Another SMASH! goes by

Setting up on the Main Stage

As you might know, the seventh and biggest year of SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show was held today and it was also the last convention at the Sydney Convention Centre before we move to Rosehill Gardens next year for a two-day convention. You can read Ruben's post about his experience here, but for me it's not always such a great experience as a staff member of SMASH!

I've been staffing for SMASH! since 2010, and it was actually the first convention I went to, as well as the first convention I have worked for. That having been said, I've never actually attended SMASH! as an attendee, I often wonder if I ever will and what it would be like. I've only really become aware of all the events in the convention in the past two years (the two years previously I barely was aware of exactly what guests were coming) and similarly in all the events I was missing - though I'd learned to deal with that for the most part, though not with other's mentions of missing out because they're working. What can I say? I'm not exactly that rational after going a few days without much sleep.

As a volunteer, SMASH! can be fun if you're working for that one day only, but as soon as you become involved in the long process of preparation and management as most members ranking higher than 'crew' (there are special cases, I'll admit), the job gets tough and stressful. Watching friends currently working in my department stressing out as you are at the same time is something that causes some guilt as I was the one who (in a particular case) recruited them, and had asked them to do the exact work that is now causing them stress and annoyance at the same time. This also makes me more a lenient manager than I should be.

Not sleeping the night in order to finish the last minute preparations so as to make it to the Convention Centre at 5AM meant that during the day I was crashing at around 4PM with still two hours to go, but I tried to pull myself together again and push on until the end of the convention, though 6PM is never truly the end a convention, but only the start of activities in packing up and what I can only call 'after-convention activities' such as getting approvals for publication.

Nonetheless, the highlight of my experience at SMASH! this year though, was having Ruben working there with me. I'm not sure that I would have been able to make it through the day without him working tirelessly there, helping out at the Info Desk in between his announcements. The appeal of SMASH! to me, after these years, has lessened considerably. I would probably still have enjoyed the experience if I were not in the position that I am today, but things are as they stand. Thank you to my department for their hard work. I can only really blame myself for any problems that arose in our areas of responsibility. I don't know where I may end up next year or whether I may depart from the things I am doing now, but nonetheless, I wish SMASH! luck for the coming year... I think we'll need it.