This year was my first time going to AX as press; every other year I was a general attendee. This year, after working as a staff writer for different outlets and presently for T-ono, I got to see things through a press member’s perspective, and boy was I in for a shock; the experience, both good and bad, was not like anything I had in mind.
First, let’s talk about the bad: mandatory attendance of panels and events translates into a lot of running and no time for rest. Also, the walking from panels to interviews to events, then back again for more interviews, was just as intense. Plus, the sense of not having up to date information on events we had to cover was very frustrating. I swear, some information kept changing more frequently than the stock market ticker. We had some details change on us at least three times from when I left my room to when I got to the convention, and that was just the first twenty minutes of the con. Since it was my first time, I was more confused than shocked, and I felt like a complete newbie. The last gripe I have is that I was in the exhibit hall not to walk around and look at vendor booths and artists, but to attend events. My schedule was so constrained, I didn’t get to spend my money in the exhibit hall, but I’m not sure if this should be considered a bad thing or a good thing.
Now for the good: I got to do my first face to face interview and sat in on another to do a live tweet which I also did from panels. One of the highlights of my experience as a press member was interviewing ANIMETAL USA. Further tempting my inner fanboy to gush, I also got to give a Stitch Disney figure to LiSA as a late birthday present and interview gift before we talked (I think she liked it). I had a great time and now that I have gone as press, I don’t think I can ever go back to going as a general attendee. I kind of like the craziness of not knowing if the schedule, or any other aspect of my plans, has changed. It is chaos, but there seems to be a slight order to all this madness that we like to call an Anime Convention. I hope to do it again soon.