The show did incorporate some new things this year that I feel worked well and will hopefully continue into future events or spin off into their own. This year saw the introduction of our “Young INDYpendent Creator” section featuring four individuals under the age of sixteen that brought different skills and products to represent them. It was great to see them showcase their work, conduct demos, and be an inspiration to attendees of all ages that realized that you don’t have to be a certain age to create something great.
This year’s demos were also more organized and featured some of the best variety to date. Each creator did their demo twice during the show so attendees had the flexibility to make a schedule perfect for their learning track. Beyond the structured schedule for planning, this year also introduced special demo signs that were moved from creator to creator every thirty minutes to highlight their upcoming discussion.
The venue once again was great with Who’s Yer Con providing us the room and atmosphere that contributed to creativity. Attendees were able to come through the show when taking a break from gameplay or just out of curiosity. These folks, along with those who came out just for the INDYpendent Show, provided creators with a consistent stream of folks through the room. I feel like it was the best attended INDYpendent Show so far, which is great to see.
Throughout the day there were many moments that reminded me why organizing and promoting the INDYpendent Show is so important. I wish I could share them all with you, but there isn’t enough space in this blog for them, unless I wanted to publish it as a novel. Here are a few that really stood out to me.
1. Watching the Young INDYpendent Creators at their first show was a great part of this year’s experience for me. These kids had no issues talking about their work, explaining their creative goals, and selling their work. Half way through the show, an attendee came up to me to tell me how excited she was to purchase one of Mitchell Velikan’s paintings featuring famous MEMEs. She explained that the picture of a cat playing the piano would be featured in her office because it was always one of her favorites. I’m not positive that an “adult” would have thought about doing paintings of MEMEs, but Mitchell had quite a few.
2. On Saturday at Who’s Yer Con I had the opportunity to speak with a father and his 11 year old daughter about the INDYpendent Show and they were excited to come back on Sunday. The young girl was already a creator of various projects and looked forward to interacting with creators. I noticed them arrive on Sunday around lunch time and they spent a good 2-3 hours at the show, talking and learning from the creators and their demos. I spoke with them on the way out of the show and the girl was excited and charged up for her future projects, which was great to see. The dad looked a little exhausted, but I definitely gave him props supporting his daughter at the event.
3. Interacting with the creators at the show is always a high point for me. Some of these creators have been doing the show since the beginning and I still get excited to see their latest project and catch up on what they’re doing. Even with a constant stream of attendees, the INDYpendent Show maintains a relaxed atmosphere without the pressure to “sell” or “move on to the next customer” like some of the bigger shows. This is important to me because I feel it contributes to a learning environment.
Yes, there’s more and I’ll probably receive notes from both creators and attendees with their own moments from the show. I honestly feel that this show format is very close to what I always wanted to see as a creator who enjoys art, comics, books, and more. If you haven’t attended an INDYpendent Show yet, please mark your calendar for Spring of next year and I’ll see you there.
All the best!