One benefit of the pandemic is that many conventions have gone virtual. It means that I can either watch them on Zoom, or participate even. In other cases, I can volunteer and help out behind the scenes. That has been low-pressure, and I get to learn how to be a moderator on either Zoom or Discord in some cases. That adds more skills to the resume, of knowing how to handle potentially unruly people.
I haven’t traveled often alone unless going to visit my sister. Thus, I have thought that many conventions are out of reach for me unless I have the weekends off, the travel fare, and the spoons to interact.
That’s not to say I wish the pandemic has happened. I don’t while counting the death toll. My grandmother is in India; she received the vaccine, but the whole country is on lockdown. Mom calls her on a regular basis to check in on her. She’s a brave woman, and it’s a relief that so far she is fine but the rest of India isn’t. It absolutely sucks.
Even so, conventions are almost a form of gatekeeping, the big ones at least. To build your career or thrive on giant nerd activities like the movie or videogame trailers, you need to have money and time. The more established you are, the likelier the chances that you will be invited and the organizations will offset some of the costs. For people like me, that can be accumulated costs to build a career plus my introvert qualities immediately hesitate.
Being able to volunteer virtually means that I get to see more panels, participate more in the writing sphere, and meet new people. It also means that I can develop new skills as our world is changing. This volunteer is definitely going to brush up on how to manage a Zoom call, especially when everyone is so friendly. And I look forward to that immensely before a big event.
So far the events have been fairly straightforward. There hasn’t been a guest putting their foot in their mouth, or a pet making an inopportune interruption. (Pet interruptions are great but can throw off a person’s flow.) Knock on wood that the events stay peaceful, with a trained team of volunteers ready to handle anything.