Jump in, and don’t look back (2)
I learnt very quickly that I could not deliver IndigiCon on my passion alone, although that passion was the stubborn encouragement I needed. I was out of my depths! I’ve never really been in this world before, a world of organising conventions – made up of 7 smaller events with each agenda running simultaneously. I drew a lot of my experience of attending conventions around the world and added that with my experience in organising a statewide youth event, together they internally dictated what to do to make this come to light.
Over 2018 and 2019, I wore two hats really – my job as a youth advocate and my job as an event organiser. Both roles required ALOT from me, and at times (almost as if I was under a spell) I would jolt myself awake, questioning myself intensely, asking why I am doing this. It’s at those moments when I think back to our Elders, some of the most resilient and unstoppable forces on this land. Their unstoppable footsteps would embed their footprints on the fabric of our reality for years to come, and these footprints made when they were in their youth. I often wonder what it would’ve been like to be in those rooms where community made critical decisions, where talks of injustices and rebellion fuelled the enigmatic minds of our (now) Elders, who were still figuring out their own path.
This fuelled my own cells to see some sort of platform be created, and what was created was exactly what I wanted.
I was this new kid, who has never been in this world previously, with an event idea that has never been attempted (to my knowledge) before in this country, so I had to make a big impression and show my passion of why this sort of event needs to happen. In a world dominated by the dollar and (let’s be honest) whiteness, I found it incredibly hard to get any sort of solid backing for IndigiCon from already established businesses in pop culture. Which I was further disheartened when, in many cases, previously confirmed support was suddenly taken away…via email. At times I felt so defeated and deflated that I would often just stare at my laptop, questions clouding my mind, but at those times I also got some amazing pieces of news from handfuls of community who can see what I was trying to achieve.
That being said, I did find it hard to connect with some community over the idea of IndigiCon, with the message to my ask of support being ‘We can’t really support this, because we don’t understand, but keep doing what you’re doing’. These conversations may have been the most disheartening ones along this journey….All this work, and sometimes I just felt like it was still my little project, no one wanting to join in. If it wasn’t for my team, I may have given up on this idea,a team of incredible young women of our community all of whom we come to bond over some aspect of pop culture love. I am thankful to all of them!
As previously mentioned I was in contact with MANY talent agencies, selling an event that’s never been done before, from a kid who has never done this before. Here I had to learn about negotiating, contracts, clauses and all of the boring stuff that goes with that.In more cases than none I was kindly told to leave and call back when you and your event has ‘made it’, but there were some sparkles of light here and there. I mean after all, the whole mainstream business of comic conventions are built of the almighty dollar and generating wealth to keep in in business, thus if I don’t have the money for it, please leave through the gift shop. I wasn’t interested in generating pools of money, nor did I want this event to be a superficial shell. I wanted a socially conscious platform, celebrating our community, creativity comics!
In the end, I was given alot of media attention, little support, equalling me to fund some aspects of IndigiCon through the INDIGINERD business. Any sort of support that was promised was quickly taken back or simply disappeared.
I quickly saw a dark side to the life of business, one that played on my youth and one that played on my inexperience. I had to learn how to communicate my confidence and stubbornness, having that motto ‘It’s not personal, it’s only business’ in the back of my head. This was such a massive step, I’ve always been the one to hear everyone out first and than say my piece, but as the lead I was expected to have the answer on hand, and I needed to be the loudest one in the room if my vision was to come to light. While I disliked that time, it taught me so much – I’m far from being comfortable with calling myself a Comic Convention Director or Business owner, but during that time I did learn alot that have made me a better business person.
While I was learning this, I had to put it in action shortly after. Making quick decisions one a whole range of things, based one several vastly different platforms, in order to produce a comic con experience unlike many!
To say this stressed me out would be an understatement, I always had some aspect of IndigiCon in my head, from sun up to sun down.
At moments where I really didn’t like my mindspace, I would drive up to see my mum and often just sit by the river up there. I also got some strength from hearing how excited nieces and nephews would be for IndigiCon! this really kept me going, and I hope this does have some influence on our younger ones, seeing the benefit in this world for our people.