Well, I’m back and finally recovered from Dragon Con 2017, and it was quite an ordeal. I think that at my age, I’ve finally found my stamina limits. That said, I had a great, if painful time, and I can’t wait to do it again.
As many of you know, due to a back injury in 2016, I had to pull out of the 2016 event, which also meant giving up my role as Assistant Director for the EFF track. So instead I applied as an Attending Professional, and was accepted, as I said in my pre-con post, meaning I’m back to wandering around and just appearing on panels, as I did in 2010.
Not so fast.
Those that know me know I can’t be having with that kind of relaxed weekend. I can’t be doing just not doing stuff – it’s not my thing. I get bored and wander around trying to be helpful so what could I do that doesn’t involve me getting tied down to a room again as before. Oooohhh! I know
Join Dragon Con TV!
So, I did. I became a segment cameraman, producer, and random assistant working to provide on-site coverage of the convention. (I did put my name up for hosting too, but probably a good thing I didn’t end up doing that, for reasons that will become clear later)
So, in addition to the two friday panels (Red Dwarf and Freedom of the Press), three Sunday panels (Techdirt lawsuit, Drone Legislation, and Fake news and Social Media) and a Monday panel (Top Gear v Grand Tour) I now also had a Thursday segment (Dragon Con Wrestling) where I was assisting, A segment on live medieval combat Saturday morning to produce, and finally, cameraman for the big Sunday Night Masquerade segment.
(I’ll insert DCTV videos when they’re made public, panel videos will get their own posts)
For many that were there, though, you might notice that as the weekend went on, I didn’t look so good, and was not my usual happy, bubbly self </sarcasm> .
The problem was a matter of sleep, or lack of it.
The Wednesday before con was the deadline for the FCC consultation on Net Neutrality. As I’m a big part of why this even exists, I felt I had to submit, and due to my combination of Asperger’s, depression, and procrastination, I had left it to the last day. So I spent the entire Wednesday writing my submission, which you can see here.
That meant I then had to stay awake Wednesday night to pack everything for us to leave for Dragon Con at noon Thursday. Not a problem, until while I was working the wrestling segment as the assistant producer. Basically since Michael is both talent and producer, a third person handles the lights, or does what needs doing, basically the physical stuff the producer would also do. During that, I had to kneel down to get the microphone from the host (at about 4:10 in the video) and popped my knee, re-aggravating an old injury. Agony, although less painful if it’s constantly moved. That means no sleep for me.
So yes, instead of sleeping, I had to basically keep moving around at least every 5 minutes.
This helped some, when it came to editing the video for the Dragon Cup Armoured Tournament. It was filmed through Saturday, and would go out on the Sunday morning, so I spent Saturday night editing it. I’m quite happy with how it worked out, although writing this a few days later, after finally getting some sleep, I know I could have done better.
My job was to direct the filming, to tell the talent (the amazing Michael Keane, and his wife) what to say, to tell the cameraman what and where to shoot (and I did a bit of that myself too) and then to edit it all together into a usable segment afterwards. It was hard, but having Michael to help guide me, and a great cameraman in Chris Booth (who was also the cameraman for the wrestling segment above, so we three knew at least how we worked together)
By Sunday, I was really feeling it. My head was nodding at times during panels, and I may have gotten a little incoherent at times during the Drone panel, but Dave Maass admirably covered for me.
I will also say that I do not have any recollection of most of the Masquerade. I stood there (moving my knee) and filmed all three hours of it, and the next morning when one of the EFF track crew asked me what I thought of a costume, I was unaware it was even there (although it could also have been down to Jason David Frank and his complete lack of hosting ability that not even the wonderful Tony could overcome.
The onyl things I do remember are the pre-show filming, and the after-show interview, where I got a BIG wakeup call from Cruxshadows, who decided to do their sound test, with the microphone (with my headphones connected to it) sitting right next to the speakers.
By the time I got home, I collapsed in a puddle, and slept from Monday night until wedesday morning (after taking my pain pills, and getting my knee sorted) meaning a grand total of 5 1/2 days (or 132 hours) awake.
While I do recommend Dragon Con, I don’t recommend going with out sleep like that. And while I can say I did have some of the symptoms listed here for 5 days, I didn’t have extreme irritability, or delusional episodes, but I did get the later memory lapses.
But hell yeah, I’ll do it again the next year, WITH sleep, both if they’ll let me!