Let's put this in context: Friday morning was spent at a training, meaning that I didn't arrive until mid-afternoon, and I left early on Saturday because I had caught a bug and felt crappy. (Which meant that I treated and regarded several casual friends with a lousy attitude....and I'm going to have to apologize). But all the same, this year's conference left me feeling a little cold.
Part of it was a change in policy - there was no more Podcast Alley (meaning no Comic Related table), meaning that I didn't have a central check-in point to meet up with friends. Although this meant more space for retail/selling (and several pals did buy a booth), ReedPop's refusal to allow shared tables (and believe me - Chicago Nerd Social Club tried) really put a dent in that "convention community" feeling. Of course, it helped that several publishers offered free books (read: unproofed galleys), but it somehow felt a little less than inspired.
(It also didn't help that....well, did we really need a glorified food truck providing free samples of energy drinks? Or a poorly run - from what others have said - experiential booth from the third installment of a "found film" horror franchise? If you're going to expand anything, expand Artist's Alley - that was a really positive experience, and one which I think reiterates the need to support local artists)
But something did happen that made my C2E2 experience much better....and which should provide some great lessons for ReedPop. Sunday's panel featuring Sylvester McCoy and Neve McIntosh from Doctor Who was supposed to go smoothly....but McCoy, ever the anarchist, decided to leave the stage and take questions directly from the audience. I was fortunate enough to take video (see below), but I think C2E2 organizers would do well to realize.....conventions are all about those spontaneous moments as they are planned activities. And leaving more room for the unexpected would have made this year's convention much better.