Event Review: Sci-Fi Weekender 2013

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Sci-Fi Weekender banner

Introduction: Why We Went

I am relatively new to conventions. I dislike crowds and noise, so they aught to be the very embodiment of a place where I would not want to be under any circumstances. However, I actually find them to be quite fun. Once or twice a year, I “let down my hair” and attend gatherings of geeks and Guests, partake in Workshops, listen to Talks, play games, watch films, and generally have a good time.

I had heard a lot of amazing things about The Sci-Fi Weekender, and I decided that, in all my capacities as fan, journalist, and photographer, I absolutely had to attend this year.

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Getting Back On Schedule…

I have not posted an update in more than a week, due to my lack of internet at my current residency – though this will be resolved when Fibre Optic is installed on April 4th – and I apologise for this.

I am visiting fellow journalist Lord Matt for a couple of days, now, though, and he has kindly lent me the use of his laptop and internet capacity so that I might continue with my work.

During this time, I am speaking with him about the redesign of my website (as discussed here), catching up on my business emails, sending questions to my interviewees, finishing (and publishing) my review of The Sci-Fi Weekender, and organising my backlog of photographs for sharing.

Currently my photographs are only available to view – exclusively – on my FaceBook Page, due to the sheer number of images that I have now rendering my original Photography section of my website to be unpractical. There you can see new additions to my Photography Portfolio, including images from GEEK 2013, full size snow scenes (as teased with a Special Preview here), and a five hour photoshoot at Quex Park Paintballing. Soon to be uploaded are more images from all those categories, along with some from The Sci-Fi Weekender 2013, and some very special surprises…

Getting back to more formal, non-“geeky” journalism, as per my promise, I also have a very special article on the way to mark one year since this Blog was founded, several reviews of local eateries around Thanet, unfinished game reviews which will be able to finished once I am online and able to access my game saves from Xbox Live’s Cloud Storage, two book reviews, and many more surprises in store…

So, keep watching this space!

“Gig” overload!

So, after almost an entire year of writing and photographing, half the period of which suffered delays due to ill health, I am, as regular readers will know, “back in the game”, out-and-about again, and busy as ever.

I have attended two conventions in two weekends (one of which – GEEK – I received my first ever Press Pass for) and I have been networking my heart out at both, doing detailed write-ups, photographing hundreds, if not thousands of shots every day… and, apparently, it is paying off.

Self Portrait.

Self Portrait.

I am absolutely ruddy exhausted after all this work (including two thirteen hour coach journeys!) but, as aforementioned, “Nothing worth anything is ever easy”.

So, here I am, two months into my New Year’s Resolution, and I have been offered not one, not two, but seven, yes, seven, unpaid “gigs” for both my writing and my photography.

I know that unpaid is not the goal, but ultimately, it will drive me there. Last year I showed a lot of progress in a short period of time, and I was indeed offered paid work, which I turned down on principle due to my lack of experience. But, with seven unpaid jobs currently in negotiation for the coming weeks and months, I may yet gain the experience, Portfolio and references that I feel I need in order to accept paid work.

Be part of something big: Kick-start a new gaming convention!

The SyperByte 2013 website banner.

The SyperByte 2013 website banner.

My gamer readers may have heard of, or attended, The Euro Gamer Expo, GEEK (Games Expo East Kent), Rezzed, or any of the other established games conventions held throughout the UK, but I can almost guarantee that you have not heard of this one.

SyperByte is a gaming convention held in Manchester with a twist. Two twists, actually.

The first twist is that it is a retro gaming convention that is not just about the games, but the music. It is more like a music festival than a convention. But with games. There will be DJs and artists coming from all around the country to perform their interpretations of retro gaming soundtracks, and original music made with the classic consoles, etc. This is known as “Micro Music”.

Kickstarter Logo

The second twist is that this convention will be “Crowd Funded”, with the use of Kickstarter. This means that they are looking for money not from sponsors, but from you, the fans.

The convention is not completely “new”, it was actually founded last year, to great success, but they do need funding to make the convention bigger, and better.

Funding this event will mean it can expand to not one, but two days, there will be more games available, more live music to enjoy, film screenings, workshops, and lots more. See the full Press Release here.

I, for one, shall be contributing funding to what I think will be a unique, brilliant, and very fun event for gamers such as myself. Funders get their money’s worth, too, with thanks on the website, free ticket/s for the event, exclusive Limited Edition merchandise only available to backers, and even one lucky £250 contributing fan will get to take home the banner that will be held over the main stage throughout the weekend!

There are four days left in the Campaign, and they have got the money that they requested, but the more that they make, the bigger and better this can be. I see so, so much potential here, so I wanted to share it with my readers and give them an opportunity to be part of this, like I intend to be.

So, what are you waiting for? Visit their website to read more about the event, and if you like what you see, get funding!

GEEK 2013: An Introduction

GEEK 2013

GEEK, aka Games Expo East Kent, is a gaming convention spanning several days held yearly at Margate Winter Gardens, and other venues around the town, celebrating retro and modern computer games alike.

The concept launched to great success in 2012, so much so that, to help it grow, this year there has been much more community involvement, with several Meetings being held to discuss ideas for the event.

My questions are is this event really worth attending, and how does it effect Margate? And, Press Pass in-hand, I have every intention of finding out… So, I intend to post a day-by-day report of the event, with photographs, interviews, personal opinions of my experience, etc, and an over all review of the event when it draws to a close.

February is a busy month!

Making up for a long absence… 

After much drought with my journalism and photography due to ill health, I have started anew in 2013, and I am flinging myself straight into the deep end, with a busy schedule of events to attend and report on, potential photography “gigs”, and a long list of articles, interviews and reviews to write up.

My New Year’s Resolution seems to be right on schedule, with the past few weeks being more productive than the past few months of work.

First on the list is spending the next couple of days typing up the interviews from Euro Gamer 2012, a long overdue task that I hope will be well worth the wait. I had the pleasure of speaking with Special Effect! about their charity who work to make computer games accessible to everyone, even those with mental and/or physical disabilities, and two young gentleman who were part of the team who’s original game won Virgin Media’s 100 Day Challenge.

This weekend is GEEK (Game Expo East Kent) 2013, a games-dedicated convention held throughout Margate, which I shall be reporting on and photographing. I hope to bring you updates at the end of each day.

The weekend after is The Sci-Fi Weekender, a residential convention held in Wales which will require a thirteen hour coach ride to travel to and cost a tidy fortune and a lot of organising to get tickets for, but will be well worth the effort. There is a very prestigious list of Guests, Talks, film showings, and even a party DJed by none other than Craig Charles, aka Lister of Red Dwarf! It will be a big task to report on, but I welcome the challenge and I hope I can share my experiences with you as-and-when they happen.

There are also plenty of artistic photographs almost ready to share with you, a couple of potential unpaid photography “gigs”, and my website, though it has been offline for several weeks now, looks as though it might (fingers crossed!) finally be fixed (“within 48 hours”).

So… A busy month indeed! I hope it will compensate for my lengthy absence and get me back on track.

Keep watching this space.