from our booth neighbors and what not we decided that the best thing to do was to re-up once more for Dragon Con 2014 so it’s a done deal now!
The rest of the day kind of ran on down to a crawl and at 5 P.M. it was time to break our booth down and load out. It took about an hour and two trips to get it done. We said our goodbyes to all our neighbors and DJD and I parted ways ourselves until the next Atomsplit pow wow.
As I was walking out it was clear that Americas Mart was shutting the whole show down as fast as possible. The usual doors and means I usually took to get home were being locked and shut down. They were even locking up bathrooms. I finally got out of there and back on the train and thus putting another Dragon Con under Atomsplit’s belt.
Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by the booth to talk with us, play guitar, and buy things. In the end we gave away over 300 Atomsplit Dragon Con 2013 collectors editions picks, over 120 download cards, and broke our graphic novel convention sales record! So we’ll see all you guys again at Dragon Con 2014 where we hope to break all those records again!!!