As a person who runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, I am an expert in con preparation. In fact, I can sum up how to plan for a convention in less than a dozen words:
Give up. Give up NOW. Show up in nothing but Aquaman underwear and a tie and beg the front desk for a toothbrush.
However, I realize that not everyone will choose this option, because sometimes, the hotel doesn’t have very good toothbrushes. So for everyone else, I offer these handy hints:
1. How to avoid the stress of last-minute packing: All convention packing happens during the three-hour period after which you were supposed to leave for the event. This is unchangeable; there’s nothing you can do about it. But there is a working technique to soothe your pain:
(a) Pack for this event. You’ll be three hours late.
(b) Forget your suitcase at home. Show up naked, as instructed above. Then, just leave your suitcase untouched until the next event, and when the next event comes, you’ll totally be ready!
2. How to avoid getting Con Crud. Con Crud is a terrible thing – it’s the illness that spreads through an event due to the proximity of lots of people in a relatively small, enclosed space. But there’s a remedy.
(a) Get lots of sleep, take lots of vitamins, eat regularly, and have good personal hygiene habits.
(b) However, nobody actually does this. That’s okay. For a small fee, most events, including mine, will simply encase you in a huge block of Carbonite. This will prevent illness, as well as saving you money on food, and it makes packing irrelevant! It’s the perfect solution.
3. How to plan out all of your activities in advance. It can be hard to keep the mental focus you need in order to have good times. Fortunately, good preparation can serve you in good stead here.
(a) Think about activity you want to enjoy, and what you’ll need to do in order to get to it in the right place in the right time.
(b) Carefully place those plans within that famous suitcase full of writings which Hemmingway lost on a train. When the actual event starts, simply project an aura of confidence by shouting, “SHUT UP, I GOT THIS!” and firing up your Invisibility Cloak.
4. How to deal with seeing your ex at events. This is a serious and difficult subject. But there’s a simple solution:
(b) Not for you, of course. Convince your ex to wear a blindfold the entire event. If you and your ex are not on good terms, this is best accomplished through reverse psychology: “BOY, I BET MY EX ISN’T CAPABLE OF SPENDING THE ENTIRE EVENT WEARING A BLINDFOLD”. Post that to your social media. Your ex will be challenged by your dare and put on a blindfold just to spite you. Trust me. 2% of the time, this works 100% of the time, assuming your ex is the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.
5. How to make sure you have fun at events.
(a) Just go into the event with a positive attitude, a friendly demeanor, and a determination that you want to have a good time. Don’t stress too much, don’t worry too much; the event is there to help you be happy, and all you need to do is let it!
(b) If this doesn’t work, just eat Pixy Sticks and other forms of raw sugar until you’re basically bouncing off the walls like a rubber ball being continuously shot out of cannons. Keep bouncing long enough, and eventually, you’ll probably run into your soulmate and be happy forever. If this doesn’t happen, consider the possibility that you’re in the wrong movie. Fire the director, hire a new script, and have the whole thing re-shot by Michael Bay.
Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks). He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.